All posts tagged: culture

EL Morro, Puerto Rico

Diggin’ mis raices: Two countries, two languages, and one lost girl

I was born in upstate New York,  in the city of Rochester to be exact. My parents moved back to Puerto Rico soon after my first birthday, and I  spent my early, formative years there. The culture and language of my country was just as much a part of who I was and was becoming, as was my family. I was a little Puerto Rican girl who only spoke a handful of words in English, loved Plaza Sesamo and Villa Alegre, and knew all of the lyrics to La Pandilla’s songs, especially El Alacran. In regards to having the Puerto Rican culture as a natural part of my life, I had an advantage over Puerto Ricans born and raised in the states, or so you would think. We moved to Chicago when I was eight, then to Utah a few years later that and somewhere along the way I lost much of what I started with: My knowledge of the language, the music, the culture and traditions.  I am not sure why it happened, perhaps because …

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When I was Americuchi [guest post]

The second in the Defining Moments: Search for Identity Series. This one comes to us from Being Latino‘s Editor, Eileen Rivera. Read more at her personal blog, Mariposa Social  and follow her on Twitter, @eileenrivera16   The subtitle might as well be the “Latinization of Eileen” because this is pretty much the story of my life. I was born in New York City to Puerto Rican parents, parents who had to put up with a lot of discrimination when they first arrived on the mainland. Is that why Spanish wasn’t the law at home? I grew up with Cousin Brucie on the radio as opposed to Radio WADO and the network news instead of novelas or lucha libre. By the time I was nine the only Spanish I knew was church Spanish. I knew all the coritos, could read the Bible and sing from the hymnal, as well as memorize verses but I could not ask for a bathroom if my panties depended on it (pun intended). Naturally my father’s solution was to buy me a bilingual …

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5 articles Latino publications should write when a non-Latino celebrity is arrested

I vaguely remember the feeling that the magazine addict in me felt upon learning that my monthly collection of glossy mags would include a magazine just for Latinas. I never cared much about the face that graced my magazine’s covers, it was the content listed on said cover that  was the attraction. Latina-relevant stories, articles, recipes, and more? How could I possibly resist? I just did a quick search, and that was in 1996 and 17 years later, I can say that in reality, a Latina magazine didn’t really add anything to my life that the other magazines didn’t. Add to that the fact that with very little in content that mattered to me, I began to take notice of the cover models and realized that it was basically the same approximately 10 Latina celebrities on rotation, so I let my subscription lapse. Even with all of that, my faith and hope that the magazine could provide something different remained. I continued to call myself a fan, and kept up by buying an occasional issue …

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Finding your Latina roots in a caldero of arroz con gandules

Due to a few of my characteristics, people question my Latinaness and because of it, I’ve dubbed myself, “La anti-Latina.” One of those things is cooking. I’m no Martita Stewart, to be sure, but not finding absolute enjoyment in cooking is not the equivalent of lacking the ability to do it. I can cook, when I feel like it, which admittedly is not that often. The problem, I believe, lies in what I cook. The only aceite you’ll find in my home is of the olive variety. Fish, couscous, and salads full of spinach, goat cheese, dried cranberries, and red onions are more my fare, while the traditional Puerto Rican dishes are things I enjoy as a treat: in a restaurant or at Mom’s house. Though my regular choices in food are healthy, I do worry that by not at least learning how to cook traditional Puerto Rican dishes, I will have missed out on the ability to pass my culture and traditions on to my future children, should I ever have any. For that reason, I had an …

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Speaking Spanish is just like riding a bike?

Originally published as “At a Loss for Words” at Being Latino Online Magazine At the age of 7 ½  my parents decided to separate and Mami packed up my three siblings and me, and we left Puerto Rico; Chicago bound.  I had graduated first grade just a few months before and had confidently learned to say the words butter and water (both pronounced with a hard T like the British), but unfortunately that was where my knowledge of the English language ended. My lack of knowledge didn’t bother me until I started second grade a few months later.  I was in a bilingual class but I had classmates that had been in bilingual classes since kindergarten and knew so much more than I did.  In my attempts to fit in I tried to show off the new words I was learning, but pronounced yellow as jello and birthday as birfday.  As kids are apt to do, they laughed.  I was already a shy kid and being made fun of was tragic to me.  Determined not …