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Friday, February 23, 2024

Neither from here, nor from there: The first generation experience

"For the American I am not American, and for the Mexican I am not Mexican," says Karen Duarte López
"For the American I am not American, and for the Mexican I am not Mexican," Karen Duarte López, originally from Mexico.

By Jireh Mendoza.

"For the American I am not American, and for the Mexican I am not Mexican," says Karen Duarte López, a 20-year-old girl who was born and raised in Redwood City. 

Like many children of immigrants, Karen experiences difficulty identifying with her inherited culture and that of her citizenship. 

Karen's parents are from Sinaloa, Mexico, and although Karen has never been able to visit their homeland, they have made an effort to teach her the culture and keep it alive. From an early age, it was important for his parents to teach him Spanish and each year they celebrated Mexican holidays. 

Karen likes to celebrate Day of the Dead and Christmas, since for her they are the holidays that connect her most to her culture. 

In addition, Karen's family has adopted some aspects of American culture, for example, they celebrate "Turkey Day", that is, Thanksgiving: with turkey, mashed potatoes and tamales. She jokes that she celebrates "Rocket Day," the 4th of July: "It's not even our independence, but we like it," explaining how they celebrate with hamburgers, hotdogs and barbecue. Her family even celebrates two Mother's and Father's Days, one in Mexico and one in the United States. 

Today, Karen is proud of her roots. However, that was not always the case. She describes the struggle between her American and Mexican identities, and describes it as a ?void? (empty). She shares: "If you are too Mexican or Latina, they look at you ugly, which is you anymore." This is the battle Karen faces. But, through Casa Circulo Cultural, she has been able to feel more connected to her Mexican culture. 

She explained to me how Casa Círculo celebrates Latinidad and teaches children their culture. 

At the end of the day, even though she is neither from here nor there, Karen feels grateful to live with both cultures.

You may be interested in: Everything is possible

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Peninsula 360 Press
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Study of cross-cultural digital communication


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