We didn’t get our mail for two months

Me to my neighbor last May: We’re just going to forward our mail to Wisconsin over the summer.

Neighbor: You don’t want to do that. It takes too long. We can collect your mail and mail it to you.

Me: Thanks. But it’ll be easier to forward it.

Ugh! If only I’d listened to her!  I could NOT submit the forward request online (my address is not in the system for some reason). So I went to the PO. Ok. Done.

We stopped receiving mail 2 weeks before I told them to start. Is that because they put our mail on a third class boat and it takes two weeks to arrive at the forwarded address?

I think all my trouble started when I told our deliveryman that I’d like my mail delivered until the day we left. He said it was in a box at the post office and that would be no problem. Ok! But….we left on May 31st.  By mid-July…we had received nada at my Mom’s…

So I sent a quick text to my friend who works in the Rincon PO.  It’s good to have connections!

As it says, my wise neighbor said some mail was still getting delivered to our house. But I didn’t think all of it was there, and none of it was here, so my mail must’ve been in some sort of mail limbo!  I asked my postal worker friend to help me reinstate my forwarding..

But by late July, we still had a mail blackout. The two weeks it should’ve taken the mail-by-boat came and went. I’d had it! We were returning to PR in two weeks anyway!  I had Amazon (lovely Amazon) items to purchase.  Would they get to my doorstop only to reverse course and get shipped back to my mom’s in Wisconsin?

Message from my neighbor

Just to be sure – I sent some packages to my neighbor’s house instead. I was ordering school supplies afterall. Nana doesn’t need those 😉

I eventually worked with my postal worker friend to cancel all forwarding. Since our address isn’t recognized in the USPS system, I couldn’t do it online.  That would be too easy!!

All our packages, gracias a Dios, weren’t redirected north. But….just this week (third week in September mind you)…I just received two items of mail with a stamp that said, ‘unable to deliver.” One was a bill due in August. Good thing I pay online!!

Lesson learned: when your Puerto Rican neighbor tells you not to use a Puerto Rican service (even the US Postal System), listen to her! (Stick to just mailing stuff, like 54 boxes of your belongings! haha)

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Now you see it…

So, two days ago Puerto Rico experienced the worst power outage in decades. And I learned a new word, “apagón” (blackout).

At the same time as my hubby was flying away from Mayaguez to San Juan to begin his journey to Barcelona (not the one in New York, no no), a major explosion at a power plant in Central PR caused damages to two main 230, 000 volt  transmission line. Begin domino effect here! The entire system shut down to protect itself. Or so they said.

This said the airport was closed (I assume they mean thr main one in San Juan). but Trevor said TSA had enough power, and henwas able to leave fine with a small delay.

I’ve blogged about the tree covered power lines many times

People were quick to lay blame. But one of the coolest images I saw was comparing an aerial image before and after the apagón.

We’re very bright!

Like we’re not there!

And I see how intertwined I am with electricity. Obviously not just for lights, but for trying to download all the photos Trevor sent us from Spain.

Trevor eating fresh fruit in a market in Barcelona. With lights.


Rationing our generator, we had snacks in the dark.

I thanked God many times for the fact that we had a generator, and a water cistern with a pump.  Because eventually the water pressure dwindled to dribbles. Friends checking on each other, getting updates through our intermittent internet, and remembering how to simply unplug and enjoy the natural light.  It’s like camping – get your house organized and picked up before sunset or you’ll be sorry. I felt like worshiping the sun every morning.

I imagined this on the news that my father watches every night, but then thought more realistically.  This probably isn’t news to anyplace else.


We went to a cafe for lunch. While exiting, this electrical box up on the pole literally shot out blue lightning. Yeah, my car was parked under the wire. The whole feeling surrounding the town was eerie..

And imagine on top of all this – my friend was delivering her twins in one hospital in town and my neighbor was administered to a different hospital the night of the explosion.
Never a dull moment!!
Silver lining:  ESTRELLAS!! Millions of stars. And a faint outline of the Milky Way. = worth it!


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Pics to make you go huh?

Taino man in Aguadilla proudly props a 2×4 up with his nose

When you go to check radar to see when the rain will let up…and you can even read the name of your city

So many public restrooms don’t have hot water.

The topless Taino woman will watch over you on your toilet throne

If one hydrant is broken, just install a new one.

At nine at night, that girl is so done.

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Aguadilla Tree House

In the Parque Colón in Aguadilla there is a tree fort/house/path with many walkways and steps


It was one of the first things we did on that very first trip to Puerto Rico, when we were deciding to move here.  It’s right down the road from the ice rink.


We’d ventured back to this park since then but the tree house was always closed. Thankfully, when we went last Sunday after skating, it was open!

There were signs to read along the way.

There were signs to read along the way.


But BUMMER! What we really came here for was to show our friends the abandoned train in the falling-apart tunnel.  It was gone 🙁 Aguadilla is putting a lot of money into the oceanfront area these days and I guess they decided to clean up. bummer.

No more abandoned train tunnel 🙁



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Chestnuts roasting in the PR sun

My Sana box was half full of produce I couldn’t identify this week. Facebook hive mind helped me out tremendously.

Is that’s big green thing guava? It wasn’t an avocado

it was so hard it just fell open on my counter

My Facebook friends told me it was a Pachira aquatica ….. in other words,  a chestnut!

Trevor, “It’s only ok”

Wikipedia confirmed.

They weren’t so good raw. So…youtube told me how to roast ’em!


add cinnamon and sugar = yum!


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Zika with Parmesan

Zika sounds like an Italian dish but it’s a virus that has garnered a lot of attention in the news recently. Brazil kept the taboo subject out of the Olympic media, but it seems to be the Mecca of Ziki, with the virus spreading to places like Columbia and here in Puerto Rico and even more recently, Florida. 

The Zika plague (as the press has promoted it) doesn’t seem to phase as many people here in PR as it does in the States. Nearly everyone asked me this summer if I was worried about Zika. My answer was generally no, while Trevor’s was a bit more leaning toward yes. 

Mainly I think because he and I read from different news sources. Ok, my news source is Facebook haha (it used to be the paper edition of the Onion so I’ve stepped up people). And my newsfeed is filled with the people of Rincon protesting chemical spraying to combat mosquitos and generally poo-pooing the paranoia that the media is perpetuating. (Floridians don’t seem to care so much. Spray away!) Just today I read this article saying that Zika effecting fetuses was not entirely true. 

But there are other articles stating that Zika is not only harmful to fetuses but to young children as well who have developing brains. (Sorry no source for that). 

So nobody knows what the hell they’re talking about. 

From the symptoms of Zika on average adults, I’d take it over Chickengunya. 

Meh. We haven’t booked one way flights outta here. Just bought our kids pants to wear to school where they don’t have screens in the windows and are outside a lot. But they told me they were too hot. So yesterday I sprayed their legs with deet. But I forgot today and thought ‘meh’. 

And according this article you have just gotten Zika from reading my blog. Sorry ’bout that, amigo. 

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Organic CSA!


One of the first things I searched out when we moved here was organic food. While Natucentro supplies plenty of dry goods and organic leche, they don’t have produce. Enter Sana!

I don’t remember how I first heard about them. But they are an organic CSA in Cabo Rojo. I forgot, or actually never learned what CSA stands for. But it’s the way all the cool tree huggers get produce. To put it simply, get a box full of farm food directly from the farm once a week. Score!

You order online and they come round on Thursday. Mayaguez has a pickup location near the university. Maybe no one else in Mayaguez orders from them, or they are so nice that they just meet me by the Denny’s near my house. It’s on their route anyway.



I had no idea what these were. hello google! Didnt like em


Once during their delivery time I was stuck at the doctors clinic without a car. They obviously understand the whole doctor-can-take-four-hours thing, and they brought my produce to the parking lot of the clinic. Awesome!

The most recent batch I received included some extra bonus food. A whole bag of organic ginger! I immediately made ginger snap cookies for my kids. But…they were really orange gingers! (I should say they were ginger gingers, haha).  No really, my fingers were yellow for the next three days. It stained my kitchen towel. Crazy! The cookies turned out well though.

Today I told one of my Puerto Rican friends about this crazy orange ginger and she told me it was probably turmeric. Oh.

I swear it looked and smelled just like ginger

A perminent reminder of my innocent confusion


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Prices here and there

People always ask me if it’s cheaper to live in Puerto Rico. Yes and no. The kid’s Montessori School is over $10,000 cheaper annually in Mayaguez than the one we checked out in Middleton, WI (for two kids; and that one’s not bilingual!) But imported food is much more pricey. Locally grown fruit is low priced.  And soon I’ll write a post about my organic CSA. 

Prices in Puerto Rico:




And now prices in Woodmans in Wisconsin:  

Dill was over $6 in PR


Much better than 3.29!


PR was only $1.05 a pound. closer to the source I guess (Chile)


was $1.99 a pound in PR


I should’ve taken a picture of the price of piña. Pineapple just tastes so much better in PR. Local food is cheaper of course.  And bananas are plenty cheap. 

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Blood sucking monster

Of all the tropical diseases my daughter could get on Puerto Rico, she gets a tick stuck in her head during our visit to Wisconsin. 

We camped ‘up north’ last weekend, but maybe yesterday’s hike at Picnic Point is where she obtained her passenger.  

 In any case, when I went to wake her up this morning I saw the ugly thing sitting right on her scalp. Thinking it was just a mark from a marker I rubbed it with my finger. Then knew immediately. Ack!! It has already burrowed its tiny head into her skin and was sucking her blood. Do you know how Lyme’s disease is contracted? LIKE THIS!

I ran downstairs to find my phone by the charger only to have my worst nightmare come true. I couldn’t find my phone in an emergency! Back upstairs? Not there. Back downstairs resting on a wooden train track on the coffee table. Real helpful to have it there. 

Called 911 thinking they could just tell me how to pull it out, the dispatcher offered to send an ambulance. Uh, can’t i just get a tweezers?? Ok, we’ll go to UW Emergency Room instead.  

 It was an easy ER trip taking only around 45 minutes. We were the only ones there! Being a dog tick not a wood tick, the chances for Lyme’s disease was practically non existent. Whew!  

When it was out I wanted them to show it to my daughter. They were’t going to! Hey man, this is an educational moment ha ha  


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Ziki or boring flu?

My poor girl was hit hard with illness not long ago.  I was less worried than my hubby, and he urged me to get her tested for zika virus. Ugh.  Ok.  We went to my ER neighbor doc who treated my chicengunya. Chicungunya. Chikengunya. I used to know how to spell that. Spellcheck offers no help.


I think we got seen relatively quickly because I had texted my neighbor ahead of time.  You pay the copayment for being seen before you see the doc. 

This stayed on about 2 minutes


Then you go in the back to the lab and pay them cash for their tests.  Have a check or card? Trudge back up to the front again to pay. Poor girl did not like being poked by the needle. 

That’s Zika handwritten on the top

  It took them about 15 minutes to determine how much a zika lab test would cost me.  Apparently they don’t get a lot of requests? America is dramatizing zika much more than the Puerto Ricans do.

If this receptionist thought the A/C was cold enough for gloves, she probably wouldn’t like snow


Turns out my girl just had the flu.

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