Anda Pa’l meaning: (slang) from the root word, anda pa’l carajo. Literal translation: walking to hell, either in first person or the action verb of andar (walking) referring to someone else literally walking to hell. Other translations that depend on context: “holy shit,” “holy moly,” “can’t be.” (pronounced like panda, but without the “p” / pa’l, like the word pal as in buddy).
It’s true what they say, home is where the heart is…my heart has been in Spain, Denmark, Berlin, Los Angeles, Samaná, Panama, Mexico, Whitesburg/ Kentucky, New Orleans, New York, and of course Puerto Rico. We can’t occupy the same space at the same time, it’s against the laws of physics, but the heart, on the other hand, can travel far and wide. Haven’t you felt it?
It’s a mystery to me but the feelings are so real. I cry about these things, missing places, and people. I do. Actually often. I reach out to people and open myself up. It doesn’t always work. I’ve made a fool of myself often enough, but it’s just I believe and feel that little gestures do matter. The effort is all about my heart telling me to do it, actions, poems, gifts, letters, other things. Lately, it’s a bit disheartening but I keep it at, one reason I do this talk show.
And so I come to Rita Cidre, who in a short talk brought me back to remember that little actions matter and the heart can take you places. Anda Pa’l her own business of canvas bags and pouches started out because she missed home. And home for her is Puerto Rico. Rita picked up witty slang sayings and phrases and gave them life. She and I share several things in common all having to do with having our heart split into a lot of pieces, each one for a different person that we love. I love she created something tangible to assuage missing Puerto Rico and Caribbean life. I get it. I’m right there with her and so are thousands and thousands of others. Her business has reached the globe and she’s managed to cultivate a following of people wanting that tangible connection to the island.
Rita brings some interesting points about the diaspora she represents. Why doesn’t she go back? Why don’t I go back? We left for what reasons? How is it different now, post-Hurricane Maria? Everything is different now and a new conversation between island and stateside Puerto Ricans is emerging. Nothing we talk about has definite answers, but some definite feelings of making it possible to be here and there somehow. It’s all about the heart, just like her project, a labor of love, a self-taught artist with feelings so deep she has touched the Puerto Rican heart far and wide.