Bilingual is Better

Photo credit: ledoo

As soon as the plane landed in Miami last Wednesday, I called my niece who was waiting for us at the airport and asked if she could takes us directly to Pollo Tropical so I could get my fix of Caribbean fast food. She thought I was kidding because, as they say, you don’t know what you have until you lose it. But I wasn’t.

When my husband and I left Miami for the Rocky Mountains four years ago, we were fed up with everything that is wrong with this beautiful city: traffic, school overcrowding and rude people. Adjusting to our new life in Colorado was not easy, but our daughter, Vanessa, was on her way and we didn’t have much time to dwell on anything but her birth. Now that we are the parents of two Denverites, we can definitely say that we’ve not only adjusted to our new home, but we also very much feel like we belong. That said, we can not deny how much we do miss everything that is right about Miami: the endless variety of food from all over Latin America, turning on the radio and choosing anything from Rock en español to Bachatas, the Spanish spoken by all at the supermarkets, the sea, the sun… you get the point. It’s not like there are no Latinos in Denver, but it’s just not the same as Miami. If you’ve ever been here, you know what I mean.

Last week, Ana and I were lucky to be among those invited by General Mills to attend the unveiling of its revamped Spanish-language website, QueRicaVida, which took place in Miami. We had an absolutely fabulous time at the events catered for the relaunch of this online lifestyle resource for Latina women. Not to mention the fact that we finally got to meet an awesome group of fellow Latina bloggers—many of whom we already follow and some new ones, too!

My family decided to join me after the event and it became a mini-vacation for us. As we get ready to say adiós to the city we called “home” for more than 20 years, we are thankful for the opportunity to come back and be able to expose our children to all things Latin. In the past five days, my daughter, Vanessa, has been exposed to more of our culture than in the last five months. Not surprisingly, a lot of it has to do with food. She drank (and loved) chicha morada,—my country’s national drink—, ate a media noche sandwich, devoured galletas María con manjar blanco (my country’s version of dulce de leche), danced to the rhythms of the música latina blasting from a boom box as we walked to the parking lot in South Beach and heard more versions of Spanish than she’s heard since she was born.

As we were leaving the beach Sunday afternoon, my daughter said: “Mami, yo no me quiedo ir de Mayami.” It broke my heart that she said that—because I know exactly what that feels like—but I couldn’t help being happy that she felt right at home surrounded by the culture that defines both her parents.

How do you expose your kids to our fascinating culture?

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