It is always us four against the world; four mere souls bound to conquer every inch and every corner so long as we stand next to each other. Four tiny people in a land of hundreds standing behind the heart of culture, hidden and mingled with whichever society surrounds us. And then again and again and again.
Just four plain Puerto Ricans exploring the beautiful narrow streets of Old Town Croatia in the blazing sun; the same Puerto Ricans who walked in the gnawing cold, with our Caribbean bodies shivering in the rain only to reach the astonishing Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany a few days after. Just four Puerto Ricans riding the traditional Venetian gondolas among layers and layers of historical grandeur.
Four little members who took Las Vegas upon their hands, strolling incessantly through the astonishing hotels and casinos, visiting France, New York and Venice in one day. Four little members who ate at In-N-Out Burger in California just for the lucky wish to come across a celebrity. Four little members who rode bikes at the foot of Virginia Beach while later engaging on a nightly ghost tour in Williamsburg a few days after. Four members who ate beignets at the heart of New Orleans, Louisiana. Those same members who joined me and my allured heart at the view from Tres Ojos in the Dominican Republic and who sat next to me as I contemplated in awe the Mamma Mia play on Broadway, New York. It was them who witnessed the smile on my face as I did back flips on a bungee jumping trampoline in El Salvador and them who stood by me as I explored the Harry Potter World in Florida.
Yet those weren’t the moments that tested us. It was when my mom and I sat in the streets of Venice for hours as my dad and sister struggled to find our room. It was when four mere Puerto Ricans fought in Croatia when our bags were missing from the long flight. When we missed our flight, and were forced to sleep in the floor of the airport with dad watching over us. It is in those moments that only our presence gives us comfort because the good times build us but the bad times make us stronger every day.
Nothing can compare to those long nights as we sit in the tight chairs and small table of our dining room, the very scene recreated across the world, and I cannot stop but wonder “what are the riches in the world if not us sitting together back home?” What are riches if not a heart full of memories that rekindle my spirit and a company worth of going to the ends of the world for? Its these three other souls who fill my army and our memories that pump the blood in my heart. What are my jewels? – some might ask, while I don’t need to search far to respond: To stand next to the greatest army in history and be able to call them my family.