After Pilar spends some days in Cuba, she realizes that she is "dreaming in Spanish," which she has never done before (235). Listen to the way she describes the experience:
I've started dreaming in Spanish, which has never happened before. I wake up feeling different, like something inside me is changing, something chemical and irreversible. There's a magic here working its way through my veins. (235)
Pilar has reached the peak of her struggle with her "hyphenated" existence: to be Cuban-American means that one side of her identity has had to give ground to the other. Now that she can sit with her grandmother by the sea and immerse herself in the language and natural beauty of her motherland, her ethnicity balances out and Pilar can become fully herself.
But please note that there's a difference between dreaming in Cuban and dreaming in Spanish. Spanish is one of the six official languages that the U.N. uses when conducting official meetings and is spoken by a variety of cultural groups around the world. It's hard to own something like that as part of your inner life. When García titles her book Dreaming in Cuban, she's bringing Pilar's revelation even closer to home and placing the family's intimate identity squarely on the island.