I'm from both Californias
This past weekend I was in Canada for a Super Fight League event that I got to host. I met a lot of new people, and with that, a realization came around. When asked where I am from, it’s difficult to respond, because even though I was born in San Diego, CA, I was raised in Tijuana, B.C., México, up until the age of 13 years old, which is when I came back to San Diego. So what do I say? I’m from San Diego? Or, I’m from Tijuana? Or, should I simply narrow it down to “I am from both Californias.”
The question then would be, where do I identify myself from the most? Though one too. Let me tell you my story… I have both cultures well cemented in my heart. I am proud of my Mexican heritage and what I grew up with, as well as my American heritage. The composition of my extended family is literally half American and the other half is Mexican. I have two sides to identify with. I know the history of Mexico very well as well as the American. I can speak both languages as easy as how the blood runs through my veins. I am proud of both cultures and what both cultures, as different as they may be, have to offer. I love carne asada as much as I love roast beef. I definitely love hamburgers as much as I love tortas. I can celebrate the 4th of July with the same pride as I can celebrate el 16 de Septiembre. I can sign along Sinatra and also along Luis Miguel. The point is that I am as much Mexican as I am American, and with that realization, when people ask me where I am from, it’s really hard to say one place. However, this is far from a complaint, it’s more of a bit of a brag. I was lucky enough to grow up around two cultures that my parents were happy to share with me. At home, growing up, we would speak Spanish, but my father would only let us watch television and all the Disney movies in English. For Christmas day, my father would cook the best roast beef, mashed potatoes, and corn cobs. The tamales and champurrado would be for all the Christmas parties around the holiday. I truly got to experience and keep both cultures in a way that is priceless.
A vast majority of the American population can actually identify with me, we are the melting pot, and being bicultural is not special. Yet, the fact that my biculturalism is between two neighboring countries and keeping both cultures alive in my heart, is what makes it special. In my heart there are no borders, there’s only two big families that I can always go home to. I can always say that I am a true Mexican-American.