Once I left my country Venezuela I never looked back, I was determined to have a new life. A better life in this beautiful country full of opportunities that I am so proud to call my home. However, it has not been an easy road and your roots are always calling you back.
I must say that as soon as I got here all I wanted was to belong. Belong in school, in my city and with new my friends. I had to embrace this new culture and everything that pertained if I wanted to succeed in my new life. I could no longer use my ‘viveza criolla” to get ahead of the crowd and I loved it.
I liked that people followed the rules, the cars stopped at the lights, public schools were really good, and Publix was the best supermarket I had ever been in my whole life. The few Latinos that lived here where not loud and by a miracle of God they were paying their taxes (who knew this could happen). I was in heaven, I had the best of both worlds and only went back for a few days to Venezuela if ever on Vacation.
However, once I had children, that’s when I started getting homesick (just a little), it was enough that it got me thinking how could I pass over a little bit of my Latin roots to my children. Well, it has not been an easy task, I have two kids and they are definitely more American than Latino but here are 6 things that we are doing to try to accomplish it:
- We speak Spanish at home, or at least we try to, it’s not always easy and they fight us on it, but we will keep trying because, I’m bilingual and I love it.
- We cook Arepas, Asado, Pabellon and everything we can that will remind us to Venezuela. My kids don’t like it, and I still cook it.
- My daughter has to wear bows for school, to go out, for social events etc. (yes, the bows or lazos are bigger that her head and I think she looks adorable).Latinas love them and I don’t consider she looks presentable until she has them on her head.
- Piñatas, now that I think about it, the reason we have this tradition it’s beyond me. Hitting a toy they love? If you really think about it it’s kind of cruel. However, it’s not only the piñata itself, it’s everything that it involves. It is the whole party, the invitations, your friend’s kids and most of all you spending more than you earn for your kids to be happy.
- Dressing presentable in public, always. No matter where I go I can spot Latino kids from a distance because of what they are wearing.
- Friends are family, they have like 100 non-related tios and tias just like they would back in Venezuela. My kids get so confused over this and I love it.
These are only a few of the things that we do as a family every day so I can make sure that my kids remember I come from a different country with a different culture and language. I hope that one day they can remember every little detail with love and maybe pass some of these experiences to their children. As a first generation immigrant I have learned that everything is a plus, you learn and you move forward for good and for bad.
Nada resta, todo suma.