IN THE BEGINNING
My parents grew up in the country side of cuba. I was born in the city of Remedios. In english the city means remedy. Our city celebrates a famous festival called las parradas. These festivals used to celebrate the abundance of our land by offering every type of food that you can think of. After Fidel Castro took over, these festivals were never the same.
Around the time Fidel Castro took power, my father joined the opposition to remove Castro as the leader of our country. My father's efforts were thwarted and he was in a political prison for much of the time that I was in cuba. When I was three years old, our family won a safe passage to the United States. The US immigration relocation program placed us in Wisconsin. Our family quickly found their way to Miami, at that time Miami was not the cultural center it is now.
THE EARLY YEARS
Life was very hard for me when I arrived in the United States. I was already accustomed to speaking spanish and all of a sudden I had to learn a foreign language! When it comes right down to it, I did not really learn english in school. It would be two years before I would start kindergarten. I would turn the television set on and watch all the morning cartoons. Slowly I started to associate their actions with what they were saying. I was beginning to master a language that was not so foreign anymore.
When I started the public school system I had a huge case of culture clash. At home for all I knew I was still in cuba. We still ate the same foods, talked the same language, and had the same habits. At school I was learning what americans ate, how they acted, and how they spoke. My family had no idea of what to except of this country. Their ignorance lead to some very funny experiences.
My favorite story is the stamp story. One day my mother, conviced that democrats were all drug smugglers, told me to be careful of people offering me stamps. She told me under whatever circumstance not to lick stamps given to me by anyone. At that time I had no idea she was talking about drugs. It just so happened that the next day in school we were writing a letter to one of our senators. The teacher gave me a stamp and told me to lick it. Needless to say, I spent the whole day crying uncontrollably because I was convinced my teacher was trying to kill me!
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