Lost in Cuba09 Dec 2016, Posted by Blog in
This one time, I got lost in Cuba…
Luckily I was given the name of a pastor who would “find” me at the airport… Thankfully it isn’t much of a challenge to find the one white American walking off the plane.
So I have this sweet, sweet pastor with his wife and son approach me, shuffling with insecurity, asking: “Seniorita Lydia?”
“Si, si!” I exclaim, excited to be found.
Pastor then gives me a strong hand shake and starts telling me all about something… I have no idea what though since “si” is 30% of the Spanish words I know.
Once everyone realizes that I speak no Spanish and the family speaks no English, we all bust out laughing. Mostly nervous laughter, but I can’t fully trust my Spanish translation there.
So, of course, I get into their 1950s Volkswagen Beetle. Honestly, that car was a hipster’s dream! Mint green with white and wood details. If only I was more hipster, my Instagram would have blown up!
Anyway, we hit the road and the family began to teach me Spanish in the most classic way: pointing at stuff and saying the word. We end up at their home where the mother lands this GIANT plate of food in front of me. This is where my plantain addiction began. Though I still haven’t found any tostones (friend plantains) that come anywhere close to the awesomeness madre gave me in that little apartment! And so the addiction continues…
Our lunch conversation developed beyond pointing and we were able to actually have conversations. I learned that Pastor had a church in the neighborhood and the son was a sophomore in high school. They asked if I was married, if I wanted to have a baby, and how could I still be single at 25 when I’m such a beautiful girl… I can’t be sure that’s exactly what they said but every mama I meet abroad tells me that. At least I’m married now… but when I do have a baby I what are the mamas gonna want to talk to me about…???
By the end of the day Pastor had found someone from church to translate for me and I was able to have fuller conversations with Pastor’s family and other families we visited around Cuba.
One day I just walked down the streets of the neighborhood alone. I watched parents pick up their kids from school. I spotted a guy working on his lawn. I saw traffic backed up by construction. In a foreign land I saw all these things I knew.
And I remembered my favorite quote: “Not all who wander are lost.”
Though we may be navigating down unknown streets, translating a new way of life, befriending people we don’t fully understand, feeling a bit lost… it’s good to know that we may just be wandering.
And there is an amazing home with the greatest fried plantains waiting for us to return.