Posts Tagged ‘#humbling’

I would never have imagined it to be like this. Not even close! This trip has really been one helluvan amazing experience. And not even over yet.

Last night we stayed at my uncles wife’s mother’s “house” in this little tiny farming village consisting of literally 10 houses surrounded by farms, sugarcane plantation, and lots and lots of animals. Horses, goats, sheep, chickens and roosters running around as wild and as free as animals can be. They even ride the horses with no saddle, bareback and wild. As life is here. The “house” was a big room devided by curtains, 3 rooms, 1 bathroom. Bathroom was a toilet with no toilet seat, and that’s it. No running water, no shower, nothing. Buckets full of well water that is pumped in 2 hours a day, when they fill their barrels outside. Fill the buckets, which they then use for everything from washing themselves to “flushing” the toilet. It’s not easy I tell you. Not for me at least. I’m used to my 3 showerheads, temperature/pressure controlled shower that has hot water for days! This was an eye opener. BIG TIME!!

The days here are long! Yesterday seems like a week ago and time passes by ssssooooo slowly. But the company is always amazing! I can’t even begin to speak about the hospitality. Even though I couldn’t speak a work of Spanish when I first arrived, her mother opened up her home to me like I was one of her own. Called me fam the first day there. And that was just the beginning. The food she made was to die for, and not in the way people speak when they talk about Cuban food. At the resort I was so sick. Here, my stomach felt amazing, I felt amazing! The coffee and was never ending, and it’s quite possibly the best coffee in the world! The rum was on standby from morning till night. And don’t even get me started about the smoking. Everyone here smokes, so what the hell. When in Cuba, do as the Cubans do! So I went all out.

Her brothers, uncles, aunts, cousins, everyone was there. And they spared no expense for me. Her brother knew I wanted to see the horses so he brought his horse King for me to ride. He rides bareback but knew as a newb I’d need a saddle. So he saddled him up and off I went! Oh and everywhere he went his little baby sheep Bebe followed him. The most adorable thing I’ve ever seen and loyal as a dog. Follows him around, ever step of the way. When he went too far she would call out to him, try to follow his scent. Simply amazing!!

There’s not much to do out there, it’s pretty remote. So again, time passes by ssssooooo slow. Sitting on the porch, drinking, smoking, talking, laughing. Drinking coffee, eating, bonding. They ended up going for a bit and leaving me there alone. Took the time to reflect. And the feelings came flooding. Not bad feelings, but ones of gratefulness and appreciation. My “problems” in life seemed ssssooooo small now. They just didn’t matter anymore. These people have almost nothing and yet they are as happy as can be. I can’t even fathom this. Her brother loves his horse, his sheep, and his birds. He is truly living out his mission in life. They all are! Her aunt cooks for 67 people a day, makes 1 US dollar every 4 days, and you’d never hear her complaining about her situation. Always laughing, always happy. They make the very most of what they have and are grateful for it, as hard working as ever. Their bond with each other is as strong I’ve ever seen in a family, it’s hard to even describe.

So we sat, we laughed, we joked, we drank, we smoked, and we ate. And best of all, we bonded. It was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had the privilege and honour to experience. Just the day before I was so upset that my one IG video didn’t post and now I’m laughing at myself thinking about how ridiculous that sounds! #firstworldproblems for real!!

So I get to bed, the makeshift fan turned on, I’m reading as I usually do. Finally pass out, to wake up to something dropping on my head. I freak out obviously. Get up to see a baby frog on my pillow. I shoo him away and get back to sleep. Not an hour later he hops on my head AGAIN!! I wake up panicked, launching him against the wall. Ok, no problem. Again I sleep. And AGAIN he jumps on my head! Now I can’t sleep. I get up, go for a smoke, cause now the nicotine is firmly implanted in me. Come back and try again. 430am on the dot the roosters start going. ALL OF THEM!!! OH DIOS!! finally get back to sleep to be woken up at the end of a crazy intensely vivid dream that no doubt had omens of my ex. Now I’m up. Wake up to the smell of coffee. What a glorious smell that is to get up to. So out I go for the first puff and coffee of the day. Glorious!! Breakfast is served with fresh cows milk that flowed out of a cows udder hours prior. Except here they put salt in the milk? Definitely NOT what I was expecting. But ok, what the hell. Now it’s time to “shower” lol

Before I knew it, it was lunch. Now to set this up, just after breakfast I noticed a sack outside on the ground. I walked up to it and it started going crazy! I ask what’s in it and I’m told it’s a chicken. So ok, that’s different lol. Now fast forward to lunch. Yupp, you guesses it! We’re having chicken!!! I’m blown away at this point! Life really doesn’t get much fresher than that!

We get packed up, car loaded, and we’re almost ready to go. But not before saying our goodbyes. Well that took an hour! The jokes were never ending, as was the love. Waved goodbye and we drove off. Off the next place, her grandmothers. But I’ll have to save that for tomorrow!

So we’ve arrived. This is much much better, but not my much lol. Greeted with the same love and affection that’s given to family. We arrive and everyone is there for the fanfare. All the neighbours, relatives, dogs, cats, horses, chickens lol. And within minutes the coffee is made and the rum is poured. Every uncle, cousin, friend is now on the porch drinking, laughing, smoking. What amazing people. Much of the day is spent this way. The ladies are inside making dinner, laughing, talking a million miles a minute. So much love poured on everything and everyone. It’s such a beautiful thing!

We drink our coffee, rum, and smoke a bunch. Such a chill and happy lifestyle. The biggest take away from this whole experience is that the North American lifestyle, and much of the developed world, is the chase of money. And we’ve really been chasing the wrong thing! Money is the reason wars are started, children are starving, villages are burnt and enslaved. The love and chase of money is what’s driving us further and further apart, causing all sorts of mental illness! They have nothing, barely a roof over their head and their families are super close, they’re super happy, and they literally live each day as if it’s their last!

Day turns to night, the power goes off, bonfires are started along the streets, and we slowly wind down the already slow day until it screeches to a halt! Bed time. Her grandmother literally gives up her bed to me, they give us their place and everyone goes and sleeps at the neighbours. The most amazing hospitality. Well not before they make us an amazing dinner of rice and beans and chicken! And of course not forgetting the sweet wine! Which btw was…. Not the best lol. Imagine old box wine mixed with lots of sugar lol

The beds are prepared and we’re ready for sleep now. I walk in to see that a net was setup over the bed I’m sleeping in, another thing I’ve never experienced but I’m sure glad it’s there! Tonight I can sleep and not worry about frogs jumping on my face at night!

Well it’s morning now and I didn’t sleep a wink. The bed was uncomfortable, blankets are non existant, and the noise at night will keep anyone up. 4am and the 10 hunting dogs next door start howling. 430am and the roosters starts going off, ALL OF THEM! And the sun comes up and lights up the room. Frustrated, exhausted, I get up. The only thing that makes this better is the smell of fresh Cuban coffee ready for me to consume! And it’s much needed today! We walk around the property, checkout all the fruit trees, pet the horse, and get ready for the day ahead.

Off to Camaguay!

We arrive! It’s charming as hell. Something out of old Europe. This entire country is like stepping in a time machine and going back about 60 years! Untouched for that long, and it has hella charm!

I took way too many pics to post, but even this small city has a lot to offer. Statues, street side cafes, lots of little shops, amazing food (the pizza is a must have!) And the place we are staying in is amazing compared to what I just experienced! It has A/C, running water, a shower with heated water, and lots of blankets!! This is luxury! LOL.

We spend the day walking around downtown, have lunch, drink coffee at a street side cafe, and the nights doing much of the same. Very charming! One of the only places where tourists are super safe to go anywhere they want, day or night!

I have to take back a souvenir of course. This 15 year old was on sale for $60 pesos. A steal! Well for me. Turns out, this is the salary that supports an entire family for 4 months!!! Mind blowing!!

Slept like the dead!! Got up, showered, dressed, and off to the airport. But not before going for one last walk and checking out this sweet sweet Lada cop car!!

Well, that’s it. It’s been one helluva trip! If one word can describe this entire journey, it’s HUMBLING! So many realizations, so much introspection, so much reflection. So many breakdowns and breakthroughs. Its been such an amazing experience, recommended for everyone in the developed world. See what the other half lives like and what they deal with on a daily basis. We can’t control the external world, the only thing we have any control over is how we feel about it. We can let our circumstances break us, or we can strap them on like wing and have them make us! Change your context and the world around you changes!