Monday, October 17, 2011

Do we take our life for granted?

We made the decision 13 years ago to have a small family. Our goal in doing so was to give our one child a life that maybe we didn't have or one that we simply felt he deserved. A big part of that life is shaped by how Mary and I grew up. It's not chance we found each other. She the teacher with the big heart for all things Latin America. Her second language, her choice of work place and her choice of travel destinations. Me, born in Bogota, Colombia, living in Sao Paulo, Brazil learning what poor looks like. If you think you are poor just search, Favela.

Through the 13 years we hosted two exchanges students one from Portugal and one from Colombia. We've Traveled to Mexico, Panama, Puerto Rico, me to Brazil, Argentina and Mary to Cuba. It is Cuba where this story starts.

Last week we began hosting a Cuban defector. He made his way to the border of the USA, walked into the immigration office, asked for Political Asylum and it was granted. I am withholding his name and pictures to protect his family still in Cuba. With that I give you some thoughts/statements from our guest. This his first trip out of Cuba in his lifetime.

  • Oh my that's the first time I've ever seen this - A grill with steak on it. 
  • Nobody here talks about Cuba - We're told that it's all you talk about. 
  • It's so nice to see you take the time to sit at the dinner table together - We are told that you don't have time to spend time with your family, you work all the time. 
  • At Target - oh my god, it's so big! 
  • Is everything on this menue available right now - looking at the menue board on his first trip to McDonald's. 
  • Watching me prepare my lunch for the week - it will be ok at your office, nobody will steal it? 
  • Today being his first day out and about in San Diego - Public transportation the entire way - I'm scared. 
  • He's been to 3 cross country races in just over a week. 
  • He sleeps in our game room. The game room that Marco gave up for our guest. The game room Marco gives up with his heart and a smile on his face. 
We take the freedom we have to do whatever we want as our given right. We know nothing different. It's not until we have experiences like this do we learn that we've got it really good. 9% unemployment is horrible but it's better than fearing that someone is always watching you, that the enemy is 90 miles away and talking about you all the time. It's better than 1 chicken breast shared between 3 people for dinner. It's better than being told what kind of windows you can have on your house. 

It's a good life...

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