Archive for trips

love letters

Posted in paris with tags , , on August 12, 2012 by ana

I’m back in empty, hot, sometimes breezy, Paris. In a new apartment that is large and sunny. I love it here. I only have the place until mid-september but it doesn’t matter. Right now it’s perfect. The neighborhood reminds me of non-hipster Brooklyn. On the street you hear a lot of other languages, not just French, and that kind of makes me feel like I’m home.

I spent the last two days in Beaune with Iris. She came out to help me move back and to have a little belated birthday getaway. It was a nice way to close my six weeks there- cooking, plotting the next moves in our lives, walking around and taking in the picturesque wine town.

The day after I got back my sister came to visit. A two day stop on her way home from a whirlwind vacation that took her to Spain, Greece, and Germany. I barely got to see her when I was last in LA, and it was good to reconnect. She’s moving back home to PR. I love that we shared LA. That she came to be a part of my life there. I loved having her here. We ran around looking for perfume, picnicked, walked along the river and the canal, drank Champagne, and ate at Fish and Candelaria. My favorite part of her visit was running slightly buzzed, after two Guepe Vertes from Candelaria, to the Pompidou as the sun was setting. We laughed and gossiped and talked about our favorite Gerard Richter paintings. She was the perfect welcome back to Paris treat.

The long days in Burgundy, the swims and the walks were really good for me. It feels like I’ve turned a page.  I feel inspired and centered by my projects. It feels like solitude helped me garner some momentum. I loved being in the country. I needed it but I’m happy to be back. A city is where I belong most of the time. Paris, like New York, is a place that people want to visit, and that makes living far from those you love easier.


I talked to my step-brother yesterday. It had been a year. He just returned from one of his voyages. His voice was clear and bright. He spent some time filming the aurora borealis this year, which blows my mind.  My lovely, dark, sweet brother was so beautiful an encouraging on the phone. He asked me if I planned to stay in France. I told him I was living life without a very concrete plan. That I wasn’t sure of what came next except for language classes in the fall, pastry school in November, and starting my cookie business.

Sometimes it’s hard for me to acknowledge how big and brave and exciting the decisions I am  making are. When I was in LA. I was such a hot mess. When I told Stevie that I felt so lost she said, you moved to France. That’s huge. Of course it’s going to be hard at first. Something clicked when she said that. Where, oh where, would I be without my friends. I have my own personal gang of cheerleaders and baton-twirlers, and I ‘m so, so grateful for them. I’ve had so much encouragement in emails from Willa, and Rami, and Noah, and Vee, and Anouk these past few months. And Stevie and Mario and Cleo who constantly give me their unconditional love.

My Walter Mercado horoscope, fondly referred to as the Liberace horoscope in my apartment in Paris, said I would love and be loved, and of course I instantly thought it had to do with a guy. I will find love in August, I thought. But that’s the thing, right. I am loved and I love. There is no lack of love in my life. I have so many people who love and adore me. More than most people. I am really lucky, and I often take for granted how easily I am able to connect with people and make friends, good, loyal, loving friends.

A few weeks ago, in one of our transatlantic, early morning for me, late night for her, conversations Cleo said to me when you are doing your own thing, you shine. Every time through out your life that has always been the case. She’s right and Burgundy brought that back to me.


On the phone, my brother said, I think it’s great what you are doing. All your plans…

My little Parisian adventure, I laughed.

Ana, he said, I think it’s more than an adventure. If it was just an adventure you would have come home already.

You are right, I said. It’s kinda scary

To which he replied, Anita, don’t be afraid of being scared.

That is very good advice.


Posted in 38, family, friends with tags , , on January 15, 2012 by ana
I’ve been struggling with this post. Truth be told  I’ve been struggling with posting in general. The last few months of 2011 were kind of dark for me. There were lovely highlights,  lots of truly sparkly moments but underneath I have been trying to sort some stuff out. For as much as I naturally seek the beauty and the joy in everything, for as much as I see the glass always half-full, a part of me leans heavily towards the blue and nostalgic. The stuff I have been working through has to do at it’s core with trust. There is a conflict of emotions that I don’t know yet know how to put in words. I can’t yet connect it to the narrative of my life. I need more distance before I can write about it. So before everything gets smooshed up I’m just going to post what I’ve got.
I just got back a few days ago from two weeks in Puerto Rico. It was a very mellow Christmas by Puerto Rican standards. There was a lot of crime and violence this past year. More than there has ever been. I think that probably contributed to the quietness of the holidays.  Of course, mellow here could be considered full of reverie in most places. Christmas season isn’t completely over until the feast of San Sebastian, which starts this weekend. That said, after staying in and spending New Year’s eve with my mom, I woke up thinking my days of being wild and young were officially done. (Let it be known they did not go down without a fight.)
This vacation was really good for me. I feel replenished. I feel different than I did before. It’s was good to be home, to spend time with family and friends. It was also the perfect place to embrace all the experiences of 2011 and step into 2012 with an open, valiant heart. It is so beautiful there- breezy and warm. The skies clear and full of fluffy clouds. Cumulus clouds, my youngest sister, who will turn thirteen next week and is now as tall as me, reminds me. There are large iguanas, one sadly dead in the middle of the road, and tiny lizards. Everything is lush and green, and like clock-work at least once a day, if not twice, the rain rolls in and washes everything clean, and then making you aware that you are in an island, promptly rolls out.
Each day home was its own sort of lovely. I took a twenty-four hour Brady bunch-like trip to Saint Thomas with some of my younger sisters, my dad, his girlfriend and her daughters, and went snorkeling for the first time. I walked with my mom to the ocean early January 1st. I went to the beach with my sister and then after drank sweet, cool papaya shakes made with coconut water, cinnamon and vanilla. I went to the beach with Anouk and drank lots of mojitos while we talked about life and love. I bought tuberose on the street and filled my room with their perfume. I ate my favorite breakfast, a baguette toasted on a press and cafe con leche, with my sister Lili, played with my niece, saw most of my cousins, had long, lovely meals with girlfriends that I’ve known almost as long as I’ve known myself, and sat in the glow of multi-colored Christmas lights on my mom’s balcony talking late into the night. I heard lots of Puerto Rican Christmas music, ate all sort of fried things filled with cod or crab or beef, and drank plenty of Medallas, the world’s best shittiest beer, alcoholic water really, and the absolutely perfect thing to drink in the hot, humid weather. I baked for my family, read Joseph Campbell, and got lots of rest.
The end of last year had me climbing walls. Since the moment I decided to move to Paris things seemed to move at a snail’s pace but now that my departure date is getting near time is really speeding up.  I started this week a little heartbroken (more on that later, I think) and jet-lagged but at the same time I felt very light and full of love from my trip. Today I keep getting jolts of excitement and also waves of sadness for all that I love that will stay in LA. As I finish writing this I am sitting on the floor with the entire content of my closet around me. I’m sorting out what I will take , what I will sell, and what I will give away. All the paperwork for my visa is on the bed waiting to be sorted and a long to do list, that includes selling my car, looms somewhere in  my bag.  The coming weeks are going to be crazy but in a good, exhilarating way.



Posted in family with tags on July 3, 2011 by ana

I spent most of my really long layover in Chicago reading The Hunger Games. Is there anything more satisfying than getting sucked into a book. About an hour before boarding I grabbed a glass of wine at a bar and thought it was so civilized that they let you take your wine with you to the gate.

On the flight between Chicago and Madrid I drank two more glasses of wine, which gave me a nostalgic buzz. Thousand of miles up in the sky I thought of all the trips I had taken with my mom and my dad-separately. I thought I get my sense of magic from my dad and my sense of delight from my mom. I thought of all the unique experiences both my parents had brought into my life. Then something made me think of Leo, which made the same  thought roll over and over in my head, which was basically the feeling of what I lost and what I gained.

Between nostalgia, the book, and sleep we landed in Madrid. The wine made me  so thirsty and once I switched terminals I went in search of one of my favorite things to drink in Spain- Coca light! I never drink diet coke but for some reason it tastes so good abroad. The same is true of a bunch of other junk food. Doritos, kit kats they taste different, like they used to when you were a kid. My sister Ellie was the one who turned me on to European junk food.

While I waited for my mom at the airport I remembered something Leo had said last summer when I just simply said goodbye to him, my dad and one of my sisters as they boarded a plane. They were all flying back an hour before me on a different plane. “That is the difference between your family and mine,” he said. And what he meant was not entirely clear but I could figure it out because his was the kind of family that took forever to say goodbye, that could not stand to be apart from each other and my family was not like that.

And then three hours later we where in Rome.

pre-departure delight

Posted in family with tags on June 29, 2011 by ana

Earlier today I called my dad. He was having drinks with friends, and I could hear the city, my city, San Juan behind him. In my mind I could feel the balmy air, see the dusky sky, and I wanted to be there. My sister Lela is there. She left on Sunday. Maybe that’s why I’m missing it more. I get that way sometimes when I talk to my parents on the phone. I don’t know if I would want to be there always but sometimes I just miss the rhythm, my family, my high school friends. It’s a city but it’s a small town and there is something so relaxed, celebratory, and beautiful that permeates everything there. I know it’s totally an island cliche but it’s true.

Tomorrow I have a layover in Madrid. I’m meeting my mom there and together we’ll fly to Rome where we will meet my brother, his girlfriend, and her son for a few days. My dad asked if we were spending the day in Madrid, which sadly we are not, and suggested I take my mom to the market he took me last year at the end of our trip. He loves that market. I do too. I was blown away when he took me there. It was one of the most magical parts of a pretty fabulous trip. After we hung up as if on cue I turned the radio up Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti’s Fright Night came on. We listened to that song, to that album, last summer all the way from Castropol (the town my paternal grandmother’s family is from) to Madrid. It is a Leo song. And I usually stay clear of Leo songs. But I didn’t and it was sunny and glorious and downright full-blown summer here today. And I remembered how fantastic it had been to spend a week in Castropol. How much it had changed since the first time I had been there fourteen years before and how the same it still was. How insane and delicious the food was (the jamón! the languostine and spinach croquettes!), how lovely it was to drink coffee with my dad in our kitchen in the morning and Albariño with cousins and distant relatives at night by the river, and my sister Ellie and her bestie cracking Leo and me up all the time with their super girlie puerto rican girl ways.

And then it really, really hit me. Tomorrow, and for the next two weeks, I will be somewhere where the rhythm will be totally different from my day-to-day. And the I-CAN’T-WAIT turned into that feeling you get right before something really special is about to happen.