Kikita here. Boy, do I have a story today!
In my many dancing travels, I have made some Cuban friends. I'm sure I've mentioned them before, but that's not even that important right now.
By some fluke, my friends were playing a venue early in the evening at a place close to their home. Being that we've become really close (there aren't that many Cubans out here anyway), they are always inviting me over and I just haven't gone. Well, this night was perfect. They finished their set early and convinced me to follow them home with promises of homemade Fricase de Pollo. Loca that I am (and never one to turn down free Cuban food), I went home with them.
Before those of you who consider yourselves my surrogate parents start to freak-out, let me just say that these are all very nice guys who are more protective of me than my own brother and instantly made me feel at home the minute I crossed their threshold. (And no, their pollo was not as good as Mami's) ;-)
We weren't there two minutes before the music started. They've been schooling me in newer Cuban artists and I've been teaching them English. Yes, a hilarious thought, I know, but all of them can now say, "To your right, to your left, and the eyes, with your hands up . . ."
After we ate, we were dancing and enjoying each other's company when I notice one of the boys is sitting at the computer while holding an official looking document in his hand. As it turns out, he was using an online translator to figure out what the document said. While my brain is working this out, one of the other boys suggests I do the translating.
Holding that paper in my hands, I realized what a momentous occasion it was. I felt tugs from my Cuban side as my heart swelled with American pride.
Excitedly, I explained to my friend how his application for permanent residency had been approved. His Green Card was on its way! I know how desperate all of my friends had been waiting for their approval letters. It's been 5 years since they've been back to Cuba and they miss it terribly. That was when I realized how well I really have it here and how much I take my American side for granted. I'm always so ready to express my Cuban pride, but rarely the American and here my friend was just dreaming to share that pride with me.
With the 4th of July right around the corner, my friend's good news seems that much more poignant.
You can bet I'll be singing the National Anthem and enjoying fireworks with more pride than I have in years past.
Because more so this year, I am proud to be a Cuban-American.