Saturday, February 4, 2012

Semestre 2

I've been back for a week and I feel like I've already done more than I did all of last semester.

My friends Ruben and Fede picked me up from the airport and took me to San Germán when I got in on Sunday night. It was so great to get to see them again so the drive back was really fun. Off the side of the highway, there was a huge smoking and glowing mass and I freaked out, but apparently fires are pretty common this time of year. They never get out of control or cause too much damage so they’re not a huge deal.

My room-
In December, I had to pack up all of my things and move them into storage. The funny thing is, I ended up moving back into the exact same room this semester! However, since I chose to live with three others instead of just one, I had half the space to fit my stuff into. I am still shocked and impressed that I was able to do it! Besides saving money, I am also able to practice my Spanish much more because I’m living with Puerto Ricans instead of another exchange student. My roommates are all so awesome and finally I am understanding them! They are all athletes here at Inter, and I love them so much already. Young people speak SO quickly and with SO much slang, that it seemed impossible at first.   Since I’ve been hanging out with less exchange students and more locals, I better keep improving. If not, I’ll be really confused, really often haha!

A really phenomenal experience I had this weekend was going to my friends’ house for their family dinner. Not only did I get to talk to adults that speak slowly and with correct grammar…but I ate a delicious home cooked Puerto Rican meal in a beautiful Puerto Rican home overlooking probably 1/8 of the island. I saw mountains, homes, beautiful trees, fields of cows, and a river… It was so gorgeous.

I got to see more Spanish Disney movies!! La Bella y La Bestia was awesome, and I am actually watching Tárzan on TV right now. I know I ranted about them before but they deserve another. They are seriously so much fun. They speak at the perfect pace for me and I already know the story lines so I can just enjoy them! And the SONGS… I could seriously go on all day.

Also, I’ve been realizing the concrete evidence as to why road maps and directions are so impossible here. This is mostly just to make myself feel better about why I always get lost when I have the responsibility of being a navigator. First of all, no one knows the name of any road. When someone gives you directions, they say really confusing things like, “turn left when you get to the really big tree.” Also, the word for right is derecha’ while the word for straight is ‘derecho.’ Even more confusing, when dealing with highways, east and west (este y oeste) are only differentiated by one little letter which gets lost in my poor little gringa ears! But that’s ok, its Puerto Rico and that’s the way things work down here so I’m trying to become more aware of where I am all the time so I don’t have to ask for many directions.

Words are boring. Here are pictures:

 This little guy and his friend like to hangout around campus. We ate lunch together the other day.

I'm excited to be eating real Puerto Rican food! (Meat.)
This is a relleno, a little ball of deliciousness filled with chicken and potatoes. I just discovered la plaza de mercado en San Germán, and they sell all kinds of fresh, unhealthy, criollo food.

A pretty mural in town celebrating the diversity of Puerto Rican racial background.

I just noticed this pretty door the other day, even though I've walked past it probably 20 times.

The view from Isabela, on the northwest part of the island. We ended up driving/hiking down to the beach... it was gorgeous.

This little guy takes me to get my groceries every week. You have to hold on to them tight haha.

Ok, that's all. Hopefully this semester I'll make this more interesting so I want to write it more and you'll want to read it more. =)

Hope everyone's happy and staying warm wherever they are! I miss you!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Hello, It's been awhile!

Hello! These are just some updates from mostly about a month ago. =)

A note about La Policía... muy interesante.
       If you are in Puerto Rico, one of the first things you’ll have to acknowledge are the Puerto Rican Drivers. I wouldn’t even call it driving… it’s more like a rat race sometimes. Honking, passing, swerving, and speeding around curves are all usually included in a casual day’s drive. Luckily (or possibly unluckily…) for these maniac drivers, the cops don’t really offer much of a threat. Apparently when you get pulled over, it is completely normal to have a stash of money on hand to bribe the police officer into not giving you a ticket. I think they pretty much expect you to!
      They are also really corrupt in other ways, such as using unnecessary force, taking advantage of women they pull over, and being caught up in the drug market. A little while ago the US government issued a warning to Puerto Rican Cops: they have one year to completely get rid of all the corruption…or else the big old USA comes in and cracks down. I thought that was interesting…and also I feel much safer. (Not that I ever felt unsafe before!)
My one experience with cops was super mild however! We were driving the wrong way on a road (There are so many one-way roads that are usually horribly marked) so we obviously got pulled over. Luckily no one in the car was Puerto Rican, so we were all able to  apologize in our broken Spanish and play the confused/dumb gringo card. After he rolled his eyes at us and told us that if we are going to be driving in Puerto Rico we should start paying more attention, he let us go. =) Phew.

This is an ode to my Tevas... I may love these shoes a little too much. Besides making a remarkable fashion statement that turns heads everywhere I go, they have also become a symbol for my Puerto Rico experience, showing their suitability for every part!!
·      Running- When you live out of a purse/beach bag for an entire weekend, who has room for running shoes? And what are you supposed to do when you find a sweet trail?? Just NOT run it? I don’t think so!
·      Beach- Waterproof and won’t fall off your feet while swimming!
·      Hiking- Easy to de-mud and no socks required.
·      Nightlife- It’s an Island…people understand.

The fact that I can pretty much survive on only one pair of shoes electrifies me with excitement! If it wasn’t obvious. Maybe I should find a new hobby?

In case you were wondering…no, I don’t work for Teva. Maybe I should!

San Juan!
        Love this city! I can totally see myself having a home here one day when I am filthy rich and can fly down on the weekends with my entourage. It is such a nice change of pace when I get tired of the little church/farm town that I live in. And in San Juan I don’t get gawked at like the only white girl to ever exist. There are so many fun things to do within walking distance, like dance venues, beaches, and yoga studios! There was a studio within walking distance from my friend Rubén’s apartment…and I was able to convince him to do a class with me! It was so much fun to do that type of exercise the first time in awhile, listen to a class in Spanish, and watch an inflexible boy try yoga for the first time…Haha.

One weekend that I got to spend in San Juan was kind of like a fun, mini vacation, so I got to play tourist. We went to Señor Frogs in Old San Juan and I got sunburned at the beach…quite touristy, I’d say! We went into a casino too, and I played my first ever real game of blackjack! Very exciting but not thrilling enough to lose five dollars again. On a happier note, my friend gave me a super tropical looking hemp/beaded hair wrap to complete my attempted native/beach-babe image! (Little success achieved with that one, by the way.) I actually just took the wrap out yesterday after almost a month…I lost a lot of hair. But it was worth it!! =)

Another weekend I was able to see the other side of San Juan… and I liked it much better. I had a few hours to kill alone in Old San Juan on a Saturday afternoon so I wandered over to this one thrift/vintage shop. I found my way into the book section and spent about an hour in there looking through fun books from like the 70’s. I had a huge stack filled with Spanish books ranging from grammar textbooks to ones I planned to read to my future kids. I eventually narrowed it down to buying only 3: a real dictionary of the Spanish language (not English-Spanish), a history of the Spanish language in Puerto Rico (I am dying to know what the heck happened to it when it got here), and an advice book about marriage… (it’s religiously-based and from 1980…so I figured it would be a nice and interesting change of pace from what I normally read!) All of this priceless enjoyment and knowledge was mine for the price of $5!

Then I met a single-serving friend who gave me an unofficial tour of the city and let me practice my Spanish speaking all day! We took a walk through La Perla… a neighborhood that used to be so riddled with gangs and violence that people would say those who enter…don’t come out. A few years ago the police really cracked down and it is much safer now, and I felt completely safe walking through. It was pretty cool though, seeing all of the graffiti everywhere. There were a lot of positive messages written, encouraging “Paz para La Perla” and murals of famous Puerto Ricans.

After that lovely little walk we walked around the beautiful Santa Maria Magdalena de Pazzis Cemetery…which was quite beautiful against the water as you can see. It was closed, but luckily the cops are Puerto Rican, and I was wearing my Tevas so scaling the fence was no challenge at all. ;)

El Yunque! This is a picture of me enjoying it.
We had our second exchange student field trip…to the rainforest! It was so beautiful. There are so many different types of wildlife in the forest…I forgot specifics but what I do remember is that there are quite the variety of both orchids and frogs… and most likely lots of other things, ha. At the visitor’s center there was a big presentation of delicious looking products from right there in El Yunque. The crazy little man working behind the desk noticed my enthusiasm and he started cutting open guavas, passion fruit, and ginger root to let me try/smell! It was all too wonderful.

Then we hiked for a bit down to a waterfall where we got to swim in the freezing cold water. I was quite excited about it, and feeling invincible in my Tevas I wiped out pretty good on a rock when I was running around like a hyper child. It ended up giving me the kind of bruise that let me reminisce so I was totally cool with it!

Another huge highlight of the trip was on the way home where we stopped at Sizzler, and got the buffet… Again, again, and again. The six of us felt like it was Christmas morning and talked about how great it was the whole way home =) ! (Boring part of the story, but I felt it definitely needed mentioning.) 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


         My roommate Shelby and I went to see the lion king in 3D! We were so excited for something comfortingly American and familiar like going to the movie theatre to see a Disney movie. We got there and realized it was actually El Rey León…(without subtitles!) so we were a little worried but we obviously were going to watch it anyway! It was surprisingly extremely easy to understand… I didn’t catch every single word but luckily I have the majority of the English version memorized. =D The songs were quite possibly my favorite part of the whole thing. I immediately downloaded “Hakuna Matata” and “Yo Voy a Ser Rey León” when I got home. They are incredibly fun to sing and compare to the English versions! So all of that inspired me to continue my studies in one of the most fun ways possible…just watching movies in Spanish! Shelby has a lot of movies with her so I watched Buscando a Nemo already… and The Hangover is in line along with Ice Age and Shrek! Don’t worry, I’m not going to lock myself in my room and just watch movies all day, but they are perfect for those random downtimes when if I had internet, I would be bumming on facebook.

          Thinking I was a hot-shot after being able to understand El Rey León, I went to another movie in Spanish. I went to see Mi Verano con Amanda 2…which is a Puerto Rican movie with a ton of slang and jokes I don’t understand! My friend Gilberto tried to explain the humor to me…it took awhile. I enjoyed it, though! One of the main characters used to date the brother of my friend Rubén… and now she’s a famous singer and actress here! Her name is Janina.

        Speaking of not getting jokes…We have decided that humor is definitely the hardest thing in understanding a different language. You REALLY have to know Spanish if you ever want to have a chance at understanding jokes…Let alone making them. That’s another reason why I decided to stop speaking Spanish to people I just meet if they can be considered potential friends… I am not funny or interesting because my conversations have zero depth to them. I also usually say something really confusing which I am pretty sure scares people away. So now I save my Spanish for my friends who want to help me learn and random conversations with people I don’t really care to impress, like the janitors in my dorm.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

2 aventuras más...

Playa Sucia
     …is the most beautiful and exciting beach I have visited so far!! It was about a thirty minute drive to the absolute most southwestern point of Puerto Rico. As we got close, the road became ridiculously muddy and bumpy and I requested to drive my friend Serafino’s huge truck through. This was not a good idea because I felt very invincible while driving it, and that resulted in most of my friends feeling really carsick …whoops! There is a big, pretty lighthouse there with some history that I have not learned yet, but I will eventually! The views were amazing, and there were iguanas everywhere! They were of all sizes and colors and they would just hangout on the walls of the cliffs and hide in random little holes. At one time I literally saw like 8 it was crazy. This picture looks like I am about to walk right off the edge...

And then this is a picture of Esther with an incredible view! Please pretend that it's me.

      Then we took a little hike to this little “hot tub.” It was nice and relaxing until a wave came... we all ended up in different places after each one! It was a little scary but very fun.

Before wave:


In the little town of Maricao, the coffee capital of Puerto Rico, there is a fantastic waterfall up in the mountains, and most locals don’t even know that it’s there. We trekked up streams and mountains to get there and jump off. We had a extreme near death experience here though… On one of the cliffs, we were deciding weather or not it would be possible to clear the rocks down below, so I was standing over the edge on this little patch of land, looking down for about a minute. Then I decided it was clear so I went ahead, ran for it, and made it. All good. Then while my friend Serafino was doing the exact same thing, looking over the edge, the little patch of land completely broke off underneath him! He was holding on to like little baby roots, hanging about 30 feet in the air over some rocks! Luckily Garrett was there to grab his hands immediately and pull him back up…but it was pretty terrifying for all of us who watched in horror from the water (and obviously for Serafino.) Now he jokingly blames me for loosening up that patch of land by flinging my entire body weight off of it just seconds before it broke. I decided that our adventures are like the Price is Right…(sort of)… the more dangerous and fun it is the better, just as long as no one goes too far and actually dies. Haha, so this day ranked pretty high! This is me atop the waterfall before all of the drama occurred.

Friday, September 16, 2011

El Jangueo.

(Puerto Rican 'word' from janguear= to hangout)... Spanglish at its finest.

             My one complaint is that I am not getting enough exposure to it. It is too easy to speak English here and I just wish it could be all Spanish all the time! So, since I don’t have enough friends here that will speak Spanish with me, I have decided to befriend a Spanish diary. It never corrects my grammatical errors or answers back, but other than that its just as good as a conversation buddy. But, en serio, It is really fun to actually write about fun things informally instead of only writing for homework assignments. I get to practice just the language and not have to worry about any content whatsoever.
          Something really weird that I have noticed is that my English is getting worse. Not from speaking Spanish, unfortunately, but from hanging out with a German. I notice that every time I spend the weekend with Esther, Andy’s friend from Germany, I catch myself saying things really oddly, as though English is not my first language. It is kind of funny. It is also really interesting to compare her learning English to my learning of Spanish. She is years and years of practice better than I am, but I still get to teach her fun words like “lady bug” and “cuddle.” I taught her the difference between lettuce and salad as well. When she struggles a little bit with a sentence I can only imagine how awful I must sound in Spanish.


                I’m really liking my anthropology class, It’s easy to follow along and if I get distracted and stop actively listening I always have the textbook in English that I can read. My profesora does like to call me out in class, however. One time we were discussing race and it was just for being a ‘gringa’ in the middle of a room full of darker skinned people. That was really awkward… and then one time she decided to advertise my friendship to the class, saying that I didn’t have a family here so they should invite me home for dinner…that was even more awkward. But, I smiled eagerly/creepily and I have received a few offers since!
     A really ironic thing happened to me one day in Anthropology and I learned a huge lesson about ethnocentrism. As I sat in wonder looking at the completely shaven legs of the guy next to me, I started thinking about how strange it was and how it made me a little uncomfortable. Then, I felt like a huge ignorant brat because I looked up at the board and the word “ETHNOCENTRISM” was just looking back at me in disappointment. I thought about it, and although I don’t find it particularly attractive, it is just part of hygiene to some people here and the hairy legs of men from the US are probably revolting to them. Thanks anthropology, for the morality check.

     Spanish-American literature is getting so much better! Side note: I should really be reading for it right now... Sometimes the homework is tedious and if I don’t have to read another extensive description of los Indios, I will be alright. It is a huge challenge though, and a great time commitment. It confines me to a corner of the library with my dictionary and highlighter for hours at a time.

       I love this class! Apparently everyone else hates it…but It’s the only class where I can literally understand everything she is saying and it all makes sense. I love to study for it so I feel like I should definitely be able to do well. It all seems really relevant too, so every tiny tidbit I learn about the language feels like a gigantic, important discovery.

       My English for Teenagers class is turning out to be a strangely good experience as well. It is geared towards native Spanish speakers who want to become teachers of English as a second language. I realized that a lot of that class applies to me because I am going to teach the same thing, just the other way around. It gives tips for both language teachers and language learners in general. Watching people try to improve their English is really interesting and I feel like I can totally relate to and validate all their difficulties. I am really thankful I took this class. Plus, the teacher is from Chicago so she really likes me!

 Kayaking in Boquerón
      The exchange coordinator took us on a Kayaking trip to Boquerón, a cute little beach town nearby. Only 3 of us ended up going along, and we had the best time ever! We kayaked for a little while through really clear water, you could look down and see the reefs on the ocean floor! Our guide tried to point out a sea turtle to us, but I missed it! I was disappointed. After a bit we pulled over to a little bay where he gave us snorkels and goggles and we spent about an hour just exploring and following little fish around! I held a sea cucumber and some sea urchins, and this weird starfish that was green really lanky and kept trying to crawl all over my hand. Once we got to the real reefs, it so was amazing to see the little communities of fish all hanging out in their own little world, and I do hope they appreciate how freaking cool their neighborhood is. Then we became lazy and laid in the water by the shore for a bit. Kayaking, playing with sea critters, and relaxing in the tide may have been just the right ingredients for a perfect day. =)
      Our kayak guide man told us about this old infamous pirate of Bahía Boquerón named Roberto Cofresí. He was basically the Robin Hood of Puerto Rico and gave a lot of his riches to his family and friends. He’s all the rage down here. 

Caracoles otra vez!
    I went back to my favorite place ever, Caracoles! This time, it was completely different from the first time that I fell out of the tree. There were probably 20-30 boats anchored around the little island, and everyone was in the water just hanging out, drinking, and eating. There was a little boat that was selling burgers or something, so you could just swim up and order your lunch! I thought it was great! This is the bad picture that I took on my phone...

Esther and I were dropped off here for the day while the boys went spear fishing. We bought $2 kids goggles and entertained ourselves for hours looking at fish and swimming 'laps' in the currents. Side note: Esther taught me how to swim butterfly! My swim team coaches gave up after years of failed attempts to teach me, but she did it right away! Better late than ever!

I have mucho más to say, but I'll save it for the next post. My Spanish-American literature readings are guilt tripping me. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

El Mejor fin de semana. :)

La Parguera
    Where to begin? I’ll start with my girl Joanne. She’s my new friend/role model I met while playing pool after the cool fenced off ocean thing. She is retired at 48 and all she does now is go to the beach and eat at her favorite restaurant, Moon’s. She basically forced us to go there and not only did this place have delicious food, but our server/chef was vegan and I most definitely crept him out by how awestruck I was to meet him (potentially the only other vegan in PR). Needless to say, I ranted about the food and eagerly tipped him way too high. I don’t know if you can tell, but this is a picture of me SO HAPPY to have a full meal!! =)

      My favorite day thus far was spent at my friend Julian’s houses in Lajas. Early Sunday morning four of us set out on his adorable rickety little orange and purple motorboat to go see Caracoles. Caracoles is straight up exotic; I had no idea places that beautiful were even real. The water is as clear as crystal and as we walked through the mangroves in the water, I have ever felt more serene in my entire life. This excludes the part early in our excursion when we were climbing through the trees (completely and dry and clothed), and I intelligently decided that climbing higher would increase the fun. My branch obviously ended up snapping and I went tumbling into the water… entirely spoiling our peaceful moment. My back is now decorated with a lovely scab and bruise to remind us of how funny it was.  
       Then it was time for a nap so we went down the road to Julian’s mom’s house. This house was way fun to explore I was not too surprised to hear that the tidy and highly air-conditioned room where Kasondra and I slept was actually part of the bed and breakfast that she runs out of her house for her yoga students. Sounds like a cool lady right? Well I have only just begun! Not only is she a yoga instructor with the absolute most beautiful and welcoming home, she is a fabulous vegetarian chef with an exotic fruit garden in her huge backyard! Wait, it gets even better! Since the hurricane was coming, she gave Kasondra and I plastic bags and told us to pick as much as we wanted from the trees! This is what I proudly skipped home with!
·      Star fruit (My new obsession, I think I ate about 6 in the span of two days.)
·      Canepas (Strange slimy texture, but very sweet and fun to eat)
·      Breadfruit (They look like bumpy green oranges but she said they were similar to plantains….and yes you can make mofongo with them!)
·      Plantains and pomegranates
·      Chironja (a cross between an orange and grapefruit)
·      Neem (A “magical pharmacy tree” of India, its apparently a natural insect repellent and you can also eat it to improve skin disorders and your immune system)
·      Lemongrass (Yup, I get to make my own tea!)
·      And then some grapes, coconuts, and herbs

      Oh and there was also a litter of newborn puppies in the basement because her dog had just given birth a few days earlier. As if this place needed any more perks… go ahead and throw in four little puppies!

*** Disclaimer: I’m 99% sure that this day actually occurred, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I dreamt this entire place up.

Cabo Rojo
    As I considered quitting school to live in this fantasy world forever, I was told we had to go to the dorms to hurricane-proof our room. We took everything off of the floor, locked it in our closets and pushed our beds up against the doors so that they wouldn’t open. (My windows are really weird, so whenever the wind blows my closet doors will creepily open… so naturally my things would be doomed in an actual hurricane.) We packed up some food and a clothes and moved out to our friend Andy’s house. We anxiously awaited the arrival of hurricane Irene to her party, but she never showed up! Just a little rain, I guess I really should be thankful.

   Irene apparently got lost on the way to Andy’s and ended up in San Juan so the next morning we piled in the car and drove north to Isabela to see the damage/play in the ocean. The boys brought their surf boards and caught some HUGE waves while we sat on the sand and watched like proud mothers at little league…except in our suits…and in the rain. Yes, we were very much aware of how idiotic we looked. However, it was really funny and very cool to see intense surfing in real life. When our friend would catch a wave, Kasondra would yell “Gnarly!!” and we would jump up and down with that little surfer hand-signal of fists with thumbs and pinky fingers sticking out. We got some real dirty looks from the tattooed surfer dudes.

Then we went to another area to swim/get assaulted by waves…
I realize it sounds extremely stupid to swim in a tropical storm, but everyone else was doing it and I didn’t want to be left out! That’s always been a valid excuse, right? The rest of the story is kind of funny and really painful, but not appropriate for my mom (who is about 33% of my readers) so it shall not be shared here. But it’s not a big deal, I’m alive and my fat lip is almost good as new! ;)

The ten of us ended the weekend back in Cabo Rojo at Andy’s, where we cooked dinner together and finally relaxed. By cooking dinner together, I mean that Julian made some really fancy fish entrée (he watches food network), I chopped veggies for the salad, and Andy dumped some canned pears into a bowl. I am exhausted and wounded but it was 100% worth it.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Nunca voy a salir.

Now that I figured out how to post pictures, this is the "airport" I flew into...

First day of School/ Classes

I like school! Its fun to get the small private school experience and all of my teachers are basically cute little grandmas! I'm going to give you the detailed lowdown on each one.
My first class was terrible! It was Spanish-American Literature and could not understand a single word that the teacher was saying. To top it all off, she has crazy inch-long fingernails that are incredibly distracting! She passed out three huge packets of reading to do and I was completely overwhelmed. It took me forever to get through the first one because I tried to be a huge overachiever about it and highlighted each word I didn’t know and looked it up. After a few hours of that without making much progress I just decided to wing it. The next class I understood maybe like every tenth word so I’m taking baby steps in the right direction!
My Anthropology class is going to be great, mostly because the teacher gave me the textbook in English…and she is fluent in English and really nice when I pathetically come up to her after class to make sure I got the gist of the lecture. I also appreciate her speaking to me in Spanish when I try to speak it to her. Most people respond in English which is a huge blow to my ego. English Literature for Teenagers is the best class ever, its for non-native speakers and I better get a freaking A++
 I also like my Grammar teacher, she speaks very slowly and clearly so I don’t feel like such a failure. =)

Beaches are beautiful, waters are clear and blue, and life is always good. This one was awesome, you walk onto a pier and it leads to this sweet ocean/pool that is fenced off underwater!

Running Escapades
·      It is way more fun to run in Puerto Rico and I have yet to become bored. There is a great little trail by my dorm that is pretty much in a miniature rainforest. A little creek goes through it and there are bamboo trees everywhere. It is also great when someone nonchalantly passes me on a horse (when I’m running through town, not on the trail). The first time that happened I had to do a double take because I was so confused. Its apparently a super casual way of transportation here and I find it hilarious. People will just tie their horse up to a tree on the side of the highway and I am always tempted to go pet them. Oh! Today I ran past two men on their front porch playing their trumpets really loudly… that too made me smile. Other than that, I count lizards that pass by (and try not to squash them), look at cool homes, and see all of the random stray cats and dogs. Which reminds me, I got a particularly great workout today when a terrifying dog chased me away from what was apparently his property. (Elle- I thought about you in the midst of the experience…haha <3) It was the fastest I have ever ran in my entire life, and it was uphill too! He was right behind me barking ferociously and I was frantically seeing my life flash before my eyes and cursing like a fool. Like I said, never boring.

I was going to talk about having the best weekend of my life, but that will have to wait because it has been extended!! Tropical storm Irene has cancelled my classes for tomorrow! Its like a snow day equivalent for Boricuas. (That means Puerto Ricans... just a little useless knowledge to leave you with.)

But hopefully I survive because I am really starting to enjoy my life here and this whole blogging thing. 


(That reminds me! Puerto Ricans love the cheek kiss when saying hello and goodbye. And I LOVE IT TOO!)