4 Months Living in Puerto Rico...This is what I have learned so far

Great discussion, thank you, everyone for your thoughts!

We may have come here on different ships, but we ended up in the same boat.

frogrock :

We may have come here on different ships, but we ended up in the same boat.

Yea and you like to rock the boaat :one

where, who, what is the ballast?


     The U.S. is referred to as "afuera"(outside). People say that they came from "afuera" as to anywhere in the U.S.

       The people in our area referred to us as "immigrantes" since we came from afuera. Now after a year and a half, they refer to us as  Don Ray and Dona Maria. So I guess we have become townspeople.

     It was a great thing to be able to greet people we know recently at the Fiestas Patronales here. We finally have arrived and now are home!!!!!

Amen to you Johnny. We are from NY also and have now found a new home. We love it here and are here to stay.

I was born and raised in NY and will always have it in my heart but am happy to get out of the snow and cold. My hubby was born in San German but was raised in NY and is very happy to have retired here

If we want some cold and snow, we can always hop a plane. Sure everything is not like NY but we are here now and have learned to adjust.

Funny thing  about this where you from concept. Unless you were born,raised, never left and will die in the same place your are from somewhere else (Expat). My wife and I experience it all the time here in this small town in central Ga. We are still considered not from here and we have lived here 15 years.

Kinda amusing...we have lived in many places all over north america.   No matter where you go, the concept is the same.

When we lived in Alaska, the local natives -  meaning native american's of the local several tribes (Tlingit, Haida, Tsimshian)  in SE Alaska would often refer to themselves as "inside Indians" and the other Native Americans as "outside Indians" ; meaning Indians from from the lower 48,( such as Navaho, or Blackfoot tribes) as "outside Indians".

When we lived in SE Texas, the native people of Galveston referred to themselves as "BOTI" - they even had bumper stickers for themselves - (meaning "born on the island") and all others as outsiders.

When we moved to CT, my neighbor (who had lived in CT for his whole life & was 72yo) joked that it took the entire 45 years in town to finally be accepted by the locals as a local new englander.  (New Englanders seem to have a reputation of not accepting new folks )

I guess the idea or concept of some type of tribal membership is truly universal.   

I wonder if this earthly concept will change when the little green men from Alpha Centauri land their flying saucer and say "take me to your leader"??   :/


I have owned a home on the west part of the island for 10 years and to be honest I don't live here but visit 3 or 4 times a year.  Everything you say is true although I have not experienced medical issues other than a broken bone with my son many years ago.  What I realized is that I can't compare PR to where I live but have to accept this place for what it is.  For all the bad there is so many good people.  We have met incredible people and made great friends but it takes time. 

What has saved us is meeting honest people that know how to navigate the people and agencies on the island.  We recently shipped a car down here but were prepared to spend an entire day to register.  It took 8 hours half of which was waiting in line. 

Our goal is to retire here part time in about 8 years.  The beauty and weather far out weigh the issues.  Believe it or not I think the place is getting better. 

If you stay try to make friends.  Understand that some people will try to screw you at every chance they get.  I had a neighbor I trusted and found out he was doing all his laundry at my house and washing his cars in my driveway.  Now all my neighbors don't talk to him. 

Get out of the city.  I try to never go to San Juan or area. 

Take care and good luck!

Hi Lisas16,
  Totally agree with your views.  Spent the 7th grade in PR and visited in the 80s. From 1995 through 2005 made yearly visits to see family.  In 2006 bought a Casita in Hatillo (Northwest area). Since then to 2010 spent 3months out of the year staying in PR working on the idea of moving there steady after retirement in early 2011.  2011-2015 I've spent 4-5months each year enjoying the beautiful island of Puerto Rico with  wife when on her vacation breaks. She got to retire Jan. 2015 and after our daughter married and hired as a special education teacher, and our son a police officer expecting to marry within 2yrs, I'm making progress convincing her to make permanent residence in Hatillo. Wife not Puerto Rican, but understands and speaks some spanish.. But loves PR I think more than me lol, it's just that motherly need to feel close to our "kids".  31 & 28 yrs old. Both of us raised in NY and New Yorkers are who we are and NY is special. But Puerto Rico is calling and we're answering. I love the nature, tranquility and beauty of the tropics and yes friendly people.. oh cannot forget the food. Despite the fact that services and movements in Puerto Rico runs on island time, it still beats the faster pace of busy city life.  I accept it and work on knowing it's a positive thing most of the time. Except for unorganized Doctor's scheduling and under trained customer service agencies. Shopping stores I'll wait on line and chat away and look to make new friends and possibly connections.
   As far as trusting anyone with my keys, a neighbor, landscaper or even family sad to say I've learned "when the mouse's away the mice will play".  Here,there or anywhere someone can't help but try to "get over".  Although, luckily I have a few neighbors who report to me if anything fishy seems to occur with my property, but No keys to entry door or access to water supply.  It's just practical to keep guard up, maybe it's my cop's mentality. But happy to say every visit I make I see many improvements outside of government. That will be great if things get cleaned up and hoping to witness it live. But this 2017 spending 4months now and 3months Oct-Dec 2017 on the island and repeat going foward. Maybe 10months out of the year once the Mrs. feels the Burn,haha. Take the Good with the Bad. Life is Good..  Jose

Jose sounds like you are here quite a bit.  We are in Isabela.  My husband is Puerto Rican but grew up in Ohio.  He was a cop for many years but now dies construction.  We have learned who we can trust and who we can't. Here for another day with my two boys and back to reality.  I'm sure your wife will feel comfortable once she sees she can go back anytime.  Good luck!  Lisa

  I love Isabela, not too far from us. Yes, whenever I check the fares are right I try to run back. I've been elder caring my 83yr father there and bring him back to NY for better consultation on his Parkinson's condition. But getting family assistance with him so wife & I return for R&R. Not easy being in law enforcement more so in recent times.. By the way construction is a whole different animal. Did it moonlighting and learned a lot but a physical drain. Lots in common.  If ever back during my stay will be nice to go grab a bite & drink.  And yes, I told my wife we're just a flight away if feel like separation anxiety lol or medical emergencies since we both need medical specialists. But only for semiannual check ups.. I'm sure she'll adjust once there and knowing there's no rush to return especially the harsh winters.😁  I've visited 25 pueblos out of the 78 and hope to complete once then hope to spend one week in each of the 78 to get a real feel of the island(s). This will keep us busy and distracted for some time.. I hope.. Take care and return soon. Jose

motomataru :

I have to say that people here are not gratuitously rude the way they can be stateside. Maybe about 1 case in 50 for acting in a professional capacity but not speaking Spanish fluently. Now compare that with someone doing ANYthing most elsewhere in the US and not speaking English well. It's practically an invitation for abuse or calls to the INS.

Also, sometimes the relative flexibility is beneficial. When we moved, we transferred ALL our money by check, not realizing checks coming into the island take two weeks to clear rather than two days. We bounced a couple checks before we realized it. When we explained the situation to the bank, they graciously removed all but one fee. Back stateside in a large bank, it would have been many more fees (usually one for every time the check is presented, which is usually every couple days), fees on top of the fees, and a shrug about company policy from the bank.

What bank did you use?

I had to bump this dying thread to say that doctor should be a PRO, i wish my doctors had that sense of humor at 3am. And who doesn't want to see thumbtacks in another kids stomach  :)

I just came across this old post and I am outraged. So much privilege and ignorance.

I will say, you need to get educated on the Jones Act the same way you were telling people to read on the police corruption situation. Then you'll understand why everything in Puerto Rico is more expensive. We need to pay the mainland for the "privilege" of shipping things to the island as only U.S. flag ships are allowed to dock in our ports. And, while the police situation is being discussed, have you read about all the stings operations in the mainland where entire police teams were arrested for robbing drug dealers of stash and money? No? You should. Then maybe you'll realize that that kind of things happen stateside.

Mindset is a thing. Island time is a thing, too. That being said, hope you are in a place more up to your standards these days. No one deserves to feel so miserable. :-)

Once in a while a Troll starts posting.

This is so spot on! Thank you for sharing.

I found that PEOPLE are the same wherever you go. Whith that being said I have learned to become less waistefull, more appreciative of what were simple automatic things in the states, like "hot water"  though i realise NOW i do not need it, I've also come to realise some items in my life are not needs.  Me being vegan, i don't need a fridge ( not a simple experiment) but so far my veggies have lasted 2 weeks😍 woo hoo.
Now for renting a place, i have experienced what i call the (BAITE AND SWITCH) On both classificado and craigslist. They will advertise one property then say(or wait until you meet) and say that one has been rented but i have this(at a higher cost) this was a new one on me..lol ~ live and learn.  The cost of durable goods and taxes that come along with them are much higher here. But I'm sure I would come across some of these same issues depending were I was moving to in the states. ...great post🌹

Greeting RayP, I'm not far from you, im in fajardo, have a friend where you are...anywho just sending a shout~out to ya!!🌈🌹

Travelar369 :

Greeting RayP, I'm not far from you, im in fajardo, have a friend where you are...anywho just sending a shout~out to ya!!🌈🌹


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