By TOMIE V. PARKS
Special to the Taylor Press
Summer's a great time to visit family — if it's legal.
For Maria Newman of Taylor, it's not. Her family lives in Cuba, and the December 2014 decision to lift the travel embargo between there and the United States isn't fully operational.
But it will be, says Newman's cousin Pablo Arguelles Acosta of Cuba, once both sides catch up to the agreement that was made.
"And when it is, the family will be able to come together much easier," Acosta said.
That idea is what made Acosta's June 2015 trip to Taylor so special.
"We came (to America) for academic reasons, but what it did was show us how travel will become," Acosta said. "It will be welcoming, easy and doable."
It was an academic conference for the Latin Association of Scholars that enabled Acosta and his family to travel to Florida. His wife Grisel, a historian of city libraries, gave a presentation on bibliographic heritage.
The couple and their two daughters, Ana Paula and Gabriela, spent two weeks in Florida and the third week at Newman's house in Taylor.
"We spent the week touring Austin," Newman said. "We went to Barton Springs, saw the Capitol, the Blanton Museum of Art and went to the Bob Bullock Imax Theater."
The family also had the chance to catch a game of baseball at the Dell Diamond Round Rock Express.
"At the baseball game, we had our first meal of hot dogs and pretzels," said Gabriela. "Very American."
The sisters, one 15 and the other just having graduated high school, smiled as they compared America to their home country.
"It's all so very impressive, very different," Gabriela said. "Technology is everywhere, the network Wifi is everywhere, and even the oldest person has access to it and knows how to work it."
Texas, they said, is also friendly and hot.
"But we feel the hot more at home in Cuba," Gabriela said. "Here all the buildings have the AC. At home, there are window units you turn on at night."
Newman was smiling as her young cousins were talking about their experiences in America.
"I am just so thrilled to have them here," Newman said. "It makes me homesick and want to see everyone else."And with in time, she will. Relations between Cuba and the United States have been improving since the beginning of the year. It won't be long before that travel embargo is completely eradicated.