Top | Tales from a Studio Apartment

Cinco de Mayo

(post, David Silva)


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When I was twelve, my little sister was nine. Her favorite item of clothing was a recent thrift store find: A T-shirt that said "Kiss Me. I'm Italian". My sister and I are biracial, but we're Chilean, not Italian. Her favorite food was spaghetti, and she was convinced that somewhere down the line our family had Italian roots. She loved pasta too much for such a thing not to be true. 

Since 2003, Cinco de Mayo has surfaced a similar pride in myself. I fell in love with Mexico since my first time there. I loved the people. I loved the culture. I loved the environment. I loved the food. While sketching under San Ángel in Mexico City, D.F., I remember my heart was racing. My palms were sweaty. It was one of the first times I knew I was in love. Until then, I had never known a place where I knew "I could live" apart from New York. It was a scary feeling to have. Since then, anything I see pertaining to authentic Mexico makes my body pump. It especially happens with food, particularly the "Bimbo" products on my corner bodega. Haven't seen those items since Guadalajara two years ago. I know it's silly, but it makes me smile. Thus far, I've been to Mexico three times. 

Last night, I was making enchiladas for a party I'm going to tonight. It was dark outside. The rain was pounding on the window. My tiny kitchen was swelling with the scent of cilantro. The counter was dusted with exotic words like "epizote" and "cotija". I couldn't have been more content: I was nostalgic, cooking, and transported to another place. 

I get the same feeling when baking empanadas, or stuffing humitas for the 18th of September (Chilean Independence Day). Is it wrong to have multiple prides?

What creates identity? Do you need to be part of a specific heritage to feel proud?  I love Cinco de Mayo because it reminds me of a place that touched me, and will forever be in my heart. Is that enough to feel and be part of a culture?