As Ruben Blades would say “Todos vuelven a la tierra en que naciero, al embrujo incomparable de su sol.” I am returning – for about 2 weeks – back to Puerto Rico.
I moved to Washington in 2005. The decision to move here was a well thought one. We moved here looking for a change of life. After 10+ years of religious work in Puerto Rico, I got totally burned out. Coming to Washington gave me a new fresh start. My wife’s family lives here, which means this would give my kids an opportunity to be with the other set of grandparents. I’m happy in Seattle. But it is not home.
In 2006 I went back to PR during a family emergency. It was then when I realized how much of an stranger I am here in Seattle, and how uncomfortable I feel at times. In spite of it’s claim to be a progressive city, Seattle is an extremely segregated city. Niceness is another of the issues “Seattle-lites” are proud of. But it is that niceness and that false sense of progressiveness that keep many issues, including racial identity and prejudice out of the conversation. Many in this place have fall for the myth of “we have arrived” – race is not an issue anymore.
Returning to Puerto Rico, was like swimming in known waters. It gave me the freedom to be myself again without questioning people’s reactions, interaction and thoughts toward me as a stranger. Back at home I am not a stranger, I am not welcome in paternalistic ways. I do not access the table to gather the crumbs.
I am so looking forward been back.