My husband, Eric and I went to a party the other night with some Cuban friends. There was a live Cuban band and lots of dancing and wonderful food. There were friends I hadn't seen for a while and so there was lots of hugging and kissing and gesticulating and talking. Loudly, of course. And the music! Well, I just had to move, you know?
He made a comment that initiated a long list of observations about me specifically and Cubans in general. "You Cubans are so... physical!" He said it with equal parts exasperation and awe. We move. We're expressive. We make our presence felt.
The following list sprang from that conversation.
You know you're Cuban if...
1) You talk with your hands.
I know other cultures do it, too. But we Cubans must express ourselves as physically as possible. It's in our DNA.
2) The concept of 'Personal Space' is a serious challenge.
It's important to get really close to make yourself be heard and your presence felt.
3) You cheek-kiss everyone to say hello.
And goodbye. And "it's nice to meet you." We kiss. On the cheek. It's not weird to us. It's what we do. In fact, we've never met a stranger. Deal with it. (See Concept #2 about Personal Space.)
4) You're a natural 'hugger.'
Every time we see you, we are genuinely delighted and it's the happiest day. I think it has something to do with having come from the warm tropics therefore we are very warm people.
5) You can dance. Of course.
When you hear music, you MUST MOVE. And you move well. You really can't help it.
6) You get super excited when you find out they're serving Cuban food.
If it's potato balls and pastelitos from Porto's you feel like you've won the lotto.
7) You love it when you're right.
We are, of course extremely opinionated, and we love to share that opinion. But we especially love when we've been in an argument and it turns out we were right.
8) If there's a time on the party invitation, you assume it's just a casual suggestion.
We are perpetually on Cuban Time. Which means about an hour (or two) after the party has begun. Nobody expects you to be on time. Seriously.
9) You've brought your entire extended family to the party, and no one thinks it's weird.
"This is my mother, and my uncle, and our neighbor, and their kids... That's okay, right?"
10) You say what you are feeling exactly when you're feeling it.
Or you don't. We are Latin. We can do whatever we want.
If you are Cuban, you know that we are wonderful, loud, crazy-making people. At least that's what Eric says.
Oh, the Cubanity!