Say Hello to Spring!! This post is going to be way different than any other posts I’ve ever written. In honor of the First day of Spring, I will tell you the story of how a new friendship blossomed among a group of beautiful women. You see, we are all part of the Latin Bloggers in Orlando and share an immense love for our beautiful island of Puerto Rico, our people and our culture. I don’t know how, but I convinced my husband to take pictures of all of us in the beautiful Artisan Alley area of Downtown Deland, FL. Deland is a beautiful award-winning town with a vibrant community. We love it because it has so much history and it reminds us of our own hometowns in Puerto Rico. I will share my story on how I ended up here in Central Florida from Puerto Rico, and will also introduce my friends so you get to know them a little bit better.
Back in ’91, I did not want to move to Orlando from Puerto Rico. I was very young and, even though I was in my first year of college, still depended on my parents. They basically made the decision for me. At the time, it was very depressive to leave all my friends and my beautiful island behind. I had a really hard time adjusting during the first year. I however, found a group of people in my new college who were in the same situation as me, and became the support I needed. I made new friends quickly and within that group, I met my husband!
Going through many milestones here helped me get accustomed to life in Orlando, such as going to college, partying, working, learning to drive, etc. I know now, that having my nuclear family with me, made it easier for me to acclimate. Finding love also helped tremendously. I created a new life with my then boyfriend and now husband, who is also from Puerto Rico. We love our Puerto Rican culture, and feel proud that our kids embrace the culture as well.
Even though I have lived in the Orlando area for over 27 years and more than half my life, I always carry my hometown, my culture and my people within me. When I met the other Puerto Rican bloggers who came here in recent years, we immediately connected and a new friendship blossomed. Our life experiences are extremely different, however we belong to the beautiful Puerto Rican diaspora and that brings us together.
Meet Cindy Ramos and Mommy Lifestyle. Although Cindy had a baby not too long ago and I had my baby 15 years ago, we share a similar birth story. Hearing her talk about it on her blog took me way back to those emotions. It was pretty cool! Her story on how she got here is amazing because she and her husband decided right after they got married to pack up their stuff, sell everything and just move to Orlando. And they have never looked back. That is a skill!
I love Waincheis Cruz from Ay,mi madre (Oh my mother!) because she is just like the girls in my hometown, unpretentious. Although she’s been here almost 7 years, you can see it in her face how much she misses the island. We all wrote a story describing how we got here, she actually wrote a poem about it! It made me think that she had just moved to Orlando last week. This is part of it: “(Puerto Rico) I miss you so much, that I even smell the mountain coffee with my eyes closed and I transport myself to my grandma’s front porch. I still dream with a bridge that connects us from here to there so I can get to my loved ones. I always dreamed of having my children in my hometown, so they would go grow up seeing your beautiful beaches and colorful landscapes”. This girl wears her heart on her sleeve and what you see is what you get. Genuineness makes her beautiful!
Yomarie Olmo has the blog Mommy Tips. Yomarie is the perfect mommy blogger. She loves Disney and adores her kids. She just wants to be in each and every moment with them and make them happy! She has only been in Orlando for 4 years and has advanced her professional as well as her blogging career. This is going to sound silly, but one of her main skills is that she is always on time and in control. Do you know how hard it is to find a Puerto Rican who’s on time? Have you ever heard of American vs. Puerto Rican time? We are always late for everything! I myself have struggled with this my whole life.
Finally, meet Ana Morales, or Anita as I call her. Her blog is called Mamita Obrera (Working Mommy). Anita is our most recent migrant, and is part of the Post-Hurricane Maria influx of Puerto Ricans to Orlando. She has only been here for about 5 months. Anita is a single mom and the epitome of women empowerment. She is a body positive advocate and will dance to Daddy Yankee’s “Dura” in her underwear on social media! If you don’t know what “Dura” is, let’s just say, “Despacito” has nothing on this song! She is resilient, independent and entrepreneurial.
These ladies are amazing! You need to follow them and interact with them. They will encourage, inspire, advice and educate you. They will laugh and feel with you. I love spending time with them so, needless to say, had the best time getting together with them for this project. You will definitely see a lot more about this girl squad! And we call ourselves the Borijevas in FL! LOL!!! What’s your girl squad story? Special thanks and extra love to my dear husband Jose Mercado for putting up with us and taking these awesome pictures!