Prakosa, S. (Photographer). (n.d.) [digital image]. Retrieved from Unsplash
Representation of my grandparent's house. My childhood home, and a small, but rich with love commonplace among our family.
Cultural Influence: Family comes first
Cultural Influence: Family comes first
Gentilezza, J. (Photographer). (n.d.) [digital image]. Retrieved from Unsplash
Growing up, we moved about three times before finally settling into our current home. The first being from my grandma's, then to an apartment, and then back to my grandma's home. My parents were young, my mom having had me at nineteen, and trying to get financially stable was difficult at times. Even as a young child, I understood the significance of my grandma's willingness to open her home to us. It might not have been the biggest house, but she never complained about the cramped quarters. The love that radiated out of that jam-packed home as I grew up in it will always remind me to take care of my family. I keep this lesson close to me as I have begun my career and am able to take care of my own parents and siblings. It wasn't just a home but a key influence in my familial values.
My grandparent's house is like the center point of all my relatives homes. We center our lives around living five minutes away from each other.
Cultural Influence: Close family proximity
Rumble, T. (Photographer). (n.d.) [digital image]. Retrieved from Unsplash
The Center Point
On my father's side of the family, I have nine uncles and aunts. They all reside within five minutes of each other. It's tradition to do so. When building our home, my parents made sure we were not too far away from my grandparents, the thought being front and center in the selection process. It was always just one of the checks on the lists that they made sure to have. The foundation of our family rests on being able to easily commute back and forth to this 'center point,' my grandma's house being the location for where our family connects. I know as I grow up, I am going to be sure to remain near my own parents when deciding to move out. To some it might seem a bit odd, how important I feel this closeness is, but the memories I have growing up around my cousins are ones I want my own kids to have, so keeping this tradition is my priority.
Our family gatherings were numerous and cramped. We looked forward to bumping elbows and talking loudly.
Cultural Influence: Regular family reunions
de Smit, S. (Photographer). (n.d.) [digital image]. Retrieved from Unsplash
My grandma's house was the meeting place for all gatherings. Holidays, weekly barbecues, Sunday morning breakfast all took place in the small mobile home. There was so many of us we had to take turns sitting at the table to eat, but it allowed for my cousins and I to catch up with one another so none of us really minded. Now we all have our own families, so getting together sometimes proves to be difficult. However, I learned how rare it was for all thirty of my cousins to be with me for various holidays and other events. I appreciate it now, but not so much back then. Reflecting on my childhood and all these gatherings has allowed me to place an importance in continuing the tradition of being with my family. I am an active leader in making sure my cousins and I allow our bonds to forge so we can have our own kids grow up with each other, just as we did.
Symbolic of the never-ending stories my grandma and aunts would tell my cousins and I.
Cultural Influence: Story-telling
Juarez, R. (Photographer). (n.d.) [digital image]. Retrieved from Unsplash
I can still picture my grandma and aunts gathered among her dining table, talking about "way back when," and my cousins and I listening in amazement. Sometimes the stories would be in Spanish, my grandma's native tongue, so I made myself learn the language. I wanted to hear more, and knew that was what I had to do. They would share their experiences as migrant farm workers, and how times were difficult back then but they knew it would someday be worth it. My grandma's words kept me in pursuit of a better life than what she had growing up, and she would always tell me to do better than she had. These stories are a large reason as to why I am so goal-driven. I know what it took to get my family to where we are today, and as my symbol reflects, the stories are still going on. She is continually sharing stories and lessons with me, guiding me even as an adult.
Summer days made me learn how to appreciate simplicity. Picking daisies and spending our days running around.
Appreciation of the simple things
Vorrozheeva, K. (Photographer). (n.d.) [digital image]. Retrieved from Unsplash
Growing up in the Rio Grande Valley in the stereotypical Texas heat, meant my cousins and I were all a couple shades darker by the end of summer. I remember picking flowers that grew right across my grandma's house, our daycare for the summer while our parents all worked, and saving them for as long as I could. Looking back I think I was trying to hold on to as much of my summer with my cousins as I could. We lived for the season, and the chance to spend all day with each other. Now that we are all older, we reminisce about how simple things were back then. The bitter-sweetness of how lucky we were to have those experiences with each other, and the uncertainty of whether modern times will allow our own kids to make similar memories. These summers shaped me as I grew up, and the bonds my cousins and I share are the value and beliefs I hope to instill in my own family.
Respecting my authority helped me appreciate the time I was able to have with them, even though I did not understand it in the moment.
Cultural Influence: Showing respect
Tyson, J. (Photographer). (n.d.) [digital image]. Retrieved from Unsplash
The importance of having respect for my elders is a characteristic that I find accurately symbolizes my Mexian-American culture. My aunts and uncles, and any other elder relative I came in contact with all got a hug and a kiss. It was what we did to show our respect. I remember being very young and listening to my mom tell me I had to say 'hi' to each and every one of them. I also remember complaining that there must have been a million of them, and asking why I couldn't just give a big wave to get the job done. But she forced me to do what was right, and made me see that respect was very important in our family. I hear her words, "They're your great tios and tias, you need to show manners and give them a hug and kiss." Though I dreaded the 'hello's' and 'goodbyes' when I was younger, I am so thankful my mother instilled this cultural value in me. Now that some of these relatives have passed on, I am so thankful I hugged and kissed each of them whenever I saw them. My culture made me appreciate them even when I did not know it was happening. It is a value I will pass on to my own children so that they might one day reflect and appreciate their elders the same way I have.
Academics were always valued in my family. My parents were not able to attend, so they made sure we did.
Importance of education
Press, H.H. (Photographer). (n.d.) [digital image]. Retrieved from Unsplash
My parents were young when they began their family. Unfortunately this caused them to place a hold on pursuing their education. I was born and my mom's college future was put to the side. However the cultural expectations of my family expects success from everyone, regardless of the situations one is dealt. So I observed the hard work my parents put in to make their family successful. From a young age, my parents instilled in me the value of getting my education and working hard to make something of myself. It guided me and pushed me to set goals, because I did not want for their tribulations to be in vain. I was the first in my family to receive my collegiate degree, and begin a teaching career. My parent's influence on my ability to succeed is something I hope to have on my own children. Success against all odds is a belief I want to pass on to my future generations.
Setting goals is important, and my family's experiences always remind me of the importance of financial stability. A luxury they were not able to have.
Cultural Influence: Pursuing goals
Payman, A. (Photographer). (n.d.) [digital image]. Retrieved from Unsplash
The value my family places in the goals one sets for themselves runs from my grandparents, through my parents, and now to my siblings and I. My grandparents were migrant farm workers who had a goal for themselves to own land that would be passed down to future generations. They accomplished it through hard work in the fields, and frequently describe just how they were able to do so. Their work was characterized by the uncertainty of where their next paycheck would come from. Their stories helped shape the perspective I have on my own ability to accomplish my goals. If they were dealt a much more difficult hand in life and overcame the odds, then surely I can succeed given the fortune I feel I have in the support and opportunities I am given. This perspective allowed me to see the value in knowing my guarantee in financial stability which helped drive my desire to have the career I do.
Celebrating various events is key in showing how proud we are of each other.
Celebration of successes
Cajina, I. (Photographer). (n.d.) [digital image]. Retrieved from Unsplash
We are not a family that lets any major success in life pass us by without some sort of celebratory event. We gather and celebrate each other any chance we get. It is not just my immediate family either, extended family attend our celebrations. I thought this was normal, but realize this is part of the culture my family has cultivated. This understanding coming from my friends' inability to understand why we were having forty of our relatives show up to commemorate my father's new job. Maybe it is due to the difficulties my grandparents faced as they were beginning the foundation of our family, but we understand how important it is to be thankful of any success in life. Celebratory gatherings do not require momentous achievements, just the fact that a goal was accomplished. The incentives our family offers, time with each other and usually good food, influences us all to be successful.
Appreciating the 'now' helped guide our appreciation for what we have at any given point. Our matriarch, my grandma, reminded us at any moment it could all be taken away.
Cultural Influence: Living in the present
Wyron, A. (Photographer). (n.d.) [digital image]. Retrieved from Unsplash
The culture I grew up in centered around having to work for everything we had. My parents showed me what it meant to have luxuries. Unfortunately financial challenges were also plentiful as I was growing up, and we had various instances in which humbling ourselves was the only way to get through such a difficult time. My grandma would give us all pep talks, letting us know that we must be grateful of everything we have in the present to be able to appreciate it in the future. She told us that our fortunate circumstances were great when we had them, but it was necessary to enjoy while you could because nothing in life was guaranteed to last. It drives my ability to take in moments in my present, because I understand they are not guaranteed tomorrow.
Cultural Roots Presentation
An insight into the cultural values and traditions that shaped the person I am today.