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An Intro to Part II of The Breath of Cuba

Author’s Foreword: An Introduction to Part II

The Breath of Cuba, Part II, is a continuation of a love affair with Cuba that began for me many years ago.   If you have come across this book, and you have not read Part I, I encourage you to order it, and read it first so that Part II of the story has more context for you.

Part I tells my story of the first time I went to Cuba to study the drum, and in particular the music of the Religion of Santeria and its rhythms.   I found much more there than I had bargained for.  I found myself falling deeply in love with the culture, the people, and the lifestyle.   I discovered a way of life that was foreign to me, but that strangely resonated with a part of my soul that was unfed in my own culture.  My life has not been the same since.  Cuba healed something in me that I did not even know needed healing, and its magic continues to work in my life every day.

In Part I, I went to Cuba to nurse a broken heart at the end of an 8 year relationship.  I found myself anew through my experiences on the island studying the drum and the culture.  Through the journey, I gained a new appreciation for myself, and my story.  I was able to see how sharing my story impacted others, both in Cuba and in my own country.  My heart cracked open in Cuba.  I discovered my own humanity, in all its glory and nasty grit, in profound and humbling ways.  More importantly Cuba helped me to discover the beauty of sharing both the light and the dark side of my humanity with others.

Part II starts two and a half years after my return from the first trip.   I went through what I can only liken to a type of withdrawal symptom after leaving Cuba.  I drifted in and out of depression.  I found myself missing something that I had discovered in Cuba that I couldn’t seem to find in my life in the good old USA. 

Many people experience culture shock when leaving their own culture.  I have always experienced more of a reverse culture shock upon returning to my own culture, and a kind of healing when I step outside of it into cultures that resonate more with my own personal compass.  What I experienced in the two years between my first two trips seemed to be an extended culture shock.  I missed the simplicity of an integrated life that I experienced in Cuba in the village.  More so, I found I longed for the personal space away from technology and screens that I got access to in Cuba. 

The Breath of Cuba Part II takes the reader deeper into Cuba through the lens of personal relationships.  Cheri’s passion for the Cuban culture invites you into new realms where romance, music, passion and cultural distinctions merge. Prepare for an armchair journey into another place and time.  This story captures the end of an era in Cuba, set in 2012 at a time when Cuba still had very little access to cell phones and the internet.  In stark contrast to Part I of The Breath of Cuba, in Part II, the author is on a journey where romance and passion mix in a high spirited spiritual reclamation of self expression.  In every page, you will get deeper into the world behind Cuba’s facades.

What Readers are Saying:

“Cheri makes  Cuba come alive in words.  The book is very sensual — as I read I can see, hear (and smell) the surroundings — very palpable.  I was also intrigued by her perspectives on Cuban culture, and can especially relate to the dancing aspect of the people’s lives there.  Dancing is a world and language of its own, and you capture that experience exquisitely.”   Tania Bank

“Part 2 of this story is a lens into the complicated dynamics of cross cultural relationships, but more so it shows a lot about intimacy and psychology that tourists can never understand on a few day adventure to Cuba.  Cheri’s American perspective in an old world traditional culture was one of the most intriguing parts of this story.  And the sensuality she writes with is always a pleasure to read.”

Marissa Stevens

“The Breath of Cuba Part II was welcomed with open arms.  Part I sets the stage, and Part II takes you deeper into bedrooms and living rooms beyond the facades of the culture into seeing and feeling the reality behind the facade of tourist Cuba.  This is an incredible story Cheri has written, and Part I sets you up perfectly for Part II. I can’t wait for Part III.

Lois Hunter 

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