24/05/2010

Week end charter : Marianne's Cuba not so libre


I’m not even a real ex-pat, having only lived abroad for a few months. But since I left Paris, France for Holguin, Cuba right after I’d finished business school, I guess I can call mysef that. I could write 100 posts about my stay in Cuba. Had the internet been easier to access back then, I so would have blogged about it. But it’s been ten years, now. When Sandrine suggested this week’s theme, I realized how bored I am talking about Cuba

You know the feeling, I’m sure: we’ve all done something extraordinary, at least once, in our life. You rode an elephant, hunted a bear, killed a snake with your bare hands, met Alexander Skarsgard on a plane* and each time you meet someone new, there will come a moment when you will tell the story. And, except if it’s very recent, you’ll realize you’ll be telling it the exact same way as the time before. People don’t want to hear how the elephant was in fact very small, the bear blind and the snake already dying : they want to hear something exciting.


Every time I tell someone I lived in Cuba, they’re in awe. It’s way more glamorous than Germany, I get that. But I also know that they don’t want to hear my story, they want to hear about Cuba. So, instead of telling about the sordid sex stories between ex-pats that, as a young bride, I witnessed in sheer horror, about my utmost sadness whenever I think of Cuba because two of my very good friends there died abruptly one from cancer and the other in a tragic car accident, about my boredom after the first month of holidays, my wanting to have a proper house and not live in a stupid hotel, about my craving for conversations with women who are not scared of their husband, who don’t have to ask for a fiver just to buy cigarettes, about the military everywhere, about feeling oppressed, watched at all times, about poverty, and many, many other things that still come back to me in dreams sometimes, I tell people what they're waiting for.

I find myself talking about dancing, singing in a band, about the code to talk about Castro – you pretend you have a beard and touch it with your hand, about teaching French to Cubans after fighting for two months to make the hotel manager understand that I was not going to tell them too much about France, about dancing again, more often, playing tennis every day, getting a gorgeous tan, Cuba Libres, long white beaches, music everywhere, dancing every night in the end, trying to forget about France, my friends, my family, Paris.

I don’t want to talk about Cuba anymore. You know what? It sucked. It took me years to get over it. What I know is, I’m glad I did it. Because now I know why I’ll never leave France again without being certain I get a house, a job and I go to a non-totalitarian country.

*If you DID meet him on a plane, please tell us the story. I don’t care if you’re bored. 

This was part 2 of our weekend charter. For part 1, click here
 
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11 comments:

Melanie said...

But all the bad sounding stuff seems so much more interesting than the dancing=)

Jen said...

The bad sounding stuff is interesting, but I would imagine scary to live with ALL the time. Stories are differnt to living it? People usually only want to know the romantic aspect, the happy stuff from the films! Jen.

Very Bored in Catalunya said...

I know oh so well that the grass is never greener etc but sunshine sure goes some way to making up for it all.

Marianne said...

@ Melanie: the bad sounding stuff IS interesting, but also not something I like to talk about ;) When I'm wise and old, I will write a book no one will read. Or just blog about it, I guess.
@ Jen: You're totally right, but sometimes, don't give them what they want!! ;)

Marianne said...

@ Very bored in Catalynia: I'm not saying Cuba doesn't have its good sides. I loved it there, I'd love to go back. It's a beautiful country. But my experience was shitty ;)

JulieB said...

It's certainly different, that's for sure. Sorry you had a shitty experience - but it makes for great stories.

Marianne said...

Dear Julie, thanks for your comment. It was shitty BUT I got to learn Spanish (I sort of speak Spanish, now, with a very strong Cuban accent, but still), how to dance salsa nd how to make a decent cocktail :) I was also confronted to death for the first time, I mean, that someone my age died. So, I grew up quite a lot there.

Big Mama Cass said...

I have never been outside of the US. But if I ever do, I don't think cuba is on the list. France is for sure though :)

sister3 said...

alexander skarsgard was blind ad already dying, and the plane was very small...lol

Annah said...

I really loved this post. One, because I'm Cuban. Two, because I can related. Three, because even in its deteriorated state, I believe it's one of the most beautiful countries in the world (I know, so biased I tell you). Four, because you mentioned Eric from True Blood. If you ever meet him on a plane, TAKE PICTURES. Sexy sexy piece of man meat that he is. :) *kissies*

Marianne said...

@Big mama cass : oh, you have to go to Cuba, it's a wonderful country. If you actually come to France, I'll give you tips for your stay :)
@Annah : Holaaaaaaaa ;) So good to meet someone from Cuba. Where are you from, exactly ? I lived near Holguin.

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