Tag Archives: moving to Puerto Rico

Spotlight City: Cabo Rojo

Don’t Miss Cabo Rojo!

If you are considering traveling to Puerto Rico, are new to the island, or just need a diversion from your daily routine in the metropolitan area, head to Cabo Rojo! Cabo Rojo, located on the very Southwestern tip of the island, is a small community that offers big time views. Those views, and much more, make Cabo Rojo a must-see despite its distance from San Juan.

Although a trip to Cabo Rojo and back can be completed in a day, it’s a long day of driving so most people make a weekend of it, staying in one of the many small hotels or paradors in the area. Grand Bahía Ocean View Hotel, one of these hotels, is sandwiched between the salt flats and the mangroves, providing a secluded area from which to watch the sun set. The chefs and wait staff at the on-site restaurant, Agua al Cuello, never fail to give you an unforgettable dining experience of fresh seafood and delectable desserts.

From the pool deck of Grand Bahía Ocean View Hotel you can see the Cabo Rojo Lighthouse off to the left. This is an ideal place for photographers and travel enthusiasts. El Faro Los Morillos (as it is called in Spanish) was constructed in 1882 to help sailors through the Mona Passage. Today it is one of Puerto Rico’s most picturesque sights. Set high above the Caribbean waters atop limestone cliffs, the Cabo Rojo lighthouse stands as a beacon summoning visitors and residents alike. Be sure to bring your camera because these are images you won’t want to forget. And keep children near you at all times since there are no guardrails to protect them.

On the other side of the lighthouse is Playa Sucia, a secluded beach for a refreshing dip after climbing the hill to the lighthouse. This inlet in the Caribbean Ocean is a favorite among locals, but can be a challenge to get to if you have kids or lots to carry. Our recommendation would be to pack light because the path is not always accessible via automobile. That way you can truly relax beachfront and enjoy the incredible view and warm sunshine.

For nature enthusiasts, the area also features the Cabo Rojo National Wildlife Refuge. Those up for a good hike will witness native birds and plants while wandering through the subtropical dry forest. In and around the Interpretive Center (open Thursday through Sunday) you can get more details about the history of the area, including the salt flats, as well as the birds that frequent the area. Guides are also available for a fee. Be sure to bring your sunscreen, bug spray, and water and wear appropriate clothing for hiking! The trails are not long, but the sun is hot!

As you can see, for rest and relaxation, Cabo Rojo is where it’s at! Make sure to include it on your Puerto Rican bucket list!

Watch for other Spotlight City posts from around Puerto Rico courtesy of your Relocation Specialist in Puerto Rico, Global Perceptions!

 

 

 

Who are we? What do we do? Get to know Global Perceptions!

 

Who are we? What do we do? Get to know Global Perceptions!

By: Julie L. Parenteau, Ph.D.

 

cropped-GP-Logo1.jpg

If you are new to Puerto Rico or are thinking of moving here, we are a crucial resource for you. Whether coming alone, with family, or with your small business, we provide what you need from start to finish. Learn more about who we are and what we do at this link.

http://eepurl.com/bbi_2z

 

Intrigued? Want to know more? Contact our relocation experts to start planning your move to Puerto Rico!

Vegan food options in Vieques, Puerto Rico!

New to Puerto Rico? Struggling to find healthy food alternatives? Try these tasty ideas for your visit to Vieques!

http://ow.ly/2Thbp3

Lighthouse in Vieques

Lighthouse in Vieques

For additional relocation assistance following your move to Puerto Rico, please contact Global Perceptions. We provide relocation and language learning programs for your whole family as well as corporate communication training. Contact us today!

 

 

5 Tips for Bringing Fall to Life as an Expat

A healthy fall treat that will leave your house smelling heavenly!

5 Tips for Bringing Fall to Life as an Expat

By: Julie L. Parenteau, Ph.D., Owner/President of Global Perceptions

 

Fall is my favorite time of year. There’s something about the cool, crisp air ushering in the season that makes me feel renewed. Sipping hot chocolate after Friday night high school football games and picking apples from a nearby orchard add to my giddiness. Or at least

A healthy fall treat that will leave your house smelling heavenly!

A healthy fall treat that will leave your house smelling heavenly!

they did! Since moving to Puerto Rico eight years ago, I have seen precious little of the colorful trees shining in the setting sun. In Puerto Rico, there is only a slight difference from one season to another. So slight in fact, that I forget that seasons even change. That’s a pretty big change for a Midwestern girl accustomed to greeting the seasons with gusto.

Despite my change of venue, I have found ways to bring my favorite season to life, even in the Caribbean! Here are my top 5 ways to keep fall alive for expatriates living in Puerto Rico and other tropical locations.

 

1) Watch American Football

I am a HUGE Green Bay Packers fan! It’s hard to grow up in Wisconsin and not be. If American football is one of your passions, carry it to your new home and watch your team with local fans. Win or lose, cheer or jeer, get together as a family over nachos and chili, just like home. Sometimes even just the consistent schedule of games will help you recreate the fall feeling.

 

2) Bake, Bake, Bake

Get our your mixer and have a bake-a-thon! Fall without recipes made of pumpkin, apple and cranberry just wouldn’t be fall. Let the scents of cakes, breads, cookies, pies and muffins waft through your house, creating a sensation that transports you to the coziness of a fireplace-heated living room. Imagine yourself wearing flannel pajamas as you crack

A healthy fall treat that will leave your house smelling heavenly!

A healthy fall treat that will leave your house smelling heavenly!

eggs, even though you are likely in shorts and a tank top. If you think ahead, you can even have pumpkin spice and butterscotch shipped right to your door via online shopping! And you’ll have something delicious to eat afterward!

 

3) Buy a new sweater

The feel of a new sweater is such a fall thing. The softness and warmth that it emits even while on the store rack beckons the aimless shopper. Cashmere, knit, wool….they all call out, promising to comfort in the best and worst of times. And somehow you know that whether it’s a cool gray or warm cranberry color, you will be comforted by its thread.

 

4) Pick up scented candles

When you start dreaming of enjoying Saturday afternoon walks in the park, listening to the crunch of the fallen leaves beneath your hiking boots, you know it’s time to find a

Sometimes giving into  your desires is the best thing you can do!

Sometimes giving into your desires is the best thing you can do!

substitute. Candles work wonders! Pick up something that screams FALL to you. I personally like apple-scented candles, but there are lots to pick from. Find one that works for you and light it!

 

5) Get on the plane

For those times when the nostalgia simply takes over and you have to see, feel, hear, taste and touch the fall, get on the plane and reward yourself with a few days in a place that offers just what you need. Consider a trip mid-October to early November in places like Washington, D.C. or Kansas City. The temperatures still aren’t too cold during the day, but they offer crisp nights perfect for trying out that new sweater.

 

For more ideas on making your transition to Puerto Rico a positive experience, consult with the Relocation Specialists at Global Perceptions! We have the local experience, but the global reach. Visit us TODAY at http://global-perceptions.com/

 

“Linked to the My Global Life Link-Up at SmallPlanetStudio.com” – See more at: http://www.smallplanetstudio.com/2014/09/26/september-mygloballife-link-up/#sthash.UM54udoA.dpuf

Making independence possible

disoriented

Written by Dr. Julie L. Parenteau, President of Global Perceptions

 

July 4, 2006 marked a new chapter in my life. It was the first day that I woke up in Puerto Rico. I awoke with incredibly uncertainty. Had I made the right decision in coming? Would I figure out how to get around? How long would it take me to learn enough Spanish to communicate effectively?

 

The next two weeks were filled with challenges and doubts. It was so hot!! The power went out several times, which made me even more miserable. I tried going out once or twice, but got lost so badly and was so nervous about crashing the loaner car in the crazy traffic that Itemperature stayed put the rest of the time. That meant I did not speak with anyone either. I remember watching movies and working on scrapbook pages to fill the time.

 

In other words, I was bored out of my mind. I had moved to paradise, but felt paralyzed. This was not what I was expecting. Such an outgoing, ambitious woman should not have these feelings despite being in another country. Or so I thought…

 

Then I remembered what I had learned over the years about cultural adaptation. Even the most seasoned expatriates experienced culture shock symptoms to some degree. Now that it was no longer just theory, but rather actual lived experience, I realized that I was simply going through culture shock and needed to give myself some time. I would have my ups and disorienteddowns. I just needed to stay the course. I also realized that I could see the situation as a challenge or as an opportunity. I could continue to dwell on the things that were making me miserable or I could change my outlook. I chose the second option.

 

The past eight years have not been easy. I will be the first to admit that. However, taking on an “If you can’t beat them, join them” attitude made it possible for me to get through that first year and those that followed. My Spanish is now good enough that I teach Spanish to other expatriates. I know where I’m going and can maneuver through the traffic without fear. I avoid going back to Wisconsin in the winter because it’s so cold. I’m still not thrilled about power outages, but I know how to deal with them.

 

So if you ask me today if I made the right decision, I will tell you “Yes, I made the right P1030117decision.”  I am happy in Puerto Rico. I have become a successful entrepreneur. I have grown as an individual and have gained an incredible family of friends, students, and supporters. Because of them, I have the courage to continue living here and have the faith to believe that things will get better. Because of them, I am who I am–a free independent AmeRican. On this Fourth of July, I celebrate my independence and my extended family of boricuas who have made my independence possible! Cheers to you all!

 

For more information on relocating to or from Puerto Rico, contact Global Perceptions. We are your relocation specialists in Puerto Rico! From individuals to couples to entire families, we will help you all through the process with cultural orientation, coaching, language, and concierge services. Call us TODAY at 7874557764 or visit http://global-perceptions.com/.

cropped-GP-Logo1.jpg

Dancing Through the Adaptation Process

Dancing Through the Adaptation Process

by Julie L. Parenteau, Ph.D., President of Global Perceptions

 

As a newcomer in Puerto Rico, I was looking for ways to immerse myself in the local language and culture so that my cultural adaptation process would be a little smoother and so I would be a more credible intercultural communication professor. One of the things that really intrigued me about Puerto Rican culture was salsa dancing. I asked around on campus and one of my students told me about a place nearby that was starting salsa lessons. I vowed to find out more. The following week, my cultural orientation to life in Puerto Rico grew to include what would become an incredible personal passion. Let me tell you how it all started….

Y todo comenzo....

Y todo comenzo….

Seeing the line of people standing outside the local club, I feel anxiety rise within me. I took some salsa lessons in the States, but this is Puerto Rico, home of all things related to salsa, and that alone makes me nervous. Stepping out of the car, I slowly walk the dark street to join the line. I have no idea what I will find inside, but I am hopeful. I love salsa music and the dances that accompany the music so this will be an adventure. The line moves and within minutes I walk into the space. Noticing how many people are inside already, I wonder, “Is it really possible that all of these people fit in here? And how can we dance like this?” Looking around, I spot another American guy and walk up to introduce myself. He greets me and tells me he’s from Iowa. “What a coincidence,” I think, “another Midwesterner who looks like me and lives here, but speaks fluent Spanish and is interested in salsa dancing.” I didn’t think there were any other people like me around so this is a nice twist. We talk for another minute before the instructor steps onto the stage.

“Damas y caballeros, bienvenidos a nuestra primera clase de salsa,” the instructor begins adjusting the microphone attached to his lapel.

salsa cambio en clave

Cambio en Clave! The key to my success!

The wide-eyed audience looks at him, waiting for the first step. My new friend and I get into a line of people and face the instructor.

“Uno, dos, tres, cinco, seis, siete.”

Trying to see around all the others in front of us, our feet begin to move. “Oh yeah, I remember this!” Thankful for the previous lessons, I blend into the rest of the group as much as a white girl can. The class continues as we learn the first few steps. This part is easy.

“Ahora vamos a hacer las vueltas,” the instructor calls with a smile in his eyes.

Uncertainty waves through the audience as everyone starts talking to each other about how difficult turns are. Personally, I am wondering how we’re going to attempt turns when we’re packed in this space so tightly. Then I think about how easily Puerto Ricans fit their cars into the most impossible places and figure that if they dance like they park, this won’t be so bad. With a quick reminder of the order of the steps, I catch on. “Gosh have I missed this,” I admit. Feeling a bit nostalgic, I look around at the other people. Most people seem to be getting the idea. There is one guy however, who just can’t seem to make his feet move in the right order. Believing that I have enough skills at this point to teach him this basic turn, I offer to help him. After a couple of minutes he is turning on his own. “Mission accomplished!” I gloat, wondering if he ever thought a gringa would be teaching him salsa.

Putting new moves to the test!

Putting new moves to the test!

As the class comes to an end, I look to my American friend and ask if he’ll be back next week. He assures me that he’ll be there and we part ways. I drive home thinking that maybe despite all the other issues that I’m having, something about this country has redeeming value. I commit to making space in my schedule to participate in these salsa lessons each week because they make me believe that there is hope for me on this island.

 

Adapting to a new culture is challenging for all. If you are thinking of moving to Puerto Rico, I can help. I have been through the adaptation process in personal and professional settings and want to help you avoid the pitfalls that I discovered along the way. Don’t hestitate! REACH OUT TODAY and learn what it takes to successfully adapt to the culture and language of Puerto Rico!

Global Perceptions is a full-service communication and relocation consulting business based in San Juan, Puerto Rico. For more information on our services, visit www.global-perceptions.com or call 787.455.7764.

Wake-up Call

Written by Julie L. Parenteau, Ph.D., President of Global Perceptions Communication and Relocation Consulting

 

 Wake-up Call

IMAG0142Cocka doodle doo! Cocka doodle doo!

It’s early morning and the sky is still black. The normally bustling neighborhood is silent at this hour. Then it hits again.

Cocka doodle doo! Cocka doodle doo!

“All right, already, I’m awake,” I shout.

Through sleep-mattered eyes I peer at the clock—4:30am. It’s much too early for me to be awake, especially in the middle of July when there are no classes in session. This is supposed to be the time when I make up for all of the quality sleep time that I missed last semester, but it appears that someone, or rather something, has a different opinion.

Cocka doodle doo! Cocka doodle doo!

“All right, that’s it! I’m coming after you, you stupid bird!”

Feeling my blood boil, I wrap a pillow around my head. I have had enough of that ridiculous rooster waking me up before the crack of dawn, and I’ve only been here for a week. “So this is how the farmers live,” I think. The problem is that I am far from anything that resembles a farm to me and even when I lived in the small farm towns of Wisconsin, I was never bothered by a
P1020488self important rooster. Now that I am in the middle of a major metropolitan area, I certainly did not think that a rooster waking me up would be one of my dilemmas. Traffic jams and long lines were things that I expected. A rooster was not. I began to wonder just how people lived here. I mean why is there a rooster in the neighbor’s yard in the middle of the city anyway? This simply made no reasonable sense to me.

The next few minutes were silent and I drifted back to sleep. Dreams of the peaceful countryside back home filled my head allowing me to calm down. Half an hour later though, the rooster was back to his antics. “This is too much. How am I ever going to manage to survive here if I can’t even get a good night’s sleep?” I wonder. Giving up on sleep for the moment, I turn on the television. The bird may have won today, but I vow to win the overall tug of war battle with that bird. Before long, he will have met his match.

Or so I thought…fast-forward seven years and now all of my neighbors have roosters. In that time, I have learned to sleep through their wake-up calls and largely ignore then during the day. They no longer annoy me like they once did. Now my biggest concern is keeping my dogs from killing the darn roosters. In the beginning this challenge seemed insurmountable. Now it is an everyday occurrence. I guess the rooster won after all.

Two hours to the beach

261

Written by Julie L. Parenteau, Ph.D., President of Global Perceptions Communication and Relocation Consulting

 

I have had an interesting journey through my almost seven years in Puerto Rico. Until recently, I didn’t think that my story was all that special. A dear friend convinced me that we are all meant to tell our stories. With that in mind, I have gone back through my early writings to share some of my adventures with you.

 

Two hours to the beach

trafficIt’s now been two weeks since I arrived on the island. Determined not to let another day go by without a trip to the beach, I pack my sunscreen, towel, and a fashion magazine. Sliding my sunglasses over my ears, I give myself a pep talk and get into the red Honda that I am borrowing for the day. I slowly back out of the driveway and make my way onto the Expreso. Driving amidst the other cars on the highway is still my biggest fear. Not only do I have no idea where I’m going, but people constantly cut me off under the assumption that a turn-signal is an unnecessary form of communication. That really ticks me off. Back home someone who forgets to use their turn signal is considered rude. It’s only polite to indicate your desire to turn in a certain direction, allowing the surrounding traffic ample time to get out of the way. Knowing that it’s likely someone is going to cut me off, I pay extra attention to the surrounding traffic, often missing the sign for my exit.

 

But today, I am determined to find the one beach that I know how to access. There is no entrance fee and there is usually ample parking, so going to Isla Verde sounds ideal. Approaching the tunnel, several cars zoom from lane to lane in front of

minillas tunnelme. It’s dark in the tunnel and the lack of turn signals frightens me. I have no idea which way to go and am afraid to move from my position for fear of hitting someone. In the process of thinking through all of this, I veer to the left, heading toward San Juan. After a mile, I realize that I have made a mistake. I should have gone to the right as I exited the tunnel. Trying to correct my error, I pull off the highway and find myself in Condado. I recognize a few familiar sights. The water is several blocks away, but I can make out the crystal blue color in the distance.

“Well, I could go to this beach instead,” I say out loud. Changing my original plan, I look around for a parking space. After several blocks there is no space to be found—at least not any that I am willing to pull into in a borrowed car. I travel down a cross street trying to find a way back to the highway. The road seems to go East so I keep following it, hoping that it will eventually get me to Isla Verde. Feeling more confident, I travel on. Ten more minutes go by and then it appears on the horizon—El Morro. “How could this be? I was sure I was going toward Isla Verde.” Not knowing whether to laugh or cry at this point, I keep driving. “Eventually I am going to reach Isla Verde,” I state hesitantly.

261

I manage to get out of Old San Juan without too much trouble since I stayed in a hotel there on a previous trip. Passing by an area of hotels and restaurants that I recognize, I begin to get comfortable again. This time I am definitely going toward Isla Verde. I can see the highway and carefully merge with the traffic again. I go South, assuming that I’ll be able to get off near the tunnel and turn around.

 

“This looks like a promising exit. Let me take this one.” I pull off and immediately realize that this is not the exit that I should have taken. Again I am forced to search through the streets for an entrance back to the highway. Block after block passes, but I have no idea where I am. Eventually I realize that I have been driving the wrong way in a bus-only lane when a not-so-kind sizzlertaxi driver scolds me from his own vehicle. Feeling exasperated and frustrated, I finally find something that looks familiar. To my chagrin it looks familiar because I was just at this same spot twenty minutes earlier. For the third time in the last hour I pass by the Sizzler.

 

“Maybe I’m not supposed to go to the beach today,” I confess. Ready to give up, I get back on the highway and decide to go back home. Along the way, my determination rears its head again. By the time that I reach the exit for my neighborhood, I decide to try one more time. Now I know that I have to go to the right in the tunnel so maybe I will actually get there if I just start over. With a sense of renewed confidence, I turn the car around.

 

Half an hour later, I finally park the car in front of the beautiful blue waters. “I did it!” I find a space under a large palm tree and spread my towel over the fine grains of sand. Settling into an article in my magazine, I congratulate myself on overcoming the challenge of getting to this beach. It took me two hours, but I finally did it, and I did it all by myself. “See Julie, you just need some practice. You’ll get the hang of this,” I tell myself. Ten blissful minutes pass by and then they come—big, wet raindrops. “Just my luck, I guess I really wasn’t meant to be on the beach today.” I toss my wet towel and beach bag in the back seat and decide that a mid-afternoon nap could offer a bit of reprieve from what has happened over the last few hours. Fortunately by now, I know the way home.100_0117

 

For more information on Global Perceptions or its President, Dr. Julie Parenteau, please visit http://globalperceptions.net/ or our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Relocation.Specialist.PuertoRico

In the Beginning

Nearly seven years ago I got on the plane in Chicago and landed in San Juan. As I reached for my oversized suitcases at the lower level baggage claim, a man said “I hope you’re moving here with all those bags.” I responded, “Yeah, I am, thanks.” Assisted by one of the porters, I managed to get my luggage out the door. Outside the gate some Puerto Rican friends that I met in graduate school greeted me beneath the stars and humidity-drenched air. We stopped by the grocery store for a few essentials and then they took me to the house where I would stay while I searched for an apartment. That was how my journey started…

 

The first two weeks were the worst. My original plans for making the move had changed and I was now all on my own. It was early July so it was really hot and sticky, which caused the power to go out on several occasions. Not only was there no air-conditioning in those moments, but there was no fan and I couldn’t get the electric garage door open to leave. I was miserable. To add to that, I didn’t know where anything was and didn’t speak Spanish like the locals despite having studied Spanish for years. And the idea of venturing into what I deemed “treacherous traffic” was frightening, especially when driving a friend’s car. I began to wonder if I had made a big mistake.

 

Luckily for me, I found a small studio where I could live for as long as I needed. This at least gave me a project to develop. I ventured to the Kmart down the road and picked up a few furnishings, bed sheets, pots, and silverware. I tried to make the space my own as much as possible so I could begin to feel comfortable. It wasn’t exactly home, but it would work until a better option came along.

 

When my friends came back from vacation, I felt much better. At least I had someone to talk to and was no longer alone. They were very kind to me. We hung out a lot in the beginning and they filled me in on a lot of the “dos and don’ts” of living in Puerto Rico. When life got tough, they were there to support me and encourage me to keep going.

 

School started about six weeks after my arrival. Having a job and being surrounded by students gave me a sense of purpose. I was somebody, not just a shadow in a cramped room. As with any new job, the learning curve was steep, but my students
genuinely wanted me to succeed. They taught me about the culture and told me about places to visit. They made a difference in my life. I began to feel more confident as the semester progressed.

 

But that was just the beginning…

 

Seven years later, I look back on that experience and am surprised by how vividly I remember those initial feelings. It has been a long, hard road, but the friends that I have made along the way have helped me learn that taking the path less traveled opens up so many more possibilities in life. I would like to thank them and my students. I wouldn’t have made it without them.

Importance of cultural adaptation training in Puerto Rico


window in old san juanThe day has come! Your big move to Puerto Rico is before you! Your entire family, including the family pet have landed on the Island of Enchantment with visions of days spent on the beach in your heads. Just beyond those wishful thoughts, it’s likely that there’s also some uncertainty, confusion, or even disbelief swimming around. Even though Puerto Rico falls under the government policies of the United States, it is not the United States. Things work differently here and if you want to understand how they work, one of the best ways is to participate in a cultural adaptation training program. Cultural trainers, like those at Global Perceptions, offer insight and experience that only those who have been through the adaptation process can really understand.

Take it from me, Dr. Julie Parenteau, President of Global Perceptions, living in Puerto Rico without any cultural or linguistic knowledge makes life very difficult. When I moved here in 2006 communicating with native Puerto Ricans was extremely challenging both because I had trouble understanding them, and because they didn’t understand the words I learned during 10 years of Spanish instruction. Not having a corporate sponsor also forced me to do everything on my own. If I had had a Global Perceptions cultural training program, I would have understood more and had fewer problems during my cultural transition.

Without such a program, I spent the first three years perpetually lost. It didn’t matter where I went, I would get turned around all because I didn’t understand where anything was in relation to anything else. I got in the wrong lines, wound up in areas where a single woman shouldn’t have been, spent much more than necessary for everyday services, and generally felt frustrated.

playa sucia

This doesn’t have to be your experience! Don’t allow yourself to agonize and lose sleep over your relocation to Puerto Rico. Make the decision today to invest in yourself with our cultural adaptation training programs! Puerto Rico is an amazing country with so much to offer, so let us help you navigate your trip.

 

For more information about cultural adaptation training programs offered by Global Perceptions, your relocation authority in Puerto Rico, contact us at 787.455.7764 or visit our webpage: www.globalperceptions.net. We will happily prepare a proposal free of charge!

« Older Entries