Culture: A Broken Link

Culture is very important in every country. Culture is what distinguishes individuals from all over the world and most importantly, culture is the backbone for traditions, beliefs, and customs. Culture is passed down from generation to generation. All my traditions, beliefs, and customs were taught to me by my parents and family. However, I grew up in the United States, like many other kids, and because of this I was and continue to be exposed to the American culture and other cultures. Experiencing and coming into contact with these other cultures has influenced me to become an open-minded individual. I not only identify myself with my own culture but also with certain tradition, beliefs, and customs from others cultures. I have come to realize that I been growing up taking cultural ideas I believe in and identify myself with and leaving the rest.  Although doing this has expanded my views on different situations and I have acquired knowledge about these other cultures, I recently found myself in a significant cultural struggle .

Ever since I was a little girl I remember watching novelas with my mom. In her novelas it was normal to see a couple madly in love that they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together. The couple loved each other so much that they either a) ran away to be together or b) got married. If the choice was to get married the groom, as the gentleman that he is, would go talk to the bride’s parents to ask for her hand. Now, this is not something that just happens in the novelas. According to my family and our values this is the right way to do it. In the Mexican culture it is expected for the groom to present himself and his parents to the bride’s parents for the approval of the marriage. Another common belief seen in the Mexican culture is that the offspring don’t move out as soon as they turn 18 years old. It is most common for the offspring to live with the parents until they get married. There are the few times that even after married, the male offsprings take their bride to live with them in their parents’ house. These beliefs are strong in the Mexican culture or at least in my family they are.

If anyone was to ask my parents about me, without a doubt they would tell you that I’m a hard worker, a bit nerdy and head over heels with Japan and other Asian cultures. They would also tell you that I’m dedicated to my studies and won’t give up until I achieve my goals. This is the way I have been all my life. My parents are strict and since I was little they always were there making sure I strived. My parents raised me to be a well behaved young lady. However, I let loose this past summer. Like every summer, I went to summer school but I did not just focus on that. This summer everything was different. I went to school in the morning, worked in the evening and on my days off I went out with my friends or co-workers. There wasn’t a week when I didn’t go out. This caught my parents off guard and they freaked out about it. They had never expected this from me. At first they tried talking to me and eventually it got to the point to where they started threatening me about kicking me out. Nevertheless, I kept going out. I liked the freedom I felt and I wasn’t so stressed out like always. It was a great feeling. This, however, is not the end of it. Everything got a lot more complicated when I got serious with a guy from the group of people I went out with. We spent every time possible together even if it was late at night, we worked with what we had. Like expected, my parents were not happy with this.

It wasn’t until this summer that I mentioned to my parents that I wanted to move out and that I was going to do it as soon as possible. They were already upset with me because of my continuous outings. Therefore, moving out seem like the best choice to fix my “misbehavior.” Little did I know this would make things worse for me. As mentioned earlier, moving out is not something Mexican families do. Immediately after I brought up the subject I got lectured about not being American and that these are not our customs. I had so much going on that I kept distance and did not mention anything for a while until the storm calmed down. Everything seemed to be going smoothly again until the end of August when I told my parents that Aaron and I were moving in together. At first my parents did not take this well. They opposed my plans. However, after I talked to them they accepted the idea. Deep inside they knew I’m not a little girl anymore and sooner or later I was bound to leave the nest and start my own life. At this point I thought everything was resolved. Was I wrong! Now, the issue was that we were planning of forming a life of our own and Aaron had not yet talked to them. My parents were strongly offended by this. They kept talking to me and they seem ok when he came over to visit me. However, my dad mentioned that if I moved and Aaron did not man up to talk to him then I shouldn’t count him in and I was on my own. Obviously, I did not want to leave in bad terms and most importantly I did not want to be a stranger with the man that has been there for me my entire life. Finally the big day came and I was excited and completely afraid of what was to come. It was a Monday night when we went to my parents’ place to get my stuff. As I packed my clothes and everything I needed to take with me my younger sister walked into my room and said “Aaron my parents would like to speak with you.” I felt my heart drop when I heard these words. I didn’t know what to do or expect. Aaron got up and walked to the living room as I continued packing. I couldn’t completely hear everything they talked about which made me even more nervous. After a long conversation I heard laughter and the  ambiance felt a lot calmer. Then I knew my parents had spoken their mind. It was then that I understood that to me moving out seemed perfectly normal and it wasn’t that big of a deal. Afterall, I’m an adult and I’m capable of supporting myself. But was I wrong, all this time it wasn’t about being old enough or being able to live on my own but our cultural beliefs. They were expecting Aaron, if he really was serious about me, to talk to them and tell them his plans with me. They wanted to hear that he would take care of their little girl, that he would be there for me and be patient with me, afterall I’m their first born and it was difficult for them to let go.

I was born in foreign land and I grew up in a mixture of Mexican and American cultures. This shaped my views differently from those of my parents and family. Because of this I live a different lifestyle. However, living in a different country does not make me any less Mexican and there are customs, beliefs, and traditions that must never be forgotten for they are of my cultural background.


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