|From left to right: My older sister Frances, My mother Elisa, My great aunt Tonyita, My cousin Leti, My younger brother Jonathan, My younger sister Sophia|
Our trip to Puerto Rico was a family trip. My family along with my husband’s family rented a house on the beach for a week of relaxing. But we had a few other items on the agenda as well. When my grammy passed away over a year ago, she was cremated. My mom, from the beginning, wanted to take her ashes back to Puerto Rico so that was a large reason why we went. We also wanted to see some family while we were there.
We took a little trip to Carolina to visit my great aunt, my grandmother’s sister, and her daughter. My younger sister and I had never met her but my older sister and younger brother had been to a family reunion years ago and met her there.
It’s so hard to describe what it’s like to visit family that you’ve never known, in a place you’ve hardly visited. It’s hard to relate the feeling of connection that you can have with someone that you don’t know.
Tonyita is my great aunt and she looks and acts just like my grandmother did. She has pictures of cousins that look just like my sister. Even with the language barrier, I speak very little spanish, we were able to understand each other. She showed us old pictures of her, her husband, our family members and my great grandmother. (in the first image) It was a really special afternoon that was highlighted by the best meal I have ever had. I’m not exaggerating, it was magical.
We had a traditional Puerto RIcan meal with Pasteles: a meat stew surrounded by masa that is made with unripe bananas and yucca then wrapped in parchment paper (or banana leaves) and boiled. Arroz Con Gandules: spanish rice with pigeon peas. The best chicken ever though I’m not sure how it was made. Coconut flan: a custard made with coconut milk.
I know, I know, I’m a vegetarian but some meals are just worth it. This was one of them.