After the big earthquake on January 7, I messaged friends in Puerto Rico to tell them our home was open. If you need a place to get away, I said, come. And they took me up on it! Last Wednesday, a friend came with her three kids, and Chiro and Lery’s youngest son Dereck came, too. He’s moving here, planning to stay indefinitely.
The situation in Puerto Rico hasn’t been easy. Some people are coping okay, but others, their emotional reserves already depleted from Hurricane Maria and all the political turmoil, are having a much more difficult go of it. The tremors keep coming (yesterday there was another 5.0), which makes it hard to relax. Many schools are still closed and people feel trapped in a constant state of waiting, unable to return to a sense of normalcy. Living in an elevated state of tension, worry, fear, and panic takes a tremendous toll.
This month, our friend Leryann, the one who is living here, is moving our of her communal living situation to a house that she’s rented so she can receive family members, the first of which is her brother Dereck. There’s a good chance more family will be coming soon, though how many, and when, is still unknown.
In the meantime, I cook (like, a lot). My husband and I show them how our washing machine and coffee pot works, tell them which stores have what they’re looking for, edit email correspondence, problem solve, and make phone calls and connections on their behalf. Mostly, though, we just try to stay available.
It’s the least we can do.
P.S. For more about the current situation, here’s an article that a friend posted on Facebook this morning. Also, here’s the earthquake tracker (that I refresh daily) and a good article that explains the emotional toll of earthquakes.
This same time, years previous: the quotidian (2.4.19), chicken and sausage gumbo, twelve, baked brie with cranberries and walnuts, object of terror, a Wednesday list, itchy in my skin, how we got our house, taco seasoning mix, wheat berry salad.