When I was younger I didn’t really care about my own culture or heritage. When conversations were brought up about the two, 99% of the time my statement was always “I’m American”. But looking back now I can definitely see how ignorant I was. “American” isn’t even a heritage. Our roots, customs, language, and values is what defines us as people but as the generations go on it seems like we’re losing sight of who we are. The more society evolutions, it seems the more customs and traditions are being lost. We need to find different solutions to preserve our heritages and cultures whether it’s by taking note of the foods we eat, the language we speak, and most importantly keep our family traditions alive.
I come from a family with strong values. When I was younger we really learned what the meaning of family was, but one thing I never understood was my heritage. Yes I visited El Salvador plenty of times when I was younger(where my family originates from) but it’s a different story visiting and trying to understand it. Now that I’m older and wiser I can ask the questions like “why are my roots important?” or “why should I care about my heritage?”. These questions are important to ask because our heritage and culture adds to the uniqueness of all of us. Think of it as a painting. A painting would be pretty bland if it was just one color, but if you start adding reds, blues, greens, and yellows the picture becomes more alive and eccentric. That’s the way culture works and everywhere you go there is something different. It’s what makes the world so beautiful.
When I visited Montreal I saw many similarities between there and the U.S. in the aspect of culture. Although here in the U.S we’ve got some bullshit race war going on, if you look past that you see many beautiful different cultures and heritages that each add something different to the painting. Montreal was the first place that made me realize how beautiful my own roots are because of how much they embraced the uniqueness of cultures. Every where in Montreal there was a little bit of everything from French, Latinos, Middle Eastern, Italians, etc but in a place where your culture is not seen in abundance (like here in Texas), it makes you appreciate everything about your heritage, especially the food.
My friends and I would go to Mexican restaurants, but nothing compared to the Tacos from a taco truck back home. It’s something that can’t be replicated because the culture is so scarce. After a couple of weeks of being out in Montreal I wanted to get back home fast because not only did I miss my family, but I missed everything that came with my culture. It’s a beautiful thing when you start embracing your roots and everything about where you come from. I hope to keep alive my heritage because it plays a huge role in who I am as a human being. And most importantly I want my culture’s food to live forever!
Here in a couple of weeks I’ll be doing a DNA test to find out more about my family’s origins because I want to learn more about my roots. This realization is important especially because it’s one of the main topics of my next book project, where I’ll study different cultures around the world and see what makes people happy. All our cultures and heritages are beautiful but it’s up to us to keep them alive. Don’t let them die because the generations to come won’t ever get a chance to enjoy all the beautiful colors of the world painting.