Questions by Heather Zeni
H: I loved your opening where you spoke of finding your “happy place” via guided meditation. Have you been able to utilize this tool more frequently now?
C: I have used this tool more often and I think I would even go as far as crediting it entirely for my willingness to meditate as often as I do now. Being able to feel my heart beat really helped to ground me during those initial slow breaths while meditating.
H: I loved learning about your Cuban roots. Can you tell us more about the parts you love and miss? Take us on a walk down Memory Lane, if you will?
C: Of course! I think my favorite part of my hometown was this large plaza where my uncle would take my sister and I and, depending on the day (and time of day), it could be lively with people dancing or quite empty with a lot of room for us to run around as kids. I also always enjoyed visiting my dad’s family in his birth town because I enjoy more rural areas and nature is truly a kid’s best playground.
H: Some say the “Home” is a feeling. Would you agree or disagree and why?
C: That’s actually a tough question, but I do think it’s accurate to say that “Home” is a feeling. I also think that it’s important to note that for a lot of people this feeling is closely associated with the physical environment, which is why in some of my tips I suggest changing our physical surroundings to feel closer to home. An example of how I associate home with its physical environment is all the humidity and rain! As inconvenient as humidity can be, I never really complain about it because Home is the only place where I’ve really had to deal with it for extended periods of time.
H: The tips on changing your space to better help Connect Our Mental Health to Our Environment were so helpful. Which tip would you say you use the most regularly and what makes it more accessible than the others?
C: I think I use the third tip the most: do an activity you normally associate with home. My mom and I are huge coffee lovers so I have an excuse to make coffee several times a day, but I do try to be mindful of why I appreciate it more as a leisurely activity than I do as something that wakes me up. We also try to drink it outside whenever we can, especially if it’s raining, and I think my parents have done a good job of making our backyard feel a little like Cuba so it is really easy for me to associate the two. I don’t know if they did that intentionally, but I’m glad they did it either way.
H: Do you have a local place you can visit that reminds you of home?
C: No, I think my home reminds me of home the most, haha. I’ve been to quite a few Cuban food places but there’s nothing like my mother’s cooking so they never satisfy me! I do love driving by so many of them, though; I’m grateful to live in a city with a large Cuban population.
H: What was your favorite part to write about in this blog and why?
C: My favorite part was the call to action at the end because I wanted to make sure I tied everything together and I hope the reader was able to see why I found it so important to include my personal experience with Home to explain why a change in location can be so helpful in achieving a sense of renewal. I would have liked to write more about the meditation (which I really enjoyed sharing), but I didn’t want to get too emotional, haha.
H: And finally, what are you up to and where can our audience find you?
C: I’m trying my best to finish this semester strong! Our audience can find me on instagram @cesirii.