*Flashback Post*-November 3rd, 2013

I remember those days,

Timeless moments nothing could intercept,

Living for each moment, not thinking we had much time left,

Hours ran into days, ran into months into pains,

 

I remember those days,

Each day awoken with a smile,

Loving each second, each embrace,

Tethered by our souls, moving by grace,

 

I remember those days,

Time flew around us, yet our gaze stood still,

Time flew around us, but our traces lingered on each others skin,

Careless spirits, moving us through,

 

I remember those days,

Nothing ever mattered, nothing was our everything,

Talks that extended past wee hours,

No interests in seeing anything but each other

 

I remember those days,

Shamelessly submissive to your every word,

Fed from your words and your releases,

Full from all you embody and all you do,

 

I remember those days,

Falling into your arms was the single point I looked forward to in my days

Even just in candle light you seemed so great,

Naked and bare I still saw you as Adonis type gold

My every fibre focused on willing your eyes to just me

 

I remember those days,

If my tears would fall, so would yours too,

I’d be felt and heard and made to feel silly because you were there,

We were one being of burning heat and hope and love

We were open, our basic selves, feeding each others strengths

 

I remember those days,

Fingers tracing lightly on skin,

Tip toeing, stealing kisses, sneaking in,

Soft touches calls flutters in,

a glow and a constant happiness;grins

 

I remember those days

I ain’t felt that way in years.

Dia Tres…

I groaned as they rocked my body in an effort to wake me up but I opened my eyes instead of fighting back. ‘It was 4pm’ my husband kid and I jumped up thinking we had lost a day! It was only 11am and so we hung about for a bit. Today we’d see Fusterlandia and head to the beach close by after. Baby was a little under the weather and so we tried to create some sort of zen atmosphere so that he could sleep. He had a hard time and when he looked outside and started crying for us to open the door we apologized and quickly got dressed to go about our day. How could we waste his time like that? lol As we were about to leave, he threw up and caused a little panic but in no time he was back to being himself. We stood outside and hailed a ‘collectivo’. It took a good 5 minutes to get the address down pat and once again our maps.me app saved the day as that was what the driver and his passenger used to locate our first destination. He didn’t know of the place but he asked for 5 CUC and we hopped right in.  He made a stop to ask a lady friend for the destination and when we crossed cities he asked another driver but both him and his passenger shrugged and said ‘no’.  He eventually stopped where a fleet of taxi men were and as luck would have it, the man spoke English and was able to tell him exactly where to go. He let us know that we were very far for the driver and that it would be an additional 5 CUC. We didn’t mind honestly, as it was 40 CUC for a private taxi. We genuinely didn’t know where the fuck we were going either. All we knew as per the app was that we were 20 minutes away and the driver was very patient. He even played with the baby at random stop lights. We were grateful for his willingness to help. Fursterlandia was awe inspiring.
We eavesdropped on the tour guides spiel and heard that the artist does the homes free of cost. The concept is mind blowing and what it does foe the community is beyond exemplary. When we got to the main attraction a group of kids approached us but we couldn’t understand them. We saw a man go to them and give them his coins and told them to share. We did the same without thinking too much about it. I asked for a picture and they cracked us up with their poses!! One of the boys broke my hubbs heart when he asked for a baseball. We had actually brought 2 and left 1 at the casa. The other we had already given away.
I would recommend that If you decide to take gifts for children, go on the weekend and take them with you to Jaimanitas barrio, as the children will be around. After Fusterlandia we decided to check out the beach close by as it said it was only a minute away; Playa de Jamainatas. We were told to go around to get in and ended up walking a good 5 minutes away and had to walk through a path that led to a rocky, super small piece of beach.
We decided to go back around and walk across the baseball field then cut back across the hotel property.  It was too much trouble and the beach just wasn’t worth it. I got my beach fix with a dip and we left. The smell of the water stained our clothes. Luckily I had a few sachets of liquid Tide and was able to do a small soak and rinse when we got home. Sadly, this was the only time we got to go to the beach as the Playa del Este region was over 45 mins away.
We crossed the road and stood under a bus stop that was also designed by Jose Fuster. We flagged down a collectivo and presented them with our map. The driver and a female passenger worked things out and it would be 12 CUC. We agreed and got in. On the way, the 2nd passenger told us that he spoke a little English and was there studying to be a doctor. He also told us that they were planning to raise the price and that we should say no and pay the exact fare we agreed on.
We were grateful and as soon as we got to an avenue we recognized, I said ‘basta aqui por favor’, paid our fare and we walked home. The baby fell asleep from the weariness of the car ride and my hubby joined him shortly after.  I showered and went to walk the streets as sleep just would not come. I checked out a pastry shop and bought some cakes. I then visited a paladar that was recommended to us but was amazed by the setting. The prices were obviously way out of our league. A café bombon and an assorted croquettes from the tapas menu and a bag to take home my croquettes was almost 8 CUC!! I chilled there for a bit and caught up on my blog posts then made my way home. The VIP Havana ambience was real nice and I would recommend it as a date spot. It just wasn’t in our budget.
At our casa we played cards until we were ready to touch the streets again. At about 9pm, all 3 ventured out to Huron Azul for a Jazz show. We paid 5 CUC each and enjoyed live singing from a few artistes. We were extremely under dressed, hubs in shorts and I in tennis shoes. Nevertheless, we laughed at our situation and enjoyed the show. Only one performer spoke English and she turned out to be the best of the 3 we saw. Upon inquiry we found out that her name was ‘Choka?’ (not sure of spelling) and had been invited by another performer. We tried to get a picture but it seemed like she was gone and we weren’t in the mood to be any more trouble.  You see, when we walked in all eyes stared at us for awhile. Not only were we carrying a baby out this late but we clearly looked like we rolled off the back of a truck.
Everyone else was formally dressed. We left about 10:20 and went to El Idillio for a pleasant meal! So fresh and delicious, we both cleaned our plates. The rice with beans was the only thing that didn’t meet expectations but we were full regardless. We both had lobster meals and cocktails for under 25 CUC. The set-up of the restaurant was so perfect for families and babies. We didn’t want him disturbing other guests as he is a wanderer so we played racing and ring games together on the drive way as daddy settled the cheque. We were seated outside by garage and once all packed up, we strolled home to watch Backyardigans until we all fell asleep.

 

Liabilities….

Sometimes when you find yourself at odds in your marriage, you question yourself a lot. You question your choices and if you should really be hanging on, or letting go of a lot of things. I’m not speaking of divorce. I’m speaking of things that never seem to change but rear their ugly heads at the worse times and make loving your spouse difficult. I’m speaking of words that have come back to bite you, that you don’t regret saying but probably should have kept hidden. Exposed vulnerabilities that caused you to be trapped in a cycle of ‘but you said this when’ and ‘how come I’m this when, but not that way when’. I’m speaking of those times when you have expressed appreciation and have had it taken advantage of. You begin to learn more and more about yourself and your partner the more you fight. You also change constantly and have to re-arrange how you do things in your life in relation to this person. When it comes to your children you are unapologetically you, annoying, over-doting and just down right every ‘meme’ of a parent that ever lived. You never seek to change to accommodate their request for you to stop, because you can’t help but be ‘parent’-like’. When it comes to a spouse though, those many times that you have had to ‘take a step back to focus’ comes with being a little more withdrawn every time. Somehow, you manage running back to the routine but with a much guarded face. The spoils of the war always comes with odd propositions like ‘you know you can tell me anything’ and you somehow want to say, ‘can I though?’ can I express adoration for you and not have it questioned when you’ve done something unfavorable? Not quite convinced, you learn to be devoted to keeping your thoughts modest and reserved. Every now and then though, you dip into your old ways…and I’ll let Sade tell it…..

Barrel children…

img_20160828_154324I like to write about immigration and its effects. It has been a big part of my life and my upbringing and I don’t think people go below the surface enough. The other day, while on vacation in Atlanta, my brothers’ grandmother told us a bit of her share. She spoke about how she got the opportunity to leave her 6 kids behind to go abroad to work in people’s homes. Doing what she can so that she can feed her brood. There was one part that made me almost tear up. She spoke about being able to finally save up enough to go back home to visit. She planned the visit with another family member and told her children that she was sending things for them and that they should look out for the relative. As you can probably guess, it was her coming down after all this time. She remembered very clearly every detail of what happened when her children saw her. She walked out and one of them shouted ‘It’s Mama!’ and they all corralled her to the point of almost knocking
her down. That part ripped through me and I could almost place myself there watching in the backdrop. They could hardly detach themselves from their dear mother. She spoke about never forgetting what that reunion felt like and I could almost feel the excitement and relief. The giddy head strong feeling of seeing a parent after missing them so long will put you on a cloud. The feeling of having your personal nook back can never be replaced.

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father and son….

Our conversation took me back to the days when my father would visit. I always remember this particular day, my mother got a call and when she hung up she told me my father was in the island. I got dressed immediately. I knew he was coming, he had to. The entire day involved me talking my life away about seeing him and possibly never coming back. I was sure he would have taken me with him if he could (he never did) but for some reason his situation didn’t allow it. As night drew nigh, I placed myself by the window looking out for the car to stop outside so that as it came I would go. I eventually fell asleep, well dressed and hopeful. In true form, he turned up, late in the night with my brothers and uncle. I was bursting with love! I quickly picked up my bags and we were on our way to my grandmother house where I would stay until it was time for me to go back home. It was during this drive that I got the nick name ’Duracell’ because I just could not shut up! I spoke every one ear off.

Mi familia….

How wild was this? I was way past my bed time too, driving to Kingston! He could do anything and make anything happen; I thought. I marveled at him and how ‘he came for me’. I was deathly afraid of him, as he had stern ways but I was also very intrigued. My mother told me so many stories about him. I probably saw him once per year for a number of years and then about 13/14 he stopped coming, or at least as far as I knew. My aunt filled in for him in many ways when I was growing up and looking back on those times would prove that she did way more for me than he did. I just could not see past the novelty. He always brought me something that I treated like gold. I was so enamored and tried very hard to be a good little girl so that he would see that I was deserving; and take me with him.As I grew older things definitely changed and a lot of things wore off and changed. I am still grateful that I can look back and laugh. As I remember being at school and telling people, quite boldly that my father lives abroad and that soon I will too. It just seemed like the perfect paradise. What could be so wrong?

I see people now who still do this for the sake of a better life and I want to plead with them to keep their children in their care. Don’t leave your child with anyone to raise for too long. As soon as you can, make a home with your children around you. ‘Barrel children’ are often unintentionally slighted and they carry this through life. No to mention the situations some of them end up in and getting exposed to. Often times, they are over compensated by the parent(s) who left and even this can be to their detriment. The parent who raises them sometimes gets
shorted for being the disciplinarian and for ‘not loving them enough’. I used to think my mother didn’t want me to live in foreign. When the one that remains to struggle with you cannot afford to have you fall off knowing how much it really takes to raise a child. They cannot unsee the hard times and wouldn’t wish it on their worst enemies.

img_20160826_182954249_hdrHonestly speaking, at times the parent that is relaxed and easy going and allows you to do whatever you want to do, do so because they have to fight for your affection. They don’t want to be forgotten, so they give you the ‘easy life’. They aren’t honest and strict with you because they don’t want you to be mad at them and ‘lose you’. I later reconciled with my father and to this day can only manage him in small doses (lol!). I will forever think though, that if at all, leaving a child behind, should be avoided. I know many ‘barrel children’ and many share similar traits when it comes to their thoughts on the parent who stayed and the one that went/sent them away for better. This happens without realizing the bigger picture and these children should really be forgiven.

Until next time…xoxo

Mind your mind, body and soul…

I like to write about the things no one tells you about when you’re about to enter ‘baby world’. Yesterday I had a conversation with my cousin and we spoke about dealing with family issues when you’ve just had a child and how you have to ‘mind’ yourself. It was so refreshing to hear this come from someone I didn’t quite expect.  I always thought my cousin was a bit weird, so to hear her speak about connecting to yourself and seeing about caring for IMG_20160520_152627615yourself and a child in the midst of contention between family; it really pleased me. I am not close to my mother and have not spoken to her in over 5 years. My cousin became the black sheep when she got pregnant out of wedlock because she had an extremely devoted religious mother. I purposely set that precedence because we can all connect with the characteristics of religious people. Now, having a child is a very traumatic experience and in some cases a tragedy. Having no one to lean on when going through this event will harden you for life. You will be scarred and left empty. You will be resentful and dubious about everything you’re doing with your life. I can tell you that all you need to do for the sake of that innocent child is to mind your mental, spiritual, emotional and physical health. Every second of your day should be given to your child and you. You will need to concede and decide that this is your time and nothing or no one deserves to plaster my child’s life with any negativity. I cannot begin to even explain how much help is needed when you become a parent. There are no words to describe the cluster fuck of emotions and moments that you will go through in a very short time and you cannot ever not deal. There are no vacations or days off, this is a 24 hour ongoing job that you must do yourself, completely. Every second that you IMG_20160523_123432321_HDR‘donate’ to dealing with bullshit in your life, is a second your child has lost. This is a very expensive charge and you cannot lose a dime or else you will miss out on so much with your child. You cannot give anyone not being positive and contributing to your life a single second. Entertaining drama, arguments and fights with someone who has nothing but discord in their heart for you is so toxic. Hold on to your mental health, free mind and clarity with a tight grip. I had my own squabbles with other members of my family when my son was born, absolutely no one came around. This was however my decision but it was not hers; we both had the same approach. This just goes to show that there is no other way. We became a solid rock of 3, no one else and we loved how close knit we are all growing to be. Plus, I could afford to never once make a fit about it because we knew our child was worth so much more. We were already so deadbeat, every time we had, had to be his. We became hermits; we became secluded and closed off and cold to some. People looking in never saw anything but a smiling happy baby. We taught our child happiness, joy, laughter and love before he was ever exposed to any kind of sadness. Some aren’t that lucky, and even entertain ideas that they made a mistake keeping and having their child. This is very easy to say and should be banished from all thought. A child is never a mistake, or an unfortunate event. Look at your child and promise them all of you, build a circle of positive ongoing support and eliminate all pressures. Do nothing more than savor, enjoy and revel as much as you can about being the best honest mother you can be. ‘Mind yourself’

Immigrant liberties and locks….

Immigration is so simple to some people. However, there is so much heart break and brokenness with the process.

immiAcclimatizing to a place you have no rights to is very draining. There is no history in a land you may have never even visited before. There is no security in a place you need because you cannot go back home. Wreckage surrounds your life and glooms leers at your soul for as long as you are unstable. I always say that only the bravest people immigrate and not break. You have to have heart and guts to lift your life up on your shoulders and carry it for months, years before you find some peace. People can complicate the process for you and they just might bless your situation. I don’t know of a bigger thing in my life than fighting every single day to feel at home in a country where I was not born. As much as I do not feel safe at times being home, that is the place that connects to my core. When I visit, I can relax, I am calm; everything is familiar. Everything is sweet and natural. The living is temporary but the relief is lasting and enough. The relationships you form in foreign lands are so forged and fickle. You’re forced to co-exist with sworn enemies and your one commonality makes you forgive your biases. The relationships are fleeting though and even your own people disappoint. There isn’t a certainty as to how far you can go with people here because you do not know them. You do not know their story, history, you did not grow up together or know anyone that knows each other. You take only what they give you and return less or the same, never quite knowing who’s who or what. It’s a conveyor belt of mannequin faces in and out of your life daily. No one breaks the order as it’s a basic be cordial and exist type of deal. You don’t even feel relevant but you all know this is your place now and you have to make due. My favorite thing to reminisce on is my change of life. In my home country I can be wild and prolific. In this country you keep your head down and work hard. When you throw having a family in the circle, you become a cycle of a Untitledwork-sleep-work-sleep, survival pattern. There is no neighbor to beg a cup of sugar because you’ve probably never met them. There is no family ‘yard’ to bank on for even family visits are limited and ‘hosted’. Life is difficult by tenfold is you are undocumented. This experience is enough to break the strongest man and reduce him to a fledgling beggar. Feeling unconquered with every action. Living becomes a treasure map of constantly selecting the best and safest risky option that allows you to survive but not get deported. The inherent shock, uncertainty and uneasiness mars you for years to come but are lessons that keep you grounded. A karma that isn’t quite explained. There is also the enigma of being grateful to have the opportunity to live in a more advanced, safe country but hating its people. Seeing them as useless, undeserving and unfairly privileged for never having to struggle. Forgiving them only at the thought of your child being as lucky as they are. Alas, the joy of the migrant life comes from what you build and become for yourself. Lacking the traditions of your native society forces you to form your own curve. Forces you to pick what you want from this new culture and shamelessly discard the parts that do nothing but disgust you and shit on your values. It isn’t until you accept your situation and develop a life that is concurrent with your needs and budget, conditions and limitations that you begin to truly live. No longer existing but aggressively acing and progressing. The spark in life comes in letting go of the struggle and feeling winded and embracing the vulgarities you’re thrown. The dust will settle when you boldly and happily face the good, bad and the ugly while providing an acceptable life for those you are responsible for.

Sound out….

I recently picked up a habit and that is to actively listen to every word people are saying to me. In this I found a lot of truths and mysteries to people. I find that I ask questions seeking clarity more as well. Usually, I would coast through conversations until they are over, or find an excuse to take myself away. In doing this, I find that I learn about people so much more now. I am in tune to their likes and dislikes, I remember specific details about them, and I actually wonder about them in private moments. I especially like to ask about their future. I am so drawn to the energy that comes from people speaking about their goals. I am sure to be mum when goals don’t fit personas as the shock and awe that awaits when dreams are realised, is very inspiring to watch. I have somehow become more encouraging as well. Perhaps it is the mom in me, but I easily tell people how proud of them. How good they make me feel to know them, how honored I am to be in their lives. I did this to my grand-aunt the other day and she was speechless, that is very hard to do, but my kind words stunned her. She responded with many thanks and that she hadn’t been blessed with such words since she was a child.

This made me think, it is children that usually get told how proud their parents/guardians are of them. I reflected on my own childhood and couldn’t remember one instance. I looked at my son and my heart burst with joy at how proud I am just how well he’s thriving. How proud I am to just be his mother, every time he stands up, as he is now learning to walk, I feel so proud to bear witness to such growth. I smiled at the thought of how people respond to hearing those words. ‘I am so proud of you’, translation, I see your growth, acknowledges it and know that you may not be so sure of what you are doing, but thank you for sharing it. I promised myself to only sincerely express this, and so far I have been doing a great job. So far, each response has been a wide eye and a smile, sometimes followed by me showing others just how great they are. ‘I am so proud of you’. Just in case anyone forgets to tell you, or loved ones get caught up in their own lives. Most importantly, just in case you forget your purpose and lose sight. Just in case, you are not sure but is far from where you where and is ‘somehow’ pushing forward. I am so proud of you.