When I wrote the year I was on my own again I promised that I would share more personal stories.
And I do want to return to that but something was holding me back.
There is one element that I was hoping to keep to myself. It wasn’t so much a secret but I share so much of my life online I wanted to keep one thing just for myself.
And I really do want to write those types of posts because 99% of the information online about traveling in Cuba is garbage.
It is written by people who spend 4-7 days here and spew the same lame tourist traps that a million other people have written about where you are elbow to elbow with other tourists.
I want to share more than that. Because Cuba is more than that. Yet I’ve been holding back.
Trying to find my feet again. And there’s something I realized.
This site is nothing if I’m not sharing my own personal journey.
None of the personal stories make sense if I don’t reveal this one thing. It’s like I’m telling half truths and it feels so false.
And so if I want to be honest I have to be 100% honest.
I’m seeing someone in Havana.
I have been pretty tight lipped about this. You won’t see photos of him on instagram or even my personal Facebook, despite me meeting him a year ago.
My family knows his name and has seen some photos. But for the most part I’ve kept things private.
And it’s because I was so open about my past relationship with Dave. Before him I didn’t actually think I’d meet someone for life and I was totally okay with that.
When I met Dave and I fell hard. So hard that I gave him everything, including a huge presence on my website.
And so when it ended I felt a bit like I had failed.
And it was public.
We shared our life on this site and in social media. Some people noticed that he’d disappeared from my Instagram and I from his.
My closest friends knew but I didn’t know what to do with everyone else.
So I left.
I went to my happy place, Mexico. And then discovered Cuba. A place so remote it felt like the perfect place to heal.
With enough internet to work, but not enough to stay connected.
And after a few months people on social media started to notice. I received random DMs asking if he was with me in Cuba.
If we were still together. I didn’t want to formally announce the split but I also didn’t want to have to answer questions.
So I didn’t answer at all, because I was in a relationship with someone else.
We met first as friends. I was so burnt from my past relationship I wasn’t ready to pursue a new one. But he was kind and understanding. So we took it really slow.
And today we’re still together. But I can’t be as public with this relationship.
And yet I can’t pretend it doesn’t exist.
He’s a private person. He doesn’t use social media and doesn’t want his life on it. And I respect that. After everything I actually embrace it.
I continue to share my life on the site but that doesn’t mean he has to share his by default.
So in posts moving forward I’m just going to refer to him as M. Because I can’t share the truth of my travels in Cuba without sharing that M is with me.
Having friends and a boyfriend in Cuba changes my perspective about the country. It gives me access to knowledge I could never have on my own. He is the one that pulls Cuban fruit off trees that I’d just walk by, because he knows I want to learn everything.
And when I go to places like Trinidad or Cienfuegos my experience is different because I’m with someone local. But I will share all of it with you.
And if I really want to explain what it’s like to live in Cuba, he is a big part of it. I just celebrated one year from the first time I visited Cuba.
And M has taught me a lot. Mostly because he doesn’t speak English, well…he’s learning. But more so because our cultures are so different.
A language difference has been good and bad. Many times you are more thoughtful with words, which I realize now is very important.
And I did want to share what I have learned in the last year from living in Cuba:
- Money will come and go. Sometimes you will have lots and other times you will have none. When you have none you cannot let it upset you. Just work hard and it will come again.
- Don’t be upset right away when someone hurts you by something they’ve said. Often it’s a misunderstanding, either of language or culture. Rarely did they mean to hurt you.
- Don’t argue when drinking. Wait until the next morning or afternoon when you can have a calm conversation. Often what bothered you the night before wasn’t as bad as you thought.
- When you keep hurt feelings to yourself it isn’t being strong or keeping the peace. It allows the feelings to ferment and boil over. It’s better to address them as they happen.
- A relationship doesn’t always mean being side by side or doing everything together. You can be independent but also share your life.
- Live for the moment you’re in with the person you’re with. Maybe you’ll be with them forever. Or maybe a year. Or maybe a week. Appreciate them now rather than worrying about later.
I don’t know where this relationship is going. But I do know it’s added to my life.
Because the stories I share aren’t about my life in Cuba with M. They are about my life in Cuba, M is part of it but he’s not all of it.
And one person, one relationship doesn’t make your life. You don’t need to be constantly in search of it. One of my dearest, fiercest friends Charlene from ChewStreet sent me this instagram post to remind me….
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