What does your Mexican heritage mean to you?

Last year around this time my father kept asking me "What does your Mexican heritage mean to you?"  Well I didn't know I was eleven.  He kept taunting me again and again.  I didn't know what he meant until now.  

You see my people, I am no different from any other twelve year old.   I like NCIS, love my family and wear stylish clothes but that all changed when I went to Mexico in December.  I saw the beauty, elegance, the festivals, in our beautiful México!  I noticed that there’s a lot more you can do in Mexico or Valle de Santiago or whatever part of in Mexico you are from.  I mean you can go swimming, go to the flea market, go to a fiesta any day anytime or my favorite eat tacos at midnight.  You could get up early in the morning freshly made bread that soft in the inside, or freshly made orange juice or milkshake.  Or maybe your like me and always hungry you could get HAND-MADE tortillas or menudo.  Maybe your more of a seafood person for that there's caldo de camaron, shrimp cocktail, tostada de cheviche.  You can walk around your town or pueblo and grab a snack in the middle of the day.  Like you could get un vaso de fruta like jicama, pepino, mango, sandia, melon or una torta de jamon. Una paleta de limon or maybe corn on the cob with crema, y queso  y chile  piquin.  Maybe your more of sightseer you can go visit la casa de cultura or like a museum.  I learned about the Independence in the revolution and how we were freed by El Cura Don Miguel Hidalgo Costilla. If you are more of a religious person like my grandmother as I call her mam Anita you would find all Iglesias interesting. One of my favorite things to do sit down with someone and talk about las leyendas such as Las Momias de Guanajuato, La Nahala, La Leyenda Del Charro Negro, El chupa cabras don’t forget my favorite La Llorona.  

If by now its too late, we do what we do best DANCE, but there the hard part there’s so many choices,  banda, romantica, nortenea, bachata, salsa, cumbia.  My mother loves banda but my dad's favorite is romantica.  Now here’s the difference between Americans and  Latinos culture Americans need a reason to party like if you get a  scholarship, a new job, special holiday, or celebration of birth. But Latinos just like celebrating family, like my family and I celebrate each other like twice a week with music, food, dancing.  In my last couple I'm going to tell you about Aztecs and how I can answer my dad's question.  I know I come from a very strong, smart, brave empire.  One of the many strong empires! We come from a bloodline of strong, intelligent, proud people.  

"I have never denied my background or my culture.  I have always taught my children to embrace her Mexican heritage, to love her first language, Spanish, to learn more about Mexican history, music, folk art, food, and even her Mexican candy.  I grew up with it."  

                                                                                        -Salma Hayek 

And that my people is why I'm proud to be Mexican-American. 

2019 Princess Candidate 

Alejandra Rios