Cuba, a place that has been a mystery to many Americans for decades, became our first cultural exploration outside of the states. With relations between The United States and Cuba becoming more relaxed in the last few years we couldn’t help but consider traveling to this once common haven for American tourists.
While relationships between the two countries have been strained since the 1960’s Cold War, there has always been a mutual love between The United States and Cuba. So for our very first stop, we figured we would head to the capital city, Havana, to explore its beauty and understand a bit more about what Cuban life is like.
Whether it’s the food, music, or style, we were surprised to see how much Cuba was informed with the latest in American culture. Walking around Havana evokes a feeling of Nostalgia taking us back to a time when classic American muscle cars ruled the streets in the United States. But it wasn't just the cars that reminded us of home.
Everywhere we mingled with the locals, there was something that connected us to them. We met some neighborhood kids for pickup soccer and talked about the NBA finals, latest Yeezys, and a shared love for the worlds game.
We met Cubans from all different walks of life who were excited about the renewed relations between our two countries. In conversation, they expressed their struggles as Cuban citizens but also pride in what being Cuban means to them. Though wary of American interest in their country, many Cubans were open to having this renewed relationship have some influence on their very independent nation. With direct flights now opened to Cuba from the U.S., we hope that it will be for the best.
Pedro sat on the steps of the old church everyday. From under his tilted fedora, he watched the tourists come and go. Cigar in hand, legs crossed, he gazed out on the town square as he had done every day. A father, former army pilot, and English teacher, Pedro explained he'd been sitting on the church steps since 7 o'clock in the morning. We met him there at 3 in the afternoon.
From the streets to the pitch, futbol is the language of the youth here in Havana. Although baseball and boxing come to mind when thinking of Cuban pastimes, futbol is alive here!