DECEMBER 24TH, 2012

christmas in havana is not like the christmas i'm used to at all. the

typical u.s. behavior that i'm so accustomed to is absent. there are
some lights along busy streets, there are christmas trees (although
much smaller and much fewer), the 'feliz navidad' signage and the
santa hats are here, but the heavy consumerism is completely absent.
no one is running around looking to buy toys, or clothes or diamonds
or whatever else we buy. the kids don't expect to wake up at 6am to
open tons of presents that they'll probably grow tired of come
february. there aren't lots on every corner full of hundreds of trees.
the markets don't have christmas specific chai lattes, or red frosted
cinnamon buns, nor do they advertise christmas specific sales or
discounts. the lines and traffic around the stores is the same, and
although school is out for the winter, things are business as usual.
add to this that its about 85 degrees every day, and you have a
twilight zone christmas.

i don't miss any of the christmas crazyness. what i do miss, though,
is the tradition and spirit of christmas that my fam creates. our
family does it big for christmas. we always have a party full of
delicious stuff to eat, unless we go to another big party. we (mostly
my mom and sister) make candy's/sweets to give as gifts to friends and
family. we decorate the tree with ornaments that my grandma and aunts
have made since we were born. my mom sits down at the piano and we
even sing carols! we're that kind of family, lol.

but since i'm here, and not there, i've replaced christmas carols with
reggaeton; my christmas tree is a little green shrek looking money
bank that i bought for $1, put on the table and surrounded with
christmas lights; i'm throwing my own party; and my cuban fam will
stand in for my fam fam. even though i will miss my family terribly,
and miss my kids (nep waking me up at 6am to open presents, i'm super happy
to be here. my first christmas ever away from home and i'm glad its in
cuba. with the warm weather and the warmth of the people i wont want
for much.

happy holidays everyone.

love,
t