Author Anna Vega Lidia Serova is a talented storyteller: she can tell a story on just about anything, no matter how simple or minute the topic may be. When Serova was asked about her creative process, she told our group that most of her inspiration came from the little things in our daily lives. Serova is always finding something new to write about. While she was visiting Davidson, Serova was writing up a list that contained several possible ideas on topics that could potentially write about in the future. I noticed in Serova’s writing that she focused on the small and mundane things in life we ignore but are everywhere. I especially saw this in Serova’s Mirada de Reojo, which contained several stories on random objects that one would find in their house, such as the bed, the rug, the table, or the door.
During our conversation, someone asked Serova the about how her trip was to the United States from Cuba. In response, Serova told us the details of the journey and the challenges that she had to face in order for her to get to Davidson. It simultaneously did and did not surprise me to hear how complicated it is for a Cuban to acquire a visa to visit the United States. It was mind-boggling to think that since Serova is from Cuba, the United States automatically defined her as “an enemy of the state” because of events that have happened over 50 years ago. Serova went on expressing her frustration on the situation; she did not do anything wrong; nonetheless, the United States labeled her as a threat because of where she was from. Serova originally planned to visit Davidson in April, but due to the problems and delays that arose, her trip was pushed back up to September.
From that, we started discussing United States-Cuban relations and Serova’s perspective on Cuban-American relations, providing us a Cuban’s perspective, something that I have always wanted to know. From that, Serova wanted us to know is that unless the United States doesn’t change its visa policy for Cubans, she doesn’t want to go visit the United States––she is not expecting any other trips to the United States anytime soon.
Out of all of the things that we discussed, I would say that my biggest take-away from the conversation was how Serova, on many occasions, would unintentionally act as a representative for a group of people since she was considered different from everyone else. She experienced this often in her childhood where when she was in Russia, she was seen as Cuban; and in Cuba, she was known to be Russian. Even though she’s both Cuban and Russian, she couldn’t fully be one or the other; she simultaneously belonged to both and neither groups, a shared sentiment among many immigrants, first generation children, travellers, and many other groups of people.