Immediately following Hurricane Maria, I was craving PuertoRicaness – or at least the PuertoRicaness I knew via my family. I wanted music. I wanted food. I wanted to hear the dichos de mi Abuela. I wanted the songs I learned in Puerto Rico, in rallies for Puerto Rico in New York City, and in my father’s living room. I wanted arroz con gandules and flags and wepas.
These are all things that are very hard to find in Los Angeles.
There are a few Ricans here and there – none that I know too well and I really need to feel you if we are going to hang.
I went to a food festival and searched for a Puerto Rican flag because I knew there was a Puerto Rican food vendor there that I wanted to support. They were selling two things – un invento de un maduro with carne and other stuff and a bowl of arroz con gandules.
I stood in line for the arroz con gandules and was disappointed that the bowl was really a cup and they were charging what I felt like was too much.
I think I will make arroz con gandules myself today for about half the price.
The other day I took a Lyft home from my office to my younger kid’s school and was so excited when the driver pulled up with a Puerto Rican flag hanging from his rearview mirror.
“Boricua! Como esta tu gente en la patria?” I asked as I entered the car.
He didn’t speak Spanish and said he just found the Puerto Rican side of his family, his dad’s side. He was raised by a single mom in Inglewood.
This is the second time this has happened to me. About a year ago I took a Lyft to the airport and the woman driving had a Puerto Rican flag. She wasn’t Rican but her ex was and her kids were half. She spent most of the ride talking shit about Rican men.
Sigo buscando mi gente outside of the walls of my house.