LUGGAGE Lady

Contemplations about Life, Love, & the Pursuit of Meaningful Existence…

Archive for the category “Music”

Bienvenido a Cuba

CubaColors

Proximity has zero bearing. Less than an hour flight from Miami catapults us backward 50-plus years. On the exterior of the tiny Cienfuegos Airport, a bright blue BIENVENIDO sign beckons.

I possess a Visa solely as part of an approved People to People Program. Daily exchanges to include: mingling with artists, vocalists, musicians (including members from the Grammy-winning Buena Vista Social Club!!), dancers, entrepreneurs, environmentalists, spiritual leaders, historians, teachers, and students.

Being here as a U.S. citizen leaves me both awed by opportunity — yet pondering whether my coming is somehow…unpatriotic.

From a bureaucratic standpoint, our welcome is somewhat subdued. Neither U.S. bank-issued credit nor ATM cards are accepted. We knew this before we came. Cash in hand, we pay a 10% commission to change dollars into CUCs at a rate of 1/1. This is not a bargain shopper’s destination. Cellular service doesn’t exist for those with U.S. carriers, and internet is only available in some 5-star Havana hotels at speeds slower than our modem days.

Our Cuban guide shares that, up until a few years ago, a local would be sentenced up to four years in prison if caught using internet in his or her home. He laughs, referring to our online shopping as folklore. “Cubans can’t imagine paying for something on a screen and having it actually show up on our doorsteps. Forget about returning it and getting a refund!” Satellite TV is also forbidden. Some people have illegal hookups but know they could face hefty fines if the authorities learn of these.

No one in our 22-person group minds. We didn’t come to Cuba to bury our noses in gadgets. We came to experience the contagious verve of the people…

We step onto crumbling cobblestone roads and into another century. Surprisingly well-preserved American made (and Russian overhauled) vintage cars roar all about. Vibrant colors and zippy music tantalize our senses. Even standing in place, the locals sway to a beat I’m convinced is part of their DNA.

From Cienfuegos to Havana, with stops in Trinidad and stunning beaches along the way, I admire close-knit families, communities, and a refreshing enthusiasm from school children to the elderly. The hope sparkling in their eyes touches my soul in a way I struggle to adequately articulate.

I’m just an ordinary girl — with extraordinary freedoms, privileges, and conveniences I need never question. Gratitude and humility flood my heart.

As we make our way to Havana’s airport the last day, our gregarious guide describes the tedious departure process, adding that clients ask him what the airport is like on the other side of immigration. Are there shops? Restaurants? He shrugs. “Well, maybe one of you will be kind enough to send an email when you get home and tell me because I’ve never been…”

🌎 ♥ 🌎

♥ I dedicate this post to my dear friend & colleague, Maria, who left her beautiful island in the second grade and dreams of returning one day soon… ♥

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He Who Galvanizes

 

He-Who-Galvanizes-Luggage-Lady

To ALL who inspire — perhaps without even realizing…

One thousand five hundred sixty-three days

I awaited

The arrival of your pioneering imagination

Possessing power

To transport me places

I’d never have sought alone

With clever inventiveness

You illustrated my world

You were Luke

And I Leia

How freely we roamed

Growing up in a time

When amusement resided

In a child’s enterprising mind

Endless stories scripted

Performed to an audience of squirrels and birds

You heightened my fascination with language

Memorizing our favorite Pink Floyd lyrics

To croon along the moon-splashed river

Gurgling through our backyard

Never just a song

Rather a fervent interpretation of the essence

Behind every line

As we lamented

How quickly adults swapped youthful dreams

For the mundane

And what impact our teensy existence might render

Upon inconceivable universal vastness

No matter the backdrop

The intangible imprint

Forged by your loyal companionship

Is a guarded privilege

I shall never take for granted

Held in highest esteem:

He Who Galvanizes

***

This is dedicated to my humble baby brother, who not only coined the “LUGGAGE Lady” handle and encouraged this blog, but who has served as the mystical force behind my artistic/dramatic expression — always!  ♥

The Power of a Song

 

Power-of-a-Song-Luggage-Lady-Blog

It’s been said that love is the universal language, but I’ve endured moments of solitude — with love nowhere on the horizon — when a song set my heart afire.

Dismantling cultural barriers, music both unifies and liberates. Listeners may sway shoulder-to-shoulder to an identical tune, yet enjoy entirely different interpretations of how the lyrics punctuate their life stories.

I can be anywhere in the world when a familiar melody draws me so swiftly inside, I merely close my eyes and savor the nostalgia as I savor a trip down memory lane.

Who was I then?

What were my dreams and worries?

What composed my happiness and sorrows?

How did I arrive where I am today?

Could I have ever predicted it back then?

The timeless universality of a harmony stays fresh in ways that past loves cannot.

A captivating refrain.

A brief journey backward.

And I’m in the present once again, with a fleeting melancholy for those souls whose paths I was fortunate enough to cross — if only briefly.

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