Sofia and Gabriela: Our Love for Food, Culture, and Familia
History Colorado is gathering and sharing memories that celebrate our state’s rich Hispano culture. Here, Madalena Salazar shares the second in our new monthly series produced exclusively withThe Weekly Issue/El Semanario.
We were born in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Our parents met in California, where they worked at a medical center. After getting married they moved to Albuquerque in 2006, where we lived until 2015. In Albuquerque we learned a lot about our Mexican Latin American heritage. Our father was born in Hidalgo del Parral, Chihuahua, Mexico. He is a doctor and comes from a family of physicians going back to the Mexican Revolution. Our great-grandfather performed the autopsy on Pancho Villa.
In Albuquerque we also learned a lot about Mexican culture and food. The food in New Mexico is very similar to the food of northern Mexico and the state of Chihuahua. Our meals included corn tortillas, frijoles, arroz, chile and meat. We also loved sopitas, calabacitas, camote, and papitas. In New Mexico we danced Ballet Folklórico and wore traditional clothing in performances.
We also learned how to speak Spanish in a bilingual public school. Our move to Colorado didn’t change the food we eat or the language we speak. We were lucky to find another language-immersion public school. Every year we’ve performed in a Fiesta Hispánica for Cinco de Mayo. We still love to listen to Mexican music and Latin pop. Even though our move to Denver made it harder to travel to Mexico or to El Paso, Texas, where we sometimes have family reunions, we still visit our family and our abuelita comes to visit us.
In Denver we’ve made many new friends from diverse backgrounds. And we’ve met Latin American families from Venezuela, Guatemala and Mexico. Our teachers at school have been from Spain, Colombia, Ecuador and Mexico. We’re very lucky for the friends we’ve made and that we’ve continued to learn, understand and love our heritage. Colorado has been a great experience for understanding our culture in a different way.
Sofia is 11 years old and Gabriela is 9. In the photo above, they’re enjoying their Colorado summer on swim team and spending time with family and friends (credit: Holly Shapiro).
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