Where I’m From

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I am from rollers and hair dryers, Mirta de Perales and Pantene, bucles and scrunchies.

I am from a home to house generations, veiled in secrets. From things better left unsaid and ancestoral mystery.

I am from children are best seen but not heard. From “do as your told” and “aim to please”. From take the road most traveled.

I am from mami, abuelo y madrina, a tiny family big on love, not so big on showing it. From hard work and a life built from the ground up.

From a second chance of getting it right.

I am from long walks and even longer bus rides on Bergenline Avenue. From Dos Amigos and Houghlihans, El Artesano y La Cafeteria.

From day trips into New York City and Sundays in Queens for Cuban food at the Chinese restaurant.

I am from church tours from Jersey to DC to Florida. From Disney vacations and summers down the shore.

I am from immigrant dreams in a foreign land.

I am from gladiolas on the dining room table, white petals in the tub.

I am from festive Noche Buenas and lazy Christmas days, from ham on Thanksgiving and saintly shrines.

I am from fiery tempers and unwavering optimism. From no one to blame but yourself.

From sana sana cola de rana y de lo que pica el pollo.

From Saved by the Bell y Sabado Gigante.

I am from Hail Marys and Santana Barbara, Our Fathers y La Virgen de la Caridad.

Prayer and lit candles, confession y despojos.

Holy water in emptied detergent bottles y aqua florida. Rosaries and aszavches.

I’m from a West coast birth, raised and rooted in the East, soaring out at sea.

I’m from maduros and frijoles, arroz con leche y malta con leche evaporada. From cod liver oil and milk of magnesium.

From a trip to Cuba at age three and first cafecito sips, from novelas and late night Arsenio Hall.

I am from Cuba and New Jersey, from parents 20 years older than everyone else’s. From hip hop culture and freestyle music.

I am from pride and tough love, respect and faith, determination and fire.


Writing prompts are sometimes more stifling than inspiring but this one is magic. Discovered here who discovered it there. Take a look at the original writing prompt and give it go. What’s so wonderful about this is it can be serious and deep or light and really a fun walk down memory lane. You choose what direction to take it in.

In the comments, tell me. Where are YOU from?

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  1. Excellent! There is such a strong tie to culture all the way through. Absolutely beautiful amiga! 🙂 I’m sorry things were harder when you were young, but so glad you’re raising your family up with both your cultural heritage and your own values.

  2. Wow! You took me back. I used to swear by Mirta de Perales!

    This was such a great piece. Honestly, it felt like home. Seems we share a lot of the same upbringing. Cod liver oil pills and Arsenio Hall and so much more…amazing!

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