Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas in Convertible Currency

Well it’s true that in Cuba we can now celebrate Christmas. When I was girl Christmas wasn’t spoken of, nor was there a little tree in my house until I was about 13 or so, and it took me a tremendous amount of work to convince my father to get me one. Since the Pope came, fortunately, the 25th is a holiday and we celebrate the 24th and the 25th as we’re able, even though there isn’t much food, but at least the family gathers and we wait for the new year and not the first of January, which seems the same but it’s not, as we all know.
The Christmas tree is more complicated, it costs a lot to buy one, all the ornaments are sold in CUCs and the tree itself cost no less than 10. My friends almost all have trees of about their own age and I even know someone who bought his tree in Russia, where it seems that since the ‘70s they were not as radical on the point.
Maybe because of the fact that I couldn’t enjoy Christmas festivities when I was a child, this time of year makes me dream. Every year I say to myself This year I’ll buy a tree. But when December comes my purse is empty and I leave it for the next year.
I like to walk the streets and see two or three houses with lights on display, today there are only a few but perhaps someday there will be more. In the same way, the Christmas ornaments that are sold in some convertible currency centers seem terrible to me, a piece of green bush tied to a tube isn’t necessarily identified with a Christmas theme… but still.
The peso stores, the schools and the like are still in the ‘80s. For our children in day care centers, Christmas hasn’t yet arrived.

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