Monday, March 31, 2008

my mexicanity defines me

I was born and raised in the border city of El Paso. If you've been there, you know it sooooooo different than any other place. I think the population is about 90% Hispanic. Seriously, everyone is Mexican, everyone at least understands Spanish and lots of people look just like I look. Once you leave there, it is really different.
I had always been accused of being way too "I love the U.S.A.". I'm proud of that. I figure that if my grandparents moved to this country, it was to improve their life. They worked hard and were proud to become citizens. I have always loved this country for its opportunities and just everything it stands for.
I now tell people that I never realized I was Mexican until I moved here. Sure, there are lots of Mexican people in this city, but it seems to be a certain area that a lot of them live in. The area that I live in is English speaking and the people with Spanish last names pronounce them in English (i.e. Her-nandez with the "H" pronounced).
I'm first generation U.S. born. I hadn't realized how differently I had been raised until now that I'm seeing subtle differences. I first noticed it in the way kids dress at Brianna's school. Her previous school had the most fresa parents and kids. I LOVED it! Here most of the kids wear jeans, mix and match clothes and comb their own hair. I can't imagine letting Brianna comb her own hair yet. It would always be all full of gnarls and not look cute. Most of clothes are outfits, not mix and match.
I noticed another difference this past Saturday. A friend of mine had a party for her son. When it was over, I went over to say bye and had to make a conscious effort to not hug and kiss her. No one greets each other with a hug and a kiss here. That's how I used to greet all my friends.
These are just a couple of things. I'm beginning to feel like the odd one out. At the same time, I'm feeling like I'm being unpatriotic. I considered starting a new blog about this but I'm not sure about that. I need to call my grandma and get a good talking to now.

feeling: torn
listening to: New Order (True Faith)


Elaine said...

I was born and raised in Phoenix, third generation U.S. I don't speak Spanish, although I can understand and do some writing. I used to say my name with the H. I do hug and kiss, but not generally acquaintances. My mother was very proud of her Mexican heritage.

I'm curious why you would feel odd. You seem perfectly normal to me from what I've read here. I think I need more examples, besides some odd is good.

Bailey said...

You are normal. Just because you were raised a certain way and others weren't doesn't make you unpatriotic. I think we all could learn a little about being more personable and I wish more people would greet and say goodbye with a hug, at least. We've become a society of cold uncaring people and that's sad to me. Hell some families don't even hug each other any more.

Showing people you care is important. God forbid if something happened to someone I cared about (not just family) and I felt like they didn't know how much I cared about them.

Jesser said...

This is very interesting for me to read about. I'm a third gen american and honestly, I hardly ever reflect on the fact that I'm ethnically 90% German. It just doesn't figure into my world. I suppose I get a glimpse of that when I travel abroad. So I can really see why you'd have those feelings and it seems perfectly natural to me. And it's not unpatriotic ... it's adjustment .. it's not what you're used to.

Anonymous said...

Interesting post Yvett.

I came to America at 5. And I am constantly torn between being and American(Evenutally became a citizen..I live here so I should be one)and also being Armenian. I am a little bit of both cultures because I did grow up here after all. Some things I am more Armenian then others and other times more American. CD will be the first generation for my side of the family. My husband is half Italian-American and half Puerto Rican. So for his family it's just another American. But I hope CD will get to know her heritages.