Vacation is something we dream about all year. The beach, slow mornings, new memories and experiences, sunshine…and family. Have you ever realized how each family member has their own agenda for vacation? Those different agendas often clash and when we’re not in the heat of the moment, it’s pretty funny to look back and reflect on. That’s why I wrote this sketch. I was laughing while writing this, because it reminded me my family and myself so much! I’m sure you can relate to one of these personalities (if not all of them), and can name which family member belongs in which category.
When I made the decision to postpone preschool for my twins after COVID-19 hit, I was definitely overcome with a mix of frustration and happiness. I’ve truly loved teaching Ames and Joules new things at home, but—to be totally honest—it can be a little tiring when there’s nobody else to help. For the past ~3 years, the twins have been at home with me. They’ve never been to a mother’s day out, daycare, or any type of organized schooling during the week. We tentatively plan to put the twins in preschool this next Spring 2021—but, until then, I am doing what I can to keep Ames and Joules learning at home. That said, through research online, reading reviews, and talking with other moms, I’ve found some very useful educational material to ease the process of keeping my twins learning at home in the interim.
It is difficult to celebrate a heritage that is constantly rejecting you. You never felt Dominican enough. You always felt a need to overcompensate for some of your “undominican” behavior. You took classes to learn how to dance bachata and salsa. Still, your latinadad was constantly in question. You don’t look Dominican. You don’t sound Dominican. Those words were often spoken to you.
For my entire life people have always been surprised to learn that I speak Spanish. This is typically followed with something along the lines of "No way, you don't look Spanish at all." I know, right? The blonde hair, blue eyes, it always throws people off. This never bothered me, in fact, quite the opposite. From a young age speaking Spanish was like my secret superpower. I'd love to surprise people with a simple "gracias!" or casually dropping in to conversations in Spanish. On a few occasions I've actually pulled out my cell phone to have a pretend conversation with "Papá" when unsuspecting victims were saying things they probably would have preferred I didn't understand.
It was never an unusual sight to see my great grandmother handing out homemade papa rellena to everyone in her Queens neighborhood. The community would pitch in money to buy bulk foods like potato, rice, meat just so they can give it to her to cook it. You may have even seen my grandmother running her own concession stand in the busy bustling streets of Puerto Rico where she would put her own touch on pastelillos that would make anyone stop dead in their tracks just to taste. When I started my own food journey through The Bronx Vegan, it may have been a surprise to my family that I was taking on a new approach to food but when you look at the dedication and passion for food that runs through my family history, this work really isn’t so surprising at all.
When I was around four-years old, my family and I moved into a rented home in El Paso, Texas, a city a mere mile or so north of Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. Having moved to El Paso from Juárez two years prior, I was introduced at an early age to the binational, bicultural, and bilingual phenomenon that people living in El Paso and Ciudad Juárez are accustomed to.
What comes to your mind when you think of the word "Latino"?
The idea most people have of 'Latin(o) culture' has been undeniably impacted and shaped by Latinx living overseas, grouping people from over 20 countries into just one, united by language, history, and oftentimes a common destiny.
One of the wildfires currently going on in California was started from a pyrotechnic device used in a gender reveal party. The fire started in El Dorado Ranch Park in Yucaipa and spread north on to Yucaipa Ridge. At the time this was written, the fire had consumed 12,610 acres and the people who started the fire haven't been charged yet.
Do you remember in elementary school, the temporary tattoos? I loved them, love them still. Cute little splashes of color used as a time filler at parties. The kids love them because they can have that little artistic expression, moms don't freak out because a bath and some scrubbing will remove all traces of that flamingo in no time. Unlike when your toddler finds red lip stick and tags everything, including their face and your new couch.