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  • Writer's pictureAmarilys Gacio Rassler

Living on the Hyphen … an Ajiaco Life

Wife, mother, nana, daughter, community volunteer, author, and poet. I am a Cuban-American happy to be living on that hyphen.

My Life Is an Ajiaco, a Soup!

The Exit from Cuba …

What would you do if your parents suddenly announced you were leaving your country in a couple of weeks … without them?

Leaving Cuba came unexpectedly when I was eleven-years-old. A Pedro Pan experience. I am one of the 14,000 children to come, without their parents or adult family member, to the United States.

Immigrant living brought its joys and trials. Sometimes I struggled to fit in the United States.

Mc Donald’s burgers were yummy! But often I thought the Cuban in me left. The El Manisero, song faded fast while I danced and sang to Chubby Checkers’s Twist and Shout. I would ask myself, who am I, a Cuban or an American?

TV Dinners became the norm when my parents arrived in America. It was scary waiting for them, not knowing if they would be able to come. Mami and Papi received permission to leave Cuba at different times. Once we got all settled cooking was a thing of the weekend as they quickly took on more than one job so they could save money to bring my grandparents to the states.

Dolls and other toys were put aside. It was a time to be grateful because we were together, to be understanding of my parents’ needs. A period of growing up fast.

Marriage to Prince Charming

Falling in love with an American and marrying him was another unexpected matter. I share our love story in the memoir I am now editing, Beyond the Veil, Encountering Demons.

Who was going to tell me I would one day marry my high school history teacher?

A Season of Caring for Others

Raising our children, becoming caregivers for my mother and father, and being involved with our grandchildren have brought us unforgettable adventures. Never a dull moment with my mother and her Cuban sayings and my Nana life.

Sharing my time volunteering in church and community also spiced my hyphen living. I was a volunteer chaplain, ministering to the employees at Busch Gardens, for fifteen years. I also worked as a telephone counselor and a member of the board for the Tampa Helpline Suicide and Crisis Lines for three years.

And then …

And then came writing! Another unexpected discovery. I love to share my heart with others. As I try to show by my I Write slides on my Home page, I write about Cuba, America, other countries like Italy, the spiritual and the spirit realm. I am a multi-topic writer and poet, often writing about family, the importance of freedom, romantic love, the spirit realm, and matters of faith.

My life is an ajiaco! Ajiaco, a Cuban soup made of many vegetables, pork, beef and whatever.

Ajiaco, a term my abuela would use when someone or something was made with many different items. A good way for a writer to be, I think. I wish to continue to write using elements of my ajiaco life to bring entertainment and inspirations to my readers.

Are you a writer? What do you write about? Whether you are a writer or not it is fun sometimes to look at one’s life. What has filled and spiced your existence? What makes up your ajiaco life?

Thank you for your interest!

Have you ever been to Belgium? My second blog is my gift to you. Always on Sundays, a romantic short story of a young girl thrust into a dark situation, making sacrifices for a loved one. Come to Belgium with me.

Amarilys Gacio Rassler writes fiction and nonfiction, poetry and prose. Freedom, family, romantic love, the spirit realm, faith and culture, are topics she loves to write about. She is the award-winning author of Cuban-American, Dancing On The Hyphen and The Chairs.

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