Tuesday, June 27, 2017

So Your Character is From Puerto Rico ... Featuring Lilivette @ Reviews by Leeve

It's time for this week's So Your Character is ... Post! This is a weekly segment where I interview lovely volunteers from around the world to give you a firsthand account of being a citizen of their respective country or having a disability. I'm hoping to encourage international diversity, break stereotypes, and give writers a crash course on how to write a character from these different places on our planet. If you haven't checked out last week's  So Your Character is from Mexico ... be sure to hop on over there and give it a read!

Puerto Rico is technically a territory of the United States, so I've known some people who've gone there for vacations. I know it's very tropical and they speak Spanish there, but I didn't know much beyond that, which is why I'm happy to have this post by Lilivette! Love her name!

Disclaimer: The content below may be culturally shocking to some. Each of these posts are as uncensored as possible to preserve the authenticity of the cultures of each of the interviewees.

(None of the Images are Mine)

I am Lilivette and I live around the north part of the beautiful and small tropical island of Puerto Rico. I am currently a college student, and I enjoy wasting my free time reading, writing, playing video games, reviewing things at my blog and having close encounters with nature and a nice time with friends!

What do you feel is unique to your country? Landmarks? Celebrations?
Something that I feel is unique to my country? I’ll have to go with our mixed culture and language! Our culture has been touched by Spain and the US, so it is a mixture of both. And our mother tongue is Spanish, but it’s pretty much Spanglish (Spanish + English) these days, but besides that, our Spanish is also mixed up with African and Taíno words, and that’s pretty much why I feel like it’s something unique. Some other things I think as unique from our country is one of our native music: la plena, and of course, our little coquí.

Balneareo de Rincón, Rincón by Lilivette

Camuy by Lilivette

Naranjito by Lilivette

Tell me about your country's environment. What are some of your favorite places?
Our environment is like any other normal and humid tropical island, and even though humidity can be a pain in the butt, I love it! Some of my favorite places are the beach, the rivers that lay hidden around the center of the island and just inner tourism; going to famous places like: El Morro, El Castillo San Cristobal, La Parguera and more! They’re just so beautiful, fun, peaceful and inspiring places! 

El Morro, San Juan by Lilivette
Tell me about your country's food. What are some of your favorite dishes?
This right here is my favorite question! Food? Thought you’d never ask! Our menu is pretty big and tasty, but our daily dish almost-always is rice, beans and any kind of meat! But that aside, some of my favorite dishes are: mofongo (which is pretty much a small ball of mashed fried plantains stuffed or surrounded with chicken soup, seafood or pretty much anything you want it with), alcapurrias (these are a delicious combination of green bananas, meat and other tasty stuff, they’re also fried and gold for your breakfast), bacalaitos (which are heaven on earth but I don’t know how to describe them, they’re fried and have cod on the inside), arroz con gandules, pasteles, dulce de coco, besitos de coco (which are some sort of candy made with coconut flakes, sugar and vanilla; and they’re so soft and tasty, God) and I can go on mentioning more dishes! There are just way too many, but these are from my top 10 and they’re very delicious, feel free to google them and wonder how they taste like!




Dulce de Coco
Tell me about any different speech patterns in your country. Slang? Idioms? Words for things such as “biscuits” instead of “cookies”?
Like I said before, our mother language is Spanish, but it’s mixed up with English, and some African and Taíno (I forgot how this language is called) words. The different thing about our Spanish is that our “r” is really messed up, I don’t know how to explain it in English, but if you hear Puerto Ricans talk with any other Spanish speaking person, you’ll understand. Our slang is pretty dirty, but I have to admit that it’s something that makes us “us." And I will finish my answer for this tricky question by saying that we always forget the name of things and go around yelling for someone to bring the thing that’s over there on top of that big thing in the kitchen. See what I mean?

Describe briefly a regular day in your country.
A regular day in my country will pretty much include waking up, having breakfast, taking your meds and then going back to bed and cry―oh wait, that’s my regular kind of day, sorry, haha. Joke aside: I don’t know, a regular day on my little island would probably include waking up, getting breakfast, reading the newspaper, driving to work or University or anywhere you’d like to go, lots of traffic, getting back to your house or going somewhere else, and if you’re in the mood by the end of the day, you go out and watch a movie or have fun or I stay in your house like I do. Like in any other country? Unless it’s Christmas season, ‘cause Christmas season rocks ‘cause you’re pretty much partying since Thanksgiving Day ‘til “El día de Reyes”! 

How does your country compare to others, especially the States since my audience is primarily American? Environmentally? Politically? Culturally?
I won’t and can’t compare it to the States, but they’ve influenced enough on our daily basis. On the other hand, I can compare our environment and part of our culture with Dominican Republic, Cuba, and many other close islands because we’re all neighbors and brothers from another mother! Why? Because besides being tropical islands right next to each other, we pretty much share the same roots, history, culture, language, tasty dishes AND beautiful locations across our islands!

Briefly describe three historical events of your country’s you feel are important.
    El Grito de Lares: El Grito de Lares was a small revolution for Independence from Spain that took place on Lares, Puerto Rico on 1868. I feel that this is an important event because things were bad on the island by that time and it was nice to see that people were willing to fight for them to get better, and even though they failed, they managed to make some things right: five years later, slavery was abolished on the island, two years later, the first political parties were created in Puerto Rico, and "la libreta de jornaleros" got radicated. 
   Tratado de Paris: This was the treaty that ended the Hispano-American War (the war between Spain and the United States) around 1868. This treaty also ended up ceding Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines to the USA. This was an important event because it made everything on the island change forever.
   1948 elections: These elections were important because they were the first democratic elections on the Island where the people were able to choose their first governor: Luis Muñoz Marin.

El Grito de Lares
What are some stereotypes about your country that irk you? What media portrays your country badly be it a movie, a book, or a TV show?
Probably that we’re all lazy, dumb, drug addicts, savages, or sexy. Why does the sexy irks me? Because we Latinas/us always get seen or portrayed as hot headed sex symbols. . .and that needs to stop. The news gives my country a bad name sometimes.

What media portrays your country well be it a movie, a book, or a TV show?
I haven’t watched any that try to portray our country as ours, they’re always portraying it as somewhere else so. . .

Who are your top three favorite characters’ native to your country in books, movies, or shows?
I haven’t read any books with any Puerto Rican characters, or remember a good movie with any so. . . [silently sobbing]. This answer pretty much explains why I decided to make one of my main characters from one of my WIP’s Puerto Rican, or just simply Latina.  

Thank you, Lilivette, for this very informative post! I hope everyone enjoyed reading it. Come back next week for So Your Character is from South Korea ...!

Are you interested in participating in this project? Check out the tips archive to see which countries have been filled and if you're from a different country, shoot me an email at howellvictoriagrace(a)gmail(dot)com.

Do you have any characters from Puerto Rico? Did this inspire you to write a Puerto Rican character or set a book in Puerto Rico? Are from this or been to this country and you have further input? Feel free to share! Do you have any questions for Rachel? Be sure to thank her!

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