Literacy Narrative Essay

Although I live in New York, I have often felt like I haven’t lived in New York. Turning eighteen to me meant living on my own and being able to live the way I wanted under my own roof and no longer feeling as if everyday was predictable, that everyday was the same. But one can’t rush life and with no great amount of money and a definite goal of graduating college, it hasn’t worked out like that.

Moving back to Mexico is something my mom has wanted to do the moment she left and I think about it too. I know I could get by even if the environment and the customs are completely different from New York. But that’s what I want; difference. A difference that gives me the chance to experience something new that has always had a sense of familiarity. My parents have told me stories about their families, past friendships and shown me pictures of myself in a town that I don’t remember but still yearn for. A part of me wanting to move back to Mexico is because I don’t want those experiences to just feel like stories; I want to know them. Anytime family members would come visit us from Mexico, their Spanish sounded smooth, natural and friendly. I wondered from then on if it was clear that I spoke more English growing up or seemed as if I knew less of the language? Being set on going to Mexico, I wanted to make sure I didn’t struggle with trying to remember how to say any word in Spanish. Especially those that aren’t cognates and would have never guessed how to say, like imanes for magnets. 

Growing up bilingual made it easy to use and switch between two languages to form a sentence to anyone in my household, even my parents who only spoke Spanish all their lives. While this felt natural to me, writing a professional paper in Spanish would be difficult. Reading has always been a part of my life and the majority of literature I have read is in English. It gave me the proper practice to write papers all throughout school. I never thought about just how much it would limit my proficiency in writing and reading Spanish. The paper would sound awkward and possibly even incorrect and informal. Incorporating more texts that come from Latin American authors would help me not only to see the difference in the structuring of words and complex sentences, but would also show me other forms of inventive visions in the literary world.

Languages produce creation. Without it there would be no way to identify who we are as a person and with others. It gives us the opportunity to create new things for ourselves and those around us. A blending of cultures was never limited to the barriers of language. Historical trade is a factor that made a revolutionary change in the world and allowed several empires to mix in with one another, enjoying the products and creations of each other. It was a moment of new adjustment and discovery. This is something that is present today with people discovering their favorite food, music genre or movies from another country. Languages are a part of the process in human craft.

During this process of trying to become perfectly fluent in Spanish as if I had been raised in Mexico my whole life, I wasn’t paying attention to what I loved about the language, about both languages. Even though it is undeniable that I know how to express myself in English more, it doesn’t replace the sentiment of appreciation I have for being able to understand both languages and the extensive forms of individuality and originality that come to exist from them; just like any other dialect or language in the world. People are able to create with the variety of languages presented to them, even if they don’t know multiple at the same time. 

Being raised in New York has given me the chance to grow up in several cultures while continuing to reside in Queens; exposed to the multitude of languages and dialects. It has become easy to identify a familiar tone of voice or speech. Hearing Tagalog on a subway ride reminds me of middle school and the Filipino friends I had. Going to my Ecuadorian friends’ parties in high school showed me the vocals and tempo their music holds and how different it is from regional Mexican music. Every language has its own sound and provides that comfort for those native to  each one. Hearing several languages everyday has grown my love for the various sounds in not only music but in the way that people communicate as well. 

This feeling doesn’t only find itself in Queens with my heart. It’s universal. There has been Mexican music that was influenced by English music. For example, Roberto Jordans Hazme una señal is inspired by Brenton woods Gimme little sign. Both of these songs have the same lyrics just in a different language. While each song may make everyone feel different, it is the rhythm that is forever different. My father has played Spanish rock songs from Mexican artists such as Cafe Tacuba, El Tri and Mana, as well as music by Nirvana, Radiohead, Metallica. All of these bands share the same instruments yet I find myself preferring the rock bands from Spanish more because it is what I grew up with. There is no limit to what one uses for inspiration. I only came to know English rock bands once my own father began to discover and expand his taste in music for himself. Distinction has always been around and will continue to follow me, no matter if I find myself wanting a profound change currently. Discovering new art and small details in life is what helped me to change up my seemingly constant uniform days in the past.

I still believe moving to Mexico can give me another language to appreciate. The ability to understand what it means to live within my home country. To experience the food and culture I was raised within the small square footage of my family’s apartment directly in the place of where the original roots reside. Instead of being in the middle of the diverse communities all over the city, it would instead be a single place of cultural and national unity. This sounds the opposite from the change I say I need in life, but it is that new beginning all together. The beginning to become fond of a new environment, architecture, people and more so to finally fulfill those stories I have classified as missing memories. 

Even if I feel like I haven’t lived the commonly romanticized New York lifestyle and it has been filled with more struggle than my parents would have hoped for, I’m glad for having grown up in New York. It is where I come from and the place where I was able to shape the person I am today. All of my memories have been made here because of my days spent in school, the friends I’ve met and my favorite; the walks I have taken every different season in my life. Feeling the fresh air of a new winter, spring, summer and fall day. Leaving New York doesn’t mean leaving my memories behind but instead taking them with me. I think at some point a profound change is needed in order to appreciate the days we have lived and what they have offered to us. With all of my experiences in New York, in Queens, no matter where I am I’ll always have that creativity and inspiration I’ve found in myself along with the beauty I’ve seen in places and people.