Most of the decor in my home is bright and colorful and Cuban-esque.
My "theme"? I was originally going for Cuban Beach Cottage. (Our home is small.) And so, I have collected posters and art and maps and things that are a throwback to the simple days of my Cuban childhood.
These three framed postcards, for example, are of 3 places that I remember vividly: (from top to bottom) Varadero Beach, The Hotel Nacional de Cuba, and the Malecón.
I've shared with you before about my fascination with the Hotel Nacional and the amazing gift I received from my friend, Ody.
I've written many times about how many of my earliest memories are of the beach. Specifically Varadero Beach in the Cuban province of Matanzas.
I have been to some beautiful beaches in my lifetime, but I still believe (as do most Cubans that I've met) that there is no beach on earth that compares with Varadero.
I vividly remember digging my toes into the soft powdery sand. I can practically smell the sea air. The water was walk-right-in warm. It's one of those perfect sensory memories that is seared into my brain.
Ah, Varadero! How can anything compare with the memory of your perfection? The most beautiful beach in the world.
Amy Kikita brought back some souvenirs from her Cuba trip. Some were gifts from the cousins and uncles. Some she chose herself at one of the flea markets.
There was a baseball hat from Los Industriales, some goat-skin maracas, a baseball bat & ball for Jon with his name carved into it, some jewelry for Lucy, wooden cooking utensils (how apropos!), an unusual wine-bottle holder.
How much fun we were having! We opened gifts and she told us the stories of how she came to acquire each one and who and where they were from. We laughed and celebrated the thoughtfulness of each item.
In the midst of this rowdy exchange she pulled out one last bundle which reduced me to tears…
It was a container made of heavy marble. (I have an extensive collection of small boxes/containers from all over the world, but that's not important right now) This one was from the amazing Hotel Nacional.
I thought this was "el colmo." ("the ultimate.")
Until she handed me the ziplock bag full of sand from the most beautiful beach in the world.
I am still speechless. Gracias, Mimi.
I'm the little girl in the white dress, all Shirley Temple curls and big red airplane-size hairbow. Please go back in time with me to the Varadero of my childhood…. (bring tissues…)