Cuba, the Birthday Month, and Performing a Wedding!

A few months ago Nathan went to Cuba for work and never wrote about it...until now (finally)!:

I went to represent my work (a national fund lending to cooperative businesses) with a group of about 15 people, all of whom were there to represent cooperatives. We were there to learn about how Cuba has been opening up policies to allow for more private, cooperatively-owned (by employees) businesses and to voice support for that effort. I went two days early to make sure I could see something other than Havana. I took a bus about two hours west of Havana to Vinales, a beautiful area with dozens of unusual small molehills, all sticking straight up out of a large valley. They are covered in vegetation and look like green gum drops dotting the landscape. I went on a cave tour of the inside of one of these and was very interesting.

The taxi's tire popped on the way there and I almost missed the tour, but my driver hailed another taxi for me and I made it just in time. While in Vinales, I stayed at a B&B where the woman of the house feed me a king's dinner, including a Cajun-style lobster (total cost of night's lodging and huge lobster dinner: $35 before a tip).

Back in Havana I had meetings most days and site visits to operating worker-owned businesses. Many of them said their main impediment to growth was supply of materials due to the blockade of trade the U.S. has effective set up. Havana itself was a beautiful city and somewhere I'd love to return to one day.

 One day our group went to Matanzas, about an hour east of Havana. At an art studio there I saw a shirt made entirely of buttons that I thought looked pretty cool. I didn't inquire about that being for sale or not, but I did get a green guayabera shirt that looks like the one pictured below:

Image result for guayabera shirt green

Overall, I'd say Cuban people were wonderful, the food was very good, and the country was gorgeous. It's a shame we don't engage them more and open up more trade than we already have. Unfortunately it seems since I've returned only a few months ago we seem to be going backwards towards the failed policies of exclusion that haven't worked for decades.

Later, in June, Kathryn had her "birthday month." Yes you read that correctly--not a birthday, a birthday month. She milked it for all 30 days, but the actual birthday was the best when we went out for her surprise present--watching Wicked at the Boston Opera House. It's an amazing show and as one would expect, the singing talent was unbelievable.

Our most recent adventure was travelling to Denver earlier this month to attend my (Nathan's) younger sister's wedding. She and her now-husband were kind enough to invite me to officiate and perform their marriage ceremony. I registered online with the state of Colorado and worked with them to figure out what kind of thoughts and traditions they wanted at their wedding. The day of, the power was out in half the building and that delayed our start time a bit, but once we got started everything went perfectly. They were married in a beautiful old brick inn  that's surrounded by a golf course. It snowed that morning and the leaves were all yellow, so the pictures are going to look great, despite the cold. My sister (and her super cool dress) looked beautiful and about the happiest I've ever seen her. We're excited to have her husband as officially part of the family too since he pretty much was already the past few years. Elliott also had an official capacity in the wedding, that of ring-bearer.  Unfortunately, he couldn't handle being separated from his mom and dad to walk down the aisle with his cousin so Kathryn had to just carry him down the aisle. But he looked so dapper no one cared.

At Wicked

Kathryn took Elliott to the Copley Boston Public Library
 and took the morning off on her bday

BPL fountain
I surprised Kirsten by dressing in judge attire for the rehearsal,
 she didn't think it was quite as funny as I had hoped.

Rehearsal Dinner


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