July 5, 2013
I had sent my picture to him over a week ago. I never thought he would write me back. It was a madcap idea fueled by my mother’s overly romantic mind and her secret life goal to pair me off on some poor hapless soul. This man would never write me back.
“Hi, my name is G, I am 42 years old and have lived in Havana, Cuba for more than 20 years. My brother in law has shown me your pictures and I am enchanted with your smile. I would like to hear your voice but you don’t answer when I call. I bet you have a soft voice.”
First contact is always the best contact. We had so much in common. Both of us were care givers to our parents, both of us were hard workers. Both of us were childless but wished to have children. He wanted me to come over with his family in Orlando in December. I didn’t even have a passport until September but I was ready for anything. I was going to take my first trip out of the United States to meet this stranger with a warm heart in love with my smile. Surely I was insane but I was ready to try something new.
“Ma’am we don’t sell tickets to Cuba to U.S. born citizens without permission from OFAC. I can’t sell you this ticket.” Right up until that moment I was ready. Now I was in a panic. A full on panic.
It took me two days to even tell him what had happened. I cried at first. I had hit it off with this man like I never had with anyone else before. Now we’d never even get to meet. He would forever be an email buddy, a pen pal! When I did tell him he could offer no help, he only said, that we had to find a way.
That’s when I took to Trip Advisor and Cuba Junkie. It was late one night after I had completed one of my final research papers for my BSN. I happened upon a site that changed my life. Cubatravelusa.com. My savior’s name is Derek Snow and by the end of that same week, my tickets were booked. I was going to Cuba!