As I look back on our family photos from when we visited Puerto Rico this past summer after six years away, I think of it fondly. It truly was the best vacation ever for me and I hope for my children. They were able to explore and I felt even more Hispanic than ever revisiting the places where I had been when I was a child. My dad made it his business to have us visit every summer. Things we read in textbooks we were introduced to in real life, immersing ourselves in that piece of culture that runs in our veins. I have the best of both worlds and I am so proud to call myself a Hispanic, a Latina, a strong multicultural and bilingual woman.
My husband and I visited the island of Puerto Rico with the intentions of allowing our children to gain and embrace that sense of pride in who they really are. Combining both of our cultures my boys are Dominican and Puerto Rican and although they are reminded of our cultures at home, they were really able to get up close and personal with it upon visiting the island. We knew we needed time away as a familia but we also wanted to show the children all the goodness the island had to offer. And since you know I’m a mom and a teacher, you can be sure the whole experience was also educational. Map skills began as soon as we boarded the plane. They received a part of their Hispanic Heritage lesson seated right in a JetBlue aircraft.
When we arrived there wasn’t any fast food. We ate food purely from the island. My husband and I discussed having the boys seep their palate in new flavors, things that we ate when we were younger and visited our perspective islands. We made it clear to the boys that they would be trying new dishes and they needed to give it a try at least three times before saying they didn’t like it. They were out and about more, played with simple toys (no electronics with the exception of about 40 minutes at night), and learned a wealth of information about their Hispanic Heritage.
The best gift my husband and I could have given them in tribute of their Hispanic Heritage was taking them to the isla del encanto. Many times we have spoken about the times we went as a couple, there was no experience like them taking it all in for themselves. It’s been over a month now and they still talk about going to the cave, walking in the capital, San Juan and the various new foods they tried. They are PROUD to say that they visited an island that their Mami grew up visiting every summer. It’s not just during Hispanic Heritage Month that I want my boys to be proud. I want them to walk with pride everyday knowing that their last name isn’t what makes them Hispanic, their parents aren’t what makes them Hispanic, but their pride is a HUGE part of who they are.