“my heart’s devotion” by ugonna okpalaoka

“Pueeeeerto Ricooo. My heart’s devotion..” 
I’ve had the West Side Story song on repeat for most of the week. Why you ask? Because I’ve got a great opportunity to visit my heart’s devotion as one of
OHIO’s education abroad programs. 
I leave next week and I am not prepared at all. Blame it on my procrastination streak, but I have not devoted much time to getting ready for my trip. I still need to schedule a hair appointment, do laundry, buy some new summer clothes, make a packing list, ACTUALLY USE my packing list, call my bank, and figure out how the heck I am going to make phone calls because my cell phone network will not work on the island. 
It’s not really a lot to do. 
Except for the fact that I leave in three days. 
But, not to worry! Part of being a procrastination queen is the amazing ability to complete all necessary tasks in time. If I can actually get up early enough on Black Friday to catch the end of the Thanksgiving deals at the mall then I will get everything done. 
But, let’s focus on the fact that I am going to Puerto Rico. PUERTO RICO! Obviously, I am excited.  Anybody who knows me knows about my obsession with Latin/Spanish cultures. I have almost successfully convinced my family that some of our ancestors were Puerto Rican. It doesn not hurt that my grandmother has her own crazy ideas about the origins of our family to support mine, ha. 
Though I have taken Spanish classes since first grade, my Spanish skills are lass than fabulous.  I can scribble out a mostly coherent sentence or two in the language, but my oral skills are severely lacking. That is why I have always wanted to study abroad in a Spanish-speaking country;  immersion is supposed to be one of the best educators. 
I have heard Puerto Rico is supposed to be Americanized and its Spanish is filled with slang terms, but I don’t  care. This is going to be a good experience regardless of how much language skill I get out of it. Even if it is an Americanized country, it is still a different culture that I’ve yet to experience. 
Our flight leaves early in the morning on November 30, and from the moment our plane lands in my heart’s devotion, it’s going to be a rush of historical sites, university lectures, Spanish cuisine, beaches, and new friends. 
To say I am excited is an understatement.

**Ugonna arrived in “her heart’s devotion” on November 30. She will continue to reflect on her experiences there through the OEA blog site.


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