There are few moments when I crave a fixed life and a place to call my own, filled with my favorite things. I’m typically content with no more items than could fit in the trunk of my car. But when I opened the door to our rental house on Vieques, El Dormilion, I opened the door to my dream house. My family and I stayed in the white house at the top of the mountain for five days.
The house was filled with so many beautiful things, from the tiles to the tapestries to the wall full of books. I borrowed a few during my time there, including finally getting around to reading Bossypants. In fact, there was no television in the house, so we kept ourselves entertained in other ways. I read two books in our five days on the island. We watched birds fly over the valley in between reads and lounged on the many daybeds.
We shared the house with creatures large and small over the next few days. The room where my sisters and I slept was detached from the rest of the house, so we frequently found moths, frogs and other little bugs in our rooms and sometimes even in our beds. I tried my best to embrace the island culture and not freak out. One night, I heard the coqui sound of a frog under my bed, so I enlisted animal lover Sammi to catch and release it outside.
The best thing about renting a house instead of staying in a hotel was that we could cook our own meals in the open shelving kitchen. It reminded me of our time staying at the beach as a kid, when mornings and afternoons at the beach were broke up with grilled cheese sandwiches and naps. This time it was essentials from the island’s only grocery store. We had eggs and bacon for breakfast and fried bologna sandwiches for lunch.
The house was in a residential area without other tourists anywhere in sight. The house had a pomegranate tree in the backyard and was adjacent to the wildlife refuge. A neighbor’s dog came over to play most days and the horses across the street lazily chewed the grass while I watched them and sipped a beer.
It’s easy to get sucked into dreams of a home to call my own, especially when I spend too much time on Pinterest, but I honestly think that’s what I need now. Three months living out of a backpack and the welcoming of two little ones into my friend group has made me want to stay put for a while. I may not be buying a Puerto Rican dream house anytime soon, but I plan on settling into Atlanta for the next year or so.