I am sitting on a step in the shade at my school ISA waiting for someone to unlock the door to my morning class. The musicians are all gathered under a tree across the way smoking and waving their hands in conversation. The goat that lives here is tied to his post munching grass in the sun. And I am breathing it all in one precious piece at a time.
I'm leaving Cuba tomorrow. This day came much sooner than planned, unexpectedly, urgently. There are moments in life where there is no decision to make, you simply know what you need to do. My family needs me back home and so I bought the quickest ticket to Miami I could find and scrambled to tie up my life here in one final week. I bought all my presents for friends. I got the official certificate from the course I took at ISA, by some miracle of Cuban bureaucracy. I said goodbye to everyone. And now here it is, my last day.
It’s funny how knowing something is going to end makes it taste sweeter than ever before. It makes you stop and truly look at every detail, breathe it in with an open heart. Every lesson you’ve been working on suddenly seems meaningless because all that exists is this moment. Why not just live how you want to right now? And so I am. I am choosing in each moment to do exactly what pleases me. I took a $5 coco taxi to Havana Vieja to buy rum and tabaco. I stopped to take every picture I saw with no shame. I drank a bucanero on my walk to my friends house. For the first time during my stay here I felt like a tourist and it was actually really fun.
Although this is not how I imagined my time in Cuba ending, I wouldn’t change a single thing. Every lesson presented to me was exactly what I needed to learn and now I am ready to take them home and turn it into the next chapter of my life. I am excited and inspired with new projects and ideas. I know I will be back to Cuba. I don’t know when, but I’m sure life will continue to surprise me so I won’t even take a guess. All I can say is I am grateful and incredibly lucky to have had this experience.
Words are hard right now. This is a moment I need to go live, so I think I will leave you now to go fill my skin with sunshine, drink one last mojito on a patio, listen to some inspiring music, and say hasta luego to this beautiful, complicated, amazing country.