Reasons Why I'd Choose Cuba Over and Over Again

Upon returning from my trip to Cuba, I felt refereshed, fulfilled and at peace. The lingering moments made me remember how neccessary it is to vacation and disconnect from the hustle and bustle of every day life. Cuba was just that for me. Although I have vacationed many times before, there was something special about this trip that prompted me to compile a list of reasons why I'd choose Cuba over and over again.

1. The prominence of the African Diaspora

I'll let you all in on a little secret: remnants of the African Diaspora exist all over the world. Something else I should let you know is that existence of the diaspora does not always warrant knowledge of being part of it. To my surprise, however, Cubans are so woke. A lot of them possess just as much (even more) mealnin as (than) I and they know that their ethnicity cannot be defined as solely Cuban/ latinos. The evidence of the diaspora was prevalent in their appearance (obviously), hair, skin, style of dress, cultural traditions. Their appreciation for their heritage was made apparent to me, when they would compliment me. The compliments were not out of a spirit of fetishization. Instead, it was almost as if they were looking into a mirror and as they graciosuly offered compliments to me, it reflected back on them and how beautiful they are. I loved that. 

2. The Genuity of The People

I have traveled to many Caribbean and tropical islands. Naturally I have met a ton of people in my travels and have availed myself of the different personalities. There was a genuine warmth protruding from the people of Cuba. Most of the people we interacted with possessed such beautiful spirits and took on the responsibility of ensuring that we had a safe and enjoyable experience.

3. Feels Like Home

In continuing with the genuity of the Cuban people, I felt like I was at home. The first Air BnB we stayed at emanated a strong sense of home. We felt comfortable the moment we walked through the door of our "flat." This sense of comfortability was only heightened when we started each morning with a home cooked breakfast from one of the hosts. While the breakfasts were very simple, they were fulfilling and forged a sense of community and familial living. Our host gave us "mami" vibes instead of that of simply a "host." (What felt like) our personal taxi driver instilled a sense of saftey and instead of simply providing a service, it felt like our friend has come to pick us up and hang out with us for the day.

4. To practice my Spanish with folks who want to practice their English.

The truth is, anytime I travel to a country where the dominant language is Spanish, I leap at the opportunity to be able to practice mine! Although, I am fortunate enough to have a job that forces me to use it, there is nothing like being immersed in a country; a culture that forces you to navigate pieces of its culture through the usage of the language. To my surprise, there are a lot of Cubans who speak English as well. Being amongst people who valued my language so much so that they wanted to practice speaking with me was a win win! We exchanged our desire to know more by speaking our second languages to one another. How beautiful is that?

5. Simple Living --Cheap Cheap

Being socialized in a very American culture is a severe disease that I can always place a band aide over whenever I travel. Being able to go abroad and observe how simple others live (out of neccessity) is one of the most humblest expereinces life has ever afforded to me. Cubans do not make much monthly. The way to assess the level of wealth of a Cuban is if they have one or two of the following items: a cellphone; a car. Those who do not possess one or either of these are among the majority and that is ok. Cubans are people who are at such peace with what they have. Majority of their money goes to travel expenses and food for the home (which isn't that much becasue they can grow their own produce). Majority of the money my girls and I spent while there was on food and transportation. The "lavish" lifestyle is almost nonexistent and the beauty in this is that the country is not plagued by the superficial.

6. Eat well

Speaking of the American plague, Cuba made me realize more and more how much of a terror my home country is. This was evidenced in the food I ate whle in Cuba. It was some of the freshest and purest food I have EVER consumed in my entre life. Why? It isn't saturated with hormones and all that extra artificial stuff that our country markets to us as organic, steriod free, hormone free, gluten free, etc. The food there is homegrown (aka truly organic) and its cheap because it is not out sourced. This ensures that there is no reason to "preserve" the food before it gets to us. 

7. To Disconnect

I could not use my cell phone while in Cuba because there was no internet access. It was lovely living in each and every moment. I was void of social media and was not consuming myself with what everyone else back at home was doing. I was not texting others and checking in or filling in about my trip as it was happening. I recieved the opptounity to be completely present and live through each moment so that I could recount a FULL experience upon my return.

7. Beach Life

My vacations are totally incomplete without at least one beach day. Varadero was breath taking and absolutely perfect. I was able to sport my new swim suit and accessorized it with my new body (that I did not know existed underneath my clothes). I could see my toes at the bottom of the clear blue water. I could lay on the beach chair, left alone to my thoughts. I could play my gospel music and give God glory for the mighty works of his hand that include the beach!

8. Direct flight! Hello?

Getting a direct flight has been a steady struggle for me. The fact that Delta airlines would show me so much love and grant me a direct 4 hour flight to Cuba wa certainly a highlight of this trip!

While this list could certainly go on and on, I stop it here. That trip was a total life changing experience and if you had the slightest desire to take a trip to Cuba, it is my hope that this list influenced your thoughts in a positive way.

An Ode To Men in The Gym

Dear Brolic (and not-so-brolic) Men in The Gym,

Let me begin by, first painting a picture for you: It is Saturday afternoon. Approximately 3pm. It's a rare sighting that I'd be in the gym at this particular time on a Saturday. To my delight & surprise I discover that the gym is bare. Most equipment is free of bodies & fresh sweat. Replacing the stinging stench of sweat is the sweet scent of GAINS pervading my nostrils.

My body gravitates towards one of the three squat racks which I actually have the liberty of choosing. As I alternate between my squats and jumping rope, a short man waltzes over and thoughtlessly interjects. As he slowly begins to replace the weights I have on, it occurs to him to ask if I'm using the squat rack. "No sir. My towel is simply adorning it for decoration and my water bottle is only a focal point as I jump." In actuality my lips spew, "I am," as my eyes beg to question why he'd even...

 

This man among others is the reason I saw a need for this letter; the letter that has been brewing throughout the crevices of my mind for quite some time. So here is an ode to you; a list of "dont's" I've taken the liberty of compiling as a result of dealing with you. Take heed.

  1. Do not assume that I am done or not using something because I am two feet away. You don't do it to other men and I'm not the one.
  2. Do not hover over me as I get my sets in on the squat rack. There are other (male) occupied racks that you can go to and  inquire about.
  3. Do not low-key, yet high-key bore a hole in my back as I'm doing squats. Shockingly, I can feel your lusty lingering eyeballs. I can also see you through that magical device that happens to display reflections. 😉(Message: Its quite creepy.)
  4. The gym isn't yours! When I come in, I'm looking to workout just as you are. I like lifting weights too. If you are doing a circuit workout which consists of the usage of various machines, you gone have to give one up bruh.
  5. Although, I am open to assistance, I don't always want your help. I, generally am doing it right and I can show you better than I can tell you.
  6.   Men and women have different body make-ups. This means your tips on nutrition may not always work for me. Why? Well, you can eat whatever you want, come into the gym, kill two hours & magically obtain a six pack. I, on the other hand, am required to eat a consistently clean diet (one cheat meal a week) and work out for similar results. (Salty much? Maybe a tad.)

 

My final request is that you would recount  all of the thoughtfully crafted points outlined here the next time you're in the gym and happen to consider how you will interact with a woman you encounter. Thank me later.

 

Signed,

Yet Another Chick Who Lifts

Summer Snatch

Here we are ... Summer '17 and my body isn't anywhere close to what it has been these past two summers. By this point, during the summers of 2015 and 2016, I've had the "Summer Snatch" that I didn't even realize I was seeking until I, now; look back on pictures of myself from those summers. So what makes this summer different?

Well if you've listened to our latest episode, you'd remember me declaring this past year (of 27) my year of failure. Every time those words seep from my lips or even cross my mind a strong feeling of discomfort comes over and me propels me to act. Action is just what this post and the next few weeks will be about for me. I'm declaring these next few weeks to be the weeks of the "Summer Snatch." I will, first, share my “Summer Snatch” Wish List with you all.

Cadacia’s Summer Snatch Wish List

·      Flat Stomach (as close to exposed abs as possible)

·      “Healthy” Glutes

·      Re-Defined Muscles in Arms

·      Defined Quads

Now if you notice, on my list I’ve elected to use the words “exposed,” and “defined.” Why? Well, because all of the items I’ve listed on my wish list are already there. My ability to actually see them is really dependent upon the work that I put in to ensure that they are visible …and by work I mean exercise.

What I know to be true about health and wellness is that exercise and nutrition are the ultimate recipe for creating the body one desires. I will let you guys in on my secrets; my recipes for the summer snatch and in doing so, I am challenging you to come along for ride with me.

Cadacia’s Summer Snatch Recipe Guide

·      Flat Stomach (as close to exposed abs as possible)

1-2 green smoothies per day

2 Green apples per day

2 Cups of my “flat tummy tea”

Asparagus

Broccoli

Salmon

Cardio (shockingly)

Hanging leg raises

V-Ups

Planks

Plank Jacks

*The biggest key for a flat stomach is diet.*

 

·      “Healthy” Glutes

Potatoes! (Sweet Potatoes are ideal)

Brown Rice

Oatmeal

(Weighted) Squats

Leg Presses

Weighted Lunges

 

 

·      Re-Defined Muscles in Arms

Curls

Rows

Dips

 

·      Defined Quads

**Same foods & exercises required for glutes**

Please keep in mind that all of the things I have listed here are things that have worked for me specifically. All body types are different and require different regimens. You can take some or all of my tips. Make sure that whatever you elect to do, it works for you. Trial and error are significant in this health and wellness process. Please also remember that the ultimate idea is a healthy lifestyle, in spite of what it may look like on the outside. (I’m speaking to myself as I’m speaking to you.) If you do participate in my Summer Snatch, let me know! At me & use the hashtag #CCSummerSnatch

Discouraged

Friday evening. I silently applaud myself for making it into the gym on an evening where sleep seems like more of an appealing option. It’s arm day! It’s been a while since I’ve worked on them and they could sure stand to be refined. 45 lbs for skull crushers. Seems like a bit of a challenge, but not much. I struggle to lift the weight up over my head. Strike one. T-bar rows are next up. Only 35 pounds. Not too bad. Single arm rows. Too bad. Strike two. It’s now my partner’s turn. As she effortlessly gets through her set, I gawk at the woman staring at me on the other side of the glass. She is slim, slight curves (the biggest one fighting to come down in an attempt to be masked underneath a waist trimmer), small butt. The more I stared at this woman, the more annoyed I became with her. The more I observed her frame, the more I just wanted to tell her to forget it. “Quit. It isn’t worth it.” I slung my body onto a bench as I waited for my partner to be done. “I feel discouraged” seeped from between my lips before I had even granted it permission. My partner inquired further and I shared my observations with her. “How could I not see a difference? How is it that I am not getting traction? I’m doing routines that have worked well for me in the past.” These were the thoughts that clouded my brain. Instead of bombarding her with it all, I simply said “nothing is changing.” She quickly came to my rescue and assured me that I was doing my best. She also reminded me that I am the encourager & can’t stand to be defeated.

Defeat. . . self defeat. It is a very real thing. I find myself in this place again. I weigh all of the factors that have brought me to this familiar place: My body is not conforming. My schedule is not consistent enough. I need a change—a change in my body, a change in my routine. This change can only really come with a change in my busy schedule. This I can be certain of in a couple of months. In the meantime, what shall I do? 

What, then, is the remedy for defeat? There is no "one-quick-fix." I will share what picked me up in that moment, however: my accountability partner. I have blogged about her once before and, in that post, did not realize how she could be valuable to me in this way. She reminded me of how much I tend to encourage her regularly and in doing so, she immediately returned the favor. I allowed her words of encouragement to resonate and forced my mind to receive and believe every last ounce of positivity being spewed my way.  By her encouraging me, I was able to muster up the ability to encourage myself. What I have realized through this moment is that one of the hardest things to do when you are down is to pick your own self up. Sure, others can give you some encouragement, however, it is ultimately up to, you, the individual to make the decision of whether or not you'd actually like to receive it. This was the case with me.

So this post is an ode to anyone who gets knocked down and feels as if it isn't worth it anymore. Giving up is so much easier to commit to than staying the course. Surround yourself with people who can encourage you just as much as you can do for them. Also, recognize your power. You possess all that you need to overcome whatever obstacle it is that you face. They key is believing that you already have it.