Some (very simplified, don't judge me) Cuban History for today:
In 1902, a bloody war had been fought between Cuba and Spain for Cuba's independence. The Cuban's won. It was quite a crushing defeat for the Spanish. They never quite recovered from it.
The president of the United States at that time was Theodore Roosevelt who had actually fought with his Rough Riders in Cuba and believed in Cuban independence.
On May 20th, 1902 Cuba was declared free of Spanish rule and winner of the war. (Not sure exactly how this is achieved. I picture a boxing ring and a referree holding up the hand of the winner, but that's probably not how it happened, and for sure it's not important right now.) Cuba was free.
May 20th is still celebrated as Cuban Independence Day.
(I found this somewhere in my archives. It reads:
"In celebration of the Anniversary of the Independence of Cuba
The Ambassador of Cuba
requests the pleasure of our compnay
at a reception
On Thursday, May the twentieth
at ten o'clock p.m.
Rsvp Cuban Embassy"
The U.S. had been involved in this Spanish American war and was now committed to helping the Cubans rebuild. One of the proposed initiatives was to send Cuban teachers to Washington D.C. to the White House to be honored as the best in their country and given support and materials to take back to Cuba.
Why all the history? I had a conversation with my mother, Luza last week....
Me: "I've been invited to the White House!"
Luza: "Then you'll be the 2nd one in our family."
I scoured my mental rolodex trying to remember who exactly in the family had received an invitation to the White House. As it turned out, she was referring to her own mother, Osmunda Perez-Puelles, one of the teachers chosen by President Roosevelt to be honored there. That was in 1902.
This photo was taken much later, obviously. Circa 1959. That's my grandmother, Osmunda, in the center surrounded by her (grown) children.
Fast forward to this week in My big, fat, Cuban family's history:
I am honored and humbled to announce that I was chosen as one of the Top Latina Blogueras by Latism (*Latinos in Social Media). And I also received an invitation to the White House. (I know. Shut up.)
Here I am surrounded by my supportive (and long-suffering) husband and (grown) children.
As you read this, I will already be on my way to Washington D.C. to represent. Represent what?
My culture, my heritage, my passion for all that is good and holy about family. This is why I write my stories and invite you into my world. And now I'm getting some cool recognition. From the White House. On the exact 110th anniversary of Cuban Independence. Coincidence? I think not.
It's the circle of life.
Happy 20 de Mayo!