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Memories of Growing Up Hispanic

I never really realized what it was like ‘growing up Hispanic’ until I moved out of the suburbs of Miami and only a few hours away to the University of Central Florida. I’m Cuban. Although there are many Hispanics and Latinos on campus just like me, I never really realized how different my home cooked meals were and how awkward it would be when doing the “Hi nice to meet you” gestures I’ve known since I was young would become (kissing on the cheek for example). Everyone’s different, respectfully. But truly, I feel that a lot of people from my hometown and other Hispanics themselves can say that Growing Up Hispanic is something you’ll always treasure. My mom raised me pretty Americanized with a few exceptions (cooking, taking care of yourself, and respect) and speaking Spanish to my dad was how I kept up with my culture at home. However, going over to abuela’s house was different to say the least. I can easily list some of the memories I have #growingupHispanic.

If you’re sick, “Vix VapoRub” is the way to go. My grandma would put it EVERYWHERE. The bottoms of your feet, with socks put on right after, your back, and your neck. I smelled like the bottle the entire night. I’m not sure if it was some sort of mind game but I feel like it really did work.

“!!No puedes salir si ya te bañaste porque vas a oler como el sol!!” aka my grandma and all her sisters at the house wouldn’t let me play outside after I showered because I would smell like the sun. It sounds wild right? This is my life.

Not being able to walk barefoot on a tiled floor. This was something my grandma would consciously repeat! Always telling me I’m going to get sick because I should be wearing some type of socks or shoes inside the house because if not the floor is going to make me catch a cold.

In the case of me being bored at my abuelas house I wouldn’t have to worry because I could play a guessing game. I loved the Royal Dansk cookies so much, but for some odd reason you could never really tell what you were going to get when you opened the tin. Most of the time it was a sewing kit or some type of “important junk” but it was always riveting to try out. Basically, the cookies that I was hoping to find inside of there (which there should be) were always absent because they were replaced with storage items. 

Speaking of catching a cold (which could all be fixed with #1 on my list) if you went outside with your hair wet…oh no call the police because YOU WILL GET SICK, according to my Cuban grandma of course.

Did you eat? Did you have some café con leche? If not, don’t worry all my grandma and her sisters and bis abulea (great grandmother) were always to the rescue! YOU HAVE TO HAVE YOUR CAFÉ CON LECHE.

I’m not sure if this one is common- hey I’m not sure if any of these are common BUT growing up in Miami as a baby and toddler, the air smelled very very distinct. Why? Oh this is why:

 This was what we would get patted on us. Don’t get me wrong we loved it. It was an everyday life style thing as a child.

The house was always clean. Both my moms and my grandmas- like really clean. There was constant vacuuming (especially in the mornings) and mopping and spritzing and dusting. I appreciate it though, because of that I can honestly say I am the exact same way.

Some can relate because when speaking to the people I grew up with all we can do is laugh about how alike our upbringings are and I guess that’s why it’s so easy to get along quickly and understand each other. At the end of the day though, we all grew up in different ways, maybe some the same but we should appreciate the personality and the culture that lives within us. Keeping an open mind and talking about alike or differences is such a great way to better yourself and hopefully better others with a greater understanding of each other. All joking aside I am so pleased to have grown up the way that I did. I love my culture. 

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Alexa, otherwise known as "Alexa Wexa" is a senior Psychology major pursuing a minor in Public Relations and Communications. As the Co-Event Director of HCUCF she loves creating and planning events for the wonderful writers on the team. In pursuit of making time last, you can find her at Disney or driving around Orlando for the best food, coffee, and photo ops.
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