Hello, world! It’s been a while since I’ve posted here. A bunch of things have happened that have prevented me from blogging as regularly as I did before. As some of you may have seen on Twitter, I was affected by the Category 4 (5) Hurricane María that struck Puerto Rico. The island has suffered incredibly. The initial impact took lives, tore roofs off, flooded towns, destroyed cars, and some people lost all of their belongings. The entire electrical grid collapsed and all 3 million + inhabitants were left without communication and power. It’s been a month since the hurricane and we still don’t have power.
During the past year, I had been working at a digital marketing agency doing graphic design and web development. I was left unemployed after the hurricane. I did not have much savings as I was working part-time. I had a full-time job opportunity lined up just before María hit, but that was also lost due to the storm. So things have been really stressful for me in terms of money and stability lately. Puerto Rico’s economy is paralysed. Thousands of people are unemployed. Business suffered structural damage and, without electrical power, most have been unable to resume operations. Right now only select businesses, shopping malls, and hospitals have regained electric power or are functioning thanks to fuel generators. People are suffering, thousands don’t have access to water yet, there’s a shortage of potable water, people are dying in hospitals and in their homes because they can’t get access to healthcare. The canned food diet, dehydration, and unhygienic living conditions are making people sick. Violence and criminality is on the rise. Traffic is insane, you can spend hours just trying to get somewhere to find Internet or cell reception. I have not wanted to complain about my living conditions because I know that many people have lost much more than I have. The reality is that I don’t feel safe here anymore.
There are no job opportunities left for me here right now or for the other thousands of unemployed workers. I can’t do any freelance work either since I have no power or Internet. And to top it off, my personal laptop suffered water damage during the hurricane because it was at the office (which was left destroyed). Without hopes for a job or future sources of income, I made the difficult decision to leave Puerto Rico. I only have enough money to pay for food and rent during the month of October. I don’t want to leave. I graduated last year, had just moved into a new apartment, and had started to make a life for myself here. I don’t want to leave my family and friends in these conditions. I don’t want to have to start over in a new place. I don’t want to leave my country like this. The aftermath of Hurricane María is definitely proving to be more devastating for Puerto Rico than the hurricane itself. I have explored other options but in order to rebuild my life, I’m going to have to leave and stay with my sister in Massachusetts where I will look for work.
I set up a GoFundMe campaign
a few weeks ago in order to raise money for airfare to get out of Puerto Rico. The rest of the money raised will go towards purchasing a new computer so I can do freelance work until I find a new job. If I still have money left over from that, I’ll use it to pay for food and travel expenses until I can get back on my feet.
I have already received so much support from the blogging community and I am incredibly humbled by what you have done for me. Even though I have never met you in person, you have done so much to help me. You have given me an opportunity to pick myself up in a moment of need. Sometimes when I read the news or see with my own eyes how much my island is suffering, it doesn’t even feel like I am living in this situation. It’s easier to disassociate than to comprehend the magnitude of such a crisis. My best friend and I were talking earlier about the fact that this natural disaster gives you a frustrating sense of helplessness, but at the same time, a strange sense of peace. Things are out of your hands and since you’ve lost so much already, you feel less afraid of the future. You have much less to lose and whatever comes your way… you’ll just deal with it.
Anyway, thanks again for all you have done for me and for your support throughout the years. I have met incredible people through this blog. I’ll never forget the kind words I’ve received from my readers and the blogging community. I am excited to get back to blogging in the future. At some point I might have thought that it would be a bit tone-deaf to continue talking about beauty & fashion as if nothing had ever happened, but I’ve come to understand how important it is to continue doing things that you enjoyed. And maintaining your old routine helps you regain a sense of normality in your life.
Anyway, thanks for listening! Right now I’m most active on Twitter since it’s the easiest for me to use when there’s poor reception and shoddy Internet. I’m scheduled to leave Puerto Rico on the 13th of November. I’ll keep posting updates on Twitter until then. I hope all of you are well!