Everyone asked whatever possessed us to move to Puerto Rico! Well, Act 20 and 22 tax incentives, http://puertoricotaxincentives.com, which gives us the ability to financially secure the girls’ future. Our dream is to pay for their college, graduate school, and wedding, as well as help set them up in their first home. This is a tall order so we looked for every advantage to make our dream a reality. Yet, there are always more than financial considerations. We had to consider the short-term impact on our family as well.
The biggest challenge we encountered was the myth that you must speak Spanish to live in Puerto Rico. It helps and it’s a great idea. However, it is not necessary. Most people speak English to some degree or another, and if they don’t, the person next to them usually does. Additionally, there are many schools that teach in English including Palmas Academy in the community where we live. We are teaching the girls Spanish, but again, not as a necessity, but as a choice to enrich their cultural experience in this beautiful island.
Our second challenge was to find a place to live that met our needs. Though I loved the city of Aguadilla, the airport currently only has flights to Florida in the middle of the night. Maybe they will expand their schedule one day but for now it didn’t work for our family. And, of course, I need to be near a major hospital given my health history. So we decided that we could only be an hour away from San Juan and all its amenities. We looked into San Juan, too crowded for us, El Dorado, too disjointed for my taste, and settled on Palmas Del Mar because it’s a very inclusive community.
The most stressful aspect was finding a home that would meet our family’s particular needs. We needed at least three bedrooms, a room for our classroom, and a small office. Renting seemed to be a good way to explore Palmas Del Mar, which has many gated communities as well as areas of open homes. A few months later we settled on a four-bedroom home with a great room that required some creative use of space, but met all of our requirements.
Finally, we needed to figure out how to plug in into the community. We are still working on this last component. The girls and my husband have made friends with one of our neighbors. I have found the information on the two churches in the community. I have started a homeschool Facebook group to create a local homeschool playgroup. And, of course, we are beginning private lessons! Tennis is first, then horseback riding, and of course, I need to find acting and dancing classes too!