As I get older, my roots, the blood in my veins, and the music that plays in my heart echo louder and louder… as if my ancestors are reaching out to me from their graves… I have always been very proud of the name Gonzalez and of who I am… but due to circumstances out of my control I was not immersed in my culture as a child and adolescent… Both of my parents worked very hard to break recurring cycles that passed on from generation to generation, and while I am proud of them both for providing a life for me that was different from each of their respective lives, I always felt disconnected from my culture, from my extended family, and from mi orgullo (my roots). Now, I’m in my mid-30s, seeking out people to practice my Spanish-speaking skills with and constantly listening to Spanish radio stations, partially to get up to speed with current music, but also to listen to commercials and the DJs between each song to test my comprehension.
It is not easy, but it is so worth it. Puerto Rican culture is so rich and my family history is something I’m sure I will always have questions about, since I now have only one living Grandparent. I do wish I was raised bilingual, but if it takes me the rest of my life to get there, so be it. It’s worth it.