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Sundries
...a sweatshop of moxie

Saturday, December 10, 2005

The Cuban-American

(Welcome Babalublog readers! Finalmente, coño!)

Earlier tonight, our bathtub started leaking.

It was going drip-drip-drip, incessantly, as if some lazy git had forgotten to turn off the tap, or so my father testily grumbled out loud.

Then it got worse. The drain got clogged. An awful murkiness appeared on the collected stream of undrained water in the tub. Little particles of "stuff" started floating out. Ick.

We finally had to grab the phone, and do the most frightening thing a homeowner can do on a Friday night, past midnight, in an emergency -- call a plumber. *cringe*

So I got a guy on the phone, and though the price was steep (those who live in this area expect to get hosed, minus Vaseline, anyway), he sounded willing and professional.

And American. Or so I thought.

In walked a Cuban-American plumber.

You can tell a mile away. Square Gallego face. High forehead. Stocky. Tall. No chit-chat, all business. "Norberto".

At times like this, we leave my mother to do our haggling about prices.

And the moment I saw the guy, I knew it was for the best, since Cuban-Americans are not the types who like to deal with our kind of person anyway.

We're too...too.

Too polite. Too diffident. Too small-talky, trying to make the social mood more convivial, and jokey for all concerned. Veddy British.

Bad move with Cubans, my friends.

Maybe it's their Moorish heritage from the Spanish Conquest, since North Africans and Arabs have an ingrained disrespect for people who are too "nice" -- they find it a sign of weakness.

For once they have pinned you down as servile, forget it. You're toast.

He finished his quickie patch-up job, and in short order, told us what was needed tomorrow, and what it would cost. Every part was itemised and priced -- nothing too outrageous either, which he emailed me right then and there, from his laptop. He wouldn't charge us a penny more, if his estimate was not right.

Co-ÑO. First-rate service.

I secretly wished he did carpets and roach extermination, too...and pedicures, but I digress.

Then I got to thinking, after our plumber left, and after my Cuban accent experimentation below this post, about Cuban-Americans in general, particularly in the light of a book I am reading this week, listed in the sidebar.

Jubana!: The Awkwardly True And Dazzling Adventures of a Jewish Cubana Goddess

Oh, the story is every bit a pip the title sounds like, believe me.

Being Jewish, and not living in Miami, the authoress isn't like many of the Cubans I know down here, as she herself realises.

She's not Catholic (hello). She's not Republican. She's not a traditionalist, which is a different concept than just plain "conservative".

It means she isn't likely to take the macho crap her fellow male Cubans deal out to their women (as she puts it), which is funny, because if there is one species of women who have more huevos than men, and never take bull from anyone, it's Cuban women.

But in every other way, down to her obnoxiously delicious sense of humour, she's as Cuban as platanos and frijoles negros...and Iron Beer, but I digress.

After the usual Horatio Alger story many immigrants find in America, poor, rich, Jewish, Catholic, illiterate, educated, whatever -- she came to the Elian chapter of her life.

Before that, it was a quirky ride into a Jewish Cuban Princess' (JCP, as she puts it...she puts it a lot, doesn't she?) life coping with el exilio alongside a dysfunctionally hilarious family.

Then, as I say, she got to the Elian chapter.



That's when she acknowledges she had very conflicted feelings about what her liberal, eastern seaboard journalist fiancé and friends thought about it, and what she thought about the matter.

They thought Cubans were just plum loco -- whacked out, right-wing fanatics. She thought they were just...Cubans.

Hard to know, harder to like.

She didn't say that. I did it for her.

But in her ruminations, she came out with this paragraph, which I found myself being reminded of, about all the Norbertos I've ever met down here:

"In Miami, Cubans know who they are. They never have to feel ashamed to be it. That's one of the things I love most about going there, that instant unspoken understanding that nosotros somos Cubanos.

When you're such a minority all the time, it's wonderful to be a majority for a change."

And you know what? That's absolutely right.

In almost every city that an immigrant group invades, the immigrant must be willing to take a lot from the dominant culture.

They have to learn to speak the language, often without accent, or be laughed at and belittled.

They have to feel themselves inherently inferior, if only for a time, even if it takes one generation to get that chip off their shoulder.

They have to adhere to other people's rules and customs, smile a lot, act all respectful, and above all, never rock the status-quo boat.

And should they be "Hispanic", add all of that, plus the element of race too.

Usually that word means, to Americans anyway, that the person has a browner tint of skin and comes from countries which are mired in corrupt poverty.

Why, they should be happy they are picking tomatoes at $1.25 per hour!, think the gringos.

Enter Cubans in Miami.

They came in floods, in waves, literally at times, so they had strength in numbers.

They came from middle-class backgrounds (or more importantly, and correctly, from middle-class attitudes of life, even if their status back in Cuba didn't correspond financially).

They came to a city which was fairly new, and whose "dominant culture" was not really cemented, unlike the Irish who trampled all over the Brahmins' turf in Boston.

And they were white (or more importantly, and correctly, they considered themselves white, which is a state of mind, rather than a blue eye-colour).

All of this set them apart from other Hispanic immigrant groups to the US, with a few exceptions, namely rich South Americans, of whom I am preparing a huge blogpost, published in the near future.

If there is one salient aspect of the Cuban migration in exile to Miami that you should know about, which Gigi Anders touched on above, is that they are NEVER ashamed to be themselves -- namely, Cubans.

They will shout it from the rooftops, because, let's face it, Cubans shout a lot anyway.

(That's another thing which separates me from them. I have a very distant, even regal demeanour in real life. My tone of voice never rises above a decibel comfortably used in any royal garden party. Both my parents are that way too. When I met the family of my first Cuban-American boyfriend, I gulped hard. They shouted at pitches which would've alarmed most people in England, and set the cops on them. And they were just talking too, not arguing. Oh brother -- my first Cuban-American argument, en familia, ay. It calls for a separate blogpost. Promise)

They will wave their Cuban flags, cry when they hear the Guantanamera, drink mojitos, boogie to Bennie Moré and Miami Sound Machine oldies (Cubans are big-time callejeros -- they love to go out and about, and if there is a party involved, gang way!), and they will especially talk about Castro and what that sin vergüenza comemierda cabrón did to Cuba and to them, ALL THE LIVELONG TIME.



That drives other people around them nuts.

These people should shut up already! Stop waving that Cuban flag! Be more cringingly servile! Get with the immigrant programme!

Never. Not Cuban-Americans. Forget eet.

When other immigrants cry in their hankies, and shout no-fair at the system, they bend it over and tap that Establishment culo for all its worth.

When other immigrants run to the nearest Unemployment/Food Stamps/Go'mint Cheese office, they work two jobs not just to feed their family, but to put their kid through school...I'm not talking college, either, but private grade school.

South Florida used to have DOZENS of private Cuban-owned schools (hundreds, maybe?), all catering to the same low-income immigrant kid whose parents wanted better for him, than the local public school could offer. Besides, they don't teach you about José Marti at Killian or Booker T.

When other immigrants hid their origins under a blanket of words like Hispanic or "Latino" or La Raza, they laughed and called themselves proudly, defiantly Cuban. In time, Cuban-American.

When Americans, in condenscending droves in the 60s, told Hispanics they should consider themselves victims, and wallow in self-pity, Cubans looked at them and called them crazy. Victims, them? Exiles, sure. Victims, please. Ni muertos.

And this is why I admire these people to death.

I loathe persons who are embarrassed to be themselves, especially those who have self-imposed inferiority complexes, as you well know.

I want a person who will laugh at life, not those who let life laugh at them.

If you think this makes me a hard, unlovable person, who deserves every vicissitude life throws at her, I say, good. More!

People are not one-hundred dollar bills everyone has to like.

Because I recognise in Cubans that which I myself have inside me -- they are tough, they are genuine, they are frank, and they don't have to apologise to anyone for it.

There is so much which softens them, like their love of family, their unwavering loyalty to you once you're "in" with them, their love of life, of God, and of Cuba, that raceless, faceless Cuba which the world thinks Castro invented. Idiotas.

Add to that an overwhelming love of the United States, which they would give, and do give, have given their lives for in startling military numbers, and you have my dream immigrant group.

Cuban-Americans and I fit.

I may be veddy British, with my low voice, and my frosty appearance, but once they get past that, they realise I am a kindred soul.

The kind which doesn't judge them, but let's them be themselves.

I used to think that's what everyone in this world wanted. Until I saw that Cuban-Americans don't get that "bye" with some.

That sickened me.

I don't qualify my respect for people based on politics, on race, or on money. I qualify my respect for people based on their actions, and self-worth.

And, by and large, Cubans in America put their money where their mouth is, and know who they are.

What more can anyone in this great good earth ask, tell me?

When Norberto closed his laptop, I smiled.

Wouldn't you know it -- it had a big ole Cuban flag sticker on the other side. And on his arm, an unfussy, black ink "Corps" tattoo (I Googled).

A Jarhead! Lo sabia.

Working at midnight on a Friday. Busting his hump to make a buck. All business, no chit-chat.

I love this guy. I don't know a single thing about him, but I know EVERYTHING about him.

He's a Cuban-American.

What more do you need to know?

26 Comments:

  • Wow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    How do you take a leaky bathtub and turn it into such a wonderful piece?
    So much of what you write is incredibly perceptive!!! Eventually we will have to make you an Honorary Cubanita, right there on Calle Ocho!

    For now, I will just say in my best Cuban accent:

    Victoria, chica, tu eres una barbara!!!

    By Blogger Jose Aguirre, at Sat Dec 10, 10:30:00 am GMT-5  

  • I have always admired Cubans for exactly all the points you just mentioned. I just would like to add a couple of things.

    - Cuban immigration is/was very different to any other kind. Usually the first waves of immigrants, being Irish, Jewish, Italian, were lower class, blue collar people. The first wave of Cubans in Miami were, like you mentioned, middle-to-upper class, just the exact target of Castro's revolution. So, even if these people came without a dime in their pockets, they came with a business sense and know-how that allowed them to set up factories and business that eventually would help the next waves of migrants.

    - Miami in the 1950's and 1960's was a small city, known more for being a winter haven for snow birds from up north. It was easier to "take on" the establishment there than it was for Puerto Ricans in NYC or Mexicans in California.

    Those 2 points, I believe make the difference on the sucess of Cubans in the US in such a short span of time. Still, God bless them. Me love them too.

    By Blogger Jorge, at Sat Dec 10, 11:56:00 am GMT-5  

  • Wow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Happy sigh.

    Every last one of those exclamation points stand for something for me, much more than a mere form of punctuation.

    They mean love, appreciation, humility, approbation, pride, compassion, respect, understanding, on and on and on...

    Thanks, Jose. That's the best compliment any writer can get.

    To put something out there, that is maybe a little raw, but to know that your target, at least one of them anywway, "got it".

    And how! :)

    How do you take a leaky bathtub and turn it into such a wonderful piece?

    Because...and this is the legacy I want everyone to know about bloggers...I am living proof, in this silly little Sundries blog, that EVERYONE who reads it, can realise they can do it too.

    Look in your lives! You can turn the mundane into something special.


    That's why we are alive, dammit!!

    (Don't trip on my soapbox on your way out. *g*)

    So much of what you write is incredibly perceptive!!!

    Well, let's see. It has taken me 20 years of on-again, off-again observation of Cuban-Americans.

    Of talking to them, of sharing their stories about Cuba (for hours and hours), of listening to the older generation, of hearing what the new generation's hopes are, of Que Pasa USA, of Maria Elvira, of Cristina, of Ninoska, of Radio WQBA, of everything in Miami -- and condescending into one little post.

    In fact, I think I could've done better.

    I will. One day, tu veras.

    Eventually we will have to make you an Honorary Cubanita, right there on Calle Ocho!

    "In recognition of countless posts on bringing appreciation to a much-maligned immigrant group, and a lifetime of panque Jamaica eating at Versailles, we award La Señorita Victoria de Sundries el titulo of, ciudadano honoraria del condado de Dade (con palmas Navarro y floretas sazon Goya)."

    For now, I will just say in my best Cuban accent:

    Victoria, chica, tu eres una barbara!!!


    I could be given a million freedoms of the city of Miami, but this above means the WORLD to me.

    Thanks, Jose! :)

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Sat Dec 10, 12:04:00 pm GMT-5  

  • I have always admired Cubans for exactly all the points you just mentioned. I just would like to add a couple of things.

    - Cuban immigration is/was very different to any other kind. Usually the first waves of immigrants, being Irish, Jewish, Italian, were lower class, blue collar people. The first wave of Cubans in Miami were, like you mentioned, middle-to-upper class, just the exact target of Castro's revolution. So, even if these people came without a dime in their pockets, they came with a business sense and know-how that allowed them to set up factories and business that eventually would help the next waves of migrants.


    I am glad you emphasised this anew, Jorge, whilst acknowledging that I made sure I had mentioned it in passing on my piece.

    One thing though -- there was a study done by a friend of mine, in his doctoral thesis.

    It showed that the overwhelming majority of people who came here from 1962 to 1967 (the height of "el exilio historico" as it is termed) were more lower-middle-class than not.

    This is, in fact, when the black Cuban-Americans came, which slowed down to a trickle afterwards, until the Mariel in 1980.

    So yes, we can mention that these people were middle-class, and they certainly included the wealthy.

    But as you may know, there are many examples of VERY wealthy Cuban-Americans having settled elsewhere.

    The Grand Duchess of Luxembourg, Maria Teresa née Mestre, was born in exile in Switzerland, where her drop-dead rich family settled.

    The amount of really moneyed Cubans in Paris is amazing too.

    I have seen eaten puerco y frijoles negros in one person's home that looks like a palace. They could've owned half of Miami, and parts of Hialeah, had they stayed in SoFla. But they moved on.

    - Miami in the 1950's and 1960's was a small city, known more for being a winter haven for snow birds from up north. It was easier to "take on" the establishment there than it was for Puerto Ricans in NYC or Mexicans in California.

    Yes, I also mentioned that.

    These two qualifications are important, and completely valid, Jorge. I know the spirit that you made too -- fear not.

    But I still think it can give the wrong impression to overqualify the stunning success of Cuban-Americans in Miami.

    (A) They could've turned Miami into the Bronx, and they didn't. Cubans came here to better Miami, not to turn it into a huge ghetto.

    (B) Their domination of the city didn't just allow their own to flourish. Oh no -- they hired thousands and thousands of immigrants from all over South America, making it easier for YOU GUYS to succeed here too, on their backs.

    Okay, I stated that poorly, but you know what I mean.

    I was overhearing an Argentinian the other day in a little grocery mart in SoBe. He was soooooo bitter towards Cubans.

    I told him to shut up, and to be thankful he was here in the US (he looked awful, uncombed, smelly, etc) where Cubans made it easier for such a sorry specimen to get a job without having to speak a lick of English.

    He shut up.

    Those 2 points, I believe make the difference on the sucess of Cubans in the US in such a short span of time. Still, God bless them. Me love them too.

    Yay!! ;)

    Thanks for posting that, Jorge!

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Sat Dec 10, 12:18:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Agree, many people can be lista, but to be ocurrente takes more than just intelligence. Sense of humor, wit, picardia, are all a part of it and you've got it!

    If you have not heard it, make sure you listen to the song "Nosotros los Cubanos" by Marisela Verena. You will be able to appreciate it and laugh with us and at us!

    By Blogger Jose Aguirre, at Sat Dec 10, 12:43:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Agree, many people can be lista, but to be ocurrente takes more than just intelligence. Sense of humor, wit, picardia, are all a part of it and you've got it!

    Thanks, Jose!

    (To readers, Jose was referring to my question in the Soccoro! thread about what occurente meant in Spanish -- or Cuban slang)

    If you have not heard it, make sure you listen to the song "Nosotros los Cubanos" by Marisela Verena. You will be able to appreciate it and laugh with us and at us!

    Excellent! Thank you so much.

    I love to get tips like this, especially about music, because I'm a complete duffer in music.

    I know enough to have Miguelito Valdes' "Babalu" on mp3, though. ;)

    Oh, and if you have or can link to a copy of whatever "Havana, sirena" song that is in the PBS Cuban-American documentary on the same topic, lemme know.

    I think that is one of the most lilting, touching songs I've ever heard.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Sat Dec 10, 02:44:00 pm GMT-5  

  • "Ño"! What else can I say?

    You've outdone yourself Victoria. That was one the best analysis of Cuban-Americans from a non-Cuban that I've ever read or heard. It wasn't all pretty and 100% positive, but that's what makes it so honest and spot on.

    Accepting and admiring a group of people totally different from what you're used to, more so, accepting and admiring them at face value, is a very hard thing to do. It's quite easy for Cuban-Americans (or any other group) to brag about themselves, but for someone outside your group to do so is nothing short of awesome.

    If only most of us in this world were as ready and willing to accept others different from us, we'd be in a much better place.

    Thanks for that great post. I think it deserves some more exposure in the King of Cuban Blogs

    By Blogger Robert, at Sat Dec 10, 03:05:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Oh, I forgot to say:

    "Te la comistes"!

    (Sorry, no accompanying audio file!)

    By Blogger Robert, at Sat Dec 10, 03:06:00 pm GMT-5  

  • "Ño"! What else can I say?

    Ño is greaat. It says it all!

    You've outdone yourself Victoria.

    Thanks Robertico. :)

    (That was Jorge's father's name, and what his mother called the dad. I love that nickname)

    That was one the best analysis of Cuban-Americans from a non-Cuban that I've ever read or heard. It wasn't all pretty and 100% positive, but that's what makes it so honest and spot on.

    What me mention that Cubans usually like to drive like maniacs to the last quinces party of the season?

    Or that they have more tricks up their sleeves than David Copperfield has Claudia Schiffer panties?

    Or even that their El Ebro sazon is oversazoned??

    Come on! I would never do that.

    ;)

    Accepting and admiring a group of people totally different from what you're used to, more so, accepting and admiring them at face value, is a very hard thing to do. It's quite easy for Cuban-Americans (or any other group) to brag about themselves, but for someone outside your group to do so is nothing short of awesome.

    Exactly. I can't improve on what you said. It's spot on.

    If only most of us in this world were as ready and willing to accept others different from us, we'd be in a much better place.

    You know, the majority of the time you hear someone say something like this, all PC and cosy, is when a certain kind of person, from a certain world view is saying it -- enjoining others to be "more open and caring about others not like you".

    Well, screw that.

    Those are usually the VERY PEOPLE who deride and condemn Cuban-Americans, for nothing more than they have opinions and politics which don't jibe with their own.

    Hipocritas!

    (That soapbox just keeps moving around!)

    Thanks for that great post. I think it deserves some more exposure in the King of Cuban Blogs

    Well, I see Val finally woke up, drank his cosimiento, and opened his damn email........................

    "Te la comistes"!

    No estoy empanga hoy, Robert!! ;)

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Sat Dec 10, 03:53:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Thanks Robertico. :) .

    That was my nickname as a child. Heck, some people still call me that. You know us too well!

    If only most of us in this world were as ready and willing to accept others different from us, we'd be in a much better place. .

    I know that sounds too "Hallmark-y", but I should have added "accept others for who they are and what they stand for". Kind of like the face value phrase I mentioned previously.


    Well, I see Val finally woke up, drank his cosimiento, and opened his damn email........................


    Actually, I opened it for him. I'm lucky enough to be one of the few to have the "keys" to Babalu.

    By Blogger Robert, at Sat Dec 10, 04:04:00 pm GMT-5  

  • "When other immigrants run to the nearest Unemployment/Food Stamps/Go'mint Cheese office, they work two jobs not just to feed their family, but to put their kid through school...I'm not talking college, either, but private grade school."
    I've always said this. My cousin and her husband and her two daughters escaped the Castro regime. Once in Miami, the husband went to college full time to finish his studies in engineering while working full time nights as a janitor to support the family. The thought of asking for government help never occured to my family. Thank you for a great post.

    By Blogger ConservativeTrail Head, at Sat Dec 10, 05:26:00 pm GMT-5  

  • alaba'o! este articulo me aguó los ojos~ makes me proud to be a Cuban (like we need any help with that ...ji, ji)

    By Anonymous nurian, at Sat Dec 10, 07:20:00 pm GMT-5  

  • That was my nickname as a child. Heck, some people still call me that. You know us too well!

    Heh!

    Actually, I love the -ica ending Cubans favour to the more usual Spanish -ito.

    I tried to nickname myself that "Victoriesica", but it just didn't work, my CA bf's family told me.

    Too bad. Smacked of Vittorio di Sica, one of my fave directors, too. ;)

    I know that sounds too "Hallmark-y", but I should have added "accept others for who they are and what they stand for". Kind of like the face value phrase I mentioned previously.

    Oh yes, I knew it. After re-reading what I wrote, I found it sounded like a diss. :(

    But you know that I was building up to make a point about the PC-niks!

    Actually, I opened it for him. I'm lucky enough to be one of the few to have the "keys" to Babalu.

    ROBERTICO! You did that for me?

    Aww. MWAH! Besos, mi lindo soccer-fanatic de Guecheste!

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Sat Dec 10, 11:22:00 pm GMT-5  

  • I've always said this. My cousin and her husband and her two daughters escaped the Castro regime. Once in Miami, the husband went to college full time to finish his studies in engineering while working full time nights as a janitor to support the family.

    Exactly!

    My dad's clinic had a cleaning lady at night who was pushing 40, a widow raising a son alone in exile.

    She worked her fingers to the bone to send him to Belen...the most elite private Cuban's boy school in Miami.

    I don't know if he went on to bigger and better things, but with such a mother, he had a heckuva start.

    (I always wondered if this seriously spoilt, luxury-loving girl would do the same for her kids, in a similar situation -- and I think I would, but not with as much grace and humility as that lady did. I'll never forget Blanquita)

    The thought of asking for government help never occured to my family.

    You know, all people need a lending hand sometimes -- I don't begrudge people that need...how could I?

    But I do really really admire the immigrants who make it, like Jorge up top, all on their own.

    They may have family and a community around to help them -- but it's difficult not to ask for endless handouts without any shame at all.

    Thank you for a great post.

    My pleasure! Thanks for taking the time to post a reply. :)

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Sat Dec 10, 11:28:00 pm GMT-5  

  • alaba'o!

    Alabao! I forgot about that word, one of my faves. :)

    Also, "caballero"...but with that SPECIAL Cuban singy-songy emphasis on the LLE part.

    este articulo me aguó los ojos~ makes me proud to be a Cuban (like we need any help with that ...ji, ji)

    Esto me llena de orgullo, como no te puedes imaginarte, Nurian.

    Gracias por la visita, y estees en tu casa aqui siempre.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Sat Dec 10, 11:31:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Some telling info:
    Who is the mayor of Wichita KS?: A Cuban refugee.
    What ethnic group has the greatest per capita congressional representation? 2 U.S senators, 4 U.S congressman are Cuban-American
    Pretty good for .9% of the U.S population.
    Posted by a Cuban ref who is also a veteran U.S Army door gunner in SE Asia and father of a U.S Marine in Iraq.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Dec 11, 09:29:00 am GMT-5  

  • Crazy story, not quite sure what it has to do with real life though. It sounds so surreal

    By Anonymous robotii, at Sun Dec 11, 09:38:00 am GMT-5  

  • Some telling info:
    Who is the mayor of Wichita KS?: A Cuban refugee.
    What ethnic group has the greatest per capita congressional representation? 2 U.S senators, 4 U.S congressman are Cuban-American
    Pretty good for .9% of the U.S population.


    Compared to how many African-Americans? The proportional statistics are ASTOUNDING.

    Shame that most Americans would just lump Cubans with "Hispanics" to up that figure -- but individually, few recent immigrant groups can touch Cuban-Americans, in sheer numbers of active participation.

    BTW, another neighbour's brother-in-law (IIRC), emigrated to Costa Rica, instead of to Miami/the US.

    He now owns the largest auto-dealership in Costa Rica.

    And the Cubans in Venezuela? Ni se habla.

    Posted by a Cuban ref who is also a veteran U.S Army door gunner in SE Asia and father of a U.S Marine in Iraq.

    God bless you both! I could hug you.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Sun Dec 11, 05:37:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Crazy story, not quite sure what it has to do with real life though. It sounds so surreal

    Oh yeah, totally!

    Having a plumber come fix a drained clog in your bathroom is EXACTLY like Mini-Me choking the chicken and then whizzing-off a little roadster.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Sun Dec 11, 05:38:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Victoria:
    You hit the nail in the head about how proud we Cubans are of being Cuban. That is reflected in the old joke of the Cuban who is asked where he would have liked to have been born if he had not been born in Cuba and without hesitation he answered: "Well, if I had not been born in Cuba, I would have wanted to have been born in Cuba!".
    Or the one that says that Beethoven composed the Pathetique "por lo triste que estaba de no haber nacido en Guanabacoa"
    Muchas gracias.
    Jose

    By Anonymous Jose, at Sun Dec 11, 06:32:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Victoria:
    You hit the nail in the head about how proud we Cubans are of being Cuban. That is reflected in the old joke of the Cuban who is asked where he would have liked to have been born if he had not been born in Cuba and without hesitation he answered: "Well, if I had not been born in Cuba, I would have wanted to have been born in Cuba!".
    Or the one that says that Beethoven composed the Pathetique "por lo triste que estaba de no haber nacido en Guanabacoa"
    Muchas gracias.
    Jose


    *LOL!*

    Beethoven and Guanabacoa -- now THAT baby, is surreal.

    Brilliant post, much appreciated, Jose II! ;)

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Sun Dec 11, 07:56:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Victoria:

    Thank you for your kind words!

    Viva Victoria!

    Mario

    By Blogger Mandingo Jones, at Mon Dec 12, 01:33:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Thank you for your kind words!

    Viva Victoria!

    Mario


    My pleasure, Mario!

    That is QUITE a Blogger profile you have.

    I came for Mandingo Jones. And I stayed because of your Mature Content. ;)

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Mon Dec 12, 11:41:00 pm GMT-5  

  • A wonderful piece. I remember my first exposure to the culture of the Cuban-Americans. One of my father's WW2 Marine buddies was "Mike" who was born in Cuba and came with his parents to Tampa (the first vibrant Cuban community in the USA was Ybor City) as a small child. We would visit them every summer. I remember the smell and the bite of the strong Cuban coffee, and how when at the age of 8 I drank my first cup. Mike gave me a big hug and told ALL who would listen in the little cafe of my initiation into manhood. I can remember the HUGE gatherings on Sundays for the weekly family meal. There would be about 25 people of various ages laughing, hugging, and enjoying life all very loudly. The food filled an entire room. Since we Alabamians could understand no Spanish, they all tried very hard to speak English as much as they could. I can remembering how I wished my family could have been so large and so happy.
    Today, Mike is in a nursing home, and all his siblings and their spouses have died. The little cafe is gone as are the sounds of old men playing dominos and the smell of their cigars is a distant memory. Ybor city is now a giant night club district, with none of the old flavor left.
    Now 40 years later I have been lucky enough to meet some of the recent immigrants, who risked all to come to the USA. The drive for success of these men and women is what sets them apart from any other group.
    Also I cannot agree more with what you said about the women. My friend "Anna" Is a resident at a prestigious medical center. There is a fire in her eyes which reflects every emotion that she feels within seconds. Her patience at trying to teach an old guy from Alabama how to salsa, and the beauty of her laugh as she laughed with me (not at me)for my poor performance were a highlight of a recent vacation.
    I badly want to see Castro fall and Cuba be free, but the USA will lose much of the spice from our melting pot when the Cubans stop immigrating.

    By Anonymous barry, at Thu Dec 15, 02:46:00 pm GMT-5  

  • HMM..DONT KNOW IF I GOT IT WRONG,BUT I DO IT AGAIN...HI "QUEEN VICTORIA"..YOU DONT HAVE A BATHTUB,YOU HAVE A "TROPICAL POOL"..CONGRATULATIONSSS FOR YOUR ARTICLE..GOD BLESS YOU AND YOUR BRAIN...TONY.

    By Anonymous JOSE GONZALEZ, at Sat Dec 17, 02:41:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Hello Victoria,

    I just found your blog. I was googling (Cuban-American successful men and women), and there I found your entry. Your writing is magic. It brought tears to my eyes as well. I live in California now, where I am doing my PhD, but I miss Miami and how cushioning it is to be a Cuban there. I would like to share my blog with you and everyone else as well.

    http://jorgemorejon.livejournal.com/

    Cheers,

    JorgeLuis

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Aug 28, 04:26:00 am GMT-4  

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