27th of Nov
This year was the first time that I’d ever spent a significant holiday away from my family. While almost my entire family gathered for Thanksgiving, I was here in Havana having a normal day filled with homework and classes. The 27th of November (which happened to be the date on which Thanksgiving fell this year) here in Cuba is a national students’ day in commemoration of a massacre of 8 Cubans students in 1871. There’s a huge students’ march along a portion of the Malecón to commemorate the occasion. Honestly, I didn’t partake because I was feeling pretty nostalgic for America at the time and wasn’t in the mood to listen to less than positive speeches about Cuba’s imperialist northern neighbor. I definitely regret this decision because it sounded like a pretty incredible experience, apparently about 10,000 students participated. I did get my act together in time for our makeshift Thanksgiving dinner with a few of the other students from our house and the director of their program. We went to a casa particular in our neighborhood which besides having the most delicious lobster I’ve ever had also boasted some incredible stories. The married couple who owns the house is in their mid-70s and so they were basically a bit younger than me at the time of the triumph of the Cuban Revolution in 1959. The wife was explaining how beautiful the Revolution was at the time and how drastically everything has changed since that time. Her husband was the real scene-stealer though because he fought in thick of the Revolution in the Sierra Maestra mountains. When we eagerly asked if he knew Che, he responded with “¿Como no?” as if our question was totally pointless because of course he knew Che! Meeting this couple reminded me how awesome it is to be in Cuba at this time because the country really is at such a unique place in its history and nobody can predict what’s going to happen in the future.