To My Fellow Puerto Ricans Moving To Iowa City:

Iowa City, Iowa.

Don’t go to back home, to Puerto Rico, too often. Give Iowa the chance to be your home. I know it’s hard but trust me, it’s worth it. Instead, use that time and money to travel around the Midwest, it is beautiful around here.

If you get homesick, plan a trip to Chicago with some friends, it’s only a few hours away and you’ll find great Puerto Rican restaurants there. Or do what I like to do, invite some friends over and cook for them; not only will they appreciate the food, but they’ll learn something new about you and your culture.

Visit St. Louis, Minneapolis, Madison and Milwaukee.

Go on bike rides. Iowa is much prettier when you are on a bike. Do RAGBRAI at least once. It will give you a chance to meet wonderful people and to see what Iowa truly looks like. No, it is not all corn like you thought it would be. But mostly it is.

Go to at least one Football game (tailgating included).

It is ok to go to the Fieldhouse to dance once or twice during your first year here, but you should know better after that.

You won’t meet anyone interesting at Brothers.

Go to George’s, eat some cheeseburgers, get drunk, talk to people, even if they’re full of it, even if you are full of it.

Go to the Fox Head on Fridays after midnight for the dance parties, and if those are not a thing anymore, make it your mission to bring them back.

Try new foods, there’s a bunch of really good restaurants here. Find the small, family owned ice cream places, those are usually the best.

Learn to appreciate good whiskey.

Get together with other Puerto Ricans too and cook, and sing, and drink, and dance, as if you were back on the island.

And when the time comes when you’ll have to depart, you’ll realized that you didn’t lose yourself when you left Puerto Rico for Iowa, but you rediscovered yourself somewhere else. You’ll look forward to calling whenever you land afterwards your home, while treasuring both Iowa and Puerto Rico close to your heart.

-El Nel

“The world is a book, and those who don’t travel only read one page.” -Saint Augustine


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