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A trabajar…

I have no idea how long has it been since my last post (something that can be easily verified) but the important thing is that I am here today (today is relative to the day you read this). Since my last post, great things have happened to me, one of them being that I have a new job (hooray for me!). I will not have to deal with customers over the phone not wanting to talk to me because I am not in the “mainland”. In my new job, anyone who wants something that has to do with me, has to speak with me (you get the point). I now have a Monday-to-Friday-business-hours job, and I found more interesting stuff that we do as Boricuas.

My ride to work
My ride to work

Since I started working here I have been using the train; it’s cheaper and I get to avoid all the crazy people on the street. And since I’m a morning person, I have no problem with getting up early and go to work. But it’s really interesting to see the people around, walking minding their own business unless they want to get in to yours. In one of my train rides (which remind me of my great time working in DC) I was minding my business and trying not to fall asleep, and a lady interrupted my fight to ask if I have been working on this Company for long (I forgot to take out my ID, so she saw the company’s name). “I just started a couple of days ago”, I said. And for the next 15 minutes she told me that she’s been working for a good company and that she loved the train ride “even though it takes too long to go to the last stop of the train (in a normal drive it could take you around 35 minutes, and in the train is only 20)”. I just nodded my head and was thinking that this is something we as Boricuas do. Is not that we want to know anybody’s business; it’s just that we love to talk and meet strangers along the way. And we do this in busses, trains, waiting lines in the bank or coffee shops or just walking around (we are special, you see!).

Don't care
Don’t care

In terms of traffic, topic that was discussed in my first post, Puerto Rico is different from many other places in the world. But if we are walking, how can we be Boricuas and do Boricua things? In my time in DC, where I worked in a busy area as the one I’m at now, I saw everybody in the corner waiting for the light to go red and then they verified the traffic and walked to their offices or wherever they needed to. Sometimes their offices were right across the street from the train station and people walked all the way to the corner, crossed the street and the walked back to the building. That takes too damn long! In Puerto Rico we will cross the street wherever we want to. If the light is green, the car better stop for us. You know how many times I have heard in the last couple of days “You better stop” or “Slow down” when the light is green for the cars? And it’s stupid, at least for us, to walk to the corner if my building is right across the street (it is common sense).

Fulanaaaaaaa....
Fulanaaaaaaa….

I have worked with Latinos and non-Latinos before and I know that Boricuas are the loudest of them all. In areas full of people is more obvious and sometimes Boricuas don’t even like to use the phone to call a co-worker who is four or five cubicles down the hall (why call if she’s not deaf). “FULANAAA…VEN ACA UN MOMENTO (Jane Doe, come here for a second)!”And the people three cubicles between Fulana and the other person, won’t even care because is normal. In the cafeteria or common areas (the way the lunch area is called now) the noise is even worse. Some of us notice it, but none of us cares or dares to tell people to keep it down; that is just time we have to vent and tell stories and jokes about life, friends and, most importantly, bosses.

Another thing about the new job is that I may have more stories for the blog. It will be a fun ride, and I will let you know how we Boricuas deal with everyday life in the office. Remember to share this post with your friends and co-workers and to comment on it too. And to those friends and great co-workers that I left on the other side, thanks for that ride with me. All the memories and stories shared will not be forgotten. Until next time, cójanlo suave!

Walking to help

Doctors say walking is a great exercise; you burn calories, you have time to yourself and you see everything around you. Have you ever walked to help someone get better? I mean, walking so a person you don’t know, people you don’t know can get the medical care they need? How is that even possible? I walk, you get better. What about walking long distances, just to help someone in need? Ten miles, 20 miles, 50 miles? Have you ever walked from NYC to Hartford, CT? That is a driving distance of 124 miles (according to Google). The last time I knew about someone who traveled great distances just because he felt like it was Forest Gump, and he did pretty much everything. But compared to Raymond Arrieta, Mr. Gump is a nobody.

With Roselyn Sánchez
With Roselyn Sánchez

Who is Raymond Arrieta? A Boricua (of course) who has done, just by walking, something not many people or artists choose to do. Giving money back to a cause is good, helping rebuild communities is also important, but walking 120 miles for the cancer patients in Puerto Rico is simply amazing, something inspiring, a trip to admire. Raymond, is a comedian who started on Puerto Rico TV back in the 80’s, and for more than 20 years have made us laugh on TV, stage and radio. He has some characters that are simply Boricuas and his Stand-Up comedy shows a little bit of what means to be a Boricua. Why start walking then? Why would Raymond walk when he has money to make someone walk for him or drive him anywhere? Here’s a story for you. Back in 1953, actor and comedian Ramón Rivero “Diplo” walked from San Juan to Ponce to help raise money for the cancer patients in the Island (click in the link for a video about it). He and a group of people made the trip and helped raise not just money, but awareness about cancer and what it could do to a person. Diplo decided to help because he understood that with all the media coverage that he had he could help those who had a voice but was hard for them to speak on TV or radio. Raymond did the same in 2009. The second Walkathon covered the same distance that Diplo walked just a couple of years before.

A bit of hope
A bit of hope

But Raymond did not stay there. He walked again in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 when he completed 120 miles from Mayagüez to San Juan. In five years he has walked more than 250 miles. In his way through the Island, many Boricuas join him; he has a team that takes care of him and other TV personalities walk with him in different areas. People join the Walkathon and give him props for all he does. Last year a kid joined him and he recognized he from the previous year. On that time, her mother was carrying her because she had cancer and a year later she walked by him for a long period of time and she was cancer free. The mother told Raymond she was able to get the treatment she needed because of the money raised the previous year. Imagine Raymond’s face when he heard, and imagine mine full of tears when I was watching TV (we all cry every once in a while). His parents have walked with him, cancer patients, relatives of patients who were beaten by cancer and TV personalities too. Local in international companies have help by donating money to the cause and providing water and food to Raymond during the walk.

Lo logró
Lo logró

With all the stuff going around in this world, and specifically in Borinquen, is great to have a person like Raymond Arrieta and all the people who walked with him. I don’t know how much has been raised since he started walking five years ago, but I do know that he filled a lot of people with hope, with life and a reason to hold on and continue fighting. I personally want to thank Raymond and all the volunteers for the great job they continue to do every year to help raise money for the cancer patients. I am proud to say Raymond is an amazing person and, of course, a Boricua .

We can always help too. If you want to make a donation, go to http://www.ligacancerpr.org, or just go to a hospital in your area and give back a bit of your time if you don’t have any money. Go and help someone smile, it will make a difference in their lives and yours. Until nex time, cójanlo suave!

Aquí y allá

Guess who’s back? It’s not Usher or Justin Timberlake, but I got some flavor. I hope you missed these posts, and I apologize for not writing every week as usual. But the important part is that today, I’m here to write about the most exciting culture in the World: Boricuas (and the page has a new look, hope you like it). Today it won’t be about how we are in the Island, but how we are were we leave.

san-juan-puerto-rico-capitol-caribbeanAs you should already know, Boricuas are unique; food, music, people, folklore, everything is awesome for us and many people who visit. On the Island, Puerto Ricans are proud of what they are. And we show it every time. Among us we can say many bad things about everything, and we are always right. “This should be done for the economy”, “that person should be the governor instead of this dummy (because I don’t want to use the real adjective we would use)”, “this is the rate we should pay for utilities”, “this is the reason why the economy is going down the drain”. If you are not Boricua and find yourself in a conversation like this with Boricuas, DO NOT say anything to add to this. Let’s say, for example, that you are Colombian, or Russian. We start talking about how this government is kicking us and playing with our money. If you feel like adding something like: “You are right. This government sucks! These leaders you chose are hypocrites and should be kicked out”, we will tell you in not many words, and many of them not in the dictionary, to fly your butt back to the whole where you came from. WE are entitled to say awful things about the Island, but nobody else should, even when we know they are right.

Lin Manuel Miranda
Lin Manuel Miranda

But what happens when Boricuas move to another place in the World? Are we as proud of Borinquen as when we were here? No. We increase the pride by 200%. Have you ever heard of a Puerto Rico Day Parade in Puerto Rico? No, and if there was, most likely we would not go because it is dumb. But the one in NYC is a different story. Boricuas born here, their sons and daughters born in New York and from different states will be partying for at least three days. And those who can’t make it to the parade will buy a 50 inch TV to watch it and party for three days. In Puerto Rico, you will not see a car with a license plate hanging from the cars rear view mirror that says the town you are from. I was in DC for more than a year (if you combine the three times I was there) and I think I saw 78 cars with stuff like that, one for every town in the Island. And what about our flag? In the Island we fight over what flag should be up and for how long. But when we fly out, we use pins, necklaces, hats, caps, cups, plates, glasses, contact lenses; you name it, with our flag. There is an episode of the TV show House in which the doctor is now in a Psychiatric Hospital. His roommate happens to be Boricua. If you are not Boricua, you would imagine that someone hire a non-Boricua actor as it happens every time. How did I knew this guy or someone close to the writers is Boricua? In the room wall there was a Boricua flag in his side of the bed. It turns out, the actor is really a Boricua and a Tony Award Winner, Lin Manuel Miranda (Orgullo Boricua Coño!!!!!). I’m sure he even brought the flag to the set when they were filming (that’s something only a Boricua does).

But there is a small problem Boricuas have when we travel. Even if its for a week, Boricuas start using or speaking the language of the place visited. And we make fun of ourselves: “Mira quien habla ingles ahora. Se cree gringo! (Look who’s speaking English now!)” But don’t say I told you this. I have given you guys a lot of information. Use it wisely. Until next time, cójanlo suave!