Every good story needs a soundtrack.
- Chicago couple moves to Puerto Rico to help island rebuild
- Pete Croke, Ellen Bunch fell in love with Puerto Rico, its people
- Couple wanted to help after Hurricane Maria
As Pete Croke sets down a record on the turntable in his living room, so begins the soundtrack of his new chapter in Puerto Rico.
"There just comes a point where we're just like, 'We either do this and we just try to make it work and figure it out, and if it doesn't work, whatever'," Croke said.
He and Ellen Bunch just made the move from Chicago, Illinois, to the foothills of El Yunque National Forest.
They have only been living on the island for a few weeks.
Years of traveling to Puerto Rico caused them to fall in love with the island and its people, which is what made them begin contemplating the move.
Naturally, thoughts of doubt crossed their minds when Hurricane Maria ravaged the island.
But it was a volunteer trip in the months after the storm that convinced them that maybe, just maybe, they'd take the leap of faith anyway.
"I almost felt a sense of responsibility after seeing what I saw here in November to just be like, "Well, we could come down here and really do some good," Croke said.
Now, Croke and Bunch are settling into life in their new house.
Though it didn't suffer any hurricane damage, it still needs quite a bit of work – there's only one functioning living room and bathroom. There is no air-conditioning. The only fridge in the house is broken and covered in mold.
Everything has to be gutted and remodeled before it can be considered livable.
However, despite the massive task of fixing up their home, they're looking forward to volunteering and rebuilding the island at the same time.
"We're trying to do a balancing act of trying to get our stuff together, but then also be able to go out and meet new people and kind of see what's going on, make friends with neighbors, and see where we can help in the community," Croke said.
It can be argued that musicians are passionate people.
Croke has been in a band for years and Bunch is a piano teacher.
They're no strangers to the fact that music is the universal language of mankind.
However, there's also another thing transcending the language barrier in their new home they're so passionate about.
"Just those random acts of kindness that I think go a long way," Croke said.