From Cuba with Love: Sex and Money in the 21st Century

Sexuality has become inseparable from Cuban national identity. What is controlled through state repression of the so-called jineteros & jinteras is not exploitation, violence, or any objective form of harm but rather unacceptable sex and, through it, unacceptable ways of being.

This in an amazing article about Jineterismo, a neologism that encompasses sexual and affective relations between Cubans (read: Afro-Cuban and mixed-race women/men) and foreigners (read: white men/women), but which also implies a much wider range of other black- and grey-market activities such as selling bootleg rum and cigars, acting as a tout for restaurants and guest houses, and driving unlicensed taxis.

In her new book “From Cuba with Love: Sex and Money in the Twenty-First Century”, Megan Daigle explores the role of love, sexuality, and politics in contemporary Cuba. Highly recommended! I am looking forward to read it myself soon as well…

The Disorder Of Things

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Five years ago, I spent six months living and working in Cuba – a fact that, in casual conversation, generally provokes expressions of envy and eye rolling about mojitos, salsa music, and academics who don’t really do any work. Cuba is as much a fantasy as a real place. It is totally invested with the romantic and ideological dreams of wildly disparate constituencies: armchair socialists and campus lefties, right-wing US politicians and Cuban émigrés, cocktail-swilling package holiday tourists, and adventure-seeking backpackers, amongst others. Cuba is a steamy and exotic Caribbean island, with rumba dancing and free-flowing rum. Cuba is a repressive and secretive regime. Cuba is a test workshop for socialist ambitions the world over. Cuba is a fantasy.

It was ideas like these about Cuba, Cuban politics, and Cuban people that drew me there in the first place, and the resulting book – built on those months of ethnographic research and…

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Are you a Highly Sensitive Person?

I have found this amazingly interesting book, called “The Highly Sensitive Person’s Survival Guide” from Ted Zeff.

If you’re a highly sensitive person (HSP), you’re in good company. HSP’s make up some 20 percent of the population, individuals like you who both enjoy and wrestle with a finely tuned nervous system. You often sense things that others ignore such as strong smells, bright lights, and the crush of crowds. Even the presence of strangers in your immediate vicinity can cause you considerable distraction. You already know that this condition can be a gift, but, until you learn to master your sensitive nervous system, you might be operating in a constant state of overstimulation.

As an HSP, the most important thing you can learn is how to manage your increased sensitivity to both physical and emotional stimulation. This accessible, practical guide contains strategies to help you master this critical skill. Build your coping skills by exploring the books engaging exercises. Then, keep the book by your side, a constant companion as you make your way through your vibrant and highly stimulating world.

Are you a Highly Sensitive Person?

  • I seem to be aware of subteties in my environment.
  • I am easily overwhelmed by strong sensory input.
  • Other people’s moods affect me.
  • I tend to be very sensitive to pain.
  • I find myself needing to withdraw during busy days, into bed or into a darkened room or any place where I can have some privacy and relief from stimulation.
  • I am particularly sensitive to the effects of caffeine.
  • I am easily overwhelmed by things like bright lights, strong smells, coarse fabrics, or sirens close by.
  • I have a rich, complex inner life.
  • I am made uncomfortable by loud noises.
  • I am deeply moved by the arts or music.
  • My nervous system sometimes feels so frazzled that I just have to go off by myself.
  • I am consientious.
  • I startle easily.
  • I get rattled when I have a lot to do in a short amount of time.
  • When people are uncomfortable ini a physical environment I tend to know what needs to be done to make it more comfortable (like changing the lightning or the seating).
  • I am annoved when people try to get me to do too many things at once.
  • I try hard to avoid making mistakes or forgetting things.
  • I make a point to avoid violent movies and TV shows.
  • I become unpleasantly aroused when a lot is going on around me.
  • Being very hungry creates a strong reaction in me, disrupting my concentration or mood.
  • Changes in my life shake me up.
  • I notice and enjoy delicate or fine scents, tastes, sounds, works of art.
  • I find it unpleasant to have a lot going on at once.
  • I make it a high priority to arrange my life to avoid upsetting or overwhelming situations.
  • I am bothered by intense stimuli, like loud noises or chaotic scenes.
  • When I must compete or be observed while performing a task, I become so nervous or shaky that I do much worse than I would otherwise.
  • When I was a child, my parents or teachers seemed to see me as sensitive or shy.

If you could answer more than 12 quotes with ‘true’, you are probably highly sensitive. (Test by Elaine Aaron, 1996.)

Find out more about this subject:

About the Highly Sensitive Person (YOUTUBE)

The Power of Now

Time flies… That’s for sure. Especially now I see I haven’t post anything in 2 weeks…

Well, I am very busy. Working 6 to 7, getting back on track with my studies in tourism and adding an additional course in spanish at Antwerps University to prepare my Erasmus experience. Now that the summer officialy changed into autumn, I have to change my wardrobe, prepare my appartment for the winter and eat more vitamins than ever. And worst of all: I feel so stressed of still not having edited all my pictures of my month in Central America. There is so much I still want to do with them and I would love to write a little bit more. And something inside me would even like to start painting / following yoga classes / learning to play piano / cooking more and healthier / …

STOP!

I realise there will never be more time than now. Because a few months ago, I thought these months would be the months with the less things to do, the most time to make a blog e.g. And you can already guess what turns out: these are like the bussiest days ever, it seems.

What we can conclude, my friends: time is always  short.
Don’t expect to have tomorrow what you don’t have today.
If you need to / want to / have to / love to / … DO IT NOW.

And if you want to know more about it, read one of my recommanded books: Eckhart Tolle’s THE POWER OF NOW

“Wherever you are, be there totally. If you find your here and now intolerable and it makes you unhappy, you have three options: remove yourself from the situation, change it, or accept it totally”