|El Malecon, La Habana, Cuba|
With this image, I begin my new project of featuring my favorite images from different places around the globe, on whose earth I've had the pleasure of planting my feet. A revisit, a rediscovery, a resurgence of my insatiable quest to see...everything. 31 States, 30 Countries, and counting.
Aside from its sheer expansive beauty, it's significant to me because it was taken in a country of my roots - one that I knew very little about at the time. What I knew of what it was to be Cuban was the pointed, Miami-fied version, having grown up there, steeped in that culture and language. But my (seemingly out-of-reach) family history and my personal experience have finally amalgamated into the narrative of my relationship with "Cuban-ness."
My maternal grandparents were born and raised here. My mother and I traveled here for the first time together (special) in August 2014. We met, hugged and kissed our local family for the first time here (emotional). I heard the explosive rhythms and contagious beats that have vibrated from my bones since birth (in their birthplace). I fell in love here (ineffable). Since my first trip I have returned two additional times (you can guess why), and as I tally in a third time in a few days, I'll be rounding out four visits in under a year.
This photo was taken during the same gust of days swirling around President Obama's historic speech of his intention to improve relations between the U.S. and Cuba. Now as I return next week, another historic event permeates the air: the opening of official embassies in each other's countries on July 20, as reported. This image of the waters that separate two worlds is in essence, at this very moment, both a look back and a look forward.