One of the questions I get asked most by family and friends is if I plan on raising Jacob speaking Spanish. My parents were born in Sonora, Mexico, my sister was born there, and 90% of my very very large family lives there. Though I was born in Los Angeles, my mom moved us back to Mexico when I was still a baby. My first memories take place in Mexico, some days my heart and stomach long for Mexico, and my first language is Spanish. I very clearly remember moving back to the United States and learning English from square one. My parents wrote out the alphabet in Spanish phonetics ("A" = ey, "B"= bi, etc), and I was thrown into a mostly English speaking school. Since I was still very young, I picked up this second language quickly and have outgrown any accent I may have once had. I am still completely fluent in Spanish, mostly thanks to my mom who has always insisted I speak Spanish to her, though she is fluent in English. There are some words and phrases I struggle with in Spanish, especially if I'm put on the spot or too excited to think straight.
Every now and again, I say things in English that are completely wrong and Josh teases me that he should write me a book with common English sayings and jokes. Up until about a year ago, I thought that if you didn't clean your home you would find coW webs, and if you didn't watch your back, you might get piG pocketed! Oh, and most of the movies people my age grew up with? I either watched them dubbed in Spanish or watched and understood absolutely nothing. My nostalgia is El Chavo del Ocho, Muchchitas, and Sabado Gigante. There's comfort in hearing Joan Sebastian or Los Tigres del Norte playing, and some days I want nothing more than a duro with chamoy on top.
When Jacob started speaking, we worked a lot on Spanish words, but that's slowed down a bit. He is delayed in some of his speech, so we are focusing on English first, so he can at least be understood in one language soon. About a third of his words are in Spanish already, my mom speaks mostly Spanish to him, and it's neat to see how he also understands the English word for the same thing.
I will probably always get things mixed up a bit, and may speak in Spanglish most of the time, but I really hope to raise Jacob speaking both English and Spanish, and celebrating his Mexican heritage. I, of course, want him to have every opportunity that being bilingual can open up for him, but I also want him to grow up with a deep connection to his extended family. There were some cultural clashes that my mom and I went through when I was growing up, but I'm glad to have a close tie to my family and their traditions. We have over 100 family members still in Mexico, most of them in the same city. I can't wait for him to experience what it's like to hang out at his grandmas' houses, have a million cousins to joke and run around with, and walk to the toritlleria and roll up a fresh tortilla that just came off the conveyor belt.