Wednesday, November 14, 2007

How To Tell if You're Cuban in the United States

In honor of some recent discussions, I'd like to volunteer some of my own observations of Cubanismo in the United States. I'm sure there are many more. I had to jettison quite a few. Despite the levity, there is some truth here.

To be Cuban is to wake up every morning to café con leche, even if it gives you a stomach ache.

To be Cuban is to consider fat one of the food groups and no dish dinner unless it includes rice.

To be Cuban is to consider chicken the other white meat.

To be Cuban is to wait three hours before going in the water after you eat.

To be Cuban is to have the prayer of San Luis Beltran read over you when you are sick as a child.

To be Cuban is to catch cold from el sereno, an empacho from eating too much, and a haceca from imbibing too freely.

To be Cuban is to eat turkey with rice and beans on “zanksgeeveen” and roast pork with rice and beans and yuca, topped off by turones, on Noche Buena.

To be Cuban is to eat twelve grapes at midnight on New Year’s Eve and ignore the stares of the neighbors as you throw out your pot of water.

To be Cuban is to have a representation of La Caridad, or San Lazaro or Santa Barbara somewhere in the house, preferably behind the front door.

To be Cuban is to have a collection of old LPs, including “He perdido una perla” and “El son se fue de Cuba.”

To be Cuban is to know Tres Patines and all about Popa’s handbag.

To be Cuban is to have a collection of Alvarez Guedes cassettes which your family plays and replays.

To be Cuban is to recognize family members in “Que Pasa, Usa?”

To be Cuban is to have a grandmother who insists on answering the phone despite her inability to speak English and tells everyone, “Chee no jiar. Col leira.”

To be Cuban is to have a grandfather who constructs a snow plow out of some tin and an old baby carriage.

To be Cuban is to be called “El Niño” or “La Niña” well into adulthood.

To be Cuban is to be dragged to relatives’ houses, whether you want to go or not.

To be Cuban is to inject your opinion at any gathering that fish, lettuce, or even the sun was better in Cuba.

To be Cuban is to find Michelin man-sized babies with azabaches gorgeous.

To be Cuban is to have the bulk of your weight behind if you’re a woman and in front if you are a man.

To be Cuban, as a young woman, is to be told that you’re leaving the family home, head first, feet first or married.

To be Cuban, as a young man, is to have limitless freedom so your father can live vicariously.

To be Cuban is to make sure you graduate college because your father is threatening to hang himself if you don’t, and you believe him.

To be Cuban is...



2 comments:

Lori said...

Excellent post. My family use to call me Popa as a little girl! I'm sure you can guess why.

rsnlk said...

My mother still calls me that.