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meet angel hamilton.

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3 steps to reconnecting with your culture

This post is sponsored by Duolingo, but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

At first glance you might notice my subtle southern draw from being raised in Kentucky. At second glance, you might think I have Italian descendants. But that’s not true. The dark hair, olive skin, and almost black eyes, come from my father, a Mexican immigrant. My mother and father divorced when I was young and I was not raised by him. I was raised by my mother, a very white German woman, who spoke no Spanish. When someone finds out that I am biracial the first question after is “Do you speak Spanish?” As if that were an indicator that I am actually Mexican. I usually get defensive and respond “No, because…” as if I have to prove that I am still Mexican, even though I do not speak the language. But the truth is that I am biracial, I am not bicultural and have always felt the disconnect. With everything going on in the world and self isolation being the norm, we’ve all found ourselves with an abundant amount of time to do the things we’ve put off. So now is the time to dive into my culture. How to reconnect with your culture.

1. Learn the Language Learning to speak Spanish has always been on my to-do list but access to classes or learning tools have always been too costly or time restricting. That’s when I found Duolingo, the world's most popular way to learn a language - for free! It’s so great and you just need two things: a screen and internet access. Download the Duolingo App and you’re ready to go. You don’t have to pay anything. It’s free! I get to choose the difficulty level and amount of daily time I want to spend on the app.

My favorite part is that it feels like I am playing a game. Learning a language is tough no matter how you do it, but Duolingo makes it fun and easier. It’s so fun that the kids have joined in on Spanish class! To learn more click HERE.

2. Cook the food So much of culture is in the food. I decided to pick up a cookbook called More Mexican Everyday by Rick Bayless that not only has fantastic recipes to try, but tells the story and history behind each. It was a great way to have fun cooking, and reconnecting with a part of my culture I never knew. To purchase the cookbook click HERE.

3. Music and dance I figured I would dive in deep and learn about some of the folk dances of those in Mexico. I had no idea that there was such a rich history of dance and music. I had heard the tunes of the famous Jarabe dance in cartoons as a kid, but never knew there was an upbeat beautiful dance that went with it. The flashy dresses and the charro suits that go with the dance are beautiful. And thanks to youtube dance tutorial videos I am able to learn some of the traditional dances at home. Now is the best time to dive into your culture and learn the language and cook the food and I promise you will enjoy it because of tools like Duolingo. Happy exploring!

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