I’ve always thought not having to be attached to a certain culture, tradition or having a strong identity helped me to adapt to new cultures much easier. The thing is, I still wonder where are my roots and how I got to where I am today. While living abroad I never truly felt homesick when I’ve always felt disconnected with my birth country. I never felt I was truly home; I was merely a visitor. It was as if I was a stranger at somebody’s house and I was invited for dinner. The hospitality was sincere and the food was tasty, but I felt foreign in a culture I supposedly grew up in.
When I was a kid, I accidentally found a picture of my mother in the basement. I thought she was really beautiful. My mother was small built and had dark hair, dark eyes, with dark skin. What stuck out to me is when I found Spanish in my bloodlines. I’m disappointed that I don’t have the privilege to trace back to the village my family once lived in Spain or perhaps the rumours were true and we came straight out of Latin America. I’ll never know. My mother talked about her aboriginal roots but even she couldn’t tell us the tribe. I can’t blame her. After all, my mother was adopted and was given an English surname; she had lost her way and so have I.
What’s the difference between ethnicity and race, anyway?
My husband and I met up with my aunt for dinner one night. I remember what I had. Jambalaya. My aunt glanced at me and said, “You remind me so much of your mother.” It’s pure comedy how you can grow up without a certain someone around and you still wind up being like him or her. I found it fascinating my mother was always on the move; kind of like me.
I admit I went through a stage where I attempted to be as dark as possible just to prove I was Spanish enough. I risked getting skin cancer due to my own insecurities. I didn’t look the way I’m supposed to look according to other people’s ignorance. Sure, I don’t look like other people’s perception of my heritage but Spanish is in my blood and nobody can ever take that away from me. I keep very little history of my mother with me wherever I go. I may not know the full story but it’s hidden somewhere in my eyes. I may foolishly dream that one of my lost relatives would look at me and recognize a piece of themselves; how everything would come together like a puzzle. It probably wont happen but maybe that is why we call them dreams.