Hola amigos: Today I bring you “Puerto Rico – The New Florida? ” Brilliant legislation by the Puerto Rican government in 2012 is attracting investment and jobs to Puerto Rico giving residency that provides tax benefits for high-net-worth($$$) individuals. That reminds me of the times of Luis Munoz Marin and his successful government program “Manos a la Obra” or “Operation Bootstrap” to attract the big corporations and pharmaceuticals to PR by giving them big exemptions. The IRS is watching this new “Switzerland” and the US Government is playing with the idea of PR #51?… ES
Hola amigos: Today I bring you: “30 Years and Counting: Commemorating an Event That Broke Ground In Puerto Rican Literary Studies”. The keynote speaker will be Magali Garcia Ramis, who was my professor of journalism at the University of Puerto Rico Graduate School of Public Communication. This year’s program will examine some of the new frontiers and new debates in Puerto Rican literary and cultural productions. ES
Keynote speaker Magali Garcia Ramis Image
The State University Of New Jersey
A daylong public conference at Rutgers University, Newark, will celebrate the literary contributions of Puerto Rican authors while commemorating a 1983 program that broke new ground in its presentation of Puerto Rican literature.
“Re-visiting Images and Identities: Thirty Years of Puerto Rican Literature” will be held Friday, April 12, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., in the Paul Robeson Campus Center, Multipurpose Room, 350 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Newark. The free program is open to the public.
The Rutgers-Newark Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies and the Department of Latino and Hispanic Caribbean Studies, Rutgers-New Brunswick, are offering the program to mark the 30th anniversary of the conference “Images and Identities: the Puerto Rican in Literature,” held at Rutgers-Newark in April 1983.
“This was a historic conference for Puerto Rican cultural and literary studies, thanks to its proposal to combine native Puerto Rican cultural and literary accomplishments with Puerto Rican literature written in the U.S.,” states Dr. Asela Rodriguez de Laguna, Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies at Rutgers in Newark. Laguna showcased most of the projects and authors from the 1983 conference in her anthology Imágenes e Identidades (1986) and its English version, Images and Identities: The Puerto Rican in Two World Contexts (1987).
This year’s program will examine some of the new frontiers and new debates in Puerto Rican literary and cultural productions, and how Puerto Rican studies have been redefined by collaborations with Caribbean, Latino, African and American studies. A concurrent exhibit at the John Cotton Dana Library will look at “Voices from the Island and the Diaspora: Puerto Rican Authors and Literary Critics in 1983.”
Keynote speakers are Magali García Ramis, author and emerita professor, journalism and communications, University of Puerto Rico, and Ana Celia Zentella, emerita professor, ethnic studies, University of California at San Diego.
Other speakers are:
- Aravind Adyanthaya, stage director, performer, playwright, educator and director of Casa Cruz de la Luna Theater, San Germán, Puerto Rico
- Pedro Cabiya, novelist, expert in film theory and the founder, designer and director of the Centro de Lenguas y Culturas Modernas at the Universidad Iberoamericana, Dominican Republic
- Mariposa María Teresa Fernández, poet, performer and activist with the National Urban League, New York City
- Marisel Moreno, assistant professor, romance languages and literatures, University of Notre Dame
- Urayoán Noel, assistant professor, English, State University of New York, Albany.
- Rubén Ríos Ávila, professor, comparative literature, University of Puerto Rico and a visiting professor at New York University
For more information, please contact: Asela R. Laguna, Rutgers-Newark, email@example.com, or Yolanda Martínez-San Miguel, Rutgers-New Brunswick, firstname.lastname@example.org .
In addition to the R-N Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies and the Department of Latino and Hispanic Caribbean Studies , R-NB, other sponsors are the Office of the Executive Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, R-N; Critical Caribbean Studies, Committee to Advance our Common Purposes; Office of the Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic and Public Partnerships in the Arts & Humanities; Office of the Chancellor, R-N; Office of the Dean of Arts and Sciences, R-N; Institute on Ethnicity, Culture and the Modern Experience, R-N; Center for Latin American Studies (R-NB), Center for Latino Arts and Culture (R-NB), Dept. of Women’s and Gender Studies (R-N), and the Graduate Program of American Studies (R-N).
YOU might not know her name but you’ll definitely recognise the body.
Puerto Rican Joan Smalls is the No1 model in the WORLD, according to the rankings of industry standard-setters Models.com.
News Group Newspapers Ltd Joan Smalls Image
Body of work … Joan Smalls in Victoria’s Secret garb
Smalls featured in at least 13 runway shows during the last fashion week and is in high demand with the world’s leading designers, photographers and magazine editors.
But while the appeal of models such as bushy-browed Cara Delevingne and gap-toothed Lara Stone lie in their unique, iconic looks, Joan’s success is in her adaptable catwalk beauty.
Her long legs, special pout and natural looks have made for an already successful modelling career that, thanks to this ranking, looks set to skyrocket.
This week the New Icons range for H&M — which Joan fronts alongside Daphne Groeneveld, Lindsey Wixson and Liu Wen — went on sale.
It’s not just fashion lines Joan is inspiring. In 2011 she broke beauty industry standards to become the first ever Latina face of cosmetics giant Estée Lauder.
And while Brits Cara and Kate Moss might fill column inches with their party lifestyles and celeb pals, Joan keeps a low profile.
There’s no rock star boyfriend or drug and sex scandals — though she is dating ex-model Bernard Smith.
Instead Joan, who signed with Elite Model Management in New York in 2007, was drawn to the industry for the financial security, hoping a model’s salary could mean a better life for her and her family.
Born in Hatillo, Puerto Rico, as Joan Smalls Rodriguez, the model claims African, Spanish, Taíno Indian and Irish heritage.
The youngest of three sisters, she grew up on a fruit farm surrounded by farmyard pets, but her interests lay elsewhere.
She recalls: “As a child I would pretend I was a beauty pageant contestant with my sisters but I never thought I would be a model.”
By age 13 she was entering local modelling competitions but lost every one she entered.
She said later: “I was told I was too tall, too thin and too dark.”
After watching an episode of TV series E! True Hollywood Story, the teenage Joan decided to try her luck as a model in New York.
She convinced her traditionalist father to fund her trip to the US for castings with one condition — that she get a college education.
Joan did this, finishing a psychology degree in two years instead of four, and at 19 moved to the Big Apple permanently.
For three years she did everything from company catalogue work to appearing in Ricky Martin’s music video for It’s Alright in 2008.
The same year she walked for designers Sass & Bide and Diane Von Furstenberg at the spring/summer shows in New York.
But it was after leaving Elite and signing with IMG, the agency that also represents supermodels Naomi Campbell and Tyra Banks, that a determined Joan got her breakthrough.
Designer Riccardo Tisci picked her to walk exclusively for the Givenchy spring 2010 couture show. She says: “He saw my potential and it changed people’s perspective.”
Her career has soared since, working with top fashion photographers Patrick Demarchelier, Terry Richardson and Mario Testino. Italian Vogue’s March 2012 issue had “Haute Mess” Joan on the cover — the first black model to front the magazine in four years.
In January this year she appeared on Vogue Brazil’s “Black Issue” in all black, wearing a bit of oxblood on her lips and nail tips.
But it hasn’t all been plain sailing.
Earlier this year she came under fire for a fashion shoot in US Vogue staged by Annie Leibovitz.
Joan and fellow models Chanel Iman, Karlie Kloss and Arizona Muse posed alongside members of the National Guards’ and other New York first response teams.
The spread was quickly slammed for putting a glamorous spin on natural disaster Hurricane Sandy. But the scandal did little to dent her industry credibility.
She has rung in the New Year with covers of Vogue Turkey, Japan and Russia.
Despite her success she still hasn’t featured on Anna Wintour’s US Vogue and dreams of fronting a campaign for Burberry, whose current faces include Cara, Edie Campbell and Romeo Beckham.
Joan says: “I’d love to be an honorary Brit so I could front a Burberry campaign.
“But I know Christopher Bailey [Burberry's chief creative officer] only ever picks British models to do campaigns. I want to be adopted!”
In the meantime she will have to settle for featuring in the lyrics on the song Christian Dior Denim Flow, by rapper Kanye West, who names her as his favourite model.
Refreshingly, Joan still has her feet firmly on the ground, too. She is involved in the charity Project Sunshine, which provides free educational, recreational and social programmes to medically-challenged children and families.
She has also remained a doting daughter, buying a car for her dad from her first-earned dollars and a new kitchen for her mum.
“I’m extremely flattered, honoured and just blessed.
“It just cements that all my hard work paid off — not having a life, travelling on your birthday, not having holidays, all that actually pays off.”
And if her hectic catwalk and shoot schedule wasn’t enough, Joan also co-hosts the newly revived MTV show House Of Style with fellow supermodel Karlie Kloss.
With a net worth now in the millions, one thing is for sure — Smalls has hit the big-time.
By SASKIA QUIRKE, Fashion Editor
THIS Puerto Rican beauty is one of the hardest-working models in fashion.
While our own Cara is in high demand here, the top 50 rankings on Models.com are based on the number of bookings by photographers, brands and magazines across the globe in a year.
Smalls’ success is not just down to her work ethic.
Her classic beauty and willowy frame give her global appeal over those editorial models with distinctive looks.
Joan Smalls is in vogue – and everything else.
Hola amigos: National Geographic Traveler- April 2013- features a “Return to Your Roots”, a going home theme where readers “meet” five travelers, writers who return to their ancestral lands and explore five different ancestral places: Ireland, Taiwan, Sicily (Italy), Krakow (Poland), and Angola (also Portuguese Angola). Exploring the land of your beginnings is a new powerful trend in travel, it forces you to examine yourself understanding where you came from. ES
National Geographic Traveler Image
A duo dances by the beach on Ilha de Luanda in Angola.
Photograph by Alfredo D’Amato, Panos Pictures
By Joe Mozingo
We rolled down a sliver of red dirt road, weeds and sticks cracking under our tires, in search of an old slave port that long ago vanished in mangrove jungle. This out-of-the-way track made me nervous because it was exactly where the travel advisories warned visitors not to go in Angola, a country riddled with land mines after three decades of civil war.
My guide and translator, a British expat named Paul, asked the two young boys showing us the way if they knew of any mines. I heard them say hesitantly, “No.”
“They say there aren’t any,” Paul confirmed.
This was not convincing.
We bumped along farther until the track fell away entirely into a gully, and we set down the path on foot. The sun was getting low, washing the tops of the palm trees in ocher light. A man harnessed high in the fronds tapping sap for palm wine looked at us curiously as we passed beneath.
We were just outside the town of Soyo, hiking to an estuary of the Congo River, about five miles from its mouth on the Atlantic. I had envisioned finding old stone docks and iron slave pens, perhaps strangled in roots like some ancient Khmer ruin. Even if I found that, I did not know what it would mean; there was no checklist to mark off, no tangible objective or end point.
I was on a quest that was more than anything an act of imagination—if not insanity, given the cost and time it took me to get here. I was looking for the man who gave me the surname Mozingo, an ancestor who landed in Jamestown, Virginia, in 1644. He was a “Negro” man who married a white Englishwoman during a brief period in colonial America when that could happen. More than 300 years later, his white descendants, including me, had long lost track of that history and were wondering where they got this funny name. Many insisted, sometimes vociferously, they were Italian or French or from anywhere but Africa, but the truth was here in Angola, this troubled country on the western coast of central Africa, which once sent torrents of slaves to America.
Variants of the name are common here even today, and the revered first Christian king of Kongo was named Mozinga. In the year Edward Mozinga likely journeyed across the Middle Passage, 4,336 slaves were documented as being taken from Angola, out of 6,529 from all of Africa. They went to Brazil and the Caribbean, and a tiny fraction ended up in Virginia.
I knew I couldn’t find records of my ancestor here as I could with my other forebears in Europe. I would not see the school he went to or the church he attended, or pore through baptismal records, or meet long-lost cousins with oral histories. But I needed to have a sense of where he came from, beyond the wild phantasms most of us in the West
harbor about sub-Saharan Africa. I needed to cross a breach in my mind that made it difficult to really fathom my family’s story, for Edward to be real.
We descended into the mangrove forest, where the path ended at a clear stream. Paul said he’d wait there. The boys and I trudged down the stream as it got deeper and joined more streams in a silty tidal swamp.
The boys laughed as they attempted to spear a crab with a stick near an old dugout canoe decaying in the mangrove roots. The forest seemed to be closing in, not leading us to a port where slave ships could have launched. We crossed a sulfurous mudflat that slurped at our feet and had the boys in hysterics. I thought about how children like these, their
parents somewhere waiting for them to return home, must have marched through here in shackles, never to see their families again.
“Onde porto?” I asked.
They all pointed down. “Here.”
The port can’t be here, I thought; no ship could get here. I started down the channel, the water rising above my knees.
The boys just stood there on the mudflat, studying the crazy white man.
“Porto aqui?” I yelled back again.
“Sim, sim, sim, aqui—Yes, yes, yes, here,” they said.
Maybe they were right. Maybe long ago, silt filled in the port. The sun was setting in the northwest, and the mosquitoes were swirling around me. I knew I had to stop. When you journey into the past, you always want to go further, and you’ll never get to your destination, and you’ll never be sated, just as you’ll never fully understand your
roots as they split into infinity. But you learn something in the glimpses.
Joe Mozingo is a reporter for the Los Angeles Times and author of The Fiddler on Pantico Run.
Travelers take in the centuries-old Sukiennice (“cloth hall”) from a café in Krakow’s Market Square.
Photograph by Marcus Hoehn, laif/Redux
By Nina Strochlic
A few times a year throughout my childhood, my mother and I sat around a tan suitcase. She’d pop open the single working hinge and pull out sepia-toned photographs and frayed papers—curfew extensions, identity cards, immigration forms. The suitcase held the remaining tangible links to my grandparents’ prewar lives.
In the late 1930s, my grandparents were forced from their homes in Poland into ghettos, and later into labor and concentration camps. On nights the suitcase came out, we’d watch videos of my jovial grandpa remembering the miles of frozen marches and how he won my grandmother’s affection by baking her a cake in a displaced persons camp. Soon after, they got married, boarded a ship for Cuba, and sneaked off in New York City. My grandmother died long before I was born, and my grandfather died when I was five, but I know their stories. I know that when my grandmother’s parents and brother returned to the rural house where they’d stored valuables, they were murdered by its postwar inhabitants. “Never forget” wasn’t just a phrase for my family; it was a mantra.
My grandfather swore he’d never return to his homeland, but my mom and I needed to go. I thought of it as time travel—Poland was a country of ghosts, a crowd of bearded men walking down cobblestoned streets and hastily evacuated shtetls. A country stuck in the loop of 1938. But the Krakow we encountered, with its soaring castle and café-lined medieval squares, was nothing like that. Virtually unscathed by the Germans, it had the charm of a young, modern city set amidst the mystery of an ancient one. Bursting with Jewish tours, museums, and shops, the city catered to tourists like us—pilgrims unearthing their heritage. Mom and I arrived with a jumble of addresses and
began a scavenger hunt in search of my grandparents’ past. On a corner in the center of old town we found the storefront site of the seasonally rotating ice cream parlor/fur shop my great-grandparents owned, and across a bridge a music school now occupied the ghetto building they were forced to live in. But our main goal was to see my grandmother’s apartment, to touch the childhood home of a woman I never knew.
Rising from the middle of Krakow, a Gothic castle keeps a watchful eye on its city. We found my grandmother’s building on a street encircling it, a classic limestone structure. Standing inside the dim hallway, my mother holding a note that explained our quest, we rapped on the wooden door of Number 2. A middle-aged woman cracked it open
and greeted us hesitantly. Her eyes flitted over the handwritten note, and confusion melted into warmth. She introduced herself as Marta and ushered us in. The apartment was beautiful, with ornate inlaid wood floors. “It hasn’t been remodeled, except for the bathroom, since my mother bought it in 1949,” she said. Mom’s expression mirrored
my own disbelief. I could almost imagine my great-grandparents stoking the green ceramic-tiled heater that stretched to the ceiling. We talked to Marta for an hour, lingering in the apartment that, save a war, could have been our home.
As my mother and I left, it was hard not to admit our unexpected love for Krakow. The city no longer conjured only fleeing Jews and ghetto walls. Along with them were pierogi festivals and imposing castles. I put mementoes of these in the suitcase where the old and new worlds could finally merge.
Nina Strochlic is an avid traveler and a reporter for Newsweek and the Daily Beast.
Slieve League Cliffs, County Donegal.
Photograph by Radius Images, Corbis
By Liz Beatty
We find the emerald pastures of great-great-grandfather’s farm an hour and a half northwest of Dublin, just “beyond the Pale” in medieval Irish terms, near the rural market town of Cootehill in County Cavan, Ulster. Our road trip begins here, bound for the northerly shorelines of this region, composed of Northern Ireland plus three counties of the Irish Republic—a region at times divided by religion, but forever fused by deep roots in ancient Ireland.
With their 85-year-old grandmother, my sons, Mack, 11, and James, 18, pick small cut stones from the ruins of a well, the last vestige of our Beatty homestead. Mom is humming “Irish Eyes,” as the three huddle from a steady drizzle under her red drugstore umbrella. Standing at the farm gate, I picture William Senior setting off from here with his
young family, bound for timber reaches in far-off Upper Canada in 1835, ten years before the start of the potato famine. I knew coming here would feel this way, as if we are their emissaries, making the return journey that they knew they never would. If there’s such a thing as shared genetic memory, the idea of three generations summoning it together just seemed important. From County Cavan, we head west and then north, soaking in the primal vibe of the Donegal coast. At Slieve League, we brace against 55-mile-an-hour gusts to glimpse some of Europe’s highest ocean cliffs, dropping nearly 2,000 feet to an angry sea. We then wind through a wild, deserted mountain bog to the top of Glengesh Pass—breathtaking and bleak. The road hairpins out of sight. I’ve completely misjudged our travel time to the northern village of Dunfanaghy. This long day isn’t over. The skies blacken, and the heavens open. Mother hums “Stormy Weather,” and, with 30 miles left, all the road signs turn Gaelic.
At Dunfanaghy, a rising tide fills the wide shallow harbor just outside Arnold’s Hotel. Inside, Mack presses for another family story before bed. He’s our lore guy, for years collecting tads of our history the way a robin gathers bits of twigs. Tonight it’s great-grandfather’s cousin Sir Edward, the grandson of a Cootehill farm boy who became head
of a global transportation empire, the Canadian Pacific Railway. Mack recalls the picture of him in our living room. He is standing beside the Prince of Wales in 1930 on the maiden voyage of the Empress of Britain—an ocean liner sunk by a German U-boat in 1940, just miles off Dunfanaghy’s shores. We vow to find a good lookout tomorrow to see
what we can see.
By morning, everything has changed. The sun shines. The breeze is warm and gentle. We hike to Tramore Beach’s vast empty expanse; the boys race down its massive dunes, formed in the great storm of 1839; we ride big-boned Irish ponies across the Dunfanaghy tidal flats. And in one brilliant, no-granny-left-behind mission, James insists that he
and his dad half-carry my mom up a steep, craggy path to the highest, most westerly lookout of Horn Head peninsula.
As they reach the summit, I see in James’s eyes a satisfaction born out of wisdom far beyond his 18 years. His grandmother’s joy is palpable, infectious, as together they survey what feels like the northwest corner of the universe—the Atlantic and bloomin’ heather as far as the eye can see.
Three hundred miles later—including one golf game with two slices into the North Atlantic—we ponder how best to kill seven hours before flying home. Sleep? Pshaw. Like any self-respecting Irish progeny, we go to the pub.
Mack tosses five euros in an open guitar case to seal the deal. The bandleader introduces Mom. She’s surprised but doesn’t hesitate, squeezing up to the mic through a cheek-by-jowl throng of Gaelic football fans at Dublin’s Oliver St. John Gogarty pub. This Temple Bar hub pulsates with revelers, their beloved “Dubs” having just recaptured the
championship after a 16-year drought.
“If you don’t know the words, you can’t sing the song,” yells the banjo player as Mom taps the mic for a sound check.
“Just say the words here,” she instructs as she points to her right hearing aid. Eyes roll as the band proffers a few bars of a familiar lead-in. The song: “Danny Boy.”
What follows is transcendent. As she leans into her audience, lyrics flowing seamlessly in one ear and out her mouth, her classically trained, freakishly youthful voice sends this Celtic gem soaring. At the end, band members hug her and locals line up to shake her hand. “Imagine what she could do if she knew the feckin words!” shouts the banjo guy
over deafening applause.
Later, in that quiet descent to slumber, I replay this moment. Yes, her voice, but more her pluck, her fearless embrace of the moment.
It’s a delightful end to a journey that has revealed so much—for sure, illuminating bonds with those long gone, but mostly, reconnecting us to the very best in us here and now.
Canadian writer Liz Beatty wrote about Ontario’s War of 1812 events in the October 2012 issue.
The Temple of Concordia lies in the archaeological area of Agrigento, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Photograph by Johanna Huber, SIME
By Renée Restivo
I’ve heard my grandfather’s stories about the Restivo family farm near the village of Castrofilippo all my life. “It’s right down the block from the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento,” he bragged.
Over a decade ago, I made my first trip to that village in southern Sicily to meet my relatives and to see the ancient Greek temples.
Located on the coast, Agrigento’s sand-colored Greek temples and ruins stand by knotted trunks of ancient olive trees. Thirteen miles northeast of the temples is Castrofilippo, known as il paese della cipolla, “the town of the onion.”
The small village is surrounded by fruit orchards and groves kissed by the sun, and the countryside is ripe with fig and almond trees. My cousins grow succulent table grapes and are known for the quality and variety of their sweet white onions and garlics. I arrive representing my father and grandfather and great-grandfather Calogero (who left the island in the late 1800s to save our family farm, but never returned, to his mother’s disappointment). Some homes in the historic center were former stables; others are crumbling to the ground, abandoned by those who left Sicily for America. The village has a town square, a church, a cemetery, a statue of St. Pio, a bar, and a couple of pizzerias, but one of my aunts, Zia Carmela, forbids me to eat anything at a town restaurant.
My family’s Sicilian dinner feast—in honor of my arrival—looks like a set for a Fellini film. Dozens of aunts, uncles, cousins—Concetta, Maria, Carmela, Angela, Calogera, Angelo, Diego, Lillo, Lilla, Luca, Giuseppe, Andrea, Gioacchino, and others—shepherd me to the family table, which extends through every room of the house, even the bedroom. My aunts are dressed identically: black sweater, skirt, tights, and a knotted scarf wrapped around the head.
Zia Carmela is at the wood-burning stove, emptying her copper kettle of pasta into an enormous bowl, which she cradles in her arms. Sicilian-size portions of ziti with ragù are piled on each plate—especially mine. Vino rustico is poured. Carmela orchestrates the meal and is the last to sit down and eat. In her flowered apron she is authoritative,
warm, and gentle.
Between bites of sausage, roasted potatoes flavored with rosemary, salad that tastes of the earth, and homemade bread, I get lost in a blur of conversation and gestures. Zia Lilla tells me how she balanced a terra-cotta jug on her head to carry water from the well to the kitchen in her village each day when she was a young girl, and that leads to more family stories.
After dinner, my cousin Lillo, a 29-year-old farmer, drives me to the Valley of the Temples to see the Greek ruins by moonlight. In his Alfa Romeo, we whirl along winding roads and speed past the Temple of Concordia, its elegant Doric columns illuminated by a sliver of the moon above the hills. Lillo calls me amore. He is irresistible and charming
as Sicilian men are known to be. There’s a sense that we’ve known one another for years, despite the fact that we have just met.
The next day Lillo and his father, Zio Gioacchino, pick six varieties of heirloom grapes from the family vines. My favorites are regina, which means “queen,” and lacrima, which means “teardrop.” This farm, thousands of miles away from where I was born in New Jersey, renews my spirit and nourishes my soul. To me, this ancestral land is a blessing.
I leave the farm with onions and garlic, a bottle of Lillo’s Nero d’Avola wine, and homemade tomato sauce to bring to my grandfather in New Jersey, so that he can taste flavors of our ancestors. Whenever I am far from the farm and longing for it, I recall the words of a Sicilian man whom I met while traveling. When I told him how I returned to Sicily and began my quest in search of my roots, he smiled and said: “Ricordati che questa é sempre la tua terra. Remember that this is always your land.”
Renée Restivo is a food writer who runs a cooking school in the town of Noto, Sicily.
A vendor sells an assortment of grilled items at the Shilin night market.
Photograph by Michael Wolf, laif/Redux
By Mei-Ling Hopgood
I pass through the turnstile at the exit of the Jiantan elevated train stop and follow a throng of thousands down the stairs and into Shilin, one of Taiwan’s most famous night markets across the Keelung River, near the heart of Taipei.
Above me, Chinese characters scrawled on brightly lit red, white, and yellow signs pierce the Taipei sky. Floodlights swing above women stirring noodles in cast-iron woks and flipping oyster omelets on sizzling grills. I can understand a small set of random, only moderately useful words—“I,” “good,” “beer,” “eat”—in the steady pulse of Mandarin and
Taiwanese shouted by vendors and passersby.
It is my first visit to the land where I was born, where most people have hair and eyes like mine, where I’m about as tall (or as short) as everyone else. Still, I am a foreigner, laowai. I left Taiwan in 1974, when I was an eight-month-old infant, to be raised by an American family in Detroit, a place that could not be more different from this. Taipei, located
about one hundred miles from the southeast coast of China, is a crowded landscape of skyscrapers, Buddhist temples, and weaving traffic. The market feels like a riotous blend of foreign sensations.
Fortunately, my Chinese sisters guide me. I discover I have six in Taiwan and one in Switzerland. A couple of days after our reunion, four of them lead me through the jungle of people at the night market, buying me shaved ice dripping with fruit and juices, and popping barbecued quail eggs into my mouth.
My sisters are ready to purchase anything for me. They want to show me their native hospitality. They want to make up for 23 years lost.
One of my older sisters holds up a pair of earrings.
“You like? Pretty!”
Dolphins. I’m grateful, but it’s not exactly my style. And their generosity is humbling, overwhelming. I smile and say, in my suddenly broken English, “Too much. Not necessary.”
She ignores me and bargains with the shopkeepers. They bark prices at each other and throw their arms into the air. But then they laugh, a deal is struck, and the merchandise thrust toward me.
We dodge the women selling neon T-shirts illegally from a rack in the middle of the street. Young girls with their hair dyed blond and pink try on sunglasses. Boys nose their mopeds through the fray.
I wander, puzzling over another menu I can’t understand. I’m a soggy noodle in the humidity of a Taiwan spring night. The growing mob pushes in, close.
“Xiaojie! Miss!” A woman calls to me and grabs my sleeve. She wants to sell me something. I shrug the universal sign for “I don’t know what you’re saying.”
My younger sister slips her hand into mine. The feeling of our intertwined fingers sends a jolt through my body.
In Taiwan, women commonly hold hands. As awkward as this intimacy feels to me, the American, I let her lead me away. The combination of this closeness, the dizzying smell of fried dumplings, and the screaming singsong of men selling fabric scissors leaves me breathless.
I’d never wanted to visit Taiwan or my biological family before, but here I am, feeling as if I never want to leave, magically assimilating to a place and people I’d never known. Later, I’ll look back and wonder if this intense sense of belonging was a dream, an illusion of desire. But during this first visit to Shilin, I could not feel more at home. I let the
night market absorb me. I’m a rainbow sign promising the best bargain, a shrimp in a neon tank, a piece of tofu sweltering in soup. The colorful Chinese characters stacked high above us leave a brilliant stamp in my memory.
My sisters and I meander through the damp streets and alleys, stopping here and there to inspect a pair of platform sandals. We shake our hips to the Mandarin pop blaring from shop speakers. My heart feels so open it bleeds as we hold tightly to one another’s hands and slide through the crowd like a snake.
Mei-Ling Hopgood is the author of Lucky Girl and How Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm.
Hola amigos: Today I bring you “The History of Puerto Rico – First Part Chapter 24 – GENERAL CONDITION OF THE ISLAND FROM 1815 TO 1833. Regulations for promoting the population, commerce, industry, and agriculture of Puerto Rico were given to instill life and vigor into the colony. Free land was granted to them and they brought capital and agricultural knowledge and habits of industry and skill in cultivation that was imitated and acquired by the natives. ES
Puerto Rico 1800 Image
The History of Puerto Rico
by RA Van Middeldyk
GENERAL CONDITION OF THE ISLAND
FROM 1815 TO 1833
That Ferdinand should, while engaged in cruel persecution of his best
subjects in the Peninsula, think of dictating liberal laws for this
island is an anomaly which can be explained only by its small
In August, 1815, there appeared a decree entitled “Regulations for
promoting the population, commerce, industry, and agriculture of
Puerto RicoIt embrace every object, and provided for all the
various incidents that could instill life and vigor into an infant colony.
It held out the most flattering prospects to industrious and
enterprising foreigners. It conferred the rights and privileges of
Spaniards on them and their children. Lands were granted to them
gratis, and no expenses attended the issue of titles and legal
documents constituting it private property. The quantity of land
allotted was in proportion to the number of slaves introduced by each
new settler. The new colonists were not to be subject to taxes or
export duty on their produce, or import duties on their agricultural
implements. If war should be declared between Spain and their native
country, their persons and properties were to be respected, and if
they wished to leave the island they were permitted to realize on
their property and carry its value along with them, paying 10 per cent
on the surplus of the capital they had brought. They were exempted
from the capitation tax or personal tribute. Each slave was to pay a
tax of one dollar yearly after having been ten years in the island.
During the first five years the colonists had liberty to return to
their former places of residence, and in this case could carry with
them all that they had brought without being obliged to pay export
duty. Those who should die in the island without heirs might leave
their property to their friends and relations in other countries. The
heirs had the privilege of remaining on the same conditions as the
testators, or if they preferred to take away their inheritance they
might do so on paying a duty of 15 per cent.
The colonists were likewise exonerated from the payment of tithes for
fifteen years, and at the end of that period they were to pay only
12 per cent. They were equally free, for the same period, from the
payment of alcabala, and at the expiration of the specified term
they were to pay 2 12 per cent, but if they shipped their produce to
Spain, nothing. The introduction of negroes into the island was to be
perpetually free. Direct commerce with Spain and the other Spanish
possessions was to be free for fifteen years, and after that period
Puerto Rico was to be placed on the same footing with the other
Spanish colonies. These concessions and exemptions were contained in
thirty-three articles, and though, at the present day, they may seem
but the abolition of unwarrantable abuses, at the time the concessions
were made they were real and important and produced salutary effects.
They brought foreigners possessing capital and agricultural knowledge
into the country, whose habits of industry and skill in cultivation
soon began to be imitated and acquired by the natives.
The effects of the revolution of 1820 were felt in Puerto Rico as well
as in Spain. The concentration of civil and military power in the
hands of the captains-general ceased, but party spirit began to show
its disturbing influence. The press, hitherto muffled by political and
ecclesiastical censors, often went to the extremes of abuse and
personalities. Mechanics and artisans began to neglect their workshops
to listen to the harangues of politicians on the nature of governments
and laws. Agriculture and commerce diminished. Great but ineffectual
efforts were made to induce the people of Puerto Rico to follow the
example of the colonies on the continent and proclaim their
This state of affairs lasted till 1823, when, through French
intervention, the constitutional Government in Spain was overthrown,
and a second reactionary period set in even worse in its
manifestations of odium to progress and liberty than the one of 1814.
The leading men of the fallen government, to escape death or
imprisonment, emigrated. Among them was O’Daly, who, after living some
time in London, settled in Saint Thomas, where he earned a precarious
living as teacher of languages.
* * * * *
In 1825 the island’s governor was Lieutenant-General Miguel de la
Torre, Count de Torrepando, who was invested by the king with
viceregal powers, which he used in the first place to put a stop to
the organized system of defalcation that existed. The proof of the
efficacy of the timely and vigorous proceedings which he employed was
the immediate increase of the public revenue, which from that day
continued rapidly to advance. The troops in garrison and all persons
employed in the public service were regularly paid, nearly half the
arrears of back pay were gradually paid off, confidence was restored,
and “more was accomplished for the island during the last seven years
of Governor La Torre’s administration (from 1827 to 1834), and more
money arising from its revenues was expended on works of public
utility, than the total amounts furnished for the same object during
the preceding 300 years.” 
The era of prosperity which marked the period of Count de Torrepando’s
administration, and which at the same time prevailed in Cuba also, was
largely due to the advent in these Antilles of many of the best and
wealthiest citizens of Venezuela, Colombia, and Santo Domingo, who,
driven from their homes by the incessant revolutions, to escape
persecution settled in them, and infused a new and healthier element
in the lower classes of the population.
The condition of Puerto Rican society at this period, though much
improved since 1815, still left much to be desired. The leaders of
society were the Spanish civil and military officers, who, with little
prospect of returning to the Peninsula, married wealthy creole women
and made the island their home. Their descendants form the aristocracy
of today. Next came the merchants and shopkeepers, active and
industrious Catalans, Gallegos, Mallorquins, who seldom married but
returned to the Peninsula as soon as they had made sufficient money.
These and the soldiers of the garrison made a transitory population.
Tradesmen and artisans, as a rule, were creoles. Besides these, the
island swarmed with adventurers of all countries, who came and went as
fortune favored or frowned.
There was another class of “whites” who made up no inconsiderable
portion of the population–namely, the convicts who had served out
their time in the island’s fortress. Few of them had any inducements
to return to their native land. They generally succeeded in finding a
refuge with some family of colored people, and it may be supposed that
this ingraftment did not enhance the morality of the class with whom
they mixed. The evil reputation which Puerto Rico had in the French
and English Antilles as being an island where rape, robbery, and
assassination were rife was probably due to this circumstance, and not
altogether undeserved, for we read that in 1827 the municipal
corporation of Aguadilla discussed the convenience of granting or
refusing permission for the celebration of the annual Feast of the
Conception, which had been suspended since 1820 at the request of the
curate, “on account of the gambling, rapes, and robberies that
Horse-racing and cock-fighting remained the principal amusement of the
populace. Every house and cabin had its game-cock, every village its
licensed cockpit. The houses of all classes were built of wood; the
cabins of the “jibaros” were mere bamboo hovels, where the family,
males and females of all ages, slept huddled together on a platform of
boards. There were no inns in country or town, except one in the
capital. Schools for both sexes were wanting, a few youths were sent
by their parents to be educated in France or Spain or the United
States, and after two or three years returned with a little
About this time the formation of a militia corps of 7,000 men was a
step in the right direction. The people, dispersed over the face of
the country, living in isolated houses, had little incentive to
industry. Their wants were few and easily satisfied, and their time
was spent swinging in a hammock or in their favorite amusements. The
obligation to serve in the militia forced them to abandon their
indolent and unsocial habits and appear in the towns on Sundays for
drill. They were thus compelled to be better dressed, and a salutary
spirit of emulation was produced. This created new wants, which had to
be supplied by increased labor, their manners were softened, and if
their morals did not gain, they were, at least, aroused from the
listless inactivity of an almost savage life to exertion and social
Such were the social conditions of the island when the death of
Ferdinand VII gave rise to an uninterrupted succession of political
upheavals, the baneful effects of which were felt here.
[Footnote 49: Duty on the sale of produce or articles of commerce.]
[Footnote 50: In 1834 the Queen Regent, Maria Christina, gave him
permission to reside in Puerto Rico. Two years later he was reinstated
in favor and was made Military Governor of Cartagena. He died in
Madrid a few years later.]
[Footnote 51: Colonel Flinter. An Account of the Present State of the
Island of Puerto Rico. London, 1834.]
[Footnote 52: Brau, p. 284.]
Family Tree Magazine
We have the ancient Egyptians to thank for setting us on the road to today’s $28,000-plus weddings. They came up with the idea of getting engaged to make sure a couple was compatible, as well as tossing rice or grain—symbolic of fertility—during the ceremony. Originally, however, the dowry was reversed, with the groom paying the bride’s family. (Wedding comes from the Anglo-Saxon word wedd, meaning “pledge” as well as “bet” or “wager,” a guarantee paid by the groom once a marriage was negotiated.)
Couples have been exchanging wedding rings since Pharaohs time, too, though it was the ancient Romans who decided the ring should go on the third finger, which they believed was connected straight to the heart. This tradition was cemented in medieval times when Christian grooms would place the wedding ring in turn on the first three fingers, for God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, leaving it on the last. Traditions differed on right versus left hand, but in England, a 1549 edict by Edward VI settled the question in favor of the left.
Romans also invented the wedding-cake tradition, in the form of a loaf of barley bread the groom would break over the bride’s head. In medieval England, wedding guests brought small sweet buns they piled in front of the newlyweds, who tried to kiss over the stacked sweets. Success meant lots of children ahead. Beginning in the
mid-1600s, there might also be a bride’s pie, in which a glass ring was hidden; whoever got the ring was said to be next to marry.
Wedding cakes became popular in the 19th century, although only the wealthiest couples had the multitiered extravaganzas expected today. Grooms got their own cake, typically dark to contrast with the primary white cake, a tradition that persists mainly in England and the American South.
Bridesmaids, not florists, were responsible for assembling the bridal bouquet, which could well have seasoned the wedding feast: Garlic was included to ward off evil spirits, sage for wisdom, dill for lust. Flower girls carried sheaves of wheat—still more encouragement to fertility—rather than posies. Later, roses and rosemary became popular for the bridal garland, and there was a mania for orange blossoms because the orange tree bears fruits and flowers at the same time (again, fertility symbolism).
Weddings were held in the morning, sometimes followed by a celebratory breakfast. Not until the 1880s was it considered proper to get married as late as three in the afternoon.
The father of the bride has long been expected to pay for all this. In Elizabethan times, however, a bride helped pay for her wedding by selling ale in the village.
Early American weddings were typically held in a family’s home. The bride wore her best dress, which might be a simple calico smock or linen shift. Black wedding dresses were most practical, as the bride could one day be buried in the same outfit. Brides who could afford a special gown favored blue, the Biblical color of purity. The symbolism persists in the “something blue” of the popular saying.
By that time, a nascent wedding-planner business had begun, and photographers had realized that they could make money capturing the occasion. In the 1920s and 1930s, department stores introduced bridal registries and bridal shops popped up.
Las Vegas, with a budding tourist industry and some of the nation’s loosest marriage-license requirements, also started cashing in. Clara Bow and Rex Bell were among the first celebrities to get hitched in Vegas, in 1931. Wedding chapels were soon almost as popular as casinos, and today the self-proclaimed “Wedding Capital of the World” issues 120,000 marriage licenses every year.
Hola amigos: Hoy les traigo las recetas de mis mejores amigos Tere y Fernan para una cena completa: pollo con tamarindo, arroz con cebolla como plato principal, y de postre, el flan de queso de su esposo Fernan. Buen apetito!
Imagen Pollo con Salsa de Tamarindo
Ingredientes Pollo con Tamarindo
2 pechugas de pollo grandes
sal y pimienta a gusto
un poco de aceite
un poco de mantequilla
2 dientes de ajo
1 lata de jugo concentrado de tamarindo
1/2 taza de vino tinto
pizca de azúcar
pizca de sal
Instrucciones del Pollo con Tamarindo
Cortar las pechugas de pollo en tiras o trozos pequeños y sofreir con el aceite de oliva, la mantequilla, la sal y la pimienta.
Añadir la cebolla cortada en trozos pequeños y los 2 ajos molidos.
Dejar cocer a fuego mediano durante 10 a 20 minutos en lo que la cebolla caramelice y se unan los jugos.
Agregue el jugo de tamarindo y el vino tinto y dejar hervir para que todos los jugos se combinen con el pollo y se unan los sabores.
Pruébelo y agregue un poco de azúcar y un poco de sal (si es necesario) para ese delicioso sabor agridulce.
Ingredientes Arroz con Cebolla
2 tazas de arroz
2 a 3 tazas de agua (dependiendo si usa el sobre o la lata de sopa de cebolla)
1/2 cebolla grande
1 sobre o lata de sopa de cebolla
1 cucharadita de salsa inglesa
Instrucciones de Arroz con Cebolla
Mezclar el arroz, agua y sal.
Añadir la cebolla cortada en trozos pequeños o ristras, la sopa de cebolla, el cilantro y la salsa, dejar que hierva.
Cocine cubierto a fuego lento.
Ingredientes del Flan de Queso
1 queso crema 8oz
1 lata de leche evaporada
1 lata de leche condensada
Instrucciones del Flan de Queso
1 taza de azúcar a fuego lento hasta que este caramelizado, dejar enfriar en el molde para hornear.
Mezclar los huevos y el queso crema con un tenedor, (muy importante si quieres un flan de queso, no un bizcocho de queso).
Añadir la leche, condensada y evaporada, mezclar y hornear a 350 por alrededor de 45 minutos a 1 hora en un molde de hornear dentro de otro mas grande con agua hasta la mitad (Baño de Maria).
Dejar enfriar y servir.
Hola amigos: Today I bring you my best friends Tere and Fernan’s famous whole dinner recipe of tamarind chicken (pollo con tamarindo) with onion rice (arroz con cebolla) as the main dish, and for desert, her husband’s Fernan delicious cheese custard (flan de queso). Enjoy!
Tamarind Chicken Image
Tamarind Chicken Ingredients
2 big chicken breasts
salt and pepper to taste
a little olive oil
a little butter
2 garlic cloves
1 can concentrated tamarind juice
1/2 cup red wine
pinch of sugar
pinch of salt
Tamarind Chicken Instructions
Cut chicken breasts in small slices or chunks and stir fry with the olive oil, butter, salt and pepper.
Add the onion cut in little pieces and the 2 garlic smashed . Let it cook in medium heat for 10 minutes so the onion caramelizes and the juices unite.
Add the tamarind juice and the red wine and let it boil so all the juices combine and the chicken get the flavors.
Taste it and add a little bit of sugar and a little bit of salt ( if needed) for that delicious sweet and sour taste.
Onion Rice Image
Onion Rice Ingredients
2 cups rice
2 – 3 cups water
1/2 big onion
1 onion soup envelope or can
1 tsp of Worcestershire sauce
Onion Rice Instructions
Mix the rice, water and salt.
Add the onion cut in little pieces, the onion soup, the cilantro and the sauce, let it boil.
Simmer covered until done.
Cheese Custard Image
Fernan’s Cheese Custard Ingredients
1 8oz cream cheese
1 can evaporated milk
1 can condensed milk
Cheese Custard Instructions
1 cup of sugar in low heat until caramelized, let it cool in baking pan
Mix the eggs and cream cheese with a fork, (very important if you want a cheese custard, not a cheese cake).
Add the milk, condensed and evaporated, mix together and bake at 350 for around 1 hour in a bigger baking pan half filled with water (Bano de Maria).
Let it cool and serve.
Best Irish Genealogy Websites Image
Family Tree magazine
Take it from someone who’s 1/16th Irish: Americans are proud as can be of even the tiniest sliver of Irish heritage. Especially around St. Patrick’s Day (which falls in the middle of Irish American Heritage Month).
A strong sense of community amid many hardships helped build that pride. During the 19th century, the heaviest era of Irish immigration to the United States due to the Great Famine (1845-1852), Irish arrivals faced prejudice, poverty, substandard housing and other problems. Some numbers for you:
- Almost 3.5 million Irishmen entered the United States between 1820 and 1880. Most stayed in large East Coast cities, partly because they couldn’t afford to continue west and partly because they could create close-knit communities with others from their place of origin.
- In 1847, the first major year of famine emigration, 37,000 Irish Catholics arrived in Boston, according to the History Place, where they packed into slums. A sobering statistic from the site: “Sixty percent of Irish children born in Boston during this period didn’t live to see their sixth birthday. Adult Irish lived on average just six years after stepping off the boat.”
- The same year, about 52,000 Irish arrived in New York City. About 650,000 Irish arrived there during the entire Famine period.
- About 11.9 percent of the US population reported Irish ancestry as part of the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey in 2008, making this the country’s second-largest heritage group.
Are you ready to research your Irish ancestors? Start with US records and work your way back to the immigrant generation, looking for a place of birth in Ireland—you’ll need this info to search in Irish records.
These are some of our favorite Irish research websites (several are free):
- Griffith’s Valuation: Ask About Ireland has a free search of Griffith’s Primary Valuation, a valuation of property in Ireland between 1847 and 1864. It’s an important resource for 19th-century Irish research, especially given the destruction of census records from that era. The March/April 2013 Family Tree Magazine has a tutorial for this site.
- Census of Ireland, 1901 and 1911: The National Archives of Ireland offers these censuses for free, along with a trove of historical information. Our video class will show you how to mine the clues in these censuses, even if your ancestors left Ireland before 1901.
- findmypast.ie: This new subscription site (with a pay-as-you-go option) has records of births, marriages and deaths (aka BMDs); courts and prisons; military; immigration; land and estates; as well as newspapers, directories and Griffith’s Valuation.
- Information Wanted: Also free is this database of “missing friends” from the Boston Pilot newspaper, which published notices from those looking for lost friends from Ireland. The column ran from 1831 to 1921; this site has 1831 to 1893 plus 1901 and 1913.
- Irish Genealogy: This site from the Irish Minister of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht is dedicated to Irish genealogy and genealogical tourism. You can search nearly 3 million pre-1900 church records free, and view the actual record if it’s been digitized.
- Ancestry.com: Subscription site Ancestry.com has Irish records including Griffith’s Valuation, tithe applotment books (a tax paid to the Church of Ireland from 1823 to 1837), Ordnance Survey maps, BMDs and more.
- FamilySearch: Free Irish record collections here include civil registration indexes, prison registers, tithe applotment books and more.
- NARA: Passenger Lists: The National Archives’ Access to Archival Databases has passenger indexes including Records for Passengers Who Arrived at the Port of New York During the Irish Famine. It covers 1846 to 1851 and lists people of all nationalities, not just Irish.
Best Price $33.50
or Buy New $37.95
El Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña (ICPR) es la agencia gubernamental responsable de establecer la política cultural del Gobierno de Puerto Rico. Sus principales objetivos son estudiar y conservar nuestro patrimonio histórico-cultural y promover la cultura puertorriqueña y sus diversas manifestaciones. Sus programas cubren los variados aspectos de nuestra cultura: artes, artes plasticas, artes populares, arqueología, museos, parques, monumentos, zonas históricas, música, publicaciones, grabaciones, teatro, danza, Archivo General y la Biblioteca Nacional.
Imagen Edificio Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña (ICPR)
El ICPR cuenta con centros culturales por toda la isla que comparten la promoción de nuestra cultura.
En cuanto a la genealogía, el ICP sirve como un recurso importante para los investigadores. El Archivo General de Puerto Rico del ICP, es el mayor repositorio de documentos históricos en la isla donde se conserva nuestro patrimonio histórico documental: texto, graficas (planos, mapas, dibujos), impresos (periódicos, revistas), fotografía películas y grabaciones.
La Sala de Estudio y Referencia del Archivo General, ofrece servicios de referencia y consulta a estudiantes, agencias de
gobierno, municipios, ciudadanos, historiadores y público en general. La Sala provee fotocopias y certificación de documentos, servicio de reproducción de películas y videos ademas de atender consultas de referencia a través del teléfono. ES
Formulario de solicitud de la Sala de Estudio y Referencia del Archivo General
Tipo de identificación
Número de identificación
Su investigación es en calidad de:
Investigador Bona Fide
Reclamo a derechos
Institución educativa o gubernamental de procedencia
Para uso interno
Solicitud de información
Referidos a unidades dentro del AGPR
Archivo Imágenes en Movimiento
Archivo de Música y Sonido
Referidos fuera del AGPR
UPR Lázaro Col PR
UPR Lázaro Biblioteca Caribe Latinoamérica
UPR Censos, Documentos y Mapas
UPR Biblioteca Arquitectura
UPR Biblioteca Planificación
NARA – SIST Archivos
España – Archivos
Centro Estudios Biblioteca
Fundación L Muñoz Marín
Fundación R. Hernández Colón
Fundación L. Ferré Aguayo
Fundación Sila Calderón
Biblioteca Pedro Rosselló
Archivo Histórico Municipal Carolina
Archivo Histórico Municipal Caguas
Archivo Histórico Municipal Juncos
Archivo Histórico Municipal Mayagüez
Archivo Histórico Municipal Ponce
Archivo Histórico Municipal San Germán
Archivo inactivo Carreteras