When Paula asked me to guest blog I was honored, of course I was honored, but I was also a bit apprehensive. How do you explain one’s culture? Being Cubana is a part of me, like the beauty mark on my face and the extra roll around my hips. I don’t really think about it, it’s part of what makes up BB. It’s what makes me shimmy my shoulders when I hear a good beat and take a double espresso in stride. It’s what demands respect of youth and gives respect to elders. It’s what allows me to follow 5 different conversations at once at a gathering while still playing a mean game of dice. It’s an enrichment of my life. It’s added colors to the canvas around me that I wouldn’t have had if I had chosen to stay within the lines of my Anglo neighborhood. And Babushka loves her colors!
But by the same token, I am content in my non latino neighborhood because truth be known, the embracing of my roots came later in life and I speak Spanglish, not Spanish. Like all parents I wanted better for my children and immersed them in the Cuban culture, to be conscious and proud of their history. For my grandchildren I want it even more. Soon there will be no generation that speaks predominantly Spanish in my family and that’s a sad thought. Ok si, speaking a language doesn’t make you a true son anymore than eating a meal makes you a chef, but still, that’s a world of thoughts, poetry, literature lost if we’re not diligent. And it’s a beautiful world, worth the explorations and discovery; I hope to continue climbing and learning right along with them.
Now what I don’t need to learn is how to love Cuban food. That’s a lesson I’ve learned too well. The Cuban culinary arts are rich (especially in calories) but that’s not the only art we have masters in. Ernesto Lecuona, famous Cuban composer – his Malagueña a world renowned classic. Our beloved Celia Cruz, the queen of Salsa was always missing her beloved country, singing its’ praises, and today’s Mr. 305, PitBull,is proud to be Cuban-American. And so is BB.
I will continue playing Cubilete while drinking my cortadito and listening to a danzon. The Reyes Magos will find grass in our shoes for their camels on the sixth of January, and roast pork will be served for every major celebration. My lips will continue to dry up at family gatherings because of all the kisses on the cheeks I’ll give and my hip rolls will shimmy along with my shoulders when the dance music starts to play. I enjoy the abundance of my people- the passion, the humor, the love of life; this is a good thing. My children and grandchildren feel this, instinctively know it’s theirs, and this, is a very good