One word to describe the Casa particulares is “home.” As soon as my housemate and I stepped foot into la casa de Migdalia we instantly felt welcomed. We learned so much from her regardless of some of the language barriers. She would always conduct general maintenance of our rooms when my housemate and I went on outings, make sure we liked all of our meals and would always say “Probalo!” before leaving the dining room, and would make sure we returned home by a certain time like a typical parent. There were some shortages in ingredients made for some of the dishes Migdalia wanted to make for us ahead of time, but it made all the wait worth it when we were greeted with pizza during lunch on one of our last few days! On the days leading up to leaving, she said “My daughters are leaving” in Spanish, and on the way to the airport I started bawling my eyes out lol. It’s crazy how attached everyone became to their host families so quickly after staying there for only 12 days. From the amount of laughs we shared, to playing charades trying to try to understand one another, to sharing important facts about our own countries, all of these aspects made this trip 10 times more memorable. I loved how this trip felt like a huge disconnect from worldly events that tend to trigger my anxiety. The first incident I heard about as I entered back into the U.S. was the Uvalde mass shooting and it just goes to show how much every country has its own pros and cons. I wanted to go back to the community in Vedado which carried a new meaning to the word “safe” as there aren’t any gun laws in Cuba. At the end of the day, our differences only make us stronger and urges us to continue to learn more about each other’s countries.