OCTOBER 11TH, 2012

its different this time. i knew it would be, but i'm never really
prepared for change. i'm trying to find my bearings, anchor my feet to
the ground. all of the immediate newness of this city is gone and its
truths are starting to find their way from my subconscious into my
conscious mind. the sweet freshness of spring, the chaos of summer,
and the constant stream of biennial events has been supplanted by a
quieter and less densely packed cuba with a population preparing their
abodes for the approaching winter months. the winds have been stunning,
causing the waves to assault the malecon with huge sprays of water.
its colder, and there's a charge in the air. reminds me of october in
the valley, with the santa annas sweeping through every corner.
october is my favorite month, and it hasn't let me down in havana.

i feel great, happy to be here, excited to experience cuba from a
different perspective, to conquer my fears once more. i have friends
here, i know my way around the city, i know what to expect of the
food. but knowing doesn't relieve the feeling of longing for home, for
the people you've spent years with, or the spaces that are etched so
deeply into your subconscious that their value is attached to their
respective memories. its as though i've lost a limb, and the only way
to be whole again is to grow it back. a painstakingly slow and
involved process, that in the end leaves you profoundly wiser and
stronger. as you can tell, longing and melancholy is present, but i'm
stubborn, so its what to be expected.

there was a hiccup with my classes because the system wouldn't process
my card; but three weeks later, with constant and varied attempts to
pay, it has finally worked. such is the way of cuba, and patience and
persistence are key. so in my fourth week i've started my engraving
classes, which are beginning with lithography. i've been reading up on
the lithographic process and its very very strange - like magic. some
combination of stone and grease from lithographic crayons combine with
chemicals to create a tacky surface that when washed with a barrier of
water first and then cover with lithographic printing ink becomes a
matrix for a graphic print. a supremely complex process which i don't
fully understand yet, but i will by the time i'm done.

i've been running around the city, going to all the shows i hear
about, partying on my off days. i went to a halloween party in baracoa
(west of havana) this weekend that was a surprisingly successful
combination of a bunch of u.s. med students studying in havana and
cubans. it was very very fun. myself, samuel (my frof), my friends
luis and anabel and anabel's friend eduardo pre-partied it up on
the beach with some rum and coke, so we were loose and ready to act a
fool when the party started at 11. i was dressed as a diva devil, of
course, and danced to a combination of hip hop, pop and cuban
reggeaton that night. things are moving slower this time around, but
that is undoubtedly related to the fact that i have 5 months here
instead of 2.

send me your halloween pictures please, i'm gonna miss all the
goodness that goes down. miss you all.


p.s. thank you again to all of you who helped me get here through
purchases and donations. i feel supremely grateful and humbled by your
generosity and love.