Tag Archives: being a Harrington

Things I Miss/Crave

I already wrote before I left about the things I thought I would miss, so here is what I cannot WAIT to have when I’m back in Amurica.  I’m sure I’ll be thrilled to have even more things (like a cell phone and the Celtics) that Cuba has just conditioned me out of thinking I need, at the moment.  Don’t worry, I’m sure that later on this week I’ll be posting about all the Cuban stuff I miss.  But for now, all I can think about is home home HOME!

  • honey bbq wings
  • honey mustard wings
  • bbq bacon cheeseburger
  • BMG and DMG
  • My giant family
  • New Baby Alexandra Murphy!  And Coming-Soon Baby Harrington!
  • Andrew Robert Brady
  • Chicken Lou’s TKO
  • cereal
  • milk
  • steak
  • thai food
  • REAL Italian, where the pasta isnt overcooked
  • Mondo buffalo pizza=my life force
  • really any meat that isn’t a mystery
  • hot showers
  • quiznos, $5 foot longs even moreso
  • comfortable beds
  • back rubs (because of the aforementioned lack of comfy beds)
  • American tv, sort of.  But that’s way down on the list.  I’d take the food, showers or bed over television any day
  • It’ll be nice to have more of my closet back, but I was doing just fine with what I packed
  • I WILL love the ease of laundry in the states, however
  • fast walkers
  • rapid restaurants (although I think I’ll be overwhelmed at first)
  • personal space
  • not being harassed by men on the street.  Yeah right, I live in Boston.  But Reading will be nice.

If you spent three months in a developing nation where food was scarce and not many people speak your first language, what would YOU miss?

Familia, or Cope’s Birthday

"A fine figure of a man," as Nana would say

We’ve been talking a lot about family units and structures while here. In Cuba, due in part to the Latin family structure (la familia nuclear) and also because of the housing shortage, many extended families all live together under the same roof.  Many of the Americans here can’t relate to the concept of one gigantic family that all love and know each other.  It seems almost everyone here has a significant chunk of their family that, for whatever reason, they’ve fallen out of contact with.  And of course, not many people roll with families as big as the Murphys or Harringtons.

Personally, I can’t imagine living without my big, crazy family. In one of the movies we watched for class, Páginas del Diario de Mauricio (Pages from Maurice’s Diary), Mauricio’s daughter chooses not to come back to Cuba during the Special Period, leading him to go a decade, a marriage and a grandchild without being able to see her again.  I know the Special Period was hard, but I can’t imagine making the choice to stay away from my entire extended family indefinitely, even if there was some craziness going on in the US.

Cope has been a teacher, principal and superintendent. Teaching and education are something his mother, the original Delia Harrington, always valued, and that's been passed down to all of us.

I don’t care what your politics are, it’s sad and disgusting how commonplace long term separation is for Cuban families and their overseas relatives.

Diana, one of my roommates, was hypothesizing that part of why families are so often depicted and included in the films we watch is that there is less individualism here.  You depend on your family and community for a lot, and you’re always part of something larger; a whole; a collective.  I have always felt that the Mass community was something I belonged to, more than some greater American identity.

Being part of Harlangro (all of my great-grandparents’ descendants on my dad’s side, for the uninitiated) has always been important to me and Kev, something my parents always instilled in us.  As my mom says, you only have each other.  I can’t imagine ever fighting with Kevin (or even a cousin or uncle or something) for more than a couple days, never mind the epic, multi-generational disputes some of my fellow travelers have experienced within their own families.

Gram and Cope with whoever was born in '71. Aren't they cute?

So today I am thankful that I have a big, crazy, loving, loyal family.  I’m thankful that I can travel (almost) wherever I want and (always) come back home.  I’m thankful that we’ve lost so few.  I’m thankful that we actually enjoy spending time together, and live close enough to do it often.  Finally, I’m thankful for the good health and miracles we’ve been getting lately.  I hope that the next year brings more of the same, Cope, as we get ready to welcome another miracle, your first great-grandchild.

So happy birthday, Cope!  We love you and appreciate all that you and Gram have done to keep us all together and happy, and the unique nature of our family is evidence of how hard that is.

Gram and Cope at The Beach in Westport, Mass

Enjoy your day, I hope the weather’s as good for you as it is for me 90 miles away!

I Wish You Enough.