In life, there are defining moments. That is what 2007 meant for all of us. Sudden cancellations of government contracts, the desire to attend to learning problems within the family; all this together with a climate of the economic recession that was already shaping up as something unalterable, would lead us to jump the big pond (“gran charco”), as some call it.
Instability is perhaps the most important trigger when it comes to relocation. It was less complicated to start from scratch in the state of Florida, a place that was no stranger to us. We had been there many times and many friends had relocated to Florida in search of a better quality of life.
A process of national bankruptcy, a medical class in a constant struggle for survival and dwindling opportunities are causing the country to shrink in population and hope. (Creator: Leo Ramirez | Credit: AFP/Getty Images)
From a professional perspective and as a mother, I understood that in the circumstances of that moment the best option was to start a new cycle, expanding the frontiers to our children. It was not an easy decision; behind we were leaving family members and experiences that marked our lives forever.
Puerto Rico is a country of uncertainty. We never know what is going to happen. We live hanging on by a thread waiting for the great earthquake of every century. The perennial dilemma of where we are headed cuts our breath, like a drifting ship that does not know in which safe harbor to dock.
A process of national bankruptcy, a medical class in a constant struggle for survival and dwindling opportunities are causing the country's population and hope to dwindle. Many of our dental colleagues and other health professionals have crossed the seas in search of peace of mind. The emotional toll of fighting insurance companies and having to obtain a constant supply of electricity makes someone decide one day: I'm leaving the country.
When I talk to friends who have left their respective countries of origin, I see that we all suffer from similar experiences. They all grieve for having left their homeland, but no one is very motivated to return. The love for what is theirs does not disappear, but faith and optimism have planted them in a new place where they make their family dreams flourish.
“Puerto Rico, my homeland, the one of the white battlements, the one of the green palm groves, the one of the extensive bay", this is how José Gautier Benítez sang it to us from a distance in his poem Ausencia (Absence). Who could close his eyes and wake up in a country that does not expel its own. Perhaps one day we will all say, like Gautier, "at last, my heart, at last".
This piece was originally published in Spanish in El Nuevo Dia.