If you know me, you know that I have a mad love affair with a country that I visited for the first time just over a year ago….Cuba-aaahhh! When I finally got the guts to travel to Cuba, I set my eyes on the most beautifully eroded time capsule I could have ever imagined – and returned 3 more times since! I’ve tried to contemplate what the heck my obsession is with this place. After all it’s a broken-down communist country that my grandparents fled never to return.
For me, going to Cuba is remembering that —— I grew up with privileges. No doubt. Privileges I only have because my grandparents left everything they knew and came to America for a better life. My grandfather, who’s now 92 years old, still wears a little Cuban flag pin on his shirt collar. Pinned next to it is the American flag. They accomplished what they came here for, freedom, opportunity, safety, and for the future of their children (my wonderful parents). All the while, never withholding the deep love and longing they had for their beloved country. It came out in story after story throughout my childhood. It showed in their eyes anytime Cuba was the topic of conversation. According to them, Cuba is the most beautiful place on earth – period – and it took me no time at all to discover that they were right!
My friend told me I would go to Cuba with a lot of questions, and return with even more questions. It’s true. Maybe I will just have to keep going back until they are all answered.
During this fourth visit to Havana, I spent one afternoon sitting at a little park alone watching daily life go on all around me. I saw hardships trumped with resilience. No freedom of speech, but loud voices. Trash turned into antiques. Limited food, but curvy bodies. Broken windows that display breathtaking ocean views. Limited wifi, unlimited eye contact. I sat there and contemplated thinking to myself….if you can see beauty in places like this then you can see beauty anywhere. I felt humbled. I felt grateful. I felt like a little part of me I didn’t know was missing is now colored in brightly. My friend told me I would go to Cuba with a lot of questions, and return with even more questions. It’s true. Maybe I will just have to keep going back until they are all answered.
As you watch the little video I put together of the trip, consider that the feeling one gets when in Cuba can never be captured on a go pro, it can’t be contained in a souvenir, and it certainly can’t be put into words.