Rudy Gil & Hector

Miami, FL

Rudy’s Story:

My family is from Cuba. We came to Miami in 1963. I came when I was 40 days old, a month and 10 days with my mom and my grandparents on my mom’s side. I’m sure it was an incredible adjustment, though I was too small for them to discuss it with me. I found out their feelings about it later, when I was a teenager.

I’m sure for them, it was probably a major culture shock to come to a country where nobody spoke Spanish. My mom knew a little bit of English, she’d studied it in Cuba in high school and her first year of college. I think she was only 24 years old when she had me, and shortly after, she had to flee the country due to the political issues of 1962 and 1963.

So, I ended up growing up on the beaches of Miami with daiquiris. My mom speaks great English now, I’m happy for her. She’s bilingual and a U.S. citizen, and so am I.

We Cubans love food. We have big get­togethers with family on Sunday. We celebrate all the cousins’ birthdays even though we’re not 10 or 11 anymore­­ we’re all in our 30s, 40s and 50s. These kinds of traditions are still celebrated–birthdays, Christmas … the whole lechón! You know, the pig in the Chinese box, as they say “la caja china”. My grandmother passed away and she would make great desserts, now my female cousins have my grandma’s recipes and still make these desserts so that we can remember her.

Hector’s Story:

I am from Cuba, from Havana. I’ve been in this country for two years. I love traditional Cuban food: meat, pork, plantains, beans (morros), tomato and lettuce salad – the traditional Cuban dish. I’ve been here in Miami for approximately one year and two months, and in this country for two years.

I always come here to this barbershop. I saw him, Rudy here one day, with his bald head, and I thought, ‘He seems like a good barber (even though he has no hair) why doesn’t he have people waiting in line to get their hair cut?’ So I stopped by one day, and got a cut.

I’m a local musician; I play a lot around the Latino circuit. Tonight, I’m playing at the Fritz and Franz beer house in Coral Gables. It’s a Latino festival called “Paella Festival.” Everyone is invited. Rudy is going to come see my band play. He’s not just my barber, he’s my friend. We’re all friends, all the guys here.


We all know someone with an immigration experience or have an immigrant heritage story of our own. Join us in sharing your story for a chance to be featured on our official channels!