Category: Puerto Rico

Mission of Love: Puerto Rico Hurricane Relief Effort Trip


On September 20th Puerto Rico was devastated by Hurricane Maria.  On October 27th, exactly one month and a week later I traveled to Puerto Rico to bring provisions to family and friends on a Mission of Love: Puerto Rico Hurricane Relief Effort Trip. 

Puerto Ricans in the diaspora with a mission of love.

At the airport, I realized I wasn’t the only one lugging boxes and suitcases of provisions.  I spoke to a few people who were on the same mission that I was on!  To bring to their loved ones some relief.  We joked about how heavy our bags were, and how batteries are a hot commodity in Puerto Rico.  We weren’t strangers talking.  We were Puerto Ricans in the diaspora sharing one thing in common: to help our families.

What we saw…

That Friday afternoon when I arrived in San Juan things “looked normal.” The city has power.   I waited for my cousin who was flying in from Connecticut, and we both rented a car.  We started our journey to the north western side of the island towards Florida my hometown and where all our family lives.  In San Juan the traffic lights were working, and traffic was crazy.  

A few things we saw along the way,  was a sense of patriotism and love displayed with flags on cars, buildings and homes. Billboard signs with “Puerto Rico se levanta”, “Oraciones para Puerto Rico” and “Unidos por Puerto Rico”, and on street corners there were vendors selling flags.

However, things were far from being normal as we left the “area metropolitana” (city area) behind us and we were getting closer to home.  Out in the countryside there’s a stark contrast from the city.  Things looked different.  There is no power, trees are bare, and there are damaged homes, and piles of furniture, mattresses, and trash along the sidewalks waiting to be picked up.

We saw many electrical poles hanging sideways, trees pulled from their roots, and policemen at main road crossings directing traffic.  At sunset they leave,  and there is no one to help. Of course, except for the various tow trucks parked on the corners waiting for an accident to happen.  It’s scary trying to get across with no working traffic lights, and everyone trying to get through. We continued to see electrical poles slanted on the side, some barely being held up by the electrical cords.  We saw some houses without roofs with only a blue tarp covering them. Others were abandoned by their residents.

How is life in Puerto Rico now?

For the 70% that are still without power they are adjusting to a new way of life.  In Florida as well as other towns without power, they wake up at the crack of dawn to go to the grocery store to get in line in order to get a “number” for their turn to get one bag of ice. Then around 11 a.m. they return to pick-up their bag of ice.  Many of them are strangers who have become friends. This is the place that they get their “news” or find out where they are “giving out free food or provisions.”  

For the lucky ones with gas stoves they are able to cook at home.  For others, “al fogón”  (open fire) or on a grill.  

Grocery stores are open but with a limited schedule they open at  11 a.m. and close before sunset.  Meats that are purchased at the grocery store need to be cooked right away, and eaten on the same day. Against my wishes, my Mom cooked some chicken and arroz con gandules (rice with pigeon peas).   

Washing clothes by hands is a chore in itself!  Many have wash boards, and others like my Mom have a washing area that my stepdad made for her (it’s a bunch of empty sinks set up on wooden boards).  

When the sun sets many sit out on their porches or go out and talk to their neighbors. Others sit inside their homes with a flashlight or candle light read a book or just simply sit around to chat. A little while later they go to sleep with the humming sounds of neighbor’s generator, and the chirping sounds of the coquís. Outside it is pitch black!  

Businesses are often taken outside on the sidewalk. We came across barbers working outside of their shops, and just enjoying the occasional passersby like us yelling from the car, “Smile for the camera!”

All in all, they are living day-by-day.  

Our mission of love.

My cousin and I had both collected donated items. We made “goody bags” that included personal care items, sanitizing wipes, water purification tablets, mayo packets (you would not believe how excited they were about these), coffee, oatmeal, batteries, and  more!   

We donated to a total of 10 families!   All thanks to the generous donations of many. 

It lifted our hearts to see the reaction when they felt the breeze of the fan for the first time in weeks, the grinning smile of the unexpected gifts, the “ooohs and aaahs” of how the solar panel can charge a cell phone or a solar bulb, the sense of relief of receiving a much needed mosquito net to sleep at night, and the tears of joys because someone,  a stranger had remembered them.

An elderly lady who happens to be my mom’s neighbor asked “How much do I owe you for all of this?” and it gave me great joy and pleasure to tell her, “It’s a gift.”  

Every single one of them were truly appreciative and expressed their gratitude with hugs; and a message to all the donors: ¡Gracias! Thank you!


Puerto Ricans are altruistic by nature.  Kind and compassionate even in the face of adversity.  They are resilient people, with a strong spirit, and even greater faith.   

Although the trees are bare we saw new leaves sprouting with a beautiful green color … a sure sign that things will be all right. That after the storm the sun always comes out and shines.

There is still so much work to do.  

In spite of the fact that help has been slow,  there are emergency crew members, and linemen flying in every day to help our beloved island.  I pray the government and the powers that be can reestablish power very soon.   

We crossed the ocean to bring some relief to families and friends back home, but what we  really gave them was HOPE. Hope that they are not forgotten.  


Categories: Puerto Rico

Christmas in Puerto Rico: Puerto Rican Roast Pork

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The Puerto Rican roast pork or as it’s commonly known “lechón asado” is a staple in every menu across the island during the Christmas holiday. Served with arroz con gandules (rice with pigeon peas), guineos en escabeche (pickled green bananas), pasteles (similar to tamales), and ensalada de coditos (cold pasta salad) it is an explosion of flavors and pure deliciousness!

Be warned! This menu is not for those on a diet! ?

What is pernil, lechón asado or pig on a stick?


The pig roast is slowly roasted on a stick for almost 8 hours seasoned with herbs such as, adobo, sazón, oregano, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper.


However, you don’t need to roast a pig on a stick, you can buy a pork shoulder (pernil) and roast it in the oven!

Now for the pernil recipe.

There are many different recipes, and each family gives it it their own special twist. I usually go with this one that I’m sharing from El Boricua Pernil al Horno with specific instructions, and tips on roasting the pork shoulder.

“Pernil al horno” Oven roasted pork roast. This tasty looking pernil was one that my Mom actually roasted.

When is Christmas celebrated in Puerto Rico?

Christmas is really big in Puerto Rico. The celebration really starts right after Thanksgiving when every one puts up their Christmas decorations all the way through January 16th. Want to know more click below, and enjoy our traditions:

Christmas in Puerto Rico

Who brings gifts?

On Nochebuena (Christmas Eve) gifts are exchanged among family members.

Santa on Christmas day and the Magi on Three Kings Day. Yes, children receive gifts on both days. You can read a fun story on how The day that the Three Wise Men were met with Santa Claus Spanish Children’s Book“. You can also celebrate Three Kings Day here in the U.S.A, and if you visit Puerto Rico during Christmas these are 6 Ways to Celebrate Three Kings Day in Puerto Rico.

¡Feliz Navidad!

Puerto Rico is not the only country with fun traditions Kid World Citizen has an awesome post on Christmas around the world that you’ll love!

Christmas in Different Lands 2015 | Multicultural Kid Blogs
 Welcome to our fourth annual Christmas in Different Lands series! This year each participating blogger will focus on a different country, sharing a traditional dish and more about Christmas in that country. For even more glimpses of global Christmas celebrations, see our series from previous years (2013, 2014, and 2015), plus follow our Christmas board on Pinterest!
Celebrate Christmas Around the World Printable Pack from Multicultural Kid Blogs
Don’t miss our other posts about Christmas in different lands, plus our printable pack Celebrate Christmas Around the World, on sale now!
Categories: Christmas, Puerto Rico

Christmas in Puerto Rico

Thanksgiving is over, and we’re gearing up for Christmas!!!  Where is the best place to celebrate Navidades?  Simple…. Puerto Rico!  This little island has the best Christmas celebration in the world!

Parrandas are held all throughout the holiday season.

December 15 – 25 Misas de Aguinaldos are special Catholic masses held at 6 a.m. and the service is sung using traditional Puerto Rican musical instruments.

December 24 Nochebuena is Christmas Eve and families gather on this night and wait until midnight to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Catholic families attend a special mass called the Misa de Gallo (mass of the rooster) and the service is sung in aguinaldos (traditional Puerto Rican Christmas songs).  Gifts are exchanged on this night.

December 28 is Día de los Santos Inocentes (Holy Innocent Days). Although based on Biblical events when King Herod ordered the deaths of infants born in Bethlehem to make sure he killed new-born Jesus; this day has turned into a day similar to April Fools Day when folks play tricks on each other. There’s also a huge festival in Hatillo called El Festival de las Máscaras. However, there are some communities that celebrate this day with a religious solemnity.

December 31 is New Year’s Eve is also a big night where everyone gathers together waiting for the clock to strike midnight. Growing up, I remember listening to El Brindis del Bohemio (A Bohemian Toast) which is played on the radio. Of course, everyone ends up crying because it is a very emotional toast.

January 5 The Epiphany (El Día de Reyes) children get ready for the visit of the Three Kings, and on that day there are festivals across the island. The following days January 6, 7 and 8 people remember the kings.

January 9 After Epiphany the Octavitas begin with more parrandas, and special services honoring Jesus and the Kings. This goes on for eight more days.

So basically we are in the Christmas spirit right after Thanksgiving all the way through January 16!
Ha! Yeah, that’s a long time!

Then come Christmas again, and we’re ready to parrandear all over again.

¡Feliz Navidad!

Christmas in Different Lands 2015 | Multicultural Kid Blogs

Welcome to our fifth annual Christmas in Different Lands series! This year each participating blogger will focus on a different country, sharing a traditional dish and more about Christmas in that country. For even more glimpses of global Christmas celebrations, see our series from previous years (2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016) plus follow our Christmas board on Pinterest!

Follow Multicultural Kid Blogs’s board Christmas Around the World on Pinterest.

December 1
Lisa Lewis, MD on Multicultural Kid Blogs: A Lebanese Christmas Celebration

December 6
Let the Journey Begin: Celebrating Nikolaus in Germany

December 7
Lou Messugo: Christmas Traditions in Provence, France

December 8
All Done Monkey: DIY Philippine Christmas Star Ornament

December 11
Crafty Moms Share: Bangladesh

December 12
Raising a Trilingual Child: Italy

December 13
Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes: Puerto Rico

December 15
The Good Long Road on Multicultural Kid Blogs: Israel

December 21
Gianna the Great: Choctaw Nation

December 22
American Mom in Bourdeaux: France

Celebrate Christmas Around the World Printable Pack from Multicultural Kid Blogs

Don’t miss our other posts about Christmas in different lands, plus our printable pack Celebrate Christmas Around the World, on sale now!

Categories: Christmas, Puerto Rico

Puerto Rican Flamboyant Tree


Although the Puerto Rican Flamboyant tree is not the island’s national tree, it is one of the most beautiful and recognizable trees across the island.

They are colorful,  and very majestic.  Hailing from Madagascar these exotic trees have adapted to it’s
natural environment on the island.
“El flamboyán” in Spanish is also a familiar Puerto Rican symbol. You will see it in many paintings, drawings, and calendars.
Image Source Creative Commons

Read More…

40 Things to do with Kids in Puerto Rico


Puerto Rico is a beautiful destination to go on vacation or during the holidays. All year-long you will enjoy tropical weather! Even during the “winter” months with it being a little bit cooler (low 70’s in the evenings and high 80’s during the day) it is still the perfect destination to go with kids!

The best part is that you don’t need a passport to visit the beautiful island of Puerto Rico! Here are 40 things you can do with kids:

Read More…

Categories: Puerto Rico, Travel

Puerto Rico Olympic Medalist Winners

Monica Puig became Puerto Rico’s first gold medalist during the Rio 2016 Olympics.
Despite the fact that Puerto Rico is an unincorporated U.S. territory it has participated in the Olympics as an “independent” country. This is in due to the fact that it was recognized by the International Olympic Committee Charter back in 1948 as a separate entity (country) from the U.S.A.
Puerto Rico has had eight Olympic medalist winners, 6 bronze medals, and 2 silver medals.
I’m really excited to share with you eight Puerto Rican Olympic Medalist:
Images via Commons Wikimedia herehere and here

  • Juan Venegas, Bronze Medal from the 1948 London Games in Boxing.
Image source
  • Orlando Maldonado, Bronze Medal from the 1976 Montreal Games in Boxing.
  • Luis Ortiz, Silver Medal from the 1984 Los Angeles Games in Boxing.
  • Aristides Gonzalez, Bronze Medal from the 1984 Los Angeles Games in Boxing.
  • Anibal Acevedo, Bronze Medal from the 1992 Barcelona Games in Boxing.
  • Daniel Santos, Bronze Medal from the 1996 Atlanta Games in the Boxing.
Image source Santos on the right
  • Jaime Espinal, Silver Medal from the 2012 London Games in Wrestling.
  • Javier Culson, Bronze Medal from the 2012 London Games in Men’s 400 Metres Hurdles.
Image source

I’m looking forward to this year’s Olympics, and rooting for my small in size country but huge in heart Puerto Rico!


Welcome to our Olympics for Kids series!

The Olympics are a wonderful opportunity to teach kids about the world and explore cultures together. Today, you can find more about other sports/games from various countries thanks to our participating bloggers:

Exploring Indonesian Badminton – Multicultural Kid Blogs
Popular Summer Sports in USSR – Creative World of Varya 
Handball, France and the Olympics – Lou Messugo
Capoeira: a martial art with a great beat – Brynn in Brazil
The big 3: soccer, rugby, cricket – Globe Trottin’ Kids
Copa América: We Are the Champions – La clase de Sra. DuFault 
Football in the Netherlands: The Men in Orange – Expat Life with a Double Buggy 
Summer sports in Latvia – Let the Journey Begin
Valuable Lessons From The Olympic Sports to Kids – Hispanic Mama
Fencing with Ibtihaj Muhammad – Kid World Citizen
Puerto Rican Olympians – Discovering the World Through my Son’s Eyes  

Don’t forget that you can also download our Summer Games Unit activity pack to learn more about the world and have fun during the Olympics.


Categories: Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico Art Murals

One of the highlights of our past trip to Puerto Rico was actually taking the time to enjoy our surroundings. Normally, when we are on vacation we’re on such a time constraint, and rushing through everything.
In one of our outings, and while looking for a playground for little one in Barceloneta, Puerto Rico we came across these beautiful murals.
Barceloneta is located in the north region, bordering the Atlantic Ocean, north of Florida, east of Arecibo, and west of Manatí.
The murals are located on Carretera 681 in Barceloneta, right across the Teatro Ernesto Ramos Antonini.

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Categories: Puerto Rico, Travel

Puerto Rican Terms of Endearment and Expressions of Love

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Only a Puerto Rican can understand and relate to these popular Puerto Rican tems of endearment and expressions of love. However, being in a bicultural relationship means conveying and explaining to my better half that if I call you Papi/Pai, I’m not really calling you Daddy. It’s simply a term of endearment for males. In my case, for my husband, and son whom I call Papi, and they both respond. Hahaha! 
Same goes with Mami/Mai. We call all of the women in our lives Mami not only our mother but our sister, girlfriend, cousin, nieces, etc. I find it hilarious when visiting my Mom in Puerto Rico, and have my nieces over, and I call them Mami and my Mom is in the kitchen responding ¿Qué?; and I say, it’s not you! She seriously gets annoyed. Sweet! 
Other terms of endearment are corazón de melón (melon heart) which refers to you being sweet, or big-hearted person. Calling someone negrito/negrita (literal translation is little black) is not an insult or demeaning it’s simply another term of endearment used to refer to anyone of any skin color who is Puerto Rican. For instance, Negrita, ven acá. Hola negro
Puerto Ricans love to ask for La bendición (asking for the blessing) is usually the first and the last word you say when you approach or leave your parents, grandparents, aunts or uncles. When we visit Puerto Rico I often remind my son, “Don’t forget to say bendición to Abuela.” Right after that precious word that I hold dear to my heart, I hear the words “Dios te bendiga…” Followed by a “…hija, negrita, mi amor.” Of course, it’s a Puerto Rican thing so it’d sound funny if he tells his African American grandma Bendición. Heading back home at the airport, and bidding our farewell  I say to Mami “Bendición” and she hugs us, and says “Dios los bendiga.” 
Last but not least important, is our famous ¡Wepa! Not so much of an endearment, but an expression of celebration, joy and jubilation. Pronounced “weh-pah” and you yell the word! LOL Wepa is a Puerto Rican expression of pride!
This post was created for inclusion of Multicultural Kid Blogs Carnival hosted by Malu from Bilinguazo.   
Categories: Puerto Rico