One of the things I learned growing up was to always embrace my differences and now that I’m older, I’ve learned to love what makes me different even more. With this post, I thought I would share a little more about who I am, where I came from, and what helped mold me into the woman I am today.
Growing up in Charleston, South Carolina, I encountered a completely different world than where I currently live in South Florida as the Hispanic demographic here is essentially the majority. I lived, for most of my life, in a small city with a population of less than 40,000 people where the Latino population made up only about 4% of that. My parents came to the US in their early 20’s from El Salvador, leaving behind their jobs, family, and friends to start a life here and pursue a better quality of living with more job opportunities. Although they do not visit their home country very often, they are proud of where they came from and instilled that same pride in us (me and my 4 siblings) at an early age.
Looking back on my childhood, I recall certain memories that takes me back to the early years…
Growing up Salvadorian American…meant growing up in a bi-lingual household where my parents spoke only Spanish to us, and although my English was just as good as anyone else’s, I was placed in ESL classes because of how I looked.
Growing up Salvadorian American…meant indulging in the fresh smell of pupusas at family holiday parties, like Christmas and New Years.
Growing up Salvadorian American…no fiesta was ever complete without Cumbia music on in the background and dancing till about 2am.
Growing up Salvadorian American… I still remember my dad telling us horror stories about his homeland with the mythical creature, El Chupacabra which gave me nightmares every time. Why he would tell us this right before bed? I don’t know haha.
Growing up Salvadorian American…meant waking up on the weekends to the smell of pine-sol on the floors with music blasting and mom giving each child a chore. Since we were a big family, we were able to tackle many different areas of the house at once and get done faster (benefits of having a big family).
Growing up Salvadorian American…I was taught the value of a dollar at a young age as I’ve been working since the age of 16 and paying bills on my own since then. My parents worked endless hours to provide for us and I am so thankful for their hard work and dedication that helped mold me into the person I am today.
I was fortunate enough to visit El Salvador 6 years ago-the only one of all of my siblings to go. My mother hadn’t seen her sisters in about 25 years at the time so it was such a great experience to see them reunite and visit where my mom grew up as a child before she moved to the States.
I would like to know….where are you from and what memories do you have growing up that helps embrace your culture?
P.S. The two pictures above were taken when we lived in New York for a short part of my childhood. Can you guess which one is me?
Until next time,