Tank tops & 80 degrees. Yes, please! by Ugonna Okpalaoka

 Tanks tops, shorts, and a low of 80 degrees; I’m loving it! Especially when I hear stories about the cold temperatures and snow storms back home in Ohio.

The flight from Ohio to Puerto Rico wasn’t  bad at all. I met up with most of students from Ohio University at the Port Columbus airport, then we all met up with another traveler at the airport in Charlotte, NC. Except  for having to pay $7 for a salad the size of my fist because I didn’t have time between flights to stop at a restaurant for lunch, everything went well.

After leaving baggage claim at the San Juan airport, our group met our two University of Puerto Rico-Aguadilla representatives; Edgardo and Armenia.  Edgardo is especially  full of energy and always eager to teach us something new.

So far I’ve been here for just over a week. Though that seems like a short time, every day is packed full with activities that so much has already happened. Ou schedules have to be jam-packed since we only have three weeks to spend in Puerto Rico! So, here’s a quick run-down of the most interesting things I have experienced so far:

    * F
ood. It hasn’t been that hard to adjust to. I was worried about there being a lot of seafood because we are on an island, but the diet mostly consists of chicken or pork, rice and beans, and plantains. All the stuff my mom cooks at home anyway, so I guess you could say I lucked out. It’s all delicious too.

* People. On the many occasions that we have gotten lost while on the island and had to ask for directions, I noticed that Puerto Rican people are very kind.They stop whatever they’re doing and make sure that you understand their directions completely.

* Language Barrier. A good number of Puerto Ricans also speak English, so the language barrier hasn’t been to big of an issue. I get a chance to practice my Spanish while being assured that I can still get my message acrossed if I get stuck. We have two students in our group who are fluent in Spanish, so they help the rest of us out whenever they can.

* PR Time. Most of my group has complained about how everything on the island runs on “PR Time.” I, on the other hand, do not mind at all. PR Time refers to the fact that everything here runs late. So, if someone says they will meet you at 8 a.m., expect them at 9 a.m. or later. 

* Interaction. Unfortunately, we haven’t gotten a chance to interact with many Puerto Ricans — one of the cons of the way this specific program is run. But the few we have met have been very kind and willing to answer any questions we have for them. They also show a lot of interest in learning about us too.

That’s a quick overview of what my experience has been like so far. In the next post, I’ll share some stories about different places I’ve visited.


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