Pasé por la sombra (walk in the shade)

Cuba is a remarkably hot country. The sun is strong and the humidity is high.

In summer, a visitor from Europe could walk down the road and break into a sweat…in the middle of the night.

The Cubans also suffer, although more between 12-4pm. Suffer they do though, and this led to the expression ‘pasé por la sombra’ (literally pass by the shade).

It’s folk wisdom and useful advice to foreigners with pale complexions who aren’t being carried around in air conditioned coaches. It was passed on to me by a dear friend Luís, when I spent a year there in the late 1990s.

It’s always stuck with me. Not being well adapted to sunny weather above 25C/77F, I think of it whenever I head outside in the heat.

And as I got more senior at work and it got more stressful, the saying took on a new meaning: when things get hot, step out of the fire

Take a little time to cool down

Continue your journey on the easier path

Stop making life difficult for yourself

When I have a bad day at work, I force myself to switch off. I talk through my worries with my wife and I look after myself (exercise, eat well, get an early night)

I also see it with my kids. When they get over emotional and there’s too much for them to take in, some quiet time and a chat and a cuddle get them back on track.

It’s hard to do this at times, but this simple mantra helps me remember.

Pasé por la sombra. ¡Gracias Luíso!

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