As I mentioned before, I’ve been stealthily gathering intel from all my roommates and some of the tourists we’ve encountered. I’ve wanted to ask expats but haven’t had the opportunity. I was fortunate enough to be able to ask the question at the Special Interests section as well.
One universal reaction was to assume that my question held an inherent judgment, though rarely did any two people assume I was making the same judgment, even if they were responding at the same time. Some were offended that I would even call into question whether they like it, or that I could possibly imply (by virtue of my question) that not loving Cuba was possible. Others were flabbergasted, asking how anyone possibly could enjoy Cuba.
Another bit worth noting is that most people had to pause and collect their thoughts for a moment before speaking, regardless of how they felt about the place. Cuba just isn’t black and white, I suppose.
I think on this one I’ll just present you with a few anonymous quotes from the group, without my judgment, since you already got it (sort of) in the form of my response to the question.
“Interesting, different from my first experience I got here”
“It’s really day to day here.”
“[long pause]…um, yeah. Yeah, I like it here.”
“I’m just kinda frustrated, I cant understand as much as I’d like to. I guess I’m just frustrated. It’s kinda holding me back a lot cuz I’m embarrassed. I’m just embarrassed that I don’t know more. I don’t like to talk”
“This was my first choice, and some days I wonder why.”
“There definitely is good days and bad days though. I mean I don’t really have bad days in Boston; there’s always something to do.”
“I feel a lot of pressure to like Cuba. I think I can not like Cuba and still have had a positive experience. But I don’t think I can tell people that.”
“I think I could stay here for a while.”
“I’m counting down the days…”
“I don’t think this place is about that, truth.”
“There is no right way to experience Cuba. If you enjoy how you’re spending your time at the moment, then you did it right.”
“I don’t like it here, but I don’t think that’s the point of coming here.”
“Ohmigawd I wanna live here!”
“I think it’s different when you’re somewhere for a long time. It’s hard to stay so excited to be there for three months.”
“_____ wants to live here. How? Has he been here?”