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Ni De Aquí, Ni de Allá

(Desplacese hacia abajo para leer en Español.)

YouTube has been a very amazing adventure AND a challenge for my life and that of my Abuela.  We have both learned so much about so many things.  Funny enough, I never thought my Abuela at her age, would be thinking about YouTube subscribers, Instagram and Facebook. LOL  Sometimes I wonder how much is too much to share about us?  Nevertheless, we have put ourselves out there for the world to see and despite the risk,  we have had a lot of positive feedback.  In our free time together, I try and read to her as many messages as I can and boy, does she enjoy hearing what you all have to say.  But along with the positive comments, comes the reality that there will always be negative comments.  Sadly, the few negative comments that we do receive are usually the ones that linger the longest.  I believe that those negative comments come from people who do not really know much about what we are doing and why we record the videos.  I also believe they say negative things because they do not really know my story.  I say “my story” even though this channel is really about my abuela and her cooking because I am the producer of our show.  I am the one who originally wanted to document my grandmother’s recipes, so even though these videos are about Abuela, they reflect my purpose.

If you have been following us for a while, you know that Abuela is an immigrant from Mexico.  My mom is also born in Mexico and came to the states as a teenager.  Luckily for me, I had parents who still had deep roots in Mexico, so we were privileged to visit family annually.  I loved our trips to the mother land–visiting family from both my mom and dad’s side of the family.  And of course I had my Abuelos whom lived very close to us for a large duration of my childhood.  So one could say, “I was never too far from my roots.”  I do not ever recall being embarrassed of who I was or even where my family was from.  Being Mexican was never a shameful thing.  In fact, my parents never gave me a reason to feel ashamed of my heritage.  My dad would not even allow me to speak in English at home.  Especially if we visited Mexico, we were not allowed to speak in English.  If I spoke English with my siblings, I got the “Ojo de Aguila,” and sometimes–something worse.

I remember on my trips to Mexico some kids would make fun of me.  Mostly because my Spanish wasn’t perfect.  “How dare she not know how to speak perfect Spanish,” I would imagine the kids saying. “Mira, ya se cree gringa.”  It made me so sad.  I wanted to fit in.  They were my people … so I thought.  And I wanted to be part of what they were.  Fortunately, my cousins always had my back.  If it was not for them I probably would not have enjoyed my trips as much.  But we had so much fun.  I loved venturing out with them and being free to walk the streets without adult supervision.  Going to las tienditas down the streets to buy all kinds of candies and meeting neighborhood kids.  So many cool memories that over power my negative experiences.  But still, the rejection was pretty saddening–and lingers in my memory.

You see, it wasn’t my decision that my parents and abuelos migrated to the states.  And it’s definitely not my fault I was born in the United States.  It is what it is.  I love who I am– a MEXICAN-AMERICAN.  I embrace it as a culture of it’s own.  There is no way that anyone can hold it against me that I am not a full blown Mexicana (whatever that means to them).  I wasn’t born there.  I never lived there.  I only visited in the summers.  And there is no way anyone can hold it against me that I am not like the gringo next door who ONLY speaks English.  How can that even be?  My ancestors are from Mexico.

So when I get comments from people calling me “Malinche,” or “sell out” for speaking English during traditional Mexican cooking, 010006-MexAmerican or saying my Spanish sucks (among other things), it does hurt a little.  Because it’s not something that I do on purpose to shun my people or because I’m embarrassed, like some say I am.  How they come up with that is beyond me.  If I was embarrassed, why would I even let the whole world into our lives?  Those who know me personally know that I love my roots, I love who I am and I embrace it all.

I’m sure a lot of you know that as each generation passes  a lot of things get lost.  Things like language, customs, traditions and even food.  So this is why I continue to make videos with my Abuela.  For people like me who want to remember the little things that are easily forgotten.  People like my kids who have a dad who is 3rd generation and has learned Spanish in school.  For people who have never visited Mexico but wish they could have.  People who miss their Abuela’s cooking and never learned how to make it.  People who never got a chance to know what it’s like to embrace their Mexican side.  Bi-racials who didn’t grow up with their Mexican family.  And for those who just love some real Traditional Mexican cooking.  These videos are for me, my kids, their kids.  For you, your kids and their kids.  Food always brings us back to specific times and places because it opens up all our senses. After all, memories are made in the kitchen.

For those who have allowed us into your home and have embraced us as we are, and as I am, I say thank you.  I appreciate all your beautiful messages.  For you, I will continue to publish our videos.

Being Mexican-American is a beautiful thing and I don’t apologize for it.

———

YouYube ha sido una aventura muy impresionante y un reto par mi vida y la de mi Abuela.  Las dos hemos aprendido mucho sobre muchas cosas.  Curiosamente, nunca pense que mi Abuela, a su edad, estaria pensando en los suscriptores de YouTube, Instagram y Facebook.  A veces me pregunto cuanto sera demasiado para compartir acerca de nosotros?  Sin embargo, nos hemos puesto para que el mundo ea y apesar del riesgo, hemos tenido una respuesta muy positiva.  En nuestro tiempo libre juntas, trato de leer tantos mensajes como pueda y ella disfruta de escuchar los que todos ustedes tienen que decir.  Pero junto con los comentarios positivo, viene la realidad de que siempre habra’ comentarios negativos.  Lamentablemente, los pocos comentarios negativos que nosotros recibimos son generalmente los que afectan mas.  Creto que esos comentarios negativos vienen de personas que realmente no saben mucho acerca de lo que estamos haciendo y por que’ es que grabamos los videos.  También creo que dicen cosas negativas porque no saben muy bien mi hisotria.  Y dogo “mi historia” porque yo soy la productora del show.  Y soy la que originalmente quería documentar las recetas de mi Abuela, así que aunque estos videos son sobre Abuela, reflejan mi proposito.

Si usted nos ha estado siguiendo por un tiempo, usted sabe que la Abuela es una inmigrante de Mexico.  Mi madre también nacio en Mésico y vino a los Estados como un adolescente.  Por suerte, tuve padres que aún tenían profundas raíces en México, por lo que tuvimos el privilegio de visitar a la familia cada año.  Me encantó nuestros viajes a la tierra madre-visitando a sus familias, tanto la de de mi madre y el lado de mi padre.  Y por supuesto, yo tenía a mis Abuelos quien vivíeron muy cerca de nosotros por una gran duración de mi infancia. así que se podría decir que “Nunca estuve demasiado lejos de mis raíces”.  Yo no me recuerdo estar avergonzada de quien yo era, yo o incluso de donde mi familia era.  Ser Mexicana nunca fue una cosa vergonzosa.  De hecho, mis padre ni siquiera me permitía hablar en Ingles en casa.  Especialmente si visitabamos a Mexico, no se nos permitiá hablar en Inglés con mis hermanos.  Me daban el “Ojo de Aguila”, y aveces algo peor.

Recuerdo que en mis viajes a México algunos niños se burlaban de mi.  Sobre todo porque mi español no era perfecto.  “Como se que no habla bien el Español siendo Mexicana?”  me imagino a los niños diciendo, “Mira, ya se cree gringa.”  Me hizo tan triste.  Yo quería pertenecer.  Eran mi gente–eso era lo que yo pensaba.  Queria ser parte de lo que ellos eran.  Afortunadamente, mis primas siempre me respaldaban.  Si no fuera por ellas, probablemente no habría disfrutado de mis viajes.  Pero nos divertimos much.  Me encantaba salir con ellas a por las calles para comprar todo timpo de dulce y tambien conocer niños del barrio.  Tantos recuerdos bonitos que sobrepasan mis experiencias negativas.  Pero aún asi, el rechazo era bastante triste-y perdura en mi memoria.

No fue mi decisión de que mis padres y abuelos enmigraran a los Estados.  Y definitivamente no es mi culpa que yo nací en Los Estados Unidos.  Asi fue mi destino.  Me encanta lo que soy–una Mexicana Americana.  Yo lo tomo com una cultura en si mismo.  No hay porque acusarme que yo no soy una Mexicana de Mexico.  Yo no nací alla.  Yo nunca viví alla.  Sólo estuve viajaba para Mexico en los veranos.  Y no hay porque condenarme de que yo no soy como el gringo de al lado que sólo habla Inglés.  Como puede ser?  Mis antepasados son de México, no yo.  Y no lo digo por orgullo.  Lo digo porque es la realidad.

Así que cuando recio comentarios de la gente que me llama “Malinche”, o “vendida” por hablar Inglés mientras cocinamos comida tradicional Mexicana., o cuando dicen que mi español es horrible (entre otras cosas), me duele un poco.  Porque no es algo que hago con el propósito de huir de mi gente o porque me da vergüenza, como algunos dicen.  Por que dejar entrar a todo el mundo en nuestras vidas?  Los que me conocen personalmente saben que amo a mis ráices, me encanta lo que soy.

Estoy segura que muchos de ustedes saben que con cada generación que pasa una gran cantidad de cosas se pierden.  Cosas como el lenguaje, las costumbres, las tradiciones y hasta la comida.  Asi que es por eso que sigo haciendo ideos con mi Abuela.  Para la gente com yo, que quieren recordar las pequeñas cosas que se ovidan fácilmente.  La gente com mis niños que tienen un padre que es tercera generación en E.E.U.U y que ha tenido que aprender español en la escuela.  Para las personas que nunca han visitado a Mexico, pero que deseaban visitar.  las personas que extrañan las comidas de sus abuelas y nunca aprendieron cómo hacerlas.  Las personas que nunca tuieron la oportunidad de saber lo que se siente al aceptar su lado Mexicano.  Gente birraciales que no creció con su familia Mexicana y ahora buscan de saber.  Y para aquellos que les encanta un abuena cocina Mexicana.  Estos videos son par mí, para mi hijos y los hijos de mi hijos.  Para ustedes, sus hijos y los hijos de sus hijos.  La cocina siempre nos trae du vuelta a tiempos y lugares especificos porque abre todos nuestros sntidos.  Después de todo, los recuerdos se hacen en la cocina.

Para los que nos han permitido en su casa y nos han aceptado como somos… como soy, les doy las gracias!  Agradezco todos sus mensajes hermosos.  Para ustedes voy a seguir pulicando nuestros videos.

Ser Mexicana-Estadounidense es una cosa hermosa y no me disculpo por ello.

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20 comments
  1. Leticia O Gutierrez said:

    Keep up the good work making videos with Abuela, and don’t let ignorant people’s comments get you you.

  2. Quanah said:

    Tell it Sylvia! Of course you’re not ashamed of who you are or where you came from….if you were, these videos wouldn’t exist! The problem is that people do not understand because they have never been in your shoes. Keep doing what you are doing. I love watching the videos. Y’all make me laugh and at the same time learn 😉 love ya!

    • Yeah. I know they won’t understand till they have been in my shoes. That’s why I don’t hold it against them. Thank u so much for ur support!

  3. Pues a mi me encantan Los videos y adoro a la abuela y su coca cola jijiji y gracias por todo tu trabajo y esfuerzo Silvia😉

  4. Sandy said:

    All of your video’s are amazing! It’s sad that people go out of their way to post a negative comment. You are luck that as a child you were able to visit your family in Mexico. Both my parents were born in Mexico and as children our parents never took us to visit and that truly saddens me. Keep your head held high and continue to be proud of who you are.

  5. Mary said:

    Well said! I too am a Mexican American and have had similar experiences. Once someone finds out I don’t speak Spanish too well, they don’t want to have anything to do with me. It’s a real shame that some people feel that way! Don’t let them get you down, God loves you, your family and friends love you,that’s all that matters! We all love you too, and your Abuela and your mom! You all are great! Please keep the videos coming!

  6. Héctor said:

    A mi me encanta la forma de ser de los mexico-americanos……me gusta su forma de hablar…..tengo primos y primas así. …..ellos viven en El Paso y yo, en Juarez México. …
    Me gustan mucho sus videos y me divierto mucho con las ocurrencias tuyas y de tu abuelita. ….Tu abuelita se parece a la mía, sencilla, funny…..Continúa con tus videos, siempre habrá gente fracasada que no tiene ingenio para hacer cosas buenas como tus videos, y prefieren criticar en vez de hacer algo positivo. …..gracias por tus videos y por alegrarnos con ellos….saludos de un mexicano q admira q tu hables 2 languages!!!!!

  7. DeeDee Becerra-Núñez said:

    Thank you for sharing your Abuela, she (and you too) light my day when I watch your videos. Positive vibes going your way to lift you up from the unecessary negativity and enjoy and love your Abuela con un abrazo fuerte. Keep up the joy and laughter you two share in the kitchen. I LOVE IT and my sister, daughter and myself keep you in our conversations frequently. How lluckywe are to share your Abuela in your kitchen.
    SUERTE…QUE VIVA LA MUJER

  8. Jessie From Fontana said:

    Thank You! So many of us who are neither from here or from there enjoyed your encouraging words. I am American by birth and Mexican by the Grace of God. Keep up the Good Work. Les mando un fuerte abrazo.

  9. Bethania said:

    I am a Mexico born Mexican and when I visited as a kid the children were mean to me they called me a sell out because I had lived in the States. Today my Spanish is pretty darn good because of the years we visited my national country. I have lived in the States way longer than Mexico. I am ni de aquí ni de allá.

  10. One thing I have recently noticed about the internet, is that people are getting meaner, ruder and more bold with their comments while hiding behind the screen. It makes me very sad. I am not Mexican. I moved to Arizona in 1999. Because I have dark hair and dark eyes everybody assumed I was Mexican. I can’t speak Spanish. The looks and offended silences I got all the time hurt. I finally started getting offended back when they asked why I don’t speak Spanish, in Spanish. Probably cause I’m not Mexican! I am Native American and white, lol. So just keep doing what you are doing, because you are doing a pretty darn good job!

  11. Miguel Carlos said:

    I just watched your videos for the first time yesterday. I love the interaction and just how you and your abuelita go about each plate. I think it is a great thing what you are doing, of course, with the good, you are going to get some bad…focus on the good and keep climbing . I just want to give your abuelita a hug. Both of my abuelitas are no longer living and I miss the conversations. I smile when I see her with a coke…. I love cokes. I would always get some pesos from my abuelita and she would say, cómprate unos Fritos y u a sodita mijo…. I am a fan…

  12. Patricia Martinez said:

    Hi Silvia. I stumbled upon your video one day and have been hooked ever since. I love the relationship that you have with your grandmother. It truly warms my heart. There have been nights that I have been laying in bed watching you guys in the kitchen and wishing that I would’ve had the opportunity to learn how to cook alongside my Mama Leonor. Thank you for taking the risk to put yourselves out there. It brings a smile to my face every time I see Abuela on camera. Especially with her refresco. Love, love, love it. Thank you so much.

    • Thank u so much for sharing with me. Comments like these encourage me to continue. Blessings!

    • Hi Patricia! Thank u so much for taking the time to write to us. Thank u so much for ur words. It is a huge risk but I don’t want these recipes to die. I also want everyone to have an opportunity to cook with an abuelita! Blessings!

  13. Silvia said:

    I found you on Pinterest when I was looking for Albondigas!!! Muchisimas gracias a ti y a tu abuelita por todo lo que hacen y por compartilo! Que Dios las llene de bendiciones hoy y siempre!
    Silvia (yes we share a name!!)

  14. Rocio Vargas said:

    Sylvia,
    Please do not allow the ignorance of others to bother you. My mom and I adore watching your videos when she comes to visit. My mom just turned 65 and cooks old school, but says she has learned new things with your abuela. I am a classicly trained chef and know that the best teacher is experience. What abuela and you show is a true art that is being lost. Thank you for sharing your abuela with all of us, she reminds me of my abuela that lives so far away. Please continue to share this gift God has given you as the producer and your abuela as the master cook to the world. I’m a new follower and plan to follow forever.
    Mexican-Americans Rock!
    -Chio

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