It is 5 weeks since marrying my Cuban partner here in Havana and I just said goodbye to my second group of travellers since going back to work. They wished me well and at least one of them said ‘I wish you lots of luck, you’re going to need it’.
This makes me chuckle. I don’t know if they meant the fact of getting married, or marrying a Cuban, or marrying a Cuban and living here. Or all of this! Of course, like any newly-wed, I imagine, I feel it isn’t luck we’ll need, but just more of what we have – great communication, shared values and sense of humour, and a strong mutual attraction and plenty of love. However, living here already is testing, and committing myself to living here..well, yes, I do have some of sense of trepidation. The bureaucracy here does sometimes remind me of those old American cars they keep going after so many years, but one without wheels that you need to move anyway. You push and push but ultimately another skill is required, a way around the problem, a little bit of charm, making friends, thinking outside the box, resilience and patience. My husband has all these skills in quantity, myself not so much. Still, I am learning and feel a better person for the education
Of course, we have the option to move together to another country if it all gets too much, but his life is here, and with a little money life here is pretty good. There are shortages of goods, lines to make for the simplest of things, plenty of things that don’t work, changes in regulations and the law from one moment to the next, a lack of the shops and commodities I have always been used to, very limited internet, I could go on. BUT things are improving, and the reopening of US-Cuban relations has definitely helped. I feel optimistic, it is a country that has also achieved great things, and could achieve so much more. What’s needed then? An end of the US embargo against the island, for sure (and no, that hasn’t happened just because the US and Cuba have relations again), and a relax of the controls placed by the government over its people, stifling opportunities and economic growth. Cubans are hard workers if you let them work and earn decent money. The economy needs to work and then people would stay. The revolution isn’t over, but it needs an update. Hopefully, with my new husband by my side, my patience will last long enough to see it all happen. The Cuban people deserve it.