Whenever people are trying to get to know one another, there is one question that almost always eventually comes up, especially here in the States, and there are many different ways to ask it. What ethnicity are you? What nationality are you? Where’s your family from? Many people then start to divulge the ingredients to their American cocktail, each rightfully said with pride. My ingredients are quite simple. Mix a little Mexico and a little United States together, and you get: Sara Carranza.
I am first generation Mexican-American. Whereas my brother’s first language was Spanish, my first and only language growing up was English. Basically, I knew my ingredients but had absolutely no idea what they meant to me or what they symbolized to others. It took a while to start figuring it out, but my first steps towards understanding who I was, was by learning the Spanish language.
Learning Spanish is a blur to me. I would like to say that it just happened one day, but it was a slow arduous process that I can’t even remember. All I know is that the first word of Spanish I remember learning is “Corazon”. I was in the backseat with my high tech Walkman listening to a cassette tape by Los Temerarios, while my parents were driving my brother and myself to another one of our extracurricular activities. How I got the tape is a mystery, but what I do know is that I couldn’t stop listening to one song in particular: “Corazon de otro”. Before I knew what was happening I was asking my mom what the words meant. By the end of the week…I understood the entire song. From knowing nothing, I understood something. Not just the words, but also the style of music and the feelings it evoked. Music gave me my first glimpse into my Mexican-American culture and continues to give me more each day. I can honestly say I spent four years taking high school Spanish and I spent many summers visiting family in Mexico, but the only time my Spanish continues to grow is when I lose myself in music.