Cuba is slapping me.
Today I got lost.
Stuck in a bus so crowded that by the end of the ride I was soaked and smelled like a mix of at least five different people. It was raining, and it was sticky – and it seemed that half of Havana was on the P1 bus I had to take.
After a 1 hour + ride, I decided that I was getting out. And there it was, all of a sudden, it was in me.
Italian, mad, raw, sweaty.
How did I forget that feeling? The feeling of really not getting a system, the perception that people are talking so fast and so weird that they must be messing with you because there is no way they are for real. The sensation to be really alone – that moment when you want to cry and ask yourself: ‘what the xxxx am I doing here?’
Italian, mad, raw, sweaty. So I did what I forgot I knew how to do so well. I started swearing. In Italian.
I had a very honorable collection. Elaborated, angry and loud – I recited them along Calle Blanca, which apparently crosses with a street nobody has ever heard of when I am an hour and 15 minutes late for a meeting…
The scene had its climax when I yelled out loud to all the travelers’ gods to get their act together and figure out where the mysterious street was. I wanted to disappear from the street, and appear where I had to be – showered. Please.
Then it suddenly left. Puff – gone.
I found my way and in the process found a resting place for my feelings.
I could look back and see the messiness of chewing a different set of attitudes and norms. The disorientation that holds you is coupled with a little pain and some funny anecdotes.
When the feeling left, I had a smile on my face – because I recognized that feeling signifies growth. That feeling is part of the process of learning and navigating a different space.
So I keep listening and exploring to learn how to read in between the lines of Cuban paradoxes.
Ladies and gentleman, the honeymoon is over, let the roller coaster of culture shock begin!