By: Andrea González-Ramírez
Los Que Se Fueron is a collection of one-on-one interviews with the purpose of highlighting the unique experiences of young boricuas who decide to move to the U.S. The inspiration came from my being one of those who left – I’ve always felt that is a very conflicting position in which to be. There are so many opposing forces when you become part of the Diaspora: Puerto Ricans are “privileged” to be U.S. citizens and it’s easier for us to move, it’s as simple as just buying a plane ticket. However, I still think that we go through the “immigrant experience” and have the same challenges as any other diaspora. It’s a constant struggle with the language, the weather, the misconceptions or stereotypes about us and the dreams of going back, among other things. And at the same time, we struggle with the perception that people back home have about us. On one hand, you’re a traitor if you left the sinking ship and don’t plan to go back. On the other, you’re perceived as an idiot by many people if you express your desire to return. It’s a contradiction, which I suppose is part of who we are as boricuas. For this project, I wanted to emphasize those opposing ideas, the diversity of experiences and all the nuances that are part of each story of these young Puerto Ricans.
The project originated because I just recently finished my master’s degree, and in the process of taking a break in between school and looking for a job, I wanted to keep writing meaningful stories. I thought about starting a blog and one day the idea just came to me, like magic. I realized I could name off the top of my head almost 15 people who are currently in the U.S., like me, and I said to myself, “Why not interview them and do a profile of each one?” So, that same day I created the blog and scheduled some interviews. After they were up in the blog, I just started sharing the content in social media. Since then, it’s been crazy. The feedback has been amazing and people have been so lovely and so eager to share their stories. It’s been a very beautiful and rewarding experience. When it comes to future goals, I would like this project to keep growing and at some point, also explore what it means to be an older Puerto Rican moving to the U.S. I’ve always been fascinated by the experiences of people who are my parents’ age, because obviously their transitions and their processes of adapting are so much different than ours. What I’m sure is that I want to keep telling the stories of mi gente. That’s what keeps me going.
Check out the blog and interviews, here.
Andrea González-Ramírez is a Puerto Rican freelance journalist currently based in New York City. Andrea completed her master’s degree at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, where she specialized in International Reporting. Her work has appeared in Puerto Rico at the public radio station WIPR and the local newspaper Diálogo. She also worked at the Hispanic daily El Diario’s Metro Desk in New York City.