The Cook, the thief, his wife and her lover …….. in Cuba.

As I was thinking about writing this post, the Peter Greenaway film title that I stole for this post title kept playing around in my head all jumbled up and back to front.  I think Peter Greenaway has visited the film school and if not he should be invited.

I have a new cook, there was a thief about, I am a wife but I don’t have a lover, although in Cuba a lot of people do …………. anyway on on ….

The boys have broken up from school and a lot of our more wealthy friends have left for the summer to their properties in Europe along with most of the diplomats and bureaucrats.  Luckily we have enough Cuban friends and enough going on that I don’t feel too lonely and abandoned.  A little bit of breathing space ……… and now with our new air con in the living room, things are looking up!!

I escaped for a few nights to a global city alone, such things have hardly been heard of in our house!  I enjoyed walking the beautiful streets without having to keep my eyes on 3 little naughty heads, lunching in cafe terraces, visiting several galleries, finishing conversations with adults, topping up my fashionista desires ……… bliss …….. but that is another story for another time.

I returned to three happy but slightly resentful children, a husband ready to offload all his problems and trials and tribulations of being a single Dad and director of a film school ……… and yet another robbery in my house.  We let our defenses down for a moment, and of course I wasn’t here to keep my castle safe!

So there was the usual  ……why on earth did you let these people into our house?  Because I wanted to get things done well you were away. ……. conversation.

On the few occasions that I have left my husband alone since we met, he is always intent on improving the house and/or my car for me while I am away, which can often lead to conflict as I like to be heavily involved in the style of said improvements and also who they are done by.  He is then hurt, as he says he does everything to make me happy …… hmmm.

Anyway some workmen came to my house from the film school and were in my bedroom fixing the air con or pretending to fix other things and some cash walked.  Not helped by the fact that we live in a cash world in Cuba and do not have a safe.  Luckily we were approaching the end of the month and we did not have that much cash and they were decent enough to leave us some.

The film school was supposed to find us a safe but failed to do so.  I have now taken all matters into my own hands and decided that the only people who come into my house will be friends, family or people invited by me who have already had my tough character analysis test. I want to be independent from the film school in all matters of administration and maintenance of my home.  Apart from anything else they all like to have a good snoop and gossip is rife in any institution and all over the island.  ’tonces no mas!

To this end, I now have a new housekeeper and cook who is proving to be a great investment.  Just as well as I had 9 adults and 9 children in my house over this weekend at various stages and I managed to just about feed those who were hungry.  Mercedes lives nearby, is a hardworking, organised women who is transforming my kitchen into a place of homemade cakes and shortbread cookies and cottage pie and it is only week one!

After a few weeks of struggling alone with some help from my young babysitter Claudia, I decided that I needed to get on with finding another nanny before the long summer holiday began, still slightly reluctant to use my children as guinea pigs, but it seems it is the only way.  Take them on a trial basis and see how it goes.

Still not convinced about the latest.  I am trying someone who lives very close by, 5 minutes walk away, but although she seems very sweet and a good person she also gives the impression that she has really suffered a hard life, and that life has worn down her spirit.

I want to say to her …….. hey lady lets laugh and smile and skip with the children, lets make up fun games and holiday adventures.  I am sort of hoping that we might be able to cheer her up a bit but she told me the other day somewhat despondently that Saskia has asked her why she had such a big belly!  I was at the time playing footsies with a giggling Saskia throwing her around the bed.  On the one hand I felt bad, but on the other I was marvelling at my 2 year olds communication skills and astute observational abilities.

Anyway Elena is a black lady, an afrocuban who studied Russian and spent 5 years in Kiev only to return to Cuba just as the Soviet system was getting the hell out and leaving them with the worst economic moment in post-revolution Cuban history, the infamous special period.  Suddenly nobody wanted to learn Russian or bother speaking it too much when she returned.  The Ruskies were gone and it seems that Elena has been sad ever since at her bad luck.  Although she did tell me that she loved living in the Ukraine.  Maybe she fell in love with a Ukranian who stole her heart forever.  I wanted to say to her, well your belly’s not that big and you’ve still got a great pair of legs but in these situations it is best just to keep quiet I find …………..

Anyway a few more parties to organise before the end of the film school term, the graduation party being one of them.  Juju, our beloved nanny of 7 years, who nobody has come close to replacing, is arriving from Guatemala at the end of July for a holiday and by the first week of August Rafa will be free ……… and we have to plan some Cuban adventures.

Where shall we go? Colonial Trinidad?  Maria La Gorda beach?  Cayo Coco?  Exciting, cultural Santiago, the other side of the island, is calling me, but 12 hours in a car in tropical heat with 3 kids means I fear I might have to delay that one.  But I want to dance to more Rhumba, meet a few more Cuban DJs, teach some recipes to my new cook, spend quality time with my children (woops I suppose that should have been first!), try to make my husband forget about the film school for at least a couple of weeks and entertain any pale faces Brits that make it over my Caribbean way.

 

 

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