How Growing up in Phoenix Prepared Me for Living in Puerto Rico

We recently moved to the beautiful island of Puerto Rico.  I was a little nervous about the culture shock of leaving our hot, dry desert city and adjusting to small town, island life.  It sounds weird, but it turns out growing up in Phoenix has actually prepared me for living in Puerto Rico.  GrowingupPHX

Here are 10 ways growing up in Phoenix, Arizona prepared me for living in Puerto Rico:

Close connection to foreign countries. 

It is faster to drive to Mexico from Phoenix than any state in the US, Mexico is Arizona’s neighbor to the South.  Likewise, Puerto Rico’s closest neighbors are definitely not the US mainland (Hello Dominican Republic and British Virgin Islands)

Everyone is (a little) Bilingual

Anyone who grew up in Arizona speaks at least a little Spanish. I even attended a bilingual elementary school for English as Second Language (ESL program).  Everyone speaks a little English in Puerto Rico.  Many people are fully bilingual in both Arizona and Puerto Rico.   Admittedly, Arizona Spanglish is a different dialect that the Puerto Rican Spanish, but it is a good foundation to build upon.  Plus I was always really good at charades, so I can act out many difficult phrases.

There are more Snowbirds than Local Residents half the year

Winters in Phoenix are overrun by people from the Mid-west desperately trying to escape the cold and warm up.  Since arriving in January, we have seen the population dwindle as the snowbirds leave the island for summer.  I just cannot escape snowbirds!

Continue reading “How Growing up in Phoenix Prepared Me for Living in Puerto Rico”

Living in Puerto Rico 3 month check

After extensive preparation to move to Puerto Rico (read about it here), we are LOVING the island life!

Here is a recap, as we pass the three-month milestone of living in Puerto Rico.Living in Puerto Rico

Long Term Rental on a House

Working with the realtor before arrival really paid off!  The first house we looked at was everything we wanted, in our price range, and it was almost perfect!  We viewed several other properties and decided to make an offer on the first house.  We provided current credit scores and reports with our application.  Security deposit, plus first month and last month rent were paid with a local check (opening PR checking accounts were part of our six month preparation steps). Our house was partially furnished, so we could move in right away, but there would be extra expenses to purchase more furniture. Continue reading “Living in Puerto Rico 3 month check”

Living in Puerto Rico; Preparation for the Big Move

We are coming up on Living in Puerto Rico for three months (that story will come next), here is all the preparation that we needed to get here!

First sunset in Puerto Rico
First sunset in Puerto Rico

Three years before our move, we stepped foot on Puerto Rico for the first time.  While enjoying delicious local cuisine for dinner, we casually asked our waiter about living in Puerto Rico.  He talked to us about cost of living, economy, politics (it was around the vote for PR to become a state, which did not pass), hiking, and he showed us family photos of waterfalls and beaches around the Island.  I had never given Puerto Rico any thought, I could barely find it on a map, and I knew nothing about the island.  After our far-too-quick visit, PR was stuck in my head. Google Map Caribbean PR

One year before our move, we researched tax implications, tax incentives, Puerto Rico economy (it is not good) and what jobs are available.  We discovered that there are great incentives to move a business to PR and hire employees.  Finding a job on the island is difficult and lower pay than comparable US Mainland jobs.  The only way we could move to PR, was to bring our jobs with us. Continue reading “Living in Puerto Rico; Preparation for the Big Move”

How to Get a Driver’s License in Puerto Rico, 4 Easy and Quick Steps

Getting a driver’s license is pretty easy, right? (Many years ago) In Phoenix, Arizona I read the driver’s booklet, passed my written test, then demonstrated basic driving skills for the practical exam.  I have been a licensed driver ever since.

2016_PR Drivers LicenseSo, why would I be nervous or hesitant to become a licensed driver in Puerto Rico?  All the paperwork and instructions are in Spanish (which I barely read, and am learning to speak).  Driving in Puerto Rico can be a challenge.  And multiple trusted people and websites told me how difficult it is to get a driver’s license in Puerto Rico.

THEY WERE WRONG!

It was easy and quick to get a Puerto Rican Driver’s License (for licensed US Citizen). Continue reading “How to Get a Driver’s License in Puerto Rico, 4 Easy and Quick Steps”