To say that it's been a while would be an understatement.
While this isn't the longest haitus I've taken from Molly on the Road, it's been probably the most inconvenient. It was necessary, but it came at a time when I was really starting to see returns on my hard work after putting in countless hours over the winter to work on everything on the back end and design side of this site, writing and rewriting posts and other content, and basically learning everything I possibly could about WordPress, SEO, graphic design, social media marketing, content production, and literally soooo much more. I maybe burnt myself out a little bit.
But not as much as I had burned myself out in other aspects of my life. I took on way too much with work, school, and internships, and I signed on for things that I definitely didn't have the time or experience to handle. In the midst of all of that came the responsibilty of figuring out what the hell to do with my life, which is not an easy qustion to answer. I also found myself taking on new adult tasks like figuing out a health insurance plan (unlike most Americans who are covered until age 26, my parents' plan dumps me the day I graduate), figuring out credit, students, loans, and managing debt, subleasing my apartment, securing some summer work gigs, and whever else comes with adulting. It's been a long final semester of college playing catch-up, losing sleep, and missing out on many things that a senior should be enjoying. To put it mildly, I'm stressed.
The hightlight of the last few months though? EASY. I went to Cuba.
I spent 10 incredible days in this country with other University of Minnesota students, exploring the new phenomenon of entrepreneurship and how the private sector is growing in a place where the free market doesn't really exist. It was definitely one of my favorite experience in college, and added to my resume both as business experience (which I don't really have) and as another addition to broaden my knowledge on Latin America.
While I still haven't caught my breath from this semester, I wanted to shoot this one little update post onto the web and give you all a sampling of what Cuba was like. Although I've been back for over a month, I still don't quite have the energy or creative drive to write a thoughtful post about the experience, and when I write about Cuba I want to do it justice.
So for now, please enjoy a few of the photos I took and look out for some Cuba posts in the new future!
The photos above and below were taken in the Plaza de la Revolucion the day we arrived in Havana. The massive building with Che Guevara's face was twinned by another on its right of Cienfuegos, another prominent figure in Cuban history.
These beautiful wreaths appeared at spots in Havana that were marked with histroical significance. This one happened to be the deathplace of Jose Antonio Echevarria, a prominent Cuban revolutionary.
Walking around the streets of Havana was always a fascinating experience, and the vibrance of the arrchitecture and design made it even better. While Havana is known for its crumbling facades and worn-down buildings, I loved the occasional renovated structures and their modern appeal.
If you're ever wondering why there are sporadic crowds around Havana, it is beause you've found yourself in one of the few wifi zones around the city. This one also just happens to be outside one of the major movie theaters!
While it is a myth that Cubans only drive old American cars, there are still many around and I would say that they make up about 30% of vehicles in Havana. They are often renovated and refurbished with parts from all over the place, and taking a look under the engine would probably make the everyday mechanic cringe. But Cubans take great pride in their cars and the fact that they've kept them around for so long really says something about Cuban resistence and resourcefulness. And they make for a fantastic taxi ride!
One other thing that I found fascinating in Cuba was the openness and excitement for the impending opening of the embargo (crossing my fingers!). I had the luck of being in Cuba the week before Obama arrived, so I had some really meaningful conversations with Cubans about what this may mean for both countries.
The Malecon is the center of social life in Havana. I'll eventually write a post entirely dedicated to this, but it was such an integral part to understanding the culture and landscape of Havana and walking along it at sunrise is something I'll never forget.
Going with a business class, we had the chance to interact with a number of Cuban business owners and industry leaders, one of those being the famous Havana Club rum! I probably drank more Cuba Libres and Mojitos during this week (on my school's dime) than I ever will in my life.
I hope you enjoyed this short update, and please stay tuned for more about Cuba! It was a truly incredible time and I can't wait to have the time again to write more about it and what a meaningful experience it was. Until then, wish me luck with my upcoming graduation and all the life that comes afterwards!