Money was, is and always will be something that we and Cubans look at differently.
Maybe it´s because they don´t have money. Maybe because we work hard to have them. But money is something that will eventualy come up in the conversation. And it doesn´t matter if you´re just the visitor or if your SO is Cuban. At some point you´ll get stressed about it.
If we argue with Fidel, and we rarely do, it is about money. I come from the family with not that much money. So my parents taught me how to save. And ever since I always have had savings. From the other hand, Fidel´s family spend their last 5 pesos if it´s necessary. Or even if it´s not, they will spend it. So every time we go to the supermarket i hear “it´s so cheap! let´s buy it! do you know expensive this stuff is in Cuba?”. And we never do because yes…I hate spending money.
But people in Cuba learned how to survive without money so I think they are just use to no to have them. They even say “money goes, money comes” and spend everything easily. Maybe that´s why they don´t get attached to money so badly as we do. They just never have them. And when they don´t have them they recommend a restaurant to the tourist, show them the way, help to find a Casa Particular and maybe take for the trip. And the money actually comes. Not quite like here where if you spend your money, you have to wait for a month to have them again.
And we on the other hand are very attached to money. We get mad at our husbands and boyfriends for sending too much cash to Cuba or buying too much gifts for people who barely deserve it. We spend 150$ for another pair of shoes and we get mad because they want to send 50$ back home. We get mad over the prices. Like, how the hell an old, ugly, used and not working well fridge can cost 350$? Well, in Cuba it can. As well as and old 30-40 year old car can cost 15k-20k. No es fácil. The prices is actually one of the things that stress me the most in Cuba. Not mentioning that to get this price Yuma has to stay out of the picture. Otherwise the prices goes up. We have so much money right?
Other thing that stress us out is people asking for stuff. Those Cubans who have never left the island and have no idea how the world works out there think it´s ok to ask for things. Especially if they have relatives or friends abroad. They don´t ask if you can bring them something, they just assume you do. And very often they will ask for specific stuff like iPhone or Converse snickers. Stuff that sometimes we don´t even buy for ouselves because of the price.
Our family in Cuba rarely ask for things and if they do it´s usually something small and necessary. But I know Cubans who don´t go to Cuba for years. They feel they don´t have enough money to go. Not the money for travelling. But the money for gifts and drinks and other stuff everybody expects them to pay for. Because when you´re coming back home after years, everybody knows you won´t come with empty hands. The other thing is that this it the time to show your new “I live in Yuma” status.
I think I envy this light approach they have. Some say the life without money is a stress but the life with money may be even worse. Cubans have this “you only live once, you can´t take the money to the grave with you” rule and I must say, they tend to enjoy life more.
Some time ago we decided we wanted to invite Fidel´s mum. I really think this woman deserves to travel and experience something different. This is quite expensive since the flights from Cuba to Europe are not the cheapest thing. And some of my friends were just so surprised. Suprised that we want to spend all these money for someone. She´s not someone to me and trust me, to feed me from her 9CUC pension is much more of an effort than for me to buy her a plane ticket.
But I think, one thing we have in common. Here and there money rules the world. We have just invented different rules.