Aruba has always been popular for having a multicultural society. In today's day and age, where social media is at the center of our lives, being multicultural can be confusing and fun at the same time.
Why, you would ask? Well, very often you feel like you have to choose a side, when, in reality, that’s not true. Yes, I admit that sometimes people expect for you to act a certain way or do certain things, because of your ethnic background. But, people will always be people, so don’t mind them.
Being multicultural is also fun, especially for someone like me who is half Dominican and half Aruban. Ever since I was a kid, my parents would always remind me that I had two cultures and I was expected to love both and, through the years, I have learned to embrace the both of them. The fact that my mom had always made sure I visited her homeland, that I spoke Spanish and that I had contact with my grandma on a regular basis just to ask the same question every day for no reason, has helped me a lot. On the other hand, back in Aruba, I would embrace my 'Aruban' side – a side that I love dearly. I would speak my beloved Papiamento with friends, participate in a lot of cultural activities and, yes, I love me some ‘pisca cu funchi’ just as much I love ‘salami Dominicano’.
Being an Aruban-Dominican is walking down the street and having someone scream at you, “Hoy se bebe” or “ Que lo que mati”. Being an Aruban-Dominican is eating 'platano' (plantain) for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and then wanting to eat some 'pan bati', just because you can. Being an Aruban-Dominican means having your mom blasting 'Bachata', a genre of Latin American music that originated in the Dominican Republic, all Saturday long while cleaning the house and listening to 92.3 Latino FM. Sometimes, after she's done cleaning the house, even if you've helped her clean, she would say,
“Es que tu no hace nada. Yo me pregunto que va a ser de ti cuando yo me muera.”
Being an Aruban-Dominican is having people assume you can speak perfect Spanish or that you can dance like a pro. Being an Aruban-Dominican is having people think that you know all the damn slangs that are used in the Dominican Republic – like no, there are too many. Most importantly, being an Aruban-Dominican means being a mix of two very diverse cultures. It is ultimately about loving yourself, loving the people who created you and passing your cultural knowledge to future generations.
The truth is, when I say I miss home, I am talking about my two homes – Aruba and the Dominican Republic. This might sound crazy, but I have never realized how proud I am of being Aruban-Dominican.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blogpost are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official views of Phryme Magazine.