Pink Think: “Anytime you do something Latino, yeah, I love the color, the spice.” – Esai Morales
When I was in college, I discovered the magic and allure of Latino culture. I was a freshman in America from the Philippines, sixteen and rooming with my mom. Utah State University had a big international student population, and I got involved in a club where most of the officers came from South America.
I still remember one of our outings after a dance, my beautiful friend Lorena from Venezuela drove me and some other people up to Chi-Chi’s, a chic Mexican restaurant on Main Street, where we talked and laughed over delicious tortilla chips and salsa. Although I drank virgin pina colada to their cerveza, those friendships sparked my lifelong love affair with the Latin culture.
I didn’t speak Spanish yet, but I found the language seductive. As a Filipina, I was familiar with a lot of Spanish terms since the Philippines had been colonized by Spain for 300 years and left its indelible mark on our language. Eventually, I took two years of Spanish, and was a class short of a Spanish minor. I wanted to go to Mexico for a semester, but couldn’t afford it. So I did the next best thing: I attended mass in Spanish and went out with a few guys from South America.
I thought for sure I would marry a Spanish-speaker, but then I met a Utah guy who would later be my husband. He didn’t speak Spanish and he felt self-conscious about dancing the sensual merengue, salsa, or cumbia. He spoke Korean (which he learned on a church mission) but cooked a mean taco. I traded my wild, senorita days for Love and the respectability of marriage.
But some days, when I hear a pulsating merengue or salsa beat, I come alive, take my husband by the hand and we twirl around playfully in our own little casita.
To celebrate May being Latino Books Month, I am hosting a book giveaway (courtesy of Hatchette Group) to one lucky winner for three books of your choice from the following:
Try to Remember By Iris Gomez (read my Q& A with Iris here)
Hot (broke) Messes By Nancy Trejos
Waking Up in the Land of Glitter By Kathy Cano-Murillo
Little Nuggets of Wisdom By Chuy Bravo, Tom Brunelle
Lone Star Legend By Gwendolyn Zepeda
Into the Beautiful North By Luis Alberto Urrea
Amigoland By Oscar Casares
To enter, leave a comment in answer to this question:
US & Canada, No PO Boxes. Deadline: Sunday, May 23
*Update: We have a winner. Congratulations, Adriana!*