Years after I became a Christian, I moved to Orlando, Florida, which, although it has a good-sized population of Latinos, was more diverse and had a stronger majority culture than I’d ever experienced in New Mexico.
Suddenly, many interactions with people began to feel awkward, like at times I was doing something wrong and didn’t know what. Something felt off.
Sometimes, in this new place, people felt gruff to me. Often, people felt rushed. Everything got done faster. Everyone was very clear about what they wanted. But sometimes they didn’t want to go home for holidays. That confused me maybe more than anything else. (It was just never a desire or even an option for me to stay so far away.)
“You know you’re going through culture shock, right?” a friend, who was from New Mexico originally but who moved many times, responded as I confided this in her. “This is a different culture than yours.”
This friend, Holly, loved the closeness of my family. Still, she explained how there is a huge emphasis on independence in most of the country; but where we’re from, and in Hispanic communities in general, the golden value is familia.
“And that’s beautiful!” she said. “Both of those values are good things. They’re just different.”
Orlando Crespo’s book Being Latino in Christ says it this way, “All … peoples, cultures and customs reflect something of God. He is so infinite that it takes the entire population of the world to reflect Him.”
For more to this story, read my article “God Made Me Hispanic. And It Was Good.”
For a long time, Rebecca Kelsall (formerly Rebecca Gonzales) wondered why some of the things she treasured looked different than the joys of most of her Christian friends. This article describes some of what she saw growing up in Santa Fe.
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