Growing Up Latina

Courtesy of CNN

Where my Spanish people at?
If you have old school Latino parents, I know you will relate to this post. Our culture has strange traditions that make it hard to relate to our non-Latino friends. The girls are expected to cook, clean, and never go out, whereas boys have more privileges. You are to never ask for food in someone else’s home, no walking barefoot inside your own home, and you better eat whatever is on that plate. Here are a few odd traditions I grew up with and, in my opinion, why we had to follow them.

Vas a comer ante de ir! / You’re going to eat before leaving
Whenever my mom would take me to visit anyone’s house, I was not allowed to ask for anything to drink or eat. This is something MY WHITE FRIENDS do not understand to this day. I could be hanging out with Stacy and ask her “Can I have some water?” and Stacy will reply with some smart ass comment, “No, you can’t!” (same situation when I ask for the restroom). So there I am, confused and shamed, all because Stacy wanted to be a sarcastic bitch until she finally says, “Of course! Help yourself!” Stacy, you don’t know my life, don’t play these games with me or I will piss on your couch. Just give me a bottle of water!

The reason for this:
You never want to display that your parents don’t feed you or take care of you in your own home. Even if you’re at your tia’s house for 8 hours, don’t you dare show your chismosa / gossipy tia that you need water.

Nina de casa / Girl of the house
Growing up, I was NOT allowed to hang out whenever with whoever I wanted. There were rare moments I was given permission to be out but those were strictly reserved for big events with people she approved of. When I’d question this annoying rule, she’d respond, “Por que eres nina de casa!” Instead, I’d have to help out with all the chores, cooking, and make sure my homework was done. Outdoor privilege was my form of allowance!

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The reason for this:
There are two types of girls: ladies of the house and ladies of the street. That’s it. End of story. I just asked and that was the answer. Womp womp!

Casa ajena
This translate to “strange house”. This is another embarrassing moment my white friends did not grasp. I was NOT allowed to sleep over casas ajena / strange houses. The only time I was allowed to was with my cousin and even that wasn’t an easy task. Her and I would have devise a plan that took a couple of days to perfect. She would ask her mom – get the approval, she would ask my mom – get the maybe, then I would have to beg, and finally, SOMETIMES, get the okay.

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The reason for this:
Avoiding the chance of being kidnapped – or raped. Yeah, the reasons would be extreme!

Saludas a todos / Greet everyone
I hated – and still hate to this day – having to kiss every single person at a get together. People I didn’t know, family friends, family members I really didn’t like, everyone needed a kiss. Once I got older, I decided to become “Americanize” and just give everyone a simple wave. Who got offended by this? All the older people, all of my tias were offended. I don’t think my tios really cared… they were probably pretty hammered by the time I would arrive anyway.

The reason for this:
Just to let everyone know your parents are raising you with respect – which I was! I have tons of respect for my elders but wouldn’t it just be better if I gave a simple equal wave to everyone instead of giving a bigger kiss and hug to my favorite tia and then a cold kiss to the tia that called my mom fat about 15 years ago? Yeah, I remember -.-

But it was all in our best interest…
Both my parents were hard on my brother and I. We got our asses handed to us several times but they also taught us about respecting for one another, respecting for others, and respecting for ourselves. Were they hard lessons to learn? Yes, but I do appreciate them sacraficing everything for us and making sure we were always comfortable even if that meant they were not!