Lo Real Maravilloso: Embracing the Cuban Way of Life

By Kate Bustillos

Most of my childhood was spent diving in the Florida Keys. Some of my fondest memories include sun-toasted shoulders, salt-caked hair, and the ocean’s chilly embrace.

My dad often pointed across the glittering waves and spoke of an island, just 90 miles away. An island of sherbet-colored buildings and lush emerald valleys. An island cradled by the same aquamarine waters that I loved so much. An island that my country’s government had deemed forbidden, which only increased my desire to see it. I would imagine myself as a jade-scaled mermaid, following the current all the...

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