Just the Way Cubans Are

Photo: Juan Suárez

Rosa Martinez

HAVANA TIMES – It’s 7:40 AM and I’m alone at home. About half an hour ago, everyone left to go about their daily business, the girls one way and my husband the other.

It’s said that solitude doesn’t make good company, but I don’t agree with this saying as I manage to write the few articles I do here on Havana Times in those moments of solitude, and it’s also when I get ideas for other projects, for a dessert, sewing… 

So, I love being alone although I’m ashamed to admit it. I don’t tell many people so they don’t go thinking that I am a bad mother or start thinking that I’m a hermit that is even bothered by the birds singing…

I’m making the most of today being one of those calm days: the woman who frequently shouts doesn’t seem to be nearby, I haven’t heard her shouting, or her children, or her husband. Luisito, the young guy who lives three houses away and dropped out of pre-university recently, must have had a rough night because he doesn’t have the whole neighborhood shaking with reggaeton, thank God. Yanara, my dear neighbor, who turns up at any time of day to tell people things they never asked for, hasn’t passed by either.

I don’t think twice and happily sit down in front of my computer to check over a student’s paper, my work as an editor will bring in a couple of extra pesos to help the household stay afloat, and are so crucial in times of exorbitant prices and food shortages.

I begin to read, understand, fix up a few things here, change a few things there.

I get in touch with the author and explain that there is an error (or better yet) a horror, as he used a term that doesn’t exist in Spanish; I ask him what he meant to say.

Afterwards, I carry on with my work, which I love by the way.

Between different points, I search for some music on my computer, and I calmly listen to some tunes (especially in Italian) as I check over the document.

At this pace, I’m going to get a lot done today, I say to myself, when I hear a knock at the door.

It’s all gone to pot, I think annoyed, but I carry on working to see if the person gives up and leaves.

But, that isn’t the case, they carry on knocking and shouting…

Good morning, a cousin greets me energetically when I half-open the door.

Why are you all locked up? she asks.

I’m doing some important work that I need to get in first thing in the morning tomorrow and I shut everything so nobody would know I was at home and so no neighbors would come to bother me.

Hmmm, well, I was nearby and I thought I’d come and say hello, but if you’re busy, I’ll only stay a little bit.

I’d appreciate it, my dear cousin, because to tell you the truth, I’ve got a lot going on with this work, I tell her affectionately.

I make a good cup of coffee which she savors.

And that’s when she began talking, which I would have found really entertaining any other day, because she is a cousin I really like.

She started to tell me about our relatives that live in another municipality…

And I told her, well as you know, I don’t go there a lot because I always have a lot of work, like now, for example.

You work too much my girl… well, as I was telling you, Carlitos got married, the one who never had a girlfriend that anyone knew about. You remember cousin Carlitos, don’t you?

Eh, ah, Carlitos? Yes, yes I remember…

Marcia’s daughter took up Medicine, she continued, but she doesn’t enjoy it, but you know, it’s the degree everyone’s doing nowadays, that’s all there is…

Cousin, wait a second, let me finish an idea for the thesis before I forget, I’ll be right back…

Don’t worry dear, I’ll wait for you, I’m not in any hurry.

Well, I am in a bit of a hurry, like I told you, I have to hand in this thesis in tomorrow morning.

Go ahead, go ahead, I’ll wait for you here…

Between one thing and another, it got to midday and I had to prepare something for both of us to eat.

After lunch, she carried on with her pleasant family stories and left at about 3 PM.

Well, I’m going to go my cousin, I know you’re busy. I’ll come by another day and we can talk a little more, no?…

Rosa Martínez

Rosa Martinez: I am another Havana Times contributing writer, university professor and mother of two beautiful and spoiled girls, who are my greatest joy. My favorite passions are reading and to write and thanks to HT I’ve been able to satisfy the second. I hope my posts contribute towards a more inclusive and more just Cuba. I hope that someday I can show my face along with each of my posts, without the fear that they will call me a traitor, because I’m not one.

7 thoughts on “Just the Way Cubans Are

  • July 11, 2019 at 7:59 pm
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    Dear Rosa, thank you so much for sharing the details of your day. I can relate. Although I am a Canadian and enjoy my privilages here, I also have a second life in Cuba. Yes I fell in love with a Cubana. She is my everything. I know the daily challenges that Cubans endure. But I also see the the positive changes that are making life better for Cubans. It is a proccess and takes time. I love Cuba and am hopefull that better days will continue to progress. I wish you all the good things your life may bring. May tomorrow be better than yesterday. Cuidate, Tim

    Reply
    • July 12, 2019 at 11:02 pm
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      I am genuinely interested Tim in “the positive changes that are making life better for Cubans.” could you describe them?

      Reply
    • July 13, 2019 at 12:21 am
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      Hola Rosa !
      I enjoyed your story very much. It made me laugh, as I can really relate to the Cubaness ( is that a word ?) of it all. We put family at the forefront, and the hospitality is legendary ( you made her lunch !) I too hope to see your face in the by-line someday soon.
      Best regards and God bless you!

      Reply
      • July 18, 2019 at 12:24 pm
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        Carmen, putting faces to by-lines remains a high risk in Cuba. Rosa should only do so when MININT and its subservient CDR are gone!

        Reply
  • July 13, 2019 at 9:53 am
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    Tim’s positive changes are delusional things are getting worse daily in Cuba.
    Only now they have 3G to complain about it.

    Dictator Maduro’s oil gifts to Cuba are getting smaller as they implode their economy into the worst disaster in Latin American history as millions flee Venezuela in droves.

    Reply
  • July 16, 2019 at 11:30 am
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    I agree with Carlyle and Brad, Tim’s delusional and forgets that the divorce rate among Cuban to Cuban marriages is around 70% which means Tim has a snowball’s chance in hell of having any success.

    Reply
    • July 17, 2019 at 5:02 pm
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      I regret Linda that you will only have to take my word that my wife is very attractive, good looking and certainly well qualified in education. That led me to query why it was that with her talents she had never married until doing so with me. Her response was enlightening: “I would never marry a Cuban man, they are too macho – but we are equal.” I spend rather more than half my time at home in Cuba. So whereas marriage itself is ever declining there, it is just possible that Tim’s chances of a successful relationship are somewhat better than those of Cuban to Cuban. It all goes back I think to the inheritance of Spanish culture, including macho and indifference to animal suffering – because they “have no soul”.

      Reply

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