I love standing in line to buy food in Havana, there is nothing worse than the present circumstances our relatives must go through to make ends meet. But even in the middle of those situations, happiness has its way of turning the tides of sorrow into one of community and selfless service. This is one of the things I find appealing about Cubans, they are always thinking about how they can help each other, creating a space where surviving turns into love and companionship. Perhaps that is another reason why I have fallen in love with my Cuban in-laws. There is no better way to put it.

Buying food in Cuba
Buying food in Cuba

 We have become blinded by “what must be normal”, so we fail sometimes to understand realities of other societies, and so we label them as outcasts. For Cubans it is no longer about the imposed embargo, many no longer even talk about the hard hand stretched across the politics between the island and the USA. They have learned to live with that. Nothing is more real than how beautiful they surround their life with music, with culture and the art of their love for each other. Perhaps this is the feeling inside my husband that has drawn me so close to his own beating heart. He always finds ways to help whoever is in need, and in the relationship we have created, this particularly special quality is clear and undeniably present.

 For someone in a cross cultural relationships it may seem a bit trivial and almost cliché to speak about the things that enhance togetherness, but when this driving force is so linked to the reality of a nations behavioral survival instinct it goes a little bit beyond any cliché.

 If you have experienced this with your cross-cultural partner, you know of what I am talking about, and if you don’t you will come to perceive this virtue as a building block for the construction of your own durable relationship. Learn to see it for what it is, the result of generations after generations of a common need to move forward, beyond adversities. To be happy is a choice, it is not a given right, there is no other solution for lives marked by wealth inequality.

 This is not meant to be a paper about different social statuses, this is merely an attempt to stop ignoring how we are shaped by the place we call our home. It is clearly noted how developed countries differ from third world countries, from any point of view. The ability to choose happiness is nonetheless a link to another way of perceiving life, and to see how this takes hold of human interaction is for me like they say in Costa Rica, Pura Vida.

 We seem to have forgotten how simplicity reigns in leading us into a life of kind and nurtured interactions. The lack of needing to always be a consumer because you don’t have the means to do so, awakens the opportunity to be more creative with your time, and thus you tend to spend more time with yourself or with those you love. This is something we lack in our own countries and Cuba is still untouched by so much need to own things, they are more into the idea of sharing, not owning. Don’t get me wrong, the modern mentality of our countries saying that “the more you own, the more of a social status you possess” is slowly creeping into the contemporary Cuban mindset, but you can still feel and see how far they are from what we have here.

 I believe that one of the reasons travelers enjoy the things they have and feel more grateful of what they have accomplished, bleeds from that perception you gain while experiencing the realities other humans live under, it’s a must needed “eye opening subject”. Most people who have ventured into these unknown countries always come back with a greater sense of existence, and so they tend to be more accepting and tolerant towards other cultures. Something that ultimately changes their life. Imagining how much this can change your own ideas of love.

  There is not one single day that goes by where I don’t take a moment to realize whom I have married, and what I have learned from my experiences in Cuba. It is a pleasure for me to hear my partner say the same about his experiences in Canada. Being aware of how we are shaped by our homelands bring forward the possibility of choosing a new way for happiness.