I can’t believe that already a week has passed since I returned from Cuba. Our one week was nothing short of AMAZING! The resort and weather were beautiful, the people were so warm and friendly, and our one week seemed to stretch and really feel like a week. It took me 3 days to actually unwind and be able to relax. It was hard to turn off “mommy mode”, “wife mode” and “worker mode”, but after I was able to, it was pure bliss and relaxation. I cannot say enough good things about Cuba. I had last been there in 1986 on a family vacation when I was obviously much younger and Cuba was barely a tourist destination then. The resort we stayed at this time was about a year and a half old. It was very well maintained with nice rooms, landscaping, many pools and a stunning beach. The staff were very sweet and helpful. My sister in law and I befriended everyone from the wait staff to the bartenders to the gym staff and the snack bar staff. I was actually sad when we were leaving as I was going to miss all of our new friends!
I found that it was hard for me as a mom as I was initially really missing Cubby. I saw so many infants and toddlers on the resort who reminded me of her. I called home about 3 times in the week to talk to her and my husband. That was a mission in itself. Cuba has horrible internet service. It tooks us $10 and half an hour to send one email to our families telling them that we had arrived safely. The phone calls costed $2.00 a minute so I think that I had spent about $80 by the end of the week on phone calls. Cuban money and Canadian money were basically at par so I didn’t really save any money in the end.
On the brighter side, once I was able to relax and knew that Cubby was alright, I had a great time. Our days were spent lounging by the pool or on the beach reading books or trashy magazines that we had brought. We took breaks to eat and left the resort once during the day to check out the local market. I ended up reading Fifty Shades of Gray, which was quite scandalous, and I could not put it down until it was finished. Wow, what a crazy book! I felt like I was on vacation with my sister in law, Anastasia and Christian for the first 3 days. After I finished that one, I stuck to more practical and boring books. My sister in law and I were good; we went to the gym 5 out of 8 days that we were there. We also went to the spa and had a massage, sat in the sauna, steam room, and did a full body mud treatment. That was great!
In the evening, we would go back to our room and take a nap. Being in the hot sun can be tiring! At night, we got dressed up and went to A la carte dinners or the buffet and then usually to the nightly show at our resort. We had befriended the entertainment staff, so we would watch them and cheer them on each evening. I had thought that it would be a quiet trip and that there was nothing to do at night, but of course there was a disco that was 5 minutes from our resort via the Party Bus. The entertainment staff at our hotel recruited us to go to the disco on our second night at the resort. It was a dingy small club; however, all of the tourists from the resorts around us would go there. The Party Bus was a hilarious double decker bus with blue strobe lighting and blaring music. It stopped at all of the other resorts and picked up everyone to go to the disco. The music was decent enough with some top 40, local favourites, salsa, merengue and reggaeton. My sister in law and I danced and danced like we were at a cardio class at the gym. It had been a long time since I had danced until my feet actually hurt!
The best part about the morning was actually being able to sleep in.. well by sleeping in, I mean sleeping until 8:30 or 9am! That was priceless. I felt so rested and refreshed in the morning. It had been a long time since I felt like that. It was difficult for me as I really did feel guilty some days; like I wasn’t supposed to be in the sun relaxing and “doing me”, but I came to grips with that. My one week in the sun was well deserved and well timed. I think that I was coming close to having a nervous breakdown if I had stuck around for one more week!
I learned a lot just talking to the people who worked on the resort. They all seemed so genuinely happy despite making only $16 a month and not being able to afford basic items such as shampoo or toothpaste. They all thought that it would be great to leave Cuba and come to Canada. I tried to explain to them that they had it all there: sun, sand, family and no stress; well at least not the type of stress that we encounter in our daily lives.
All in all, I had one of the most amazing weeks of my life and will cherish my warm Cuba memories for a long time to come! As a new mom, if you can get the chance and take the time off, I would really recommend having some “you time”, whether it is a weekend or a week. You feel really rejuvenated and I feel like I am a better mom and wife because of it.