In May of 2022, two and half years after the pandemic, we were finally able to travel to Italy and New York again. It was an incredible feeling to plan a trip and leave the island for a much-needed break.
At first, I was extremely nervous to travel since COVID continues to be prevalent around the world. However, when we finally arrived in Italy, seeing the Mediterranean pine trees, and breathing in the amazing smells of the country made me feel completely at ease (if you know you know!). Since we arrived in the morning, Cappuccino and Cornetto were a must for Damiano! Shortly after, I was able to go to the cemetery where his father was buried and pay my respects since his passing last year. It was very emotional, but I needed to see him. Rest in Peace Cappocho.
Throughout our vacation, we were able to spend a significant amount of time with his family and friends. We went on an amazing family trip to the Amalfi Coast and Capri. The scenery was beautiful as well as the gorgeous lemon trees that dominate the area. We were able to attend the baptism of Damiano’s niece, which was one of the main reasons for our trip to Italy. As you may know, baptisms in Italy are a very important tradition. His hometown of Ostia is my favorite town in the country and the people are so warm and welcoming. One of my all-time favorite places to go in Ostia is Belsito, where Damiano grew up and worked. Every day I would relax on the beach in Belsito, paddleboard, and eat lunch. I can’t even put into words how incredible Italian food is. If you followed my Instagram/Facebook stories, you know how much amazing food we ate throughout our trip! I truly appreciated all the hospitality of his family and friends in Italy. It was a wonderful trip and I can’t wait to return!
On my way back from Italy, I visited my second hometown of New York. It’s been close to 5 years since I was there and honestly, it was the highlight of my trip. Spending time with friends and eating an abundance of Asian food (oh my!) was exactly what I needed after the past two years of the pandemic. As an Asian woman who grew up in Japan, I miss Asian food immensely. It is difficult to find authentic Asian cuisine here in PR or even any ingredients to prepare my own dishes. Although sushi is readily available here on the island, we eat so many other amazing dishes as well. It’s tough to be away from it! My friends and family realize how much I must love living in Puerto Rico, since it means sacrificing my love of Asian cuisine!
I stayed in Brooklyn but was also able to visit Woodstock and go to the Korean baths in NJ. It felt like a flashback to my old life. Man, the energy was just incredible! I left New York 20 years ago to move to Puerto Rico and this trip was reminiscent of when I first moved to NYC.
Anyhow, I had such an amazing time on vacation. It reminded me how important and fulfilling traveling is in our lives. The opportunity to visit another city again and get a glimpse into other people’s lives was totally needed! Honestly, my 2 and ½ year fear of COVID went out the door after this trip. I realized it’s time to move on and return to normal life again. I truly believe traveling is good for your soul. My advice to everyone is to travel while you can, life is too short to waste.
Love to you all!