Nadia Ruiz is a PhD student at University of Kansas. Her research interests include philosophy of science and metaphysics.
I grew up in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua—a border city next door to El Paso, Texas. All that divides the two cities are the Rio Bravo, a wall and an international bridge. You would think that eases my interactions with both American and Mexican cultures. However, the vast majority of the El Paso population is Mexican or first-generation Mexican-Americans. Hence, El Paso’s culture is very similar to the culture found in Mexico—an American city infused with Mexican culture. It wasn’t until I moved to the Midwest that I saw the difference between Mexican and American cultures.
Aside from differences in food flavors, I also recognized a difference in the relationship between individuals and their families. For instance there seems to be a separation from family once the individual moves out and becomes a young adult. I have noticed that my parent’s involvement in my life differs in comparison with some of my American friends parents’ involvement. For example, when my mom visits I arrange dinners for her to meet and interact with some of my new friends despite possible language barriers. These gatherings give my mom an inside look at my new life since I moved so far from home. And this behavior is not new. My parents have always been closely involved in my life–– even in high school. I wanted them to be. My Hispanic friends parents’ involvement also seems to be similar. Just like I do, they have planned gatherings when their families visit, connecting friends with family. But I have not seen the same customs from my Americans friends.
It is possible that the parents of my American friends are involved in their lives. For example, they might still be close to their family, be in communication and talk over the phone daily. However, the difference between the way my parents are involved and my American friends is how close my parents are in terms of my friendship community and decision-making as I grow up in life. Based on my first-hand experiences, the Hispanic culture emphasizes family intertwined with friendship relationships. My parents are steeped in my world and get to experience some aspects of my life.