Two months after Hurricane Maria my husband and I left Puerto Rico to live in a Southern state. We haven’t been back since. My first job at a pizza shop afforded me a much-needed pair of eyeglasses.
The doctor’s assistant prepping me happened to be a Puerto Rican ophthalmologist. She was waiting for her state licensing process to finalize; and she also moonlighted as a Christian preacher.
After ten years of living in this state this woman had finally carved a place for herself in an industry her family helped build on the island. She enumerated her accomplishments, told me about her last name’s importance.
In a certain light she represented everything that went wrong in the current political, social and religious climate on the continental United States and its dirty-secret colony, Puerto Rico. Yet she gave me the most valuable advice I’ve received in this interesting transition.
She said something to the tune of (in Spanish of course):
“Life isn’t easy here. People may laugh at you because of your accent or try to make you feel like less than you are. Cry when you have to in private and then go out into the world with a machete face.”
This blog is for her and all those who sharpen their faces daily to survive.