In the week that we’ve been back from Cuba, I’ve had a difficult time answering, “How was it?” There are more obvious ways to describe Cuba as a beautiful country and the people as warm and welcoming. But what I took away from the adventure were the more nuanced observations.
For those interested in our travels, I’m going to break it down as follows:
- An introductory blog (this one)
- A chronological travel blog (with pictures)
- A traveling to Cuba advice blog
From October 14-21, 2017 my daughter Fyetka and I traveled to Cuba (on a plane … from America, JFK airport specifically). Two years ago I took my son Finneas to New York and Washington DC as a 6th grade one-on-one trip and decided to do it for each of our three youngest kids (my oldest daughter is 22 – maybe one of these days I’ll do a retroactive trip with her). For her 6th grade trip, Fyetka said that she wanted to go to a beach. I agreed to this as long as I chose which beach.
I chose Cuba for a number of reasons. One was because I’ve always wanted to go there. As a kid when I heard that Americans can’t go there, I knew that someday I would. I guess it’s just my nature. A forbidden land is a dare and an adventure. Also, because I felt the window to go there legally seemed to be closing. Also, I wanted Fyetka to see poverty first hand. When I was in 6th grade I was fortunate to go on a missions trip to a small town on the tip of the Yucatan Peninsula. When I played with the kids there, I remember being struck by how familiar their emotional gradient was to me. I remember thinking of my friends and that you could place them along a gradient of happiness. Some were perpetually glum and others were happy go lucky. The Mexican children didn’t seem any different, although they had very little. It had a profound impact on me and for years helped me shrug my shoulders at the pettiness of my adolescent peers. I hoped to hopefully manufacture this for my daughter. Lastly, I wanted to go to Cuba because it is beautiful.