I come from a long line of fighters, lovers, chingones, comelones….. My raza is quite a comidic one, dramatic, and loving, but most importantly, I come from a family that instilled a proud Hispanic heritage. I always remember my abuelita Kina’s words, “Si te dicen que sus huevos cuelgan, tu diles que los tuyos arastran.” And that is what it means to be Hispanic. You persevere, you’re proud , and you keep moving in the direction of happiness. What my parents have sowed, 32 years ago, grew into beautiful strong seedlings who’s Mexican roots have now become entwined and buried deep in the heart of Texas.Long before my 5 beautiful sisters and I were born, my parents decided that they would do what ever it took to build a life worth living for their children. Over the years my parents have sacrificed so much for us, and for this I will forever be grateful, but I think the biggest sacrifice was leaving their roots, their home in Mexico to move to a country who’s cultura was totally different from theirs. My papi has said many times that this move has been only for the best. They wanted us to have an opportunity to thrive, to grow, be educated, be free to have options and to choose which ever path we wanted to tread no matter how many times we tripped. My papi said, “You go to college, or you go to college.” So this country has allowed all 6 of us to have an education, work, a safer place to live. Don’t get me wrong, I love my Mexico lindo…their papas preparadas, taquitos de la calle, tortillas made in the mollino, homemade milk bolis , and the elotes from my abuelos neighbor with homemade mayo and chilito….Aye, Diosito Mio, That’s my mero mole…
It was a struggle, for my parents, to keep those hispanic roots strong in a country who’s American culture is so different and overwhelming. I remember my mom pulling me out of billingual class in the 2nd grade because she wanted me to be exposed to English as much as possible. She said a teacher once told her, “School will teach your children English, you will teach your daughters Spanish.” That’s exactly what my parents did. They didn’t allow us to stray and become “Americanized” but yet they exposed us and taught us to appreciate, but never take advantage of, this beautiful country that has allowed us to do so much. I remember my mami taking us to the zoo, to market square, Fiesta…everything that was free…we were there lol…always finding ways to expose us to San Antonio.
Celebrating Hispanic Heritage month is so important for us Latinos. I’m a first generation Mexican-American. A proud Hispana who’s cultura means so much and its important to continue appreciating our roots. When I think about what it means to be hispanic I picture my family gathered around the table playing loteria, echando unas carcahadas, and eating. I remember us as children playing with the mangera outside, in the mud puddles, and my mami screaming at us “vayanse para fuera“…go outside and play…. Stopping the paletro and buying a cucumber with chamoy….
Its a beautiful sight to see our cultura thriving in America, in our old San Antonio, in my nephews…in our children. So, next time someone talks to you in English and somehow…you don’t even know cuando…acabo en Espanol…be proud…because THAT is our Latino culture entangled in America, the beautiful place we call home.