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Showing posts from September, 2017

My Tribe

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Sebastian Junger wrote a book called “Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging”.If you haven’t read it I highly recommend it.One of the points he makes is how trauma unifies people.How when something terrible happens to a group of people, they are unified by the feeling of tribalism that is present in all humans.He supports this with evolutionary theory, sociology, psychology, and just personal anecdotes from his time spent in war zones.The classic example is New York after 9/11; how crime rates dropped and how the city became warmer.On 9/11/01 I was living on an Army base in Germany and I experienced this first hand.Americans, especially those with military ties, were treated with a deference that was hard to describe.TSA agents in airports would thank me for my service and sacrifice (I was then a Military wife). I saw the memorials in Paris and in different German towns where the locals were pouring out to show their support.It was overwhelming.Still, the experience was removed from me.I …

The weekend

I left home for the first time in 1996.  It was for 10 months, then I was back home for 10 months again, and then I was gone forever.  In reality, those 10 months when I was back I was in a sort of purgatory of being home and away at the same time.  It was a hard time for me.  When I left again in 1997 I just went to graduate school in San Juan.  I was home (in Puerto Rico) but not home (in Cabo Rojo).  From the first time I left I have always called my parents on the weekend.  Always.  For over 20 years.  Back in the stone ages of the 90s we had to rely on land lines and long distance calling plans.  Remember the “Nights and weekends” plans?  That’s why I called on the weekend – it was usually cheaper.  If you called during the week you had to wait until after 9 pm to get the cheaper rate.  The good old days.  When I lived in San Juan I took off the long distance plan to save money and would buy calling cards (remember those?) just to call my mom and tell her I was fine.  When I l…

Maria

When I was kid I used to love storms.  In Puerto Rico the storms were always a fun time.  When I was really young it was a time to play cards and board games with my brother.  Sometimes I read by candlelight.  I remember fondly a time early on – maybe even the first year when I was 7.  My dad and my 16 year old brother were fishing with my uncle. My 9 year old brother was staying at my other uncle’s house with my cousins.  It was just my mom and I and it started storming.  No power.  We had two candles.  So, as it got dark, we lit one candle and then made another one from the melted wax and some string.  Eventually my dad and brother came home with crazy stories of being in the ocean when the storm was coming in and my dad being sea sick.  I remember that fondly.  The best part about living in a place where the power goes out frequently is the stories.  My mom and dad always had stories about growing up in the 50s in Puerto Rico.  As we grew older we would be playing outside with fr…

800,000!

I was 7 years old when my parents decided to move us to Puerto Rico.It was June.One brother turned 9 that July, one turned 16 that August.It was without question the hardest decision my parents had to make for their family - and without a doubt the best one.The difference in upbringing between one child and the other two is staggering.I won’t dwell on that right now because that is not my focus.My focus here is that I am Puerto Rican.Yes, both my parents are from there.But I was born in New York City.I never tell people I am from New York.I am FROM the island.That little piece of land is in my heart because that is where I grew up.Where I came of age. First album purchased.First date. First concert. School graduations. My life story started there and nothing will ever change that.It doesn’t matter how many turns my life has taken (and there have been quite a few) I am Puerto Rican first.All politics aside, that is my truth; that is your truth; that is everyone’s truth.You are from the…