15 Struggles Of Growing Up In A Latin American Immigrant Family

1. It took some getting used to, but you’ve grown accustomed to people referring to the US as simply “America.” However, you cringe when you’re referred to as “Spanish,” as if it were some sort of euphemism. Although you speak Spanish, you are not from Spain, which translates into you not being Spanish.

2. Some of you will even be told at some point that you couldn’t possibly be Latin American since you’re either “too white” or have a last name that “doesn’t sound Spanish.”

3. Caramel doesn’t hold a candle to dulce de leche. And no American candy bar could ever beat an alfajor.

4. Your parents’ conversations about the folks back home gives you the impression that everybody in your Latin American town is either related or knows each other.

5. Sadly, no, you do not know how to tango, dance salsa, or shake your hips like Shakira.

6. Ahhh, the metric system. You’ll never get used to Fahrenheit degrees.

7. You’ve traveled hundreds of kilomet… sorry, miles, in order to find a Latin American grocery store that sells the meat cuts you love. (There are vegetarians among us, but I, for one, would gladly eat red meat daily.)

8. A lot of people expect you to own a Che Guevara t-shirt. (And no, you don’t own one.)

9. You were drinking alcohol in front of your parents way before you turned 21. Argentine red wine, Peruvian and Chilean pisco, Brazilian cachaça, rum or tequila based cocktails, you name it.

10. You understand that those who argue that Christmas is supposed to be a cold weather holiday have a point. After all, Santa Claus does wear that ridiculous snow suit, and we use pines as Christmas trees because their “leaves” don’t fall off in winter. Yet Christmas in the Southern Hemisphere, with the smell of fresh cut flowers in the air, and temperatures high enough that allow you to only wear a sundress and sandals, is heavenly. And let’s not even get into the advantages of New Year parties at the beach.

11. Stereotypes about Latin American families being very Catholic and soccer-crazy are truer than you’d like to admit, even though there are plenty of exceptions. “Baby Jesus” — not Santa Claus — was the person who brought me gifts on Christmas. And whole cities actually stop — nay, freeze — when World Cup games are on.

12. Yeah, even though you might not watch them, la telenovela (soap opera) phenomenon is actually a thing, sort of like the soccer madness. The characters of telenovelas are always either very rich or very poor; there is no middle class. The villains end up either (i) dead, (ii) in jail, (iii) getting a
divorce (from one of the heroes, of course), (iv) losing their fortunes, and/or (v) insane and in an asylum, while the heroes end up becoming very rich, throwing a spectacular wedding, and living happily ever after.

13. For some unexplainable reason, Abercrombie is still considered extremely fashionable among the tweens of your Latin American country.

14. To this day, you still greet your family and fellow Latin friends with a peck on the cheek.

15. Above all, what you most miss of Latin America is the warm-heartedness and affection of its people. TC mark

featured image – Jeremy Brooks

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