Sisterhood

(Chelsea Blog Picture)gal-sisterhood-12-jpgMany say that you will forget the people you meet before college, or even in college. They say that you will probably be able to walk past people you hung out with 24/7 in high school like they’re strangers. It is hard for me to understand this concept since I have had the same group of friends since I was a year old.

I met my best friend of 15 (almost 16) years ago in Pre-K. Before we knew how to talk or what certain words actually meant, we understood each other. It’s been that way ever since, even though we’re 375 miles apart and never seem to be available at the same time. When we happen to have share spare time, we talk and it’s like we’re in that Pre-K classroom again, feigning deep conversation.

I met the rest of my friends in K-4. We unintentionally bonded while running around the playground and pretending to nap. Nothing has changed, except now we spend most of our time sleeping at each other’s houses with one of us being forced to sleep on the floor while the rest of us try not to hang off of the bed. And we hardly ever run.

When I imagine my future, I don’t see a lot of concrete details. I see colleges floating in the air, and grasping majors. I see career opportunities rolling away like tumbleweeds in a deserted town. The only thing I can hold onto, the only thing real, is the image of my friends and I, together. I envision it as a Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants or Sex and the City scene, as something iconic

I don’t talk to my friends every day. I hardly talk to my best friend during the week and I see the rest of my friends about once a month. We don’t have a movie friendship where I have them all on speed dial. We don’t have the Disney Channel friendship where I can walk to their house in five minutes or less. We have our own type of friendship and I can’t see myself walking away from that or passing it up for anything.

-Chelsea Ashley, Junior Website Editor

Hispanic American?

Courtesy: havanatimes.org

I have read countless quotes, excerpts, and lines of poetry that have inspired me. But, no line of poetry, no paragraph from a fiction piece, no “quote of the day” has ever resonated with me the way Richard Blanco’s poem, “América,” did.

This poem discusses a Cuban family’s struggle with balancing, and accepting two cultures. I have a strong attachment to this idea because I often find myself in the same situation. I, like the characters in Blanco’s poem, am Hispanic. My mother was born in La Habana, Cuba, and my father in Fajardo, Puerto Rico. I was born in Jacksonville, as an American, but my parents raised me with their Hispanic customs. We celebrate Hispanic holidays like Three Kings Day and Hispanic Heritage Month the same way Americans celebrated Veterans Day, and Martin Luther King Jr. Day. But we never celebrated them both. It was either Veterans day, or Hispanic Heritage month.

As I got older I began to reflect on my past and realized the significance in all of these differences. I began expressing interest in learning about my background as an American Citizen. I’d spend my entire childhood embracing the Hispanic side of me, so I never got the chance to explore the American. My family soon tried to adopt the beliefs. Simple things like having turkey on Thanksgiving, and putting American Flags on our lawn during Veterans Day. Studying American history and culture in so much detail that it became engrained within us in the same way Hispanic culture was. After this period of self-discovery, I realized that balancing both cultures was harder than I thought. My attempts, though genuine, did not feel natural. I could not be only Hispanic or American. I am a Hispanic American, and I’m allowed to be both.

The cultural resonance and applicability of this poem gave me justification in my realization. Blanco expressed to me, with excruciatingly vivid detail that is hard to balance two cultures at once. That it is impossible to rid of my roots. But that it is possible, to learn to accept both cultures for what they are, and how they play a role in my life. This poem completely captivated me and gave me a sense of self-realization that I had never experienced before.

Now, when someone asks me where I’m from, or what I am, I tell him or her, with pride, that I’m a Hispanic American. I embrace my roots and enlighten others about my Hispanic and American heritage, rather than hide it. I now celebrate all holidays not just “the Hispanic way” or “the American way” but both ways. I wear red white and blue to display pride for America, and also for Cuba and Puerto Rico as well. Cuba, Puerto Rico, and America all share the same colors on the flag, and I share all the same colors in the complex, layered concept of my identity.

-Briana Lopez, Junior Social Media Editor

Read it here! Follow the link:

http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/245318