Hispanic Heritage Month: Sharing our beautiful and rich culture, voices, and warmth with the world around us!
What do you think of when you hear the word: “Hispanic”?
When I hear the word Hispanic, I think about family, warmth, hard work, Vick’s Vapor Rub (or “vaporú” as we like to call it), I think about really long names, I think about the best home-cooked meals, stories of resilience, listening to my loud tias (aunts) talk about the world, joy, creativity and faith.
Every time I encounter someone who comes from a hispanic home, I can sense the humility in their smile, the sense of family and the bravery in their eyes. Every culture is fascinating and I love it when we, as a society get to set our focus on each one of them and celebrate them (even though we know the celebration goes beyond just one month). It’s like having a birthday, we celebrate a person’s life on a specific day but that doesn’t mean they are any less important when it’s not their birthday. I like to think that in this case, Hispanic Heritage month doesn’t mean it’s just one month of celebration, we celebrate our roots every day, but from September 15 to October 15, we have an opportunity to be especially grateful for who we are and where we come from.
I was born and grew up in Guatemala City, Central America and I have relatives from Mexico, Honduras, Cuba, El Salvador and Spain. (Guess you can tell I’m very very very hispanic haha no doubt about that.) And today, I can look back at my life and thank God for all I learned and keep learning as a Hispanic Woman, a Latina. I can look back at my life and realize how proud I am of my Hispanic heritage and culture, as I strive to share the best of it with the world around me whenever I can. So I’d like to share two of my absolute favorite things about my hispanic/latino culture with you as we celebrate and honor it! Sounds good?
The sense of family and hospitality:
If you’ve ever been to a Hispanic household, you know I don’t lie when I say you will feel welcomed, and loved and will most likely get fed even if you’re not hungry. Unity is huge, commitment to family and close friends is huge, and the support we give each other is simply magical. Although like every other culture, we have big flaws, because hello, we’re human, I have to say it’s one of the things I love the most about the hispanic community. My mom is the youngest of ten kids. My grandparents were pastors and therefore lived with very very little resources. Here’s the funny part, as if ten kids wasn’t enough, my mom tells me that after Sunday service, all the youth from the church, would come to their house and spend the rest of the day with them. She says my grandma would make food for everyone and in spite of their need for resources, they never stopped sharing what they had and being a family to anyone who needed a family. It’s not normal, it’s not logical to feed thirty plus people when it seems as though you and your family don’t have enough, but their hearts were so generous and loving, they never lacked anything and were miraculously always able to share. I want to have that kind of heart, I want to be like my abuelita who also grew up in Guatemala with many brothers and sisters. I see my mom and see in her my abuelita’s generous and loving heart and my abuelo’s joy. That to me is a picture of Hispanic families, our families.
Yes, our countries are gorgeous, but the majority of them do struggle in so many ways (not going to focus on the negative today) – I don’t want to give you the wrong impression, Hispanic Countries, while full of limitations, are not what you typically see in movies, it’s not the jungle, each country has gorgeous cities, places to eat, entertainment and fun lifestyles, but there is also a great deal of limitation, a lot of “noes”, “not available in your country”, “not possible” embedded in the lifestyle of our people. So guess what was birthed from the struggle? Creativity. Hispanic people are problem solvers, hard workers, and strong people who don’t take limitations seriously. You can to take a trip to any hispanic country or any country in Latin America and will immediately know what I’m talking about. In Guatemala, at least, there is a saying: “Solo en Guate” which means “Only in Guate” (Guate is short for Guatemala) which we say whenever we see someone doing something crazy creative to achieve something that was “impossible” – Hispanics always find a way through the limitation. That is something I am so proud of. Something that makes me love my roots.
I could say so much more about my heritage. I put a great deal of that DNA into our Ice Cream Musical scripts, and intend to continue to honor and celebrate our Hispanic voices because they are powerful and unique. God knows how grateful I feel and how humbled I am in knowing I am a Hispanic Woman in this great big world.