Irina Pino’s Diary

Cuba: A Way of Dying

August 26, 2014 | 3 comments

She has high blood pressure and has a blood pressure monitor on a small table next to the door to her house, in case she has to leave for the hospital in a rush. She checks her blood pressure obsessively several times a day.

The Teacher I Love

August 19, 2014 | No Comments »

The unconventional teacher in the film Dead Poets Society is the kind of educator I never had. Before seeing the movie, in fact, I never knew a teacher could be like that. At no time in the course of my education did I meet anyone like Mr. Keating.

Old Havana and its Characters

August 12, 2014 | No Comments »

Old Havana is like a postcard full of picturesque characters, each with a story to tell. Sometimes, they need only look at us to tell us these stories. It doesn’t matter where you run into them, they can turn up in the spot you would least suspect.

Daily Scenes in My Havana Home

August 6, 2014 | 5 comments

My brother has moved into my apartment. Differences with his partner led to a breakup, and he asked to stay at my place temporarily. This happened several months ago. At first, I thought he would work it out, renting out a place or finding a friend’s to stay at. But he’s still here, and will be so indefinitely, it seems.

Beyond the Bridges of Madison County

July 30, 2014 | 2 comments

In a remote town lives a 40-year-old woman, beautiful still. She is a simple housewife who looks after her husband and teenage kids. Her work in the house and the farm is all she knows. By chance, she meets a National Geographic photographer…

My Recent Birthday

July 23, 2014 | 1 Comment »

Birthdays can be either highly memorable or highly forgettable. Some can even be very painful, particularly when they coincide with the death of a friend or relative. Most of the time, however, one looks back on them with joy.

My Sundays at Home in Cuba

July 16, 2014 | 1 Comment »

Sundays ought to be like an emergency exit: the possibility of fleeing from the daily chaos that steps on our heels throughout the week and swallows us up without mercy. Quiet time, the pleasure of doing what we like, breaks the doldrums of routine.

A Night at an Ambassador’s Home in Havana

July 9, 2014 | 5 comments

Some days ago, a friend and I went to a reception held at the home of an Ambassador, a very pretty mansion located in Havana’s neighborhood of Miramar. When we arrived, we were greeted by the ambassador and his wife with refined cordiality.

The Old Custodian

July 3, 2014 | 5 comments

You’d see him come into work with a tattered backpack, a stocky, dark-skinned man with a full head of gray hair. Almost immediately, a yellow dog would come running, merrily wagging its tail, and start playing with him. It would stay with him while he looked after the cars in the lot.

On a Celebration in Havana…and Memories of a Film

June 24, 2014 | No Comments »

Family celebrations are important events the world over, but they make for particularly special occasions in our country. Last Saturday was my father’s birthday, and I wanted to treat him to one of his favorite desserts.