1.05 – Roots

Julius C. Reyes López

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Am I Puerto Rican or Not? I wake up. It is Saturday at 7:00 am in the morning and my mom is there in the kitchen making  breakfast.  It smells like sorullitos and some scrambled eggs. Bingo! It is. I eat as fast as I can to get ready to go to church to give catechism classes to the kids that are preparing to make their first communion. They arrive so happy and there I am in an improvised classroom at the church.  I tell them not to make noise because there are people entering the temple to pray. I see the devotion of the pepinianos and I feel so happy that I am giving some of my time to make those kids learn more about being good Christians. I teach them with all my patience but there is always the funny one of the group, Luis, who wants the attention of his...

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Natalia I. Vázquez Rivera

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MY PUERTO RICAN MOVES – I haven’t even reached the door and I can already hear  hip-hop playing loudly. Oh God! I don’t know how to dance to this beat, I thought as I walked through the door. The others were already starting to dance, with alcohol running through their veins. As we approached the dance floor I could see everyone dancing with some choreographed movements. Back in Puerto Rico dancing is more freestyle, but here there wasn’t much originality. “Come on! Aren’t Puerto Ricans suppose to be good at dancing,” yelled Whitney to me. “Well, there are some that dance pretty good, but that doesn’t mean that we all are good dancers,” I told her. Hopefully, she will let the subject drop. “You must have some moves in ya,” said Whitney. Nope, she is...

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Christian H Rios Salas

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GRANDMA’S SAVORY THANKSGIVING – If you are choosing a cook, my grandmother is the best option when it’s time to make a traditional dish. One of the typical dishes she makes is arroz al fogón. This dish is one of my favorites, especially when I have a big piece of hot turkey breast roasted en la vara next to it. The process of cooking starts with her old, huge iron pot covered with black soot on the outside. The pot has this unique smell of old burned firewood, but it’s just on the outside. The fogón must be completely set up before you bring in the huge pot. The things that must be ready are; the firewood must be burning and the rods set in the right place. After all this, then it’s time to place the pot on the rusty and blackened rods. The cooking...

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Julmarie S. Ramos Ramirez

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My Roots I remember screaming my lungs out and jumping down the railing as those last ten seconds clicked by on the score board. My heart was pounding fast, my blood was racing and then I heard the buzzer as the game ended and they announced that Los Capitanes de Arecibo had won the championship. As I ran into the maze of people jumping and screaming, I realized that I had never been so proud in my life to call myself a Puerto Rican. In that single moment of complete hysteria and happiness, I realized that I may not eat rice and beans and watch Spanish television and know the latest novela yet I am still 100% Puerto Rican because everyday I get up and I feel proud of my heritage. Even though there are occasions when it does feel like you might be an outsider...

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Luis R. Pérez Lasalle

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New Year’s Eve New Year’s Eve is a very special day in Puerto Rico. For as long as I can remember, my family has tried to celebrate it together as often as possible. The day usually starts off busy as my mom, dad and I clean every inch of the house. As night arrives, I finish dressing in what I call my “formal wear,” a long sleeved black dress shirt, dark Docker pants and my only pair of dress shoes. I dislike over dressing but my grandmother, Lillian, would always say: “Hay que despedir el año bonito.” So I don’t mind dressing up like this at least once a year. I pause for a minute as I remember that and hurry outside to greet any guests who arrive while my parents are dressing for the party. My uncle José, we call him Jochy, is already outside smoking one of...

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Mayrim Millán Barea

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Three Kings’ Day My father’s family, especially Abuela Ita and Abuelo Ito, my dad’s parents, and dad himself had always celebrated “El día de Reyes” in a very special and familiar way.  I and my little brothers Luis and “Pito” spent the entire year following those three stars. My  dad told us when we were little they were the Three Kings’ stars. But finally the Three Kings’ Day eve arrives and we were so excited about spending one more year celebrating this tradition in family. To my father this is a very unique and special occasion. He is a man completely devoted to the Three Kings’ traditions.  It is also special because it is the day when his three children bring the tradition that has been in the family for generations to life, such as looking for grass to...

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