Blanca Bonilla

Welcome to Que Lindo Boston, a platform dedicated to celebrating and promoting cultural diversity through storytelling within the Boston Greater Community. Join us as we share stories, embrace diversity, and celebrate the vibrant tapestry of a city that I totally love.

In 1972, my journey from Puerto Rico led me to the Cathedral Projects in the South End of Boston. The transition from the serene countryside of my island to the bustling bricks of the city was a stark contrast. I vividly recall the challenges of life on the 7th floor apartment, where unpleasant smells lingered, and the constant symphony of police and fire sirens painted a picture of a city that seemed daunting to a young girl.

With twelve children and limited housing options due to societal norms, language, and cultural barriers, we developed strong character to confront and navigate through the wave of unfairness.

Eventually, a year later, Jamaica Plain became our sanctuary, a place we would call home—a neighborhood of Puerto Ricans, Cubans, Central, and a few South Americans as well as Irish, Italian, and Americanos. In Centre Street, Hyde Square, the music of El Gran Combo and Raphy Leavitt echo from noon until evening, filling the air with lively rhythms. The expanded presence of Bodegas and Hilo Foods, which offered a variety of food products from El Caribe and Central America, provided us with a sense of comfort, to say the least.

Despite my yearning for the mountains, the soothing sound of the coqui, and the familiarity of friendly faces, our path seemed to unfold with greater ease. Our journey was not without challenges, yet it was pushed by our aspirations and determination. My father, Rafael Bonilla, manifested hard work and pride. A strong figure, he instilled in us the values of discipline and respect, qualities he himself embodied and extended to all those he encountered. Having a role model like my father inspired us with the confidence needed to both lead and pursue our dreams.

Que Lindo Boston is more than just a website; it is a testament to the strength found in diversity, the power of storytelling, and the richness that cultural experiences bring to our lives.