It's important to me that my children grow up knowing about their culture and embrace it. My mother instilled in me the desire to learn and love where I'm from. It all starts at home. The language we speak, the food we eat, and the traditions we pass down from one generation to another.
I was born in Puerto Rico and only lived on the island the first four years of my life but it's where I call HOME. I grew up in Central Florida where at the time there weren't as many Latinos as there are today. I think that's one of the reasons my mom put forth the extra effort to remind us of who we are and where we come from. While we were blessed to travel to Puerto Rico often saying goodbye to the island and our loved ones was never easy. It still isn't to this day.
As a senior in high school I had plans to study abroad in Spain but the thought alone made me feel homesick. What was I thinking missing out on an opportunity of a lifetime, right? Then I thought about pursuing a college education in Puerto Rico, in the same university my mom earned her Bachelor's degree for the same degree. I ended up staying home and attending a local college though.
Shortly after I became a mom, which by that time many more Latinos had migrated to my city, it was much easier for me than it was for my mom to step outside of our home and find a piece of our Caribbean culture almost anywhere we went. One of the happiest moments in my life was the first time I took my kids to not just my birthplace of Puerto Rico but their father's birthplace of the Dominican Republic. We don't get to visit as often as my husband and I grew up traveling back to our islands but we've been lucky enough to take several trips.
I strive to instill the same passion for the islands my children are from that I have. They're young and may not remember every trip thus far but I know that they have a connection to our roots and culture that plays a part in the people they are growing up to me. No matter where we live whether it's now or down the road, we will take a piece of the Caribbean with us wherever we go.