See you Cuba!

I returned to home (to Estonia) approximately a week ago. During that time, I have tried to get used to the local way of life, the climate and get together with my relatives and friends whom I haven’t seen more than eight months. Most difficult is to adapt to the cold weather. Yes, this weather is rather common for autumn, but I’m used to living in a climate where temperature is around 20 to 30 degrees higher than here.

Although, it is not much easier with fruit. I tried to eat apples and bananas bought from the grocery store the other day and I made a sour face as these tasted like grass. Enough about complaining, it doesn’t help to improve the situation!

My impressions and emotions are still so fresh; therefore, it is hard to give a fair assessment for the eight months I spent in Cuba. However, I’m very proud of myself that I had the courage to make a decision to go to Cuba for that long to study Spanish and enjoy my life in a sunny climate. I’m thankful to my employer (KPMG Finland) for enabling me to take such a long sabbatical.

These eight months contained a lot of activities, parties and colorful adventures. My Spanish studies at the University of Havana took most of my time (6 months) which is obvious because it was the main reason why I went to Cuba. I’m a bit self-critical, as I should have achieved a little higher Spanish level during that time. Due to my modest and limited talkativeness, I didn’t practice as much as I should have. When I arrived to Cuba, my Spanish was quite close to zero, but now I’m able to communicate on the streets. That was my main goal regarding Spanish. In proof of that are the two months I travelled around Cuba and during that time all communication occurred in Spanish.

Most of all, I miss people whom I had a chance to meet and get to know. Cubans’ positive attitude and openness is contagious. In order to survive in such difficult conditions, it is almost obligatory to get excited about small things. Family is playing very important role in Cubans’ lives, with whom happiness is shared and also support is provided during difficult times. During my studies, I met a lot of interesting people from different countries, who had arrived to Cuba in for the same purpose as me – to study Spanish and explore Cuba. I hope I have a chance to meet them again in Cuba or in some other country (the world is a surprisingly small place).

During the first four months in Cuba, I fell in love with this country. The more I learned about Cuba’s life and existing system, my love smoothly turned into friendship. Cuba is a great place for vacation, but for foreigners it is rather complicated to live permanently in Cuba due to social and economic situations and also due to imposed restrictions on foreigners.

Thanks a lot to Cuba and all Cubans who let me feel as their family member. I’m rather certain that we will meet again.

Hasta luego!

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