Back in August 2016, I had an itch for change. Something different, something new. I wanted to live in a new city and start over. I had lived in Houston my whole life (well, technically Pearland) I would visit other cities, but I never imagined myself living somewhere else. Way back when (2011-2014), I had originally wanted to move to Los Angeles, researching how much rent would be, applying for jobs, and visiting potential schools. Eventually, reality had settled in and I had a change of heart. Wanting to stay nearby my family, in Texas (for now), yet fully immersing my self somewhere not Houston, that’s when I moved to the hill country.
If you were to ask me what is the one place on earth that I would want to visit above all, I would have said Cuba without any hesitation. On May 5th, I was fortunate enough to have that opportunity become a reality. As some of you know, I was incredibly close to my Abuelo (Grandpa), Vicénte Santiago Estevez. Ever since I was a kid, I remember hearing stories from Abuelo about his life in Cuba, how he met my sweet Abuela and the joys, but also challenges of living in Cuba during the first half of the 20th century. I was so fascinated with the country and genuinely interested in knowing where my ancestors came from. I had dreamed about visiting my grandparent’s birthplace one day, but never thought it would be possible, especially given the strained relations between the U.S and Cuba. Not to mention, each time I spoke with Abuelo he never felt anytime was good to go. Understandably, the last time he was there was right before the Cuban Revolution began- a horrific memory that left a lasting impression on him and so many Cubans.