In her essay, “The Magic of the Family Meal,” Nancy Gibbs, explains the important role of having meals plays on children. Gibbs begins her essay by telling us how valuable….
My Mother and Father were both born in Villamar Michoacan, De Ocampo Mexico it is a very small town with a population of 15,512 it is in the state/region of Michoacan de Ocampo, Mexico. My Grandfathers were born in Villamar Michoacan as well. My Grandmothers: my Father’s Mother was born in a small town called Venustiano Carranza, Michoacan (San Pedro) it is not too far from Villamar and is a small town as well. And my Grandmother on my Mother’s side was born in El Varal, Michoacan this is also a small town actually this is a smaller town also near Villamar.
After both sets of grandparents met and married they lived in Villamar, Michoacan De Ocampo. My Mother and Father were born and raised in Villamar Michoacan, De Ocampo. My parents were fifteen and twenty years of age when they married. In 1974 they came to the United States and lived in Chicago Illinoi. I was born in the United States in 1976, I have one sister who is the eldest and was born in Chicago as well.
In 1979 my parents moved to Los Angeles, California and my two brothers were born there. In 1986 my parents and many of my relatives participated in the amnesty and became Residents of the United States.
We lived in a Suburban setting all of our childhood years, all of our neighbors were of of some Latino culture. We always went to public school, my primary language growing up was Spanish. I learned to speak English in school, I spoke and read it fluently. I still read and write Spanish fluently. One of the things I remember about learning the Spanish language first was not a pleasant experience. When I got to Junior High (new school no friends), my Mother made the mistake of putting us (my sister and I) in ESL classes.
I remember thinking why am I here I speak English, and it was embarrassing only because I was made fun of. As children when we we got ill my Mother did use Western Medicine, occasionally if we had an earache she used some of her cultural medicine on us. Like heating garlic in a cotton ball inside aluminum foil and putting it inside our ear. There were also the lectures about going out with our hair wet or walking barefoot. Growing up I remember aunts and uncles living with us or in our converted garage.
Always there was someone living with us mostly my mothers brothers and their children. All of our aunts and uncles lived nearby and we visited each other often, I would say every weekend we gathered at someones house for a Birthday, Baptism, Holiday, Wedding, Quinceanera or just because. We were all very close and we all carried the the original family name, my Fathers last name. We went to church together every Sunday, we were all raised as Catholics and went to Catechism school we were Baptized and received our Holy Communion in a Catholic Church.
As an adult I follow the Catholic Religion mostly at home, and through Santeria I believe they are connected in some way. I only attend church on special occasions or to pray, but I do not attend Sunday Mass as I did when I was a child. I believe in the power of prayer, God and the Saints (Santeria). I have statues of Saints and leave offerings weekly. I light a candle pray to my Saints and ask them for good health, clarity and for the health of my children and my family.
My husband is Caucasian he is not religious he believes we “evolved from the monkey” and is very scientific. He has explained why he believes this and has showed me numerous articles and videos of how Religion is all made up. It can be difficult at times because he tries to tell me that Religion is all “BS”. We now live in an Urban setting where the neighbors are all of a different race and religion. I prepare mostly American meals we are very Health conscious and we watch what we eat. Too many tortillas, rice and fried beans will kill us LOL.
Occasionally I do prepare Hispanic meals or I visit my Mom to eat, I mean I did grow up on that food and it is delicious. I very rarely participate in Latino activities the occasional festival or Posada during Christmas time Spanish Book Fair. I try to stay involved. But it it is not at all like it was when I was younger. Our primary language at home today is English my fifteen year old speaks and writes Spanish my four year old speaks and understands it very little. My friends are not all of the same ethnicity as I am, I have friends of several different ethnicities.
Russian, Caucasian, Filipino, Chinese, Latino its a giant Melting Pot. But in the end we are all the same. I believe I do identify with my cultural heritage, because I was raised this way, and by keeping some of the religious beliefs I was raised on. Also my participation in family events, attending Baptisms, Quinceaneras, Catholic Weddings being a Godparent at most of these events. Spending time with my Mexican American Family. Although I do not participate 100% in the religious beliefs I grew up on, I feel a kinship towards God.
And I believe it is important to have faith in God or whatever God one worships. For me at times it can be difficult because my husband has different beliefs and we do not always agree in one or the others belief. Where Health is concerned I do use Western Medicine for yearly physicals my children are vaccinated and also get yearly physicals. My Mother, Father and Grandparents believe that Mexico has the best Doctors and they frequently visit Tijuana to see a Doctor. I believe they are more thorough but I do not practice this.