My Cuban-American Ode


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My 34th year of life has drawn out a strong sense of identity. I know that becoming Allester’s wife on July 9th this summer has solidified some parts of my soul, some parts that were, until then, unfinished. What has amazed me more than anything, however, is the strong sense of cultural identity I’ve embraced in recent months. It does have to do with the fact that my husband is also a proud Cuban-American whose grandparents became exiles during the same initial wave of immigration from that elusive island…only 90 miles away from Key West. It also has to do with the fact that our country, and by country I mean this beautiful land of ours — the Red, White and Blue — is divided by an upcoming election and racial tension. Never before had I engaged in a political debate on social media. Never before had I posted a news article with a picture of Fidel Castro as its art, the story proclaiming that someone like me (Cuban-born parents with American-born children) could be legally detained in Cuba. And as I sit at my dining room table, a long day ahead of me, the sounds of Willy Chirino’s Nuestro Dia (Ya Viene Llegando) permeates the quiet morning.

I’ve always felt distinctly American…and distinctly Cuban. I’ve never basked under a tree in Puerto Padre or Victoria de las Tunas, the towns where my father and mother hail from, respectively. But I have felt the same sun’s warmth and bathed in the same seas…literally and figuratively.

I won’t sour my blog with political beliefs or ideologies, but I wouldn’t be true to myself as a writer, a creator, and, in essence, an artist, if I did not put to paper screen what pours out of my heart and onto this webpage.

Politically, the climate in Cuba is changing. However, am I ready to visit? Not quite yet. Maybe someday I’ll step foot on the land where both sets of my grandparents and great-grandparents met and fell in love, where they started their families. But right now, it simply doesn’t feel right.

For now, I will relish being who I am. Cuban, American; I don’t have to choose one identity over the other. However, I am fiercely protective of this flag because this is my country; it’s yours; it’s ours. So yes ma’am and yes sir, you can bet your bottom dollar that I will most definitely stand and pledge allegiance. Especially as the wife of an Air Force veteran…I’m proud of my man for serving our country and for risking his life in the name of freedom and patriotism when he had the world at his fingertips and had zero need to join the military. He did it because he wanted to. What a guy. 😉

So, mi Cuba hermosa, I hope to meet you someday and perhaps sooner than I ever thought.

Nuestro dia ya viene llegando.


3 Comments Add yours

  1. Tracey says:

    Beautifully written! I wish the athletes who are sitting and kneeling would donate some of their millions to help with various projects to make this world a better place!

    I saw a video of a paralyzed veteran, stand up out of his wheelchair, with assistance, at professional football game. If that did not bring home the point that

    BTW, wish I could write as well as you!

  2. Gina McClenning says:

    Enjoyed reading your blog this morning with my cup of coffee! I left Cuba with my parents in 1959 at the tender age of 4. One day, when Cuba is free, I will relish the notion of visiting my natal land. Until then, I will bask in the Florida sunshine and enjoy my cafe cubano and pastelito de guayaba!

  3. Lauren says:

    Love this post! I grew up in North Cuba aka Hialeah, so I’m Cuban by default. 🙂 My family is also from Puerto Padre and Victoria de las Tunas– small town called Vasquez. My 100 year old great grandmother still enjoys her cafecito on the front porch every morning.

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