A father’s thoughts on stuff…

My post today has nothing to do with being Boricua. So, if you were expecting that and rather stop reading, this is your chance. Or, if you want to give it a chance, I will appreciate it. There are awful things happening in the world today, and my Island is no stranger to that type of stuff either. The latest event that happened involved a six year old boy who is now in the hospital trying to stay alive. This even touches me particularly because I have a seven year old son and a 22 month baby boy. This post is a way for me to vent, since it’s boring to read something this big in Facebook.

Me
Me

I had a wonderful childhood. I remember many of my Christmas presents and all the grass I picked for Día de Reyes (Three Kings Day). I used to play outside until my mom called me so loud that everyone in the basketball court would stop playing just to see who was calling. My parents were strict but there was always room for some flexibility. And even though they had rough times in their marriage, we never saw it, or at least I did not. Road trips were fun too (until my brother turned 15 or so that he was “big”). My mother used to play games so we enjoyed the trips or at least did not bother her that much. Dad also had funny things to say and to teach us even when mom told him not to say certain stuff because “Tu sabes como es este nene que siempre se aprende esas pocas vergüenzas” (you know this kid is that he always learns the bad stuff).

1013544_10152977385420447_617643159_n[1]When I turned 25, I became a father to Daniel Antonio. My life changed right there. Since I always enjoyed being goofy, having a son was the perfect excuse “not to grow up”; playing around the house all day, tickling the kid and teaching him funny faces and laughs. As he grew up, I realized he was my clone and that I have turned into my dad, something I was really happy with. Five years later, I became a father for the second time. Fabián Antonio, a new chapter in my life, a baby brother for Daniel, who was also very happy about it.  I enjoy being a father and also enjoy seeing my parents be awesome abuelos.

I know my experience as a child is not the same one all the people I know had; some grew up with their grandparents, others only with their mothers, and other with sibblings from different fathers. And that is ok, we all have our stories and our traumas in life. But what I don’t understand is how in this big planet can a parent hurt a kid. I understand that some spanking or stuff like that helps and is necessary (my parents did it to me), but burning, cracking their head up of breaking kids bones is just unacceptable.

My oldest son saw the news today about the kid that was found almost dead in a washing machine basket. He was sad, and I was even worst. He asked how were a mother and a father able to do that to a kid. My answer was simple: “They are not good parents”. As you grow up, I said, you will see and witness many bad and ugly things. But you can be certain that your parents and abuelos love you and nothing will ever happen to you. You will cry in life and I may even spank your behind, then he laughed, but you are important and we will take care of you and teach you to take care of yourself.

As for the human beings who did this to the kid, I can say many things. People say they should be hanged, killed, poisoned and many other things. I don’t know what will happen to them, but I bet they will be taken care of in jail; there is a special place and procedure to deal with them. As for you, my dear reader, who is a father, mother or abuelo: take care of the children. But not just drive them to school or watch them play. Talk to them, play with them, study together, make them laugh and make them an important part of your life. If you are not with your kids right now because they live somewhere else, take a minute and call them, ask for them, invite them for breakfast or lunch. Go to their sport practice, teach them how to win, but also how to lose. Life is way too short to be wasted.

13966_369542725446_8151787_nChildren are not the future, they are today and we as parents and adults are called to lead them, to teach them how to get from here to there. That would be all for today, we will see what happens tomorrow. Until next time, cójanlo suave.

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¿Cómo como lo que como?

Yes, it’s me again! This week was a little rough for me, but it started to get better. My kids were sick, and anyone who is a parent knows how that can be. But they are better now, and eating and running and wrestling with their father, which means we are back to normal (Gracias a Dios).

¡A comer!
¡A comer!

The other day I was sitting having lunch, and I thought that food is not the only thing that makes a Boricua special. I know for a fact that there are many things that make us special (and if we don’t see a reason, we will make one up), but in terms of food, it’s not only what we eat but how we eat it. I had a class in college that explained how what we eat and how we eat it is taught and learned. Let’s say for example that Juano was born in Puerto Rico, but adopted by a Chinese family. He moved to China and ate Chinese food (for them is just food since they are in China). Juano will learn to eat that type of food and he will learn how to eat it too. Food is not something we come to the world with, and like every other thing in life we have to learn to eat it and how to (this HOW thing is pissing me off already. Use another word man!).

Pa la dieta...
Pa la dieta…

My professor walked to the classroom one day with a ceramic plate, a fork and a knife. He placed it in his desk and asked us to tell him something we eat as Boricuas. We all agreed: white rice, habichuelas guisadas (stewed beans) and chuletas (pork chops) – with some amarillos on the side would be awesome, right! Anyway, he asked us: “what is the first thing we do when we have all in the plate?” “Eat”, “Say a prayer”, “Drool”. None of those is correct. The first thing we do as Boricuas – and in you are Boricua and never realized this or you are not Boricua and need to learn how we do it, the following will help – is to mix the rice and beans. Most of us Boricuas will mix the rice with the beans and then proceed to eat it. In my dad’s case, Ketchup is also an important part of the mix. We were all surprised of this discovery; something we do every day and were never fully aware of it.

Pupusas
Pupusas

“What do we do next?” “Eat some more because we already thanked God for it?”. No. We mix the whole thing one more time! “We do? I will be watching myself next time”. YES WE DO! Before we take the second bite, we mix the already mixed food one more time (just to make sure it’s mixed). We eat our chuletas and amarillos, but before we take a bite of the rice and beans, we mix it (maybe not every time, but 80% of the time). If you are in Puerto Rico, you will see every Boricua does it that way because we were taught to. Maybe our parents did not actually tell us it has to be done that way, but when we were kids they mixed it for us and we believe that way to be the correct one and sometimes we do it without even noticing (the same way being awesome is something normal for us Boricuas). If you are in Puerto Rico, but from another culture, when you get rice and beans, most likely you will eat the rice and then some beans without mixing it. Or if you have a Boricua friend with you, you will be asked something like “tu no lo vas a mezclar (aren’t you going to mix it)? As I said, it’s not only what we eat but how we eat it that makes us who we are. In El Salvador you just don’t take a Pupusa and eat it just like that; there is a process and a plate full of things to eat it with.

WHAT?!?!
WHAT?!?!

That day was an eye opener for many of us; we were able to see us, as a culture, in a complete new way. We were amazed, like when Neo was told he was in the Matrix (I love the movies, so what?), like when Harry met Sally for the second time (because it got normal after that), like when we learned that Bruce Willis was really dead all along in the Sixth Sense (no spoiler alert, I don’t care). Just take some time to watch yourself when you eat and watch others too (but don’t be too obvious because you may look weird) and you will see all the differences there are.

Remember to share this post and comment here to. If you want to give me an idea, or even want to write a post about Boricuas in this blog, send me the information to enlopositivo@gmail.com. Until next time, cójanlo suave!

Sounds better…

The break time is over, and I am back to my writing. I took a couple of weeks to clear my mind and try to get new material to write about. I even traveled to Washington, DC to get more stuff for my blog (that’s not the reason I went there, but I discovered new things Boricuas do). But, after all the traveling, all the thinking I never made and everything in between, I have something new.

In case you forgot, here it is!
In case you forgot, here it is!

If you are new to my blog, all I can say is “Welcome and keep reading!”. If you are a recurring member or you still don’t understand why Boricuas are the way we are, you came to the right place. Two weeks ago, I was having some trainings at my new job, and the trainer is from Uruguay (get your mind out of the States and verify the map). Other than her accent, which is different from Boricuas’, what called our attention was the fact that she was amazed by the way she has been treated. Don’t get me wrong, I DO understand it because Boricuas tend to be caring people. But she was amazed at how people drive and that we do it in an orderly fashion and even with a smile. In my first post (click to read the first post), I said that if you can drive here in Puerto Rico, you can drive anywhere. I was definitely mistaken. When the trainer said she was happy by the way she was treated and all the peace she felt driving in our streets, we were speechless; we did not know if she was being sarcastic or ate something that made her say weird stuff. Polite in the street!?!?!?? I mean, if we see someone waiting to cross, more often than not we will let that person cross the street, but Boricuas can be aggressive at times.

Get him!
GET HIM!!!

After she saw our faces she felt the need to explain (I think she saw the “What the….” in our faces”). She said that in her hometown people drive like there is no tomorrow, like a 13 year old girl racing to see Justin Bieber, like a 30 year old girl running to see The Rock, or like my mom to see Roberto Carlos; I mean FAST!!! They drive 90 mph in a 65 mph highway (many Boricuas do that here, but she said all of them did in her home). And according to her, in Uruguay, where she lives, people driving cross from one lane to the other without reducing speed and caring for nothing. Since she saw disbelief in our eyes, she said that is not only her who thinks that; also her friends from Uruguay who have been living here for more than five years still think that way.

Driving in Puerto Rico
Driving in Puerto Rico

So, we really felt good about that.  Sometimes you don’t appreciate what you have in your house until someone comes in and tell you how nice it is. And I don’t want to criticize Uruguay here. If you read about their history as a country, it has not been easy for them at all. In the last 70 years the country has been really close to hell and came back. They deserve to drive that way after all they have gone through. But back to my point, I was happy to hear what other people see when they come here. If we, as a country, work to be as we know we can be and as other people see us, we would be dominating this world (I mean, we are but we can do better).

Remember to share this post and read all others if you haven’t (shame on you!). You can also comment here in the post or email me your thoughts and/or ideas to enlopositivo@gmail.com. Until next time, cójanlo suave!

You are Boricua!

I was on the beach a couple of weeks ago with my family and my mother-in-law made arroz con pollo and took it to the beach. For us Boricuas that is a normal and expected thing to do when we go to the beach. I posted the pic in my blog and also in Facebook, and one of my friends commented that I should do a complete blog about stuff like that; things we do as Boricuas that are not normal for other cultures. But it will be better to do it as a list. Have you ever seen the comedian Jeff Foxworthy? He has a redneck list. For example, and this is something he has in his stand-up comedy shows, “If you have your working TV on top of your non-working TV, you might be a redneck”. I can easily change that to fit a Boricua. Here we go:

Why are you standing? We called first class!
Why are you standing? We called first class!

If you are at the airport waiting to board the plane, and once they start calling first class, all of you stand up and make a line even if you will be sitting at the tail of the plane…. YOU ARE BORICUA.

If you are in the States and find yourself taking pictures of squirrels… YOU ARE BORICUA (That’s how to tell who is Boricua in a group of people).

If you have been living outside of Puerto Rico for at least a week and you receive a package full of salchichas, sofrito and pasteles… YOU ARE BORICUA (Yes, a week).

Road trip!
Road trip!

If you are living outside Puerto Rico and you take a road trip, and pack bread, ham, cheese and some rice and beans for the trip… YOU ARE BORICUA (We all need our vitamins).

If there is a hurricane watch and you run to the store to get two boxes of beer, some ice and maybe some food… YOU ARE BORICUA (hydration is the key to survive).

If you go to NYC or New Jersey to visit family, and when you go back to Puerto Rico you start using “You know, you know” a lot… YOU ARE BORICUA.

If after that trip you think you should speak in English to veryone, even if you don’t know the language… YOU ARE BORICUA.

No brinques en la furnitura!
No brinques en la furnitura!

If you have family in NYC, New Jersey or Massachusetts and you understand when they say “Carpeta”, “Yalda”, “Furnitura”, “Factoría”, or “Norsa”…. YOU ARE BORICUA (For the rest of you who are still wondering what the hell is that, talk to a Boricua there and you will know).

If you think you know Spanish, but can’t understand half of the words a Boricua says in Spanish… YOU NEED TO HANG OUT WITH A BORICUA. I GUARANTEE YOU WILL HAVE A BLAST!!!!!!

Don’t forget to share this with your friends, Boricuas and non-Boricuas. Send me more of these examples, or add them here as a comment. Until next time, cójanlo suave!