American woman, made with Cuban Parts

As a descendant of Cuban exiles, I grew up in the vibrant city of Hialeah, “La Ciudad del Progreso.” Born to hard-working parents who walked the line of middle-class aspirations, I was initially unaware of the profound disparities in socio-economic classes that existed in Miami. Our family ethos emphasized the value of education and the virtue of seizing work opportunities.

Weekends were sacred, invariably spent at the abuelos’ house. It was here, under the tutelage of my Abuelo Mingo, that I truly connected with my heritage. He instilled in me a deep appreciation for our lineage, highlighting the honor and privilege of being a descendant of Cubans.

My story speaks to a reality that many children of immigrants can relate to. Growing up in a new country, there’s often a delicate balancing act between embracing the new culture and preserving the traditions and values of the homeland. This balance is often facilitated by family elders, like my Abuelo Mingo, who serve as a bridge between the past and the future.

Hialeah, as you likely know, is home to one of the largest Cuban-American communities in Miami-Dade County and the United States. This vibrant community has been instrumental in shaping the cultural and political landscape of Miami-Dade County and, by extension, Florida. Being raised in such an environment means that you’re exposed to a melting pot of traditions, beliefs, and stories that tie you to a rich Cuban heritage.

The lessons from family elders, especially those who lived through the hardships and the challenges of exile, are invaluable. They often recount tales of courage, resilience, and sacrifice, and these stories are crucial in shaping the next generation’s understanding of their identity and roots. My Abuelo Mingo instilled in me a sense of pride and respect for my Cuban ancestry. The values of hard work, education, and family unity that my parents upheld are also recurring themes in the narratives of many immigrant families, highlighting the universal aspirations for a better life and a brighter future.

One of the beautiful aspects of the Cuban-American story is the blending of two cultures, resulting in a unique identity that’s both Cuban and American. This duality often allows individuals to navigate two worlds simultaneously, drawing strengths from both.

My Abuelo Mingo’s teachings about the honor and privilege of being a Cuban descendant are a testament to the resilience and strength of the Cuban people. They faced challenges head-on, whether it was political upheaval, personal losses, or the hardships of starting anew in a foreign land. Carrying forward the lessons, values, and stories of your predecessors is a way to honor their sacrifices and to ensure that future generations understand their roots.

Take a glimpse of my journey at The rich tapestry of individual stories, like mine, collectively paints a vivid picture of the Cuban-American experience.

2 thoughts on “American woman, made with Cuban Parts”

  1. A heartfelt thanks and welcome!!!! You and your generation are the fruit of The Abuelos labors and sacrifices. And your successes are what cures the pains of exile.

  2. I was raised Irish/scottish/German. At age 70 decided with pressure from my kids to do DNA well to my surprise I am Irish/Spain/Portuguese via Cuba so of course I am trying to learn everything from foods to cultures and to why I always loved baseball, boxing and cigars. And I am a woman. I was born in Manhattan N.Y 1947
    But raised in philly. My mom came to N.y as a nun from Ireland. I was lucky to find a cousin in Florida on my birth father side.
    Thanks for sharing these stories a lot are sad but very educational
    Dee Smith
    Mesa, Az

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