Photo: Hammonton Photography
1. Another concept of “religious”
In the country, I assumed my loved ones was religious since they dragged us to Mass every sunday, “blessed” us over our heads before we made long journey, generating us carry a Virgen de Guadalupe in your suitcases when you traveled. But when compared with people Latin America, my family’s religious rituals were mild understandably. In Latin America, church and Mass started all day, daily every week. Cities stopped for parades and holidays honoring Catholic saints. And the señal de la cruz was given in case you were just going to the corner store. Having looked at how intensely devout Latin Americans are, my family’s adherence to several minor rituals paled in contrast.
2. An acceptance for absolutely cute or absolutely offensive nicknames
“Reina,” “Princesa,” “Bonita,” “Gordita,” “Flaquita,” “Morenita” — anything “-ita.” While on a trip in South usa, an excellent day went by without someone — taxi driver, store vendor, hostel owner — mentioning us a using a nickname they chose themselves. Translated into English, they’re either absolutely cute or absolutely offensive, but hearing locals repeat them regardless — shamelessly together with seemingly good intentions — taught me to are aware that the methods our grandkids had labeled me for years (“Pansoncita,” “Naris de Gata”) all originated an actual place of affection.
3. The range of food/cuisine in South America
Growing in Florida, I have been accustom to restaurants falsely lumping all “Latin American food” together, or inaccurately supposing that “Latin American food” was exactly like Mexican and Caribbean staples like beans, rice, or steak. My time traveling and eating across South America proved there’s much more shared as opposed to America assumed.
In Argentina, the menu was often pasta and mate tea. In Ecuador, people raved of “cuy” (roasted guinea pig). In Peru, it had been ceviche, palta rellena, and dishes constructed with the 3,000 kinds of potatoes growing near your vicinity. Even across one country, your food changed significantly from just one area to the subsequent. In Ecuador’s coast, I saw encebollado on nearly every menu, while just a couple hours away out in the wild restaurants bragged concerning hornado. Sampling most of these unique dishes opened my eyes to how unfairly limited our understanding of “Latin American food” is in the States, and in what ways many delicious culinary experiences we had arrived missing out on.
4. A new perspective on race
In north america, It\’s my job to considered myself Hispanic or Latino, and not self-identified as white. But time in Latin America demonstrated that race in Latin America was far more complicated in comparison to the “black,” “white,” and “latino” categories. Subgroups like “mulatto,” “mestizo,” and “indígena” complicate race conversations in Latin America, and folks seem most worried about distinguishing themselves from their site: Argentinians emphasize their Italian or German backgrounds. My fair-skinned close relatives — comparing themselves towards the indigenous, mestizo, and black populations within their countries — also identified making use of their European backgrounds. While doing so, the way in which people identified race and ethnicity — using terms like “chinito” to get a Asian person, or “negrito” for those with darker skin — didn’t necessarily manage to express precisely the same negative overtones or intentions the terms carry in the usa. These types of unique issues show race relations in Latin America have entirely new dimensions and struggles to contemplate when rethinking the way personally need to identify, in the usa and abroad.
5. A completely new knowledge of US international policy
Throughout my 18 years of US public education, I seldom found out about how US and Latin American history intertwined: our involvement with Pinochet in Chile, our interventions in Bolivia, etc. Enjoying these stories on a trip drove me to finally improve on Latin American background and have an understanding of how many times the us has influenced folks, politics, and livelihood of folks all over the continent. After discovering our country’s past impact, we will better comprehend why so many locals still resent the US’s international policies and feel skeptical individuals capability to help positively sometime soon.
6. A renewed appreciation for feminist opportunities within the United States
Chile only legalized divorce in 2004. A wide range of country in Latin America only allows abortion in instances of rape or threat one\’s. At the much less extreme level, in Latin America, it turned out still usual to hear women surprised which i was 25, single, and traveling with no man. These were equally surprised to find out which had previously worked in the city distant from family, lived in the apartment unaccompanied, along no purpose of marrying soon.
As one woman in the us, I often neglect these options and opportunities. Even though America is far from perfect in creating equal opportunities for everyone women (we rank 20 on earth in global gender gaps as per the World Economic Forum) — time spent in Latin America makes any woman realize what freedom we like in united states.