Friday, November 21, 2008

Garage Sales and Mami

This summer my aunt introduce my lovely mother to garage sales. At first it was harmless fun. Mami would stop at a garage sale during her Saturday morning errand run. She would pick up one or two things or sometime nothing at all. She would call up my aunts, sister, and other family members and tell them of stuff she found that she thinks they could use/need/want. Pretty soon it became an obsession. Mami was hitting up 3-6 garage sales a day. Still only on Saturday but she spent most of her time garage sale shopping rather then food shopping. Chairs, tables, and artwork among other things started to appear everywhere in our house. When I would ask her about it she would tell me about the deal she got, with such joy that I just couldn't say anything about it to her.

As mami started to disappear for longer and longer hours at garage sale and more and more stuff started to appear at our house I started to get concern. So I talked to my dad about it, who just shrugged and said " What can I do chiquito? You know how your mom is." Thanks Papi.

My sister on the other hand laughed and told me not to worry that mami was just enjoying some retail therapy. So I let it go. That was until Mami asked me to hustle an older couple for a table. I could not believe that my sweet mother was asking me to hustle this old couple for a table. "Mami" I said. " What? People like you. You can talk them down for me." She said. I tried to reason with her but she would not listen, so I finally had to put my foot down. I would not hustle this older couple for her. She asked me nicely, I told her I wouldn't do it. She beg, I still wasn't going to do it. She threaten to call my father, nope still not doing it mami. Then she pulled out the only card she had left. My grandparents. I am a sucker for my grandparents.

In the end mami got her way. Well that's what she thinks at least. I could not do it. I could not hustle this cute little old couple over a table. I payed them the price they were asking for. When I got back home with the prized table mami just assumed that I was able to talk them down. I never corrected her. I did not see a reason why I should. She had her table (which we don't need) and the little old couple got their money (which they do need). So to me it was a win-win. I have never in my life been so excited for winter. It means the end of garage sales for a while, and hopefully by the time summer comes back around I will be able to send mami to garage sale rehab. Now I just have to make sure that I can keep thrift stores a secret.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Y no es de aquí porque su nombre no aparece en los archivos, ni es de allá porque se fue.

Two weekends ago I was able to go see Barack and Michelle Obama speak in Pueblo, Co. Pueblo is a 2 hr drive from Denver. Maga and Lili also wanted to go. So we packed ourselves into my car and we went on our way.

You could feel the excitement in the air. We where excited to see Barack and Michelle speak. We where excited for the then up coming elections. We where excited for the future and the change it held. On our drive down we started looking for cars with Obama stickers who we thought were also going in the same direction as us.

During our drive Lili and I where able to talk to Maga about our family, life, religion, politics and of course immigration among other things. Maga shared just a small amount of details of what it was like for her to come to the United States. She shocked Lili and I when she said " It was hard, but I know that it is hard for you guys also."

Maga understood that we had our own obstacles to over come. We are the first generation born in the United States. We are children of immigrants, children who really don't belong anywhere. Maga and Lili wanted to know what it had been like for me growing up with two cultures. Even though Lili is going through the same things I went through being her older cousin she wanted advice.

So I told her.

I told her that some days she would feel like she doesn't belong anywhere and that no one gets her. I told her that to some people we were always going to be too Latin to be American and too American to be Latin. That people where going to tell her that she spoke with an accent. It didn't matter if she spoke in Spanish or English. She would always speak with this so call accent that she could never notice but everyone else could.

I told her that balancing two cultures was going to be difficult. Some days it would feel impossible but she would be able to do it. That most days she would feel like she is torn in two. Her American side and her Dominican side. That some people would hold the fact that she is a U.S. citizen against her. That some people would hold the fact that she is Dominican against her. That she would encounter idiots who will judge her, but that at the same time she will encounter people who embrace her.

I told her to make peace with the fact that she is not really from here or there. To befriend people who are just like her, juggling two cultures and trying to make sense of it all.

I told her that we are lucky. We are lucky because we get to experience the best of both worlds, and to ignore the worst. We are lucky because we speak two languages.We get to experience two cultures. That we can eat mangu and salami for breakfast and McDonalds for dinner and not blink a eye. That we can dance to merengue and switch it hip-hop without missing a beat. That we can speak in Spanglish if we wanted to. That we are now a part of the majority. That we have advantages that our parents and grandparents never had. That most people wish that they where as lucky as we are. That some people die trying to get what we have.That the feeling of being inadequate and not belonging will fade with time. To use her two cultures to her advantage.

Three days later Barack Obama a black man, the son of an immigrant became president.