Some smiles and some tears

A restaurant owner in my barrio posted a video that transported me to the years I lived back home. He is the owner of a restaurant in the area I grew up. He and some neighbors prepared a caravan with Christmas music, loud horns, and even someone dressed as Santa. They jumped in their cars and went around greeting all the neighbors while wishing them a happy 2021.

The video made me tear up. Every year around the holiday season, I realize how much I miss Puerto Rico. I would have to get used to driving on the narrow roads, but it would be a matter of days. Today has been an especially gloomy day. The sun was not shining, and you could feel the sadness of staying inside the house.

It was not a good day for me; I had no drive and even lacked energy. Friends sent me videos of different activities during the day. I was not feeling like watching until I found this one showing the country roads of the neighborhood where I grew up.

I watched the video and even replayed it. I was trying to recognize the homes. I believe they passed by my father’s house as well. Maybe it was just my imagination because I miss it so much.

The restaurant owner is the grandson of the next-door farm owner. I want to believe he at least went by his grandfather’s house located after ours. The neighbor and his wife, just like my father, are long gone now, of course.

I envy those who stayed or went back home to make a living on my beautiful island. I know it will not happen to me. I made my life and have my husband and kids here, in one of the southern states.

It is great to see how festive is our people. They celebrate the end of a year that was hard for them. Not only Covid-19 was spreading quickly. They are also suffering terrible earthquakes all year. If that wasn’t enough, my fellow Puerto Ricans have not recuperated from hurricane Maria which devastates the island.

Many had to flee the country seeking better opportunities. Many went back as soon as they could. I am happy to see them celebrating in peace and harmony. They find strength because they have each other to overcome any obstacle.