Se pone celoso


You may think that jealousy is a very Latin male trait and you’d be right. But don’t for a second think it stops there. Mothers, sisters, cousins, friends, neighbours, you name it. Almost everyone here is jealous of almost everyone else.

It’s very subtle at first. I don’t really see it but it soon weaves itself into the fabric of everyday life.

Cooking has been challenging for me. I’ve had to learn to cook in one pan, on one ring, with one temperature (really hot), with limited ingredients. Besides, I’ve never really had to deal with raw ingredients in the same way they do here. But I’ve been determined to learn.

My first attempt was a couple of weeks after we arrived. I love to cook and miss the routine of cooking for myself. As my suegra works four days a week and gets back really late I decided to cook for her return so she doesn’t have to. She’s not been well and always returns tired to cook for us.

I bought beef steaks for everyone and my cousin and aunt taught me how to cook them Cuban style. We make tostones and rice to go with it. Although it’s a pretty simple dish I feel marginally proud of myself. On return my suegra refuses to eat it and sets off crossly to her house. She’s jealous that it wasn’t her that helped me cook and that I didn’t do it in her house. Se pone celosa.

After four months here with the sun beating down on my head I am in desperate need of a hair cut and something to soften it. It is as burnt as my skin in this heat but with no sun cream to soften the blow. I mention this in passing and both my suegra and my cousin offer their hairdressers.
The next day my cousin comes in and says a neighbour can cut my hair for me. We go then and there and it’s swiftly cut in the Cuban style. Later that day I show my suegra. ‘But I’ve talked to my hairdresser and she’s expecting you at 9am tomorrow’. This is rubbish but se pone celosa. She’s jealous. That I went with someone else.

It’s not just my suegra. It’s everyone!

I get my nails painted but not where my cousin suggests. I return and she tells me it’s an ugly colour. It’s not. She’s jealous that I went with another persons suggestion.

When we are in Havana we stay with an aunt and good friend. She has two grandchildren the same age as our kids who we visit sometimes. She’s an amazing help with Maia, making her food and looking after her for us. But this is infuriating for her son’s wife who is jealous of the attention Maia gets over her baby boy.

And so it goes on…

Kids jealous of other kids, women coveting houses, lifestyles, clothes. The gossip revolving around who did what, who has what. Gossip on how terrible the extension is on the neighbours bigger house, how they want to sell but nobody will buy. Tears shed over whether sons spend more time with mothers or lovers. Every time I enter a house someone’s belongings or lifestyle is being accused. It is described to me one day as a war. It seems quite exhausting.

After a while I actually stop worrying about it. I’ve seen the children play and this jealous trait is virtually cultivated. It’s assimilated as an acceptable, rewarded mode of behaviour. Kids gets jealous over everything. They taunt each other and fight over the have and the have nots. The aim of every word daily is to make others jealous, which all the adults think is hilarious and look at their kids with adoring eyes.

This then grows.

Kids jealous of other kids to women coveting houses, lifestyles, clothes. The gossip revolving around who did what, who has what. Tears shed over whether sons spend more time with mothers or lovers. Every time I enter a house someone’s belongings or lifestyle are being assessed. The more people have the worse it is. It is a war. A war for affection, a war for a peso, a war of want, a war to survive. It is impossible to be happy for someone else who has when you have not. It also makes me know fundamentally that am and always will be an outsider here.

Of course Diego gets jealous but that’s just the Latin male thing. It’s all the others you got to watch.

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You may think that jealousy is a very Latin male trait and you’d be right. But don’t for a second think it stops there. Mothers, sisters, cousins, friends, neighbours, you name it. Almost everyone here is jealous of almost everyone else.

It’s very subtle at first. I don’t really see it but it soon weaves itself into the fabric of everyday life.

Cooking has been challenging for me. I’ve had to learn to cook in one pan, on one ring, with one temperature (really hot), with limited ingredients. Besides, I’ve never really had to deal with raw ingredients in the same way they do here. But I’ve been determined to learn.

My first attempt was a couple of weeks after we arrived. I love to cook and miss the routine of cooking for myself. As my suegra works four days a week and gets back really late I decided to…

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Filed under Cuba, EDUCATION, ENGLISH, España, HUMAN HEALTH, México, NADA, Podemos, PSICOLOGÍA, Silvio Rodríguez Domínguez, Silvio Rodriguez, USA, Venezuela

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