Tag Archives: latino

The Problems with Bilingualism

Being bilingual has a certain number of perks. Mostly the fact that I can converse with a variety of people and be accepted among two different groups. It makes life very easy regardless of where I go. Plus job opportunities are always available in a variety of fields, and places. Then talk about relationships, I can date people in any Spanish speaking country and have them fully understand me.

So where’s the problem? Well, living in the states try speaking a non-preferred language and you face a certain amount of backlash. I’ve been told a number of times to speak English, which the only appropriate response is “I wasn’t talking to you” and to move on. What could one of the other downsides be? Well if English is your second language then you run into the problem of having an accent, and again if you are stateside then this creates the issue of people believing that you aren’t truly bilingual, that you are just a fresh off the boat person; and with that comes a plethora of obstacles. I’ve been in this situation before and it is not by any means a fun one. Stateside people will begin to discredit any kind of knowledge you may have; because while they ask you a question and wait for the answer you have two (or more) languages swimming around in your head as you search for the correct phrases, words, and order to form the sentence needed. As your languages do this dance, your conversation partner sits waiting and begins to try and ask other questions or the worse option, say the same question just louder as if the problem was that you’re deaf.

Being bilingual is fantastic and I suggest everyone to learn at least one more language or at least make the attempt, if not for your own benefit but to understand and be able to sympathize with the next person you encounter who has to go through both of their mental dictionary’s to make a simple sentence. If there is anything that you can take away from this it’s to remember to never judge someones level of intelligence because they struggle to find the words to say and don’t do the thing where you just say the sentence louder, say it slower.

So today…

So today my Peace Corps group had the chance to meet the Governor of our Province where we are doing our Pre-Service Training. Everyone was practicing how to introduce themselves correctly this week because when it’s in Thai it’s no longer as simple as “Hi, My name is….” we aren’t Eminem after all. Our introductions include formally saying our first name, last name, city, state and country and formal ending determined by your gender, in the correct order and tones (since Thai is a tonal language one tone off and you could offend someone).

So we all took our turns and as I see my groups go I feel pride for each one. But most of all I feel pride for the Latinos, here we are so far from our home and culture and we all sympathize with one another and appreciate each other because by speaking Spanish we can bring ourselves home if only for a moment. Each of us went, sounding slightly off because transitioning from Thai to Spanish is quite the feat, but as Ortega, Santos, and Puentes speak I feel a sense of unity and knowing that we have each other in this. We may struggle learning Thai but we’ve all been through this before, some learning English, others with Spanish, but we all rejoice in knowing at the end of this we will be poly lingual.

Why is the Latino Pride so important? I feel Latino pride so heavily that I’ve even been accused of self segregation. The truth of the matter is whether it be intentional or not there is a certain behavior and mannerisms that can be observed in each racial group. White Americans (from my observations), tend to put a happy face on and appear friendly with every group, but they are the ones that are just as quick to turn and gossip about you. While in some cases Americans are seen as direct, they’re not. With that said most every time I spend time with White Americans I find myself confused as they both insult and compliment one another. However, with Latinos what you see is what you get, that is especially true with Latinas, we are queens of giving honest, rough truths. We are queens of observing, and giving our opinions and moreover we are queens of saying our truths in the most clever way. Does this make us many friends? No. Do we care? Not really. But the friends we do have stick with us through thick and thin. Do all of these instances stand true? Not really, but based on my observations it’s what I believe. I have had white friends that mean the world to me, but I have also had Latino friends that I can’t stand. So with that said, it’s not always a “race thing” it’s a this is who I choose to associate myself with thing.

Dime con quién andas, y te diré quién eres.

Spanish Proverb, y tu Madre.

Lo que no mata engorda

What doesn’t kill you makes you fatter and that will most likely happen in Little Havana. Between the cigar shops and chicken statues you’ll find easily some of the best blends of Cuban and American flavors. Taken from abuelita’s recipe book and reshaped and rebranded into something vaguely familiar.


Ball and Chain

Our first stop in Little Havana was Ball and Chain, with it’s lounge seats, center bar, unique rustic/Cuban décor, we felt quite at home and when the band started playing we knew we were on to something good. Our drinks quickly arrived, I had dessert first with a Pastelito Daquiri, light and refreshing with it’s namesake pastry on top. Delicious! Brings me back to PR and enjoying a small pastelito in the San Juan Streets. Megan had a drink called Call me a Cooler, while it was nice it is definitely meant for those with a serious sweet tooth. The menu is very basic but that doesn’t stop it from being easily the best food we had that day, Megan had an order of Cuban Style Quesadillas, covered with cilantro and a light avocado crema, it was given a little pop of spice with it’s Aji Amarillo. I had Chicharrones, for $9, which seemed like a lot for the meal but reasonable for Miami prices, they were well worth it. Each piece was crispy, and full of flavor that popped. Good food, good drinks, combined with the atmosphere Ball and Chain was perfect.

 


¡Azucar!

Pop out of Ball and Chain and directly on your right you are greeted with a comically large ice cream cone. This belongs to ¡Azucar! a small ice cream shop with 24 flavors (not including their seasonals) that will make you laugh and have a bit of curiosity as to what the flavors are. Thankfully you can get samples. Megan was already stuffed at this point so the ice cream was all mine. I chose a single scoop of Abuela Maria, their signature. Made with guava, cream cheese, galletas Maria, and their fresh vanilla ice cream. It’s absolutely delicious. It is a must see in Miami. Take the day and search for it, thankfully ¡Azucar! isn’t exactly hiding.

 


El Exquisito

Well the coffee was. For my non-Spanish speakers the name means Exquisite. This is where we had our new favorite beverage, The Colada. It’s a small coffee served in a Styrofoam cup with 6-8 shot glasses, it’s meant to share as it is about 8 shots of Cuban-style espresso. It’s strong, wakes you up in a minute and I’m sure this is what gave Pitbull the energy to go from Mr.305 to Mr.WorldWide. We had a couple different coladas but El Exquisito’s topped them all, strong and sweet. We’d love the recipe if they’d be kind enough.

 

 


Little Havana’s cuisine is perfect for anyone who wants a real taste of latin flavor, the culture and vibes there are welcoming and complete the Miami trip. Don’t spend all your time in South Beach when Little Havana is right around the corner.