What Miami Looks Like When You’re Colombian-Ecuadorian
Fact: When you tell people you’re from Miami, most assume that you’re Cuban. I mean, that’s a totally valid assumption because, duh, it’s Miami. But here’s what happens when you’re a Miami Latinx (in my case, Colombian-Ecuadorian) but, no, you’re not Cuban:
You quickly learn that Cubans speak really, really fast.
Sure, I have family members who speak fast, but they understand my struggle-bilingualism and keep things cute and slow. But ask for directions in Hialeah, and your head will literally spin off onto the Palmetto, especially when Cuban slang words are thrown in there.
…So you learn that slang real quick.
Since I grew up speaking mostly English, most of the Spanish I heard and learned was Cuban, which is nearly another language. If you could only see how my cousins look at me confused whenever I say “fuacata!” Other examples: When it’s time to hit the road and go to the beach, you say “dale!” Also, a “ventanita” isn’t just a tiny window — it’s a divine portal to cafecito heaven.
People always ask if you’re Cuban.
I mean, it’s not a bad thing, it just gets a little annoying because, like, we have plenty of other Latinx people here! Nicaraguans! Puerto Ricans! Venezuelans! Colombians! Brazilians! Hondurans!
But you don’t mind because Cubans gifted us with good things… like food!
At home, I ate arepa de huevo, ceviche and fritada. On the streets, I ate ropa vieja, medianoches and lots of flan. Now, I eat both, all the time.
… And you have to accept that Arroz Imperial is superior.
Mami’s arroz con pollo is LEGENDARY within the fam, but Cubans just had show off and add mayonnaise and a heaping layer of cheese on theirs. It’s decadent, over-the-top and it’s the only way I eat rice now because that’s how I like my food to be.
But, again, you can eat pastelitos, patacones, arepas, croquetas…
ALL THE DELICIOUS CARBS! Everyday, and all at once if you wish!
You get jealous of your friends’ azabaches.
— Yuri Ramos (@YuriSniper305) February 26, 2015
Like, why wasn’t I special enough to get my own magical, protective charm when I left my mother’s womb? I guess my family didn’t think so… SMH.
…But you smelled like violetas, all the same.
I honestly thought all Latino kids were doused in violetas as a kid, but I learned that was something my Ecuadoran mom picked up from her Cuban friends when my parents moved down to Miami. I’ve asked a Puerto Rican friend (who wasn’t born in Miami) if she ever used violetas, and she said, “What’s that?” So, case proven, right?
You realize no amount of coffee consumption can prepare you for Cuban coffee.
Latinos love café. It’s a fact. My family in Miami is mostly Colombian, so we know a little bit about coffee. But really nothing compares to the dizzying, addictive, sheer power of a Cuban cafecito.
You pick up the idea that you can never leave the house with wet hair.
OK, this might be an all-Latino thing, but my Cuban friends were the ones that would literally choose death rather than break this rule, and it’s rubbed off on me.
…But, you’re super lucky to have the best of both worlds.
…and be surrounded by so many beautiful, loud and diverse Latinx people, irregardless* of nationality. 😉
*Miamian for “regardless.”
Did you also grow up in Miami as a non-Cuban Latinx? What was your experience? Let us know!
Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org