I am as white as white comes. I don't mean that as in the color of my skin...though it certainly applies. But culturally, I am as vanilla as you can get.
My family has lived in America for generations. And, when you trace back our lineage, you'll find we originated from...England. So, boring, white and protestant. It's been bred in me for centuries.
I've always longed for something more. When a good friend of mine married into a Lebanese family, I thought...why can't that be me?? The singing, the dancing, the food...I love it all!
And then there's the Jewish friends the Hills know and love. I'm convinced it's rubbed off on me. The history, the rituals, the love...the eight days of presents! And, who am I kidding? The guilt?? Come on...I think Judaism runs in my veins. With all the Mozel Tov's we heard after Sophia was born, I started thinking maybe I am Jewish! (Read my back history of posts to find out why I was convinced I was Jewish when I was growing up!)
My neighbors are Filipino. We went to their wedding in San Diego, which was incredible. Add in to the mix that they're Catholic, and you have a recipe for the most beautiful celebration for 600 of your closest family and 6 white friends that you've ever seen. I desperately wished I was Filipino after that! In fact, anytime the mother-in-law comes over to their home, I make sure I get invited for dinner. Have you ever been in a home where there were so many family members under one roof, that the walls vibrated with their energy? And none of them were fighting!! That's what it's like every time I go into their home. It's amazing. And it's NEVER happened in my family. About the only time the walls have ever vibrated with super-charged energy in my family's home is when I told my grandfather to keep his opinions of my personal life to himself. Only, I used some rather choice language...in front of my entire family. I was very young and it was definitely NOT one of my finer moments. :( I've never seen so many eyeballs pop outta heads and fall on the floor at one time.
But last night, I realized my true cultural heart's desire. I wanna be a latina! We took Sophia to her first Quinceanera last night. And it was our first one too. I really had no idea what to expect. First of all, our friend's daughter was wearing a dress that may have actually been nicer than my own wedding dress. Second, the entire place was decorated like we were at a wedding. But, that's where the similarities ended. Because, at a wedding, you've got to share the stage with your beloved. And at a Quinceanera, it's ALL about the girl. The entire evening was filled with dinner, dancing and tributes...all in honor of the most beautiful girl in the room that night. Then, when it seemed like it couldn't get any better, our friends gave their daughter a beautiful pair of new shoes, a larger crown than the one she was already wearing and a gorgeous necklace. When I turned 15, I think I got some clothes from Mervyn's.
I definitely drew the short straw when God was handing out heritage!
So, the next time you have to go to one of your family gatherings, steeped in tradition, don't grumble about it. Think about how lucky you are to have it! And, if you really don't want to go...invite me instead. I'd LOVE to go! :)