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Assignment #1

Written on: Thursday June 4th, 2009

A journal entry from: El Salvador

I am supposed to choose a culture that I identify with and discuss it for this assignment. I read the assignment blog a few days ago and to be honest, Iīve been putting it off because YEEEAH itīs a "simple question" but I tend to find myself explaining aspects of my culture on a regular basis even though I donīt really know what Iīm talking about. So, yeah. You know.

Letīs see. I was born in Toronto to a Mexican mother and a German-Mexican dad. At 6 months of age I was transported south and settled in city called Leon, Guanajuato a few hours from Mexico City. I grew up there and in 1995 we (my parents and I) trekked back up to Canada where I have lived for the past 14 years of my life. I suppose the disconcerting aspect of "My Culture" is the fact that it is completely contextual. When Iīm in Canada and people ask me "Where are you from?" Iīm not sure what to say. I generally end up giving the long-winded explanation that is described above. Anyway, that isnīt the point. The point is, when I am in Canada I donīt feel quite "Canadian" enough (whatever that means...). This is particularly marked for me when I spend time with families who have been in Canada for several generations. Dinner rituals of this variety are particularly interesting (and by interesting I mean nerve-wrackingly formal and awkward). OH and of course, thereīs always the "wow...but...you donīt look Mexican!!!!!". On the other hand, going to Mexico is funny because though I feel as if Iīm "going back home", once there I am most often treated like an extranjera (from "QUE PASOOO GUERIIIIITA" to being referred to as "gringa"). In Mexico I find myself constantly trying to justify my Latin American-ness. Itīs always amusing to respond to a gringa comment in perfectly Mexican accented Spanish. I suppose, "My Culture" is co-constructed by my own self-identification (which is pretty muddled) and the meanings imposed by contexts and peoplesī pre-conceived notions. 

Iīm not sure if that quite answers the question for this assignment. But I suppose itīs a start.

PS I am well aware that my apostrophes are backwards but I am using a Spanish keyboard and everything is jumbled.

PPS I hate that this blog required such a ridiculous amount of quotation marks. Apparently Spanish keyboards donīt make use of them and as such, I have been forced to use "ALT 34" every single time! Ha.


From Yenny on Jun 4th, 2009

"transported" you sound like you were transported like cattle :P ...don't worry "chelita" here in El Salvador ppl dont look at you for your "gringaness" they stare b/c u are head taller than everyone one jajajaja

From Alice on Jun 4th, 2009


From alice on Jun 6th, 2009

It's so strange how you can't seem to find the person you think that you are at "home". it's like you're always an outsider.

From Erin Pea on Jun 7th, 2009

Sup gringa? I feel the same way with my Turkish culture. I was not born there and I do not consider it "home", however, I think I look pretty damn Turkish (or Spanish...whatever) but everytime I go there, people think I am a foreigner. This makes me realize that culture is largely in body language and dress as opposed to genetics! http://vietpea.wordpress.com

From aniquejay on Jun 8th, 2009

I enjoyed reading this. I found myself being able to relate with it very well. Canadians are such a special and interesting group of people..on one hand we're Canadian because we're born here but on the other we'd often rather associate our ties with our roots and our parents country. Do you think your time away will change how you see yourself? Good luck on your placement, Ill be in touch! aj (a past intern)

From Waheeda on Jun 9th, 2009

Gringaaaa!! I quite enjoy the analogy of the backward apostrophes. It shows how you go back to your canadian culture and relate back to it. I hope this makes sense...