My Mami is in the process of moving back to Puerto Rico after nearly 12 years in Florida (We moved there summer of 1995). She has been talking about this for a very long time, and is finally doing it, or rather she will fully be doing it once her house sells in Orlando.
It reminded me of some of the adjustments I had to make when I left Puerto Rico to go to Calvin.
" I remember how eerily quiet it was in Michigan when I first moved there. Looking back, it really wasn't. I lived in a dorm and you could hear the East-beltline traffic but it wasn't nearly as rich. I went back to Papi's apartment that Christmas and I left a recorder on the top terrace and made a tape of night sounds. It was awesome, helicopters, sirens, random street noise, and crickets and coquis. Just right. I amused Tarra very much when I played it for her.
We hardly get any incidental street noise here in the winter. In the summer it is different story, we hear the kids from across the street playing street hockey late into the evening (since the sun won't set till after 9:00 pm) and is not unsual to accidently eavesdrop on our neighbors who basically live in their back porch in the summer, listening to the radio and talking. I think what really makes a difference is not having central air. With you windows open to get the breeze, yet get the sounds of life."
I also remember how noisy our apartment on Lyon street was. Back at my house in Benjamin St. We didn't get much noise, since it was typical residential street. But our Apartment on Lyon was on busier street, just upstairs and next-door to upscale wine store. There was always a lot of movement on the street. People walking by, talking, delivery trucks..etc. But the only downside was when the power went out in the summer, and they started up the generators by the backdoor which was basically just underneath our Windows. ugh. I can still remember the stink. It always made the hot sticky stormy worst.
Mami has also been talking about how much more human interactions she gets in Puerto Rico. I am sure giving up her garage, and having to walk from the parking lot to her house it going to be another social occasion. I really hope that you can continue to see all these changes in a positive way.
It sort of reminds me a of conversation I had with Abuela Gisela about 2 years ago. She was telling me about how she knew when her kids were moving back to Puerto Rico for good. It was when they were realistic and content about their experiences in Puerto Rico. If they were complaining too much about how things are done, she knew they were heading back to the US soon. Summarizing it this way makes it seem really straight forwards, but the way she said it was very wise. It was about being able to discern which comments showed their true desires. How they might say that they want to be in Puerto Rico, but their critical attitudes showed that they weren't ready to be back home yet. How they didn't want to be back home bad enough. And she should know, at that point she had seen nearly everyone of her kids and many of grand children leave Puerto Rico at some point.
In lots of ways I miss Puerto Rico, but I don't think I am anywhere near the level of contentment or need I need to have to move back home. I just wish some of the tastes of home would be easier to come by or easier to get too.