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Enchanted by the Island - Part 1


Thanks to a summer spent organizing and running a summer camp, I managed to save up enough money to comfortably move to Puerto Rico without too much worry. I wish I could say I was equally calm during the flight. When the plane went through some turbulence I prayed like I never prayed before. Thankfully, we landed safely and upon doing so, the passengers burst out into song. Singing about how much they loved their homeland of Puerto Rico, the heat in the air confirmed we had indeed arrived. “Welcome Home”, read the sign beside the baggage claim. A quiet taxi ride later and I was finally at the place I will be calling home for the near future.

The place was as advertised: a studio with a bed, kitchenette, drawers, cabinets, table, two chairs, a microwave, a fridge, and of course, a bathroom. Although I wanted nothing more than to lay down after hours of traveling, I instead gathered every ounce of willpower I had left to drag myself to the local convenience store to buy cleaning products. To my surprise, the store was full with plenty of brands I recognized from back home. With gloves on my hands, a mask over my face, and my windows wide open, I began spraying every surface with some rather harsh chemicals(On a quick side note, if cleaning with harsh products, such as bleach, please do as I did and make sure there is sufficient ventilation). The heat drained my energy faster than I expected and force me to take multiple breaks throughout. I lost count of how many times I had to wipe drops of sweat from the floor. Lacking the energy to unpack, I removed my sheets from my luggage and at long last, laid my head on the pillow for a much-needed nap.

A knocking on my door cut my nap short. On the other side of the door, my landlord stood waiting. Was I in trouble already? No. Actually, the opposite. He offered to show me around town, an offer which I happily accepted. As we drove around the town in his seemingly new orange sedan, we drove past rows of palm trees which took my breath away. Being from up north, these are the types of things you can only see on TV. To be honest, everything seemed amazing from the passenger side window. The coliseum towered over the area, the mall seemed to stretch far beyond the horizon, and the pristine beaches made me wonder if I was looking at a painting. To my lungs delight, we then drove to the more mundane parts of town. I got to see the train station, the grocery store, and other everyday places. My infatuation with the island refused to fade even after I returned to my bed. With only a few days before school started, I filled my fridge and freezer with some American “delicacies”: burgers, hot dogs, and, my personal favorite, french fries.

Now let’s turn to my first question of this blog series: What are the finances behind your move to Puerto Rico?(I also post this blog on and However, I will try my best to read all comments on all platforms.) I don’t want to dive too deep into the finances but I’ll provide a brief overview. I booked my flight well in advance so it cost a little under $200. My studio costs about $400 dollars a month. That includes utilities, such as water and electric. In order to get comfortable I had to purchase some things: a washer/dryer machine, pots and pans, shower caddy, hangers, electric skillet, food, and as previously mentioned a mountain of cleaning products. These purchases costs me around $500 dollars. The last thing I had to buy was a train ticket which I loaded with $20. When adding in the additional $400 dollars from the security deposit, the move costs about $1500. The goal is to keep monthly spending under $600 dollars from here on out. If I can pull that off for the first semester, I can use the money saved to explore.

That brings us to the end of the first Enchanted by the Island blog post. Part 2 will see us pick up the adventure as we try to pass college courses and make friends in Spanish. Thanks for reading and I’ll see you in the next one!

“I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.”

— Jimmy Dean

© 2022 Wolfe Rygaard