Cuba

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My Dad’s Story of Leaving Cuba: The Swim {The Man of Little Words Series}

Many kids from Havana came to Caimanera with the same hope of leaving Cuba. Many died. My mom reminds us, “You had to know the ocean. That there was a pattern to the channel. And if you didn’t know that, if you were caught in the current when the water was too strong, you would be washed out to the sea with no chance of making it back. You had to be from Caimanera like your father.” Read Part One...

leaving Cuba

My Dad’s Story of Leaving Cuba: The Wait {The Man of Little Words Series}

Half of my dad’s friend’s house sat right over the water. The boys would have easy access to the Bay without being noticed by anyone by lifting the floor boards of the house. The plan was to stay in the house until the evening, hidden under the floor boards, until the sky was dark and the tide was high. And then they’d jump in the water and make a run swim for it. Read Part One. Their plan became a bit more...

My Dad’s Story of Leaving Cuba: The Beginning {The Man of Little Words Series}

Sometimes we think that because someone hasn’t got much to say that they must not have a story to tell.  The truth is, sometimes those who stay quiet have the loudest stories. Stories that need to be told. After a few Coronas my dad might get chatty. But he is – and always has been – a man of very little words. Most, if not all, of my previous boyfriends were terrified of him. “I don’t think your dad likes...

What Cuba’s National Drink Trinity Says About Cubans

I consider myself lucky to be Cuban. Being Cuban stands for a lot of things: hard work, struggle, survival, gusto, controversy. It also stands for the national drink trinity: The Mojito, The Daiquiri, and The Cuba Libre. That’s right, Cuba boasts the birth of 3 of the yummiest and most popular signature cocktails served at any bar. When we were in Cuba this summer, I noticed how similar these drinks were (in rum count) and yet how each one represented something...

Returning to Cuba: The Cuba Libre Series

“Ernesto, Alejandro, y Rolando.” “Bien hecho,” I would praise Rafa for  memorizing her cousins’ names. “And now las Tias,” she’d begin bragging that she could remember her aunts’ names also, “Yulisa, Adriana, y Ad…” The names  were a mouthful even for a first language Spanish speaker. I’d help her, “Adel…” “ADELA TANIA!” Inevitably, Santiago would clamor into the name game with his best 2-year-old speak, repeating the names that his sister rattled off of the family members they would both be meeting in a...

Write Free (Inspired by Yoani Sánchez)

A few years ago, at a friend’s picturesque home, my least favorite type of conversation sparked… a political one laced with the idealogical views of a mystical Cuba. I have had enough conversations with far too many people who have gathered their information on Cuba’s utopian possibility from fanciful movies or hopeful and limited news reports to know that this conversation would go nowhere. Because the truth is that you could only really know what it means to live in...

The Man of Little Words

After a few Coronas my dad might get “chatty,” but he is – and always has been – a man of very little words. Most, if not all, of my previous boyfriends were terrified, “I don’t think your dad likes me very much.” And my response, ever the same, would reassure, “Don’t worry; everyone thinks that. He’s just not much of a talker.” Sometimes we think that because someone hasn’t got much to say that they must not have a...

What’s a Rubio?

While I don’t normally like typical “family” names (I knew way too many families with Mario, Big Mario, and Little Mario), I’m fine with naming a girl after a boy or vice versa. I also liked old, Spanish names like Cecilia. Penelope, or Valentina. So the name Rafaella, after my dad Rafael, was always the perfect voice for me. Not to mention, I didn’t know (and still  don’t know) anyone with that name. The cherry on top was when my mom gave...