Havana, Cuba — I felt thrilled. Bright colors, crumbling buildings; the sharp turns of city streets, the hot air sizzling all around. I arrived in Cuba earlier that day, eager to make the most of the few hours I would spend there. Somewhere off the coast, I had spotted the stark edges of the city, my first glimpse into what Havana would look like as I approached by ship. Upon arrival in the city, my surroundings expanded on my initial preview— cracked, stone streets ran between buildings where the smell of freshly baked pastries or sautéing vegetables wafted through doors opened to the summer breeze. Turning the corners of the main streets, tourist shops boasted their prices for Che Guevara posters or souvenir baseball bats that clunked together as they hung decoratively from the ceiling. Nearby, a fountain bubbled at the center of a neighborhood as children laughed and played with the stray animals that wander the streets; these scenes of happiness and serenity seeming to represent the progress the country continues to make.