This year I made 26 and to be completely honest with you I wasn’t excited. I felt like 26 was just one year closer to 30 and I began to think about all of the things that I wanted to accomplish, and hadn’t. That’s when I decided to sit down and make a list of things that I wanted to accomplish during year 26. At the very top of my list was reconnecting with my Latina roots.
I was born to Dominican parents but was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. While my family is very engaged in our culture somewhere along my journey called life, I disconnected. I grew up listening to bachata blast through our speakers, ate Dominican dishes every day, spoke Spanish, visited my country more times than I can count and somehow I regret to admit, it just didn’t stick. Now as a mother to a biracial toddler, the greatest gift I could give myself and him is to reconnect with my roots. How can I teach my son to be prideful in his Dominican heritage, if I have fallen short on doing so for myself? So this year one of my priorities will be to not only reconnect but also celebrate my Latin roots. Here is my reconnection plan:
- Improve my Spanish: I am fluent in Spanish but honestly it could be way better. I am currently a Spanish teacher and that has been helping me improve a lot with my own Spanish. It’s time for me to expand my vocabulary in Spanish, best way to do that is READ.
- Research: I am a big Google person and I love to do research on topics that I am not too familiar with. I want to start doing research on my country so I can have a deeper understanding of our history
- Visit the Motherlands: When I was younger I would go to the Dominican Republic every year, but sadly I haven’t been since 2009. It’s time for me to go back, visit family, go to historical landmarks and just enjoy the beauty that is the Dominican Republic.
- Visit other Spanish speaking countries: I’ve had the privilege to visit Puerto Rico for the past two years and learn about their culture (which is extremely similar to the Dominican culture). I will like to visit other countries maybe Costa Rica, or Belize.
- Learn to cook tradition dishes: I can cook your simple tradition dishes like mangu, tostones and plantanos frito(pretty much anything with plantanos lol) but I would to learn the more complex dishes like sancocho.
- Explore New Restaurants: Regardless to what non-Latinos think we do not all eat tacos lol. While I love Dominican food, I would like to try Latin dishes from other countries. Best way to try different foods is to try different restaurants.
- Learn how to dance bachata, merengue, and salsa: I know what you’re thinking a Latina that doesn’t dance, a Dominicana at that? I know, I know but in my defense, I don’t dance any kind of music. But I am determined to learn!
- Go to the club: While this isn’t a necessity, and I can honestly say I HATE the club, but where else am I going to show off my dance moves that I’ve learned. It will also give me the opportunity to connect and meet with other Latinos in my area. Fingers crossed that Latin clubs aren’t as bad as American clubs.