DAY 3

Feb 17 2019

Why Cuba? It’s a question I’ve (reasonably) gotten a lot since booking my flight three weeks ago. My generic answers: I found a deal. I needed a vacation. It was on my bucket list. I wanted to go before it was overrun with tourists and McDonalds.

Someone asked recently if I booked because I was having an Eat Pray Love moment. Sure, the next step in my career is uncertain right now as I come to the end of my rotational program. Yes, I recently saw the end of a relationship and experienced rejection like never before. But no, not an Eat Pray Love moment. Trust me, that would have been a trip WAY longer than five days.

Fernweh. Undoubtedly my favorite and most relatable German word. It doesn’t translate to English, but it roughly means the longing for places you’ve never seen before. The truth is, I’ve been dying for a trip to a new place since my Copenhagen trip last fall was cancelled. Travel is important to me. Experiencing new cultures and interacting with people who are so incredibly different from me is important to me.

So here I am on the trip of a lifetime. My first solo trip to a place where I don’t speak the language. Ready to eat, pray, and love this city. Oh, and drink my way around the city because it’s Cuba and I can’t wait to get my hands on some rum.

For my Grandma because I know she’ll worry: I promise to only fall in love with the city, not with anyone in the city.

DAY 4

Feb 18 2019

Thoughts on my first full day in Havana:

Wow. Just wow. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure what exactly to expect when I got here, but Havana is so different than anything I could have imagined. Shop owners are fearful that someone may steal from them that there’s a line to get into any shop or bar. The convenience stores all have bars over the front of them and you stand outside while the workers grab you what you need and pass it through the bars in exchange for your payment. Busy restaurants are attached to crumbling building. You have to be careful of where you walk because the roads are torn up. But, there are a lot of cats here. I’m a fan of the cats.

Today was eye opening. A realization that the convenience of running into a shop to buy a bottle of water doesn’t exist here. That a month’s worth of government rations often only last a family a week, if that. Feeling extra thankful that I’m a citizen of the United States.

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