I’m going to Cuba at the end of the week. That’s insane. I can’t believe it.

I’ve been constantly vacillating between being very excited and very scared because I just have no idea what to expect. I’ve never been to a developing country or a Spanish-speaking country before, and even by those criteria Cuba is unique. So I really have no idea what the hell I’ve gotten myself into.

Then there’s the fact that most people say that Cuba is a country of contrasts, which seems to be the case and only adds to my uncertainty. On the one hand, it’s got an awesome and varied culture, has one of the longest life expectancies in Latin America, and churns out the most doctors per capita of any country on earth. On the other, poverty and oppression are still widespread. I’ve seen and read so much about happy Cubans dancing their days and nights away, partying, loving life, hanging out, laughing, working just like any prosperous and satisfied people. But then 5 of the 23 members of their national soccer team desert while they’re in the US for the Gold Cup. Why would those players take such a drastic move, leaving family and friends behind, not to mention abandoning their teammates in the middle of a tournament? What the hell is Cuba like?

And that’s where I’m headed. I honestly have no idea whether I’ll want to leave after the first day or want to extend my planned 3-week stay in order to see and do more. No idea. Fuck.

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