Monday, May 30, 2011

"Funny, she doesn't look Druish!"

"Funny, she doesn't look Druish!"

I've never made it a secret that I am Cuban.

I will admit that when I was younger, I might not have embraced it as much.  Like Abuela likes to say, I lost my Spanish for a while and basically had to relearn the language when I joined the workforce. I wanted to be a gringa so bad. I dyed my hair blonde and wore blue contacts as soon as I was able. I never listened to Spanish music and called my sister a ref for liking it. I said I was going to marry an American and move far, far away from Miami the first chance I got.  So yeah, I fell in love and married an American and we did move 1,500 miles from Northern Cuba - but I think I would've loved Mi Gringito whatever his nationality was.

Now that I am not surrounded by it, I have this inner urge to express my Cuban-ness as much as I can.  No, I'm not running around wearing a Cuban flag as a bikini or humming the Cuban National Anthem or anything of the sort...I just want to express it. I speak to Mi Gringito in Spanish very frequently. It doesn't matter if he understands or not -- he will eventually learn! Plus, I'm going to make it a point to teach our future children both languages.

Due to this need of expressing my roots, if anyone is listening, I let it slip that I'm Cuban in our conversation. When people get this little nugget of information, I get one of two responses: "Funny, you don't look Cuban--I would've never guessed!" or "I thought I heard an accent!" -- Huh? How can I get answers from both sides of the spectrum? I mean, I haven't gotten any gray area in this -- not once!

How do I respond to these comments?  I usually just smile and keep my big 'ol Cuban mouth shut. Anyway, what the hell can you say to these comments?

"Funny, you don't look Cuban--I would've never guessed!"
My response: "Oh really! I didn't know that Cuban was a 'look'! Funny, most Cubans I know look alot like me."

"I thought I heard an accent!"
My response: "Me? Seriously? Have you even noticed that you say 'paaaaaahk the cahhhhhh' instead of 'park the car'?"

This second comment irks me more than the first, in reality. When I was in Miami and worked in hotels, not one day would go by that I wouldn't have a guest comment that I surprisingly didn't have an accent both in English & Spanish.  It was one of the things I strived to have: an ambiguous accent.
"Babe, do I sound like these women?"

I still remember watching the first episode of "The Real Housewives of Miami" and suddenly turning to Mi Gringito and asking him, "Babe, do I sound like these women?" He responded, "No way!"

You could imagine my horror, when a few weeks later I was speaking with a friend and she said, "You know, your accent is exactly like Alexia's from the Real Housewives!" My response? I just smiled sweetly.

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