Family & Motherhood

growing up Mexican and Italian

Growing up with two cultures heavily embedded in your everyday as well as living in a third completely different culture is a lot for a kid. My mother is a strong Mexican who came to the US when she married my dad and my dad is Italian who came to New York from Italy when he was a kid. So I’m first generation Mexican-Italian raised in the US. I’m a mutt.

growing up mexican and italian

Now that I’m older, I can appreciate all the things my parents (especially my mom who really made an effort to embed her culture and traditions) did for us in order to have the most diversified life possible. Things like:

– Christmas celebrated on the 24th instead of the 25th

– Spanish music playing constantly (in the car, in the house, at parties)

– Distinctive food (mole, pan dulce, aguas frescas)

I have to say though that the most important thing my mom taught us was her language. I see and know so many people with Hispanic parents that don’t know the language.  Being in Texas, it was a huge advantage to know the language, and learning it in conjunction to English has given my sisters and I a huge advantage that seemingly happened by accident (which means it was never the goal, the goal was to learn the culture).

Granted, having two cultures and being raised in a third one has its shares of disadvantages as well. The cultures often conflict such as:

– Learning to “let your children go” instead of holding on for eternity

– Holidays not typically celebrated (a.k.a Thanksgiving)

– Open religious exploration

Given all of this, I wouldn’t change a thing about it. I am Mexican. I am Italian. I am American. I am all three equally and none is more important than the other. I can go to Mexico and talk to my non-English speaking family and comfortably immerse myself in that culture. I can do Thanksgiving with my in-laws and fit right in.

I am all three and all three make up who I am.

I speak English and Spanish, enjoy watermelon agua fresca with a burger and can eat pasta like there’s no tomorrow. I celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve without batting an eye.

How about you? Do you have a distinctive culture background? I would love to hear about it!