20:21 PM

How my past turned me into a proud Latina


The period from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 is the month where people recognize the contributions of Hispanic and Latino Americans to this country’s history, heritage and culture. U.S. residents — Hispanic or not — use this time to organize festivals, art shows and community gatherings as a means of paying tribute to the largest minority in the nation.

As a Mexican-American who has lived in Tijuana, I see this as the perfect opportunity to touch on a few characteristics of the Mexican culture that bring a smile to my face. 

While the aforementioned characteristics are what have shaped a part of my cultural identity, they aren’t the same attributes that other members of the Hispanic community may identify with. 

For elementary education senior Jessica Blas, growing up in a Mexican-Panamanian household meant being surrounded by hacienda-themed decorations and the aroma of her Panamanian grandmother Lolo’s yucca fries, arroz con pollo and beef stew rice. It also meant having to correct people who failed to acknowledge her Latin American roots.

Every New Year’s eve, my family goes to my tia’s house, eats 12 grapes, makes 12 wishes, lights sparklers and concludes the countdown with an interesting trip around the neighborhood. To most people, running around a cul de sac with blow horns in our mouths and empty suitcases in hand at midnight might classify as a sign of lunacy. To us, it’s how we ask the new year for travel opportunities.