Cruz de Madera Gringa
I went from one extreme to the other today. My cousin invited me to her kid's b-day party. She married a gringo. They live in a very affluent part of Austin and have very affluent neighbors. I felt like I was the only Mexicano at this 5 year old b-day party. I give her her credit for buying little Ethan a pinata.
I don't think it sinks in to those folks that my prima is a Latina until they see me. They don't treat me any different, but I see them do a double take. I wonder how my cousin is ok with only having gringito kids at the party. I know that's where they live, that's the environment they are in, but damn, I would just feel weird. I would feel like I'm denying my kid his culture. There were no black kids either. There was one Asian. I wonder if I would think this if there were only Mexican kids at the party? Would I wonder if my brother-in-law would feel weird if there were not gringitos there?
I stayed for a while and hung out. I love playing with the kids. I wanted to talk to my cousins. None of my siblings talk to them. I'm the only one. They don't dislike each other, but our families were never close. We don't have much in common. So I stayed and I talked. I talked like I write. In Spanish and English. And they laughed. And they joked. And the entire time I thought about what I was going to do in a couple of hours and how my cousins would never go to something like that.
I was going to watch Michael Salgado at the Old Pecan Street Festival. The raza was out in full force. Kids with mullets and silver teeth, just like their parents. Pelados wearing sombreros and gold chains. Girls wearing tight pants. And the regular raza was out too. Some dude standing behind us offered my friend and me weed, "hey man, wanna hit this?" We kindly refused, but said thanks. We waited until Michael Salgado played one of my favorites, Cruz De Madera (not sure the MP3 is working), then we went to eat a hot dog. I thought, "I wish my cousins were here," but I knew they would not feel comfortable. I know it's hard. We assimilate and acculturate. It's happened to me, but I hope I never lose my culture. Listening to Michael Salgado - that's not my culture, but it's part of what my culture has evolved to. I just hope there's something I still hold on to later in life. Something I pass down to my kids or sobrinos and sobrinas.