I am the typical Latina, Chicana, Pocha, Mexican-American, or whatever it is you want to call me.
I was raised on carne asada, beans, rice, salsa and warm tortillas, which probably explains my figure, but it’s OK.
Yes, my couches are covered in plastic, yes, I call all kinds of cereal corn flakes, and, yes, I have been hit by a “chancla” at least twice in my lifetime. But I live here.
I have old fashioned Latino values but I’m also a modern 20-year-old woman living in the United States.
I live in a dual world and have two perfectly balanced cultures.
The situation, sweet as it may seem, is much harder than people expect.
Let’s start with the basics; you must speak, read and write correctly in English as well as Spanish, you must know mariachi music as well as hip-hop and rock, you must eat both tamales and hot dogs.
Sure this is not too bad, I can handle this, but it gets worse.
Being a Latina girl has an entire list of implied responsibilities that go along with it.
We must, not only learn but be willing to, wash the dishes (and this means no dishwasher), mop, sweep, vacuum, clean the bathroom, do the laundry and the most dreaded of them all: cook.
Most people have to do these kinds of chores anyways right? Sure, except that for some reason Latino mothers do everything to the 10th power.
If you wash the dishes they must be absolutely squeaky clean, if you mop sweep and vacuum that means your floors will be impeccable, not just clean.
Those white T-shirts you wash have to be as white as the single fluffy cloud you see in the sky on a bright sunny day.
And the cooking will not only have the perfect seasoning it will also be spicy, unless someone in the family has a medical excuse not to have spicy food, in which case, it’s your responsibility to make two meals: a spicy and a not so spicy.
We must do it for our dads, our brothers, and when you get married, our husbands. Note that the previous sentence didn’t say “if” we get married, because getting married is a must.
If by 25 you aren’t married, you can be sure that your aunts waiting for you back in your mom’s hometown will be wondering what you have done wrong.
They don’t care if you have just received a bachelors degree, they don’t care that you’re attending graduate school, they don’t care that you just beginning your professional career, for all they care you could win the Nobel Prize, but if you are not married; you have failed.
Our lives are a constant struggle to keep things balanced.
We work hard and study hard.
We have to learn the responsibilities of a wife, and we have to take advantage of the opportunity our parents have provided for us.
We can’t let them down.
Our parents want us to go to school, and be “career women” they have worked hard and sacrificed the lives they had to give us the opportunity to better ourselves.
They want us to be able to choose whether we want to be independent modern women, or if we want to be a housewife – but they hope we pick the second one.
Laura Bucio, a senior journalism major, is news editor of the Campus Times. She can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.