In Remembrance of Mis Abuelos

Some say travel is good for the soul.  That rings true with me, I get restless when I feel stuck in one place too long.  My first year in California, that what I did.  I have been determined to make California living something that works for me, so I stayed put (minus two very short trips) I did not leave the state for almost a year.  There were ups and downs to that, I fell in love with the California coastline and did the scenic roadtrip up PCH from Los Angeles to San Francisco and all the places in between.  I learned how to deal with the daily commute up the wretched 405 through the Westside of LA.  I even got sick of the sunshine — yes there can be too many 80 degree and sunny days.  I even started missing rain and that smell in the air during winter when everyone’s heat kicks on.

But I seriously digress, the hardest part about being in California is being far away from family.  3000 miles in a distance.  That’s not drop everything, jump in the car and you’ll be home in 4 hours kinda thing.  That’s drop everything, get ready to shell out a ridiculous amount in last minute airfare and hope you don’t get stuck in the middle seat on a red eye.  So when everything suddenly happened with my grandfather I felt so helpless.  There was no way I would make it to say goodbye, and when the funeral plans suddenly changed there was no way to change around flights.  Stoically, I still went.

This trip was good for my soul.  My time spent in California has felt like a surreal reality where I don’t belong.  At my core, I’ve been homesick and missing something that I haven’t quite been able to my finger on.  This was it – being surrounded by family on the beautiful island that is Puerto Rico was what I needed.  Visiting our family mausoleum and the beach where my grandmother’s ashes were laid to rest gave me some much needed closure and the ability to say goodbye.

And since I like most associate feelings with food, being able to eat the food of my childhood which I have been deprived of from living away from home for so long was the best therapy I could ask for.  My mom smuggled in some aji dulce seeds back — so there will be a plant popping up in my apartment soon and I ate enough tostones and mofongo for this decade.  Since returning, I’ve still been sad, but determined to stay and make it work.  There’s nothing stopping me from throwing a pernil in the oven, or making coquito and pasteles this holiday season to give me that little bit of home I always long for.