Alexis, Cuba



All my life I wanted to dance. Everything I did was focused on that. That is still the case, but my wife and children have won the competition for my attention. Now, they come first. How my wife and I met is quite a story.


In Cuba I attended a dance academy and later worked in a tourist area. At some point I wanted to leave the country. My goal was to further develop my career and earn better money. When I had the opportunity to become a dancer at a tourist complex in Senegal, I went for it.


One day my boss warned me about a couple that he overheard talking about me. The woman seemed to be interested in me. He thought they were together, but they were just on holidays as friends. That evening she asked me to dance. It was New Year's Eve in 2016, an evening I will not soon forget. There was a spark, but nothing else happened for the next few days.


We kept in touch and in April, Jeanine came back so we could get to know each other better. From then, we started a relationship. She left but we kept writing to each other. One thing she made very clear: she didn't want to live in Cuba. She didn't even want to visit!


The job I had in Senegal was not good. I felt used because we were forced to do a lot more than just dance. For example, we had to clean things and move chairs around. I wanted to get out of the contract and go back home. But that was impossible because I didn’t have money for the return flight. But without me asking, Jeanine sent me a plane ticket.


One night in August, without informing anyone, I snuck out of the complex to go to the airport. And what do you think? Much to my surprise, Jeanine was waiting for me at the airport when I landed in Havana. The most beautiful welcome gift I could imagine! After that she returned every three months until I could come to the Netherlands. That was two years ago.


We now have two wonderful children. I offer zumba and salsa lessons in Noordwijk, and I work as a handyman for a company. Life here is challenging if you do not speak Dutch or English. I'm working on it, of course, but right now it's complicated to make friends. It's fine to give dance lessons, because I just show the dance moves and people copy it. Plus I keep using the same Dutch words: 'makkelijk' for ‘easy’, and 'nog een keer' for ‘one more time’.