Our trip to Puerto Rico was short but sweet. I'm not sure I mentioned it previously, but I used to live there back in 2000 to 2001. For about half of the time I lived there, it was with my family in my cousin's home in El Yunque. After that I moved to Old San Juan. The whole time I worked as an apprentice photographer in my uncle Clay's studio. He is really my Dad's cousin, but uncle is easier.
The time I spent in Puerto Rico was one of the best of my life. Though I had terrible culture shock and was nursing a broken heart, and though I was really just a young and inexperienced adult, I came away from there with a strong sense of self and of personal accomplishment. I made great friends and became really close with my family. Random and cool things happened while I lived there too. For example, just when I needed it most, a friend from my former life in Bellingham was walking down the street one day. I was talking to a kiosk owner and exploring a bit, she had sunglasses on to disguise her tears as she was not having fun and had come to Puerto Rico for a two month stay that had just begun. This friend is Kathryn Hillier, and she is an amazing photographer. Please do look at her photos here. [This is one of my favorites of her photos.]
One of Adam's college roommates was from Puerto Rico, and he had visited him there on two occasions, including going to Juan's wedding. Through the years they had lost touch with each other. While we were on the plane, Adam joked that we would just run into him. I scoffed at that. So then we arrive there and have missed our flight and have to stay the night at this beautiful hotel on the beach and return to the airport in the morning. On our arrival, Adam decides to talk to the only person around who seems to be working. In fact she seems to be running the show. We wait. And when she turns to us - she is Juan's wife!! Nitza is her name. It turned out that they had a 14 month old son named Lucas and we spent some time visiting them while we were there. They had a beautiful home and served us a great lasagna dinner. We tried to see them again at the beach, but that didn't work out, so we then went out to dinner with them again in Old San Juan. Visiting them was an unexpected but great part of our visit.
For most of the time we stayed with my family in the rainforest, at my Uncle Bill and Aunt Laurie's bed and breakfast. My uncle keeps a blog which you can check out if you are interested. The very best part in my opinion (despite the gorgeous rooms, comfy beds, and beautiful views) was the breakfast. Laurie makes some delicious food! My favorite meal she served the last day. It was a brown rice risotto with coconut shavings, almond slivers, and pomegranates. Served warm and with honey, it was nourishing and tasty, a real comfort food. Here is a photo of my uncle Bill just outside his house.
We also stayed here for two nights, and spent our new year's eve with Greg and Linda Jackson, the owners and longtime friends of my uncle. If you follow the link, we stayed in the rooms just past the pool in the photo of the dancers.
Here are some photos of the Puerto Rico trip.
My cousin Andrew ~ he grows and roasts his own coffee. It is delicious.
June being held by her dad ~ at Bill's and at El Morro:
June at my cousin Jimmy and his wife Esther's home, making music: