cronechronicler

Exploring the poetry of everyday life

Cuba 2012 – Love Songs Written on My Heart: Once Upon a Time

on January 26, 2015

Before the current movement towards resuming normal relationships between Cuba and the U.S., when U.S. tourists were just beginning to trickle into the country, I went to Cuba. My husband had long wanted to go there, even if it meant flying to another country that had hospitable relations with Cuba and entering through the back door. I agreed it would be interesting to see this country so near and yet so far away. And then we got our “ticket” to visit Cuba! It arrived in the mail in the form of a small brochure from Road Scholar with whom we had experienced previous travel adventures. Road Scholar had become licensed by Cuba to conduct “Person to Person” tours, now offered by the Cuban government as one of the legal categories for US citizens to enter the country. We signed on immediately to join a group traveling in April 2012. And so the journey began.

“Person to Person” means just what it says. We would spend our days visiting significant places and in conversation with Cuban people – musicians, architects, students at a School for the Arts, followers of an Afro-Cuban Religion, a small Jewish cemetery, a Senior Center, the Bay of Pigs Museum, the Fine Arts Museum, women begging at a town square, a Gospel a cappella Choir, a ration store where Cuban people make selections from meager merchandize offerings, and Hemingway’s home.

Mine is not a conventional travel memoir. I didn’t take notes. I didn’t take pictures.The people of Cuba are with me even now in my heart. What I write does not spring from ordinary memories but from a living experience etched in my mind and gut. This is my love song to people of shining perseverance, who invent novel and even humorous ways to exist in the midst of terrible poverty, whose art and music flourishes, who embody the soul of Cuba. As I re-member my experience with these people I will tell you their stories.


21 responses to “Cuba 2012 – Love Songs Written on My Heart: Once Upon a Time

  1. Your experience of Cuba sounds wonderful , I am looking forward to your poems on this experience . Kind Regards Kathy.

  2. I of July says:

    I hope you had time for some salsa 🙂

  3. vivachange77 says:

    If you mean dancing, I wish I could learn how. 🙂

  4. vivachange77 says:

    Thanks, Kathy. I really appreciate your comment on my introduction. Beginning a series of stories is the hard part for me.

  5. Looking forward to reading more about your experiences after this heartfelt introduction.

  6. What a beautiful heartfelt post. I can’t wait to hear these stories!

  7. Your voice is so genuine that I look forward to reading your words!

    • vivachange77 says:

      Thanks, Christy. I decided to write about my experience in Cuba three years ago now that things are changing. I didn’t keep a journal but believed the feelings for Cuba that live inside me could be transformed into writing. After I wrote the introduction yesterday I know that’s possible. I appreciate your listening.

  8. Michelle says:

    I can’t wait to read these stories! What a great title, too!

  9. Jay E. says:

    What an amazing experience!

    Person-to-Person sounds like the perfect way to experience ANY country; I wonder if any other countries follow a similar model?

    While photos or journals may be nice, sometimes they get in the way of simply being in a location. Sometimes, they are the difference between a tourist and a traveler.

    Well done!

  10. vivachange77 says:

    Thanks. It was amazing. I like your distinction between being a tourist and a traveler.

  11. Please do! I’d love to hear the stories.

  12. Meredith says:

    Wouldn’t it have been a wonderful experience to experience to visit Cuba in her glory days and again after the Revolution? I’ve known 2 beautiful, talented, intelligent women intimately who fled from Cuba. I concur with your assessment of their character.

    • vivachange77 says:

      I would love to hear your friends’ accounts of Cuba. It would have been wonderful to be there in the glory days, but I also like seeing Cuba now without memories of better days. Thanks for your comment. 🙂

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