I know, I know, I live in paradise! It’s amazing! And, for the most part, it is.
But… there are some things that I can’t stand. And some things that I love more than others!
I thought it would be fun to share my favorite and least favorite things about living in Puerto Rico (so far).
5. Mangoes. Casey and I are totally obsessed with them and have at least one almost every night for dessert. They are so fresh and sweet and delicious!
4. The People. In general, Puerto Ricans are some of the friendliest, nicest, most open people I have ever met. I can’t tell you the number of times someone has stopped us – on the street, on the beach, at the store – just to strike up a conversation. They are so inclusive and joyful!
3. The Coffee. Admittedly, the coffee in restaurants here has not been the greatest (someone was telling us that it is made with condensed milk? Gross). But the beans! They are so fresh and local and gloriously inexpensive – we’ve been giving our french press a workout! I’ve also been cold-brewing iced coffee which is super delicious too. I barely even miss Starbucks – which is truly saying something.
2. The Beaches. Oh man, there is something about spending Sundays at the beach that is so relaxing and vacation-like. I love ending/starting the week in such a zen-like state of mind.
1. The Sun. We’ve been here for two months and it’s only rained maybe a handful of times – always in the afternoon and never more than an hour or two at a time. We can’t get over it! I’m soaking up as much vitamin D as possible – I’m sure I’ve been deficient most of my life.
5. Driving. It’s the worst! Everyone is totally unpredictable and completely erratic. Brake lights and blinkers rarely work. No one drives the speed limit… and even those are not definitive as speed limits are changed for construction and then never changed back – so you’ll see signs that say 65, 50, and 40 within a mile or two of one another and have no idea which (if any!) is correct. There are no rules – the left lane is sometimes the slow lane, people pull off the highway unexpectedly and randomly gun back on without so much as a glance at oncoming traffic, you have to fight to merge when you enter the highway. If you have someplace to be, prepare to give your gas pedal a workout and weave like a NASCAR driver with a chip on his shoulder.
4. Gas Stations. There’s no such thing as pay at the pump here. I didn’t realize exactly how convenient and amazing that tiny feature is until it was not an option. I guess I am showing just how spoiled/young I am – I never even remember my parents having to go inside to pay for gas! It’s like the dark ages!
3. The Library. I’ve been reading like crazy (going to the beach every weekend demands a good novel or two!) and so procuring a library card seemed like an excellent idea (if for no other reason than the detrimental effects of Amazon’s
horrible wonderful “One-Click Purchase” on our budget). However, after browsing the (admittedly and obviously limited) English book section at the library and bringing my books to the circulation desk to check them out, I was informed that, “Oh no, books can’t leave the library.” Um, what?!!
2. Groceries. After reading a lot about other Caribbean islands, I don’t think that Puerto Rico is that bad. However, after living in Vermont, the Kale Capital of the East and all-around healthy/whole/non-GMO/all-natural/farm-fresh/CSA/Hug Your Farmer-land, I am shocked by the lack of green vegetables and “all-natural” options at the store. I didn’t think twice about having ketchup free of high fructose corn syrup or peanut butter made from only peanuts and salt or low-sodium chicken stock when I lived in Vermont (or even when I lived in CNY and had a Wegmans!), but now, now it’s like, pick the least evil of them all. Peanut butter with hydrogenated oils but no high-fructose? Perfect. Ketchup with high-fructose as the last ingredient? Well, at least it’s not the first. OMG THEY HAVE KALE TODAY BUY IT ALL!!!
1. GPS/Google Maps… does not work here. Sometimes you’ll get lucky, but most of the time, Google tries to send me somewhere near San Juan. It’s like the rest of the island doesn’t exist.