A Summer Escape to the Island of Enchantment: Puerto Rico

August 10, 2022

Yvette Mendoza

This summer was a bit busier than usual, with my job, LEAP activities and volunteerism, and an LSAT Prep Course occupying my time. But I still found time to spend time with family, and I still managed to explore and learn in the process!

Let me take you along the journey of my summer trip right as we wrap up our summer. My family and I went to the beautiful island of Puerto Rico, where my mother’s side of the family is from.

I had the opportunity to not only visit my family, but immerse myself in nature, learn more about my culture, eat fantastic food, and, most importantly, relax.

Here are some of my favorite things I was able to do in Puerto Rico that I recommend for anyone interested in interesting adventures.

First, hike through the beautiful El Yunque National Forest. You will fall in love with vibrant green palm trees and the touches of pink from our native flower, the hibiscus. Here, some trails will take you to the highest peak with breathtaking views. As I climbed to the top, I stumbled upon iguanas left and right. It was an excellent way to experience the island’s nature, but make sure you bring a rain jacket!

While getting a good exercise and learning more about the history of Puerto Rico, I walked through Castillo de San Felipe del Morro, a fort located at the Northwestern point of Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. Its construction began in 1539 when the Spaniards governed Puerto Rico, and this fort was used to defend against naval attack.

You can’t forget Puerto Rico’s excellent food, such as tostones (fried plantains), pernil (pork), rice and beans, and various desserts! My favorite restaurant in Puerto Rico has to be the Zimple Restaurant and Bar. They had a variety of seafood. I fell in love with Paella Marinera, which has octopus and shrimp on top of perfectly seasoned rice.

Lastly, you can’t miss the beautiful palm trees stretching across the ocean shore! Puerto Rico is a lovely island that I’d recommend adding to your destinations list.

Heading North, To Kansas

By Morgan Robertson

Late afternoon on Friday, we loaded the car and embarked on our journey to the Midwest! Our destination for the first half of our week is Wichita, Kansas, for the 76th Annual Meeting of the Midwestern Legislative Conference. Leaving late afternoon, though, we only made a few hours on the road before our first stop.

Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth

On the museum grounds, we were introduced to a new (to us) artist, Richard Serra, known for his massive bronze sculptures. His abstract works develop a “patina” over time, meaning that the metal changes color. Since its creation in 2002, we could clearly see how the coloring of Vortex has changed over time.

We snapped a few shots and made our way to another nearby outside piece, Hina, by another new (to most of us) artist, Deborah Butterfield. Butterfield also works in bronze, but her horses look like they’re made of wood!

Chatting about the different techniques, we made our way inside to meander through the modern pieces, on the lookout for more new and inspiring artists and works.

The minimal and modern building blended perfectly with the landscape and the works inside. The interior layout is designed to display prominent exhibits, with soaring ceilings and a lot of glass, and it is an appropriate motif for minimalist works such as those by Donald Judd.

The east and north sides overlook a reflecting pool, across which stands a gleaming Roxy Paine with interweaving branches entitled Conjoined.

Yvette quickly identified the distinct squares and colors of Josef Albers and Jessica spotted her favorite part of the museum, a collection of Andy Warhol flowers, and we were pleased to see that we would be rewarded with other Warhol works as well.

True to the nature of modern art, the pieces were not limited to paint and canvas. Steel and fiberglass adorned the center of one gallery, while interesting messages displayed on LED signs followed a vertical and uniform pattern in another. Of particular interest were Nancy Graves’ Inside-Outside and Jenny Holzer’s Kind of Blue, which we spent a lot of time on, pondering and (trying to) photograph.

Ashlyn best liked a rather unique photograph that featured a simple middle-class home balanced upon a pair of legs, Laurie Simmons’ Walking House. She was drawn to the piece for how it “stood out” and could be interpreted on multiple levels.

We made our way (rather quickly because of the temperature) through the sculpture garden which, in addition to the Paine, featured a KAWS…

…and Henry Moore. Morgan favored, in opposition to her usual taste in sculptures, Moore’s Two Piece Reclining Figure No. 2.

Professor Yawn’s favorite piece was one by Martin Puryear, titled “Ladder for Booker Washington.” While we didn’t understand the reference, Yawn discussed it and offered several interpretations for this intriguing piece.

The more dynamic pieces allowed us to practice creating interesting and unusual photographic compositions and ultimately resulting in some nice shots.

The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth was a good start to what soon will be a week worth of art, history and politics!

La Cena at Salsa Limón

With Oklahoma City in our sights, we chose somewhere quick (that turned out to be just right!) for dinner—Salsa Limón. We made our selections, while attempting to create a variety of options (which in my opinion, is becoming increasingly more difficult since our tastes sometimes converge). Jessica and Morgan chose similarly (boring burritos!) with pastor and chorizo, respectively, Ashlyn had a chicken molco bowl (“Just what I was expecting!”), and Yvette, Professor Yawn and Stephanie had an assortment of tacos, from barbacoa, to mushroom & cheese, to pastor, to black bean & avocado.

It was a good and light meal, energizing us for the final leg of our day’s travels.