Maria was in her 20s when she first moved to the Orlando area. There was only one Spanish radio station in Kissimmee, and the signal was so weak you could barely hear the sound. The only Spanish grocery store shut down after its owner died.
Now, three decades later, there are too many stores to count and plenty of restaurants.
In the corner of this one, beach scenes from the island pan across a flat-screen TV. Maria and David point to places they visited on their honeymoon.
They order rice, roasted pork and plantains. Maria sips on a coconut soda.
She likes living in a part of the state where she can find Puerto Rican food and speak Spanish without getting strange looks. She's proud of the headway Hispanics have made in local politics, and she's hopeful that many will turn out to the polls in November.
But she doesn't see herself as a typical Puerto Rican. She can slip into a Southern twang on command just as easily as she rattles off Spanish sentences. She loves Paula Deen's recipes as much as she loves beans and rice.
She criticizes some local Puerto Ricans for being such militant Democrats that they seem "too married to one side of things."
Maria likes to look at both sides, then make up her mind.
Some Puerto Ricans see her as being "too Anglo," she says.
"I tell them, 'Being Puerto Rican doesn't mean you were raised on the island. Over there, you had it easy,' " she says. "'Try living here since birth, trying to have people look at you as a citizen, not a third-class citizen.' "
On a tiny stage, a man plays a guitar to Caribbean beats. The music makes Maria think of the summers she spent learning to dance with cousins in Old San Juan. Her shoulders start to sway.
"When you go to Puerto Rico, it's like you're back home again," she says. "It's like you never left."
But they leave the restaurant disappointed.
"The price wasn't bad," David says, "but the food was lacking ... "
"Flavor," Maria chimes in.
They agree they won't go back.
The next day, Maria and David drive down Kissimmee's main tourist drag, past a sprawling strip of motels, souvenir shops and roadside attractions. Some have boarded-up windows and signs outside that say "For Sale."
It's an area that some locals would avoid. But theme parks and chain restaurants aren't what persuaded them to come here.
They are heading to the town that Disney built.
When they were searching for a rental house, Maria knew she wanted to live near the tony planned community of Celebration because of its state-of-the-art hospital.
On the outside, Celebration Health is designed like a Mediterranean resort, with flower-filled courtyards and red tile roofs. Inside, the CAT scan machine is shaped like a sand castle. Patients can smell aromatherapy ocean scents as the piped-in sound of waves surrounds them.
To Maria, it seems more like a hotel spa than a hospital.
She was surprised the specialist she wanted to see there would accept her. Maria says her age, weight and asthma make her a high-risk patient. Add in Medicare, and many doctors are skittish.
Maria says she's visited doctors who skirt by on the bare minimum when they see Medicare patients.
"They will stand at an arm's length," she says. "They will not go up to you, because they're not being paid to do that. ... They'll write a script, and give it to the patient and they're gone."