At the end of the day...

**Tissue Warning**

This is Kikita, back from her adventure in Cuba. I saw and did and felt so many things this past week that I am having a hard time deciding what I want to share first. 

I met cousins for the first time and hugged them as if I had known them my whole life. I was surrounded, overwhelmed even, with love. People I'd heard stories about, but never seen in person.

Monday and Tuesday 050  

I held aunts and uncles that I hadn't seen in years.

I was treated like royalty visiting for a moment, but kissed on the cheek as if I had been there forever. I was served café at every turn, but I was allowed my turn to serve the café.

Monday and Tuesday 110  

It is not a question of what I did or saw, it is a question of what I did NOT see or do.

And while I was buzzing all over the first three provinces of Cuba (Pinar del Rio, Habana, & Matanzas), there was another kind of buzzing going on at home. (Home being Tio Timbiriche's house.)

The kind of buzzing that happens when you haven't seen your brother or sister for 50 years.

Monday and Tuesday 141  

My abuela, Luza, and her siblings did not stop talking and loving each other the whole trip. They did everything together. Every meal they ate together. There are thousands of things I saw this past week that touched my heart, but at the end of the day watching the five Perez-Puelles siblings interact was definitely one of the most amazing sites. I felt honored to be able to watch and listen. They talked about everything. They remembered old neighbors and things their mother used to cook and things their father used to say. They even sat around remembering old radio commercials and old inside jokes. One of my favorite moments was when they had a "whose granddaughter is the best cook?" discussion. ;-)

They barely touched on politics or the reasons why they stayed or left. They bickered as any set of siblings is wont to do, but at the end of the day the joy of being together was shining on all of their faces.

Saturday afternoon and Sunday 016  

Yesterday, the day we left, their last breakfast together, my abuela read them the following poem and just as they had spent the whole week talking and laughing together they hugged and cried together.

    Quiero gozar cuanto pueda
y, con acierto y medida,
gastar moneda a moneda
el tesoro de la vida;

    mas no quiero ser jamás
como el que amontona el oro
y no goza del tesoro
por acrecentarlo más.

    Quiero gozar sin pasión,
esperar sin ansiedad,
sufrir con resignación,
morir con tranquilidad;

    que al llegar mi postrer día,
quiero pensar y decir:
"Viví como viviría
si ahora volviera a vivir.

    "Viví como un peregrino
que, olvidando sus dolores,
pasó cogiendo las flores
de los lados del camino;

    "cantando he dejado atrás
la vida que recorrí;
pedí poco y tuve más
de lo poco que pedí;

    "que si nadie me envidió
en el mundo necio y loco,
en ese mundo tampoco
tuve envidia a nadie yo".

    He resuelto despreciar
toda ambición desmedida
y no pedirle a la vida
lo que no me puede dar.

    He resuelto no correr
tras un bien que no me calma;
llevo un tesoro en el alma
que no lo quiero perder,

    y lo guardo porque espero
que he de morir confiado
en que se lo llevo entero
al Señor, que me lo ha dado.

        - José María Pemán