Taking care of yourself is important, and as I’ve learned in the past year, it’s not always easy when you’re also trying to be a functioning adult with paid bills and semi-clean laundry. It’s also not easy to keep your head above water with the barrage of horrible news that bombards us every day (police brutality, inequality, hate crimes, terrible accidents, evil people in power, misogyny, racism, etc etc etc- I won’t go on). Listening to Another Round, aka the Greatest Podcast of All Time, has helped me realize how important this all really is.
Taking care looks different for everyone. For some, it’s exercising regularly, for others, it’s taking ample alone time to get grounded. It can mean spending time with loved ones, or it can mean drinking a kettle of tea and watching TV. Self-care is whatever makes you feel like you’re recharging your batteries.
Recently, I decided that my self-care routine would start including seeing a psychologist to learn to manage my anxiety a little better. It’s been a tough but extremely rewarding process so far, and part of what I’ve loved about it is that she’s located in Little Italy, so I have an excuse to explore the area every two weeks.
Exploring new neighbourhoods to find new places to eat is pretty much my favourite activity, so I arrived to the area a bit early yesterday so that I’d have time to do just that. I walked around along Beaubien street trying to find something to eat in a place that wasn’t an extremely hip cafe (I find that more often than not, the food at cafes could use some work and is always too expensive). Right before I was going to give up and stop in at a Dep to grab some chips, Cafe Cubano entered my field of vision. It’s a tiny place, blink and you’ll miss it, located at 168 Beaubien E. It has 4 or 5 tables and a long bar area where I chose to sit.
The super-friendly owner and I started chatting in Spanish, which always makes me feel at home. I ordered a Cafe Bombón, which is an espresso with sweetened condensed milk, and a side order of tostones, which are smashed and fried slices of plantain.
There was one other woman sitting at the bar drinking an afternoon beer, also chatting with the owner, and the people sitting at the tables all looked comfortable and at home. At one point, three women walked in, and they were met with a warm greeting and an enthusiastic “welcome back!”. Everything felt familiar even though it was my first visit. I didn’t hear a word of English or French the whole time I was in there.
I drank my sweet, delicious espresso and started dunking the tostones into the accompanying garlicky salsa verde. I had to pack my food up to-go because I found myself running late for my appointment, and I hurriedly said goodbye to Cafe Cubano. I know I’ll be back, though, probably in 2 weeks’ time before next my appointment.
Take care, friends ❤