I was born in North Carolina to two Honduran immigrants. Being born to immigrant parents in the United States itself presents many challenges growing up. You automatically acquire cultures, your parent’s culture, and your new American one. 

Sometimes you aren’t born into your culture, you grow up in it. I didn’t stay in North Carolina for long. I barely remember it. I grew up in and know Louisiana more, this is my culture. Juggling multiple cultures was a challenge growing up. 

I say multiple because in Louisiana there are multiple subcultures, and I happened to move places a lot as a kid. From the ages of 4 to 9, I grew up in the New Orleans area. That was my peak.

My parents and I would frequent Lafreniere Park in Metairie, Downtown New Orleans, the Audubon Zoo and Aquarium and the French Quarter. I visited these places so often that I can probably walk them blindfolded and upside down. 

I was always deeply immersed in the New Orleans culture and overall vibe. Eating a bag of over-powdered beignets, while sitting in Jackson Square, listening to a second line or a makeshift band made of buckets and plates was how I spent my weekends. 

The days of eating beignets are far behind me. Sadly, I’m old and they have too much sugar. But I have always carried that in my heart.

I often visit my childhood stomping grounds and see a familiar worker or street performer. 

After that, I moved to Houma, Louisiana. Please don’t look it up. It’s nothing special, but it is special to me and I like to defend it fiercely. But Houma has its own culture too. It is a mixture of country, Cajun, bayou and Native American.

It took me a few years to understand the culture completely. I fell in love with living near the bayous and learning about bayou life. I do feel like a hypocrite because I’ve never actually gotten on a boat, they scare me and I have a funny feeling I’ll get seasick.

Fishing, crabbing, eating an ungodly amount of crawfish (like 150 pounds spread on a table) and hurricane parties have replaced city life for me. In a small town, it is easy to know someone related to someone. Hence the stereotype of “small gossip.” 

Since I live in Louisiana, I am Southern. This can be heard in my accent and vocabulary. In conversations with not-so-welcoming people, they say I am not Southern because I am Honduran-American. 

And that is simply not true, I am a Southern Honduran-American. Proudly at that! But sometimes I struggle with juggling all my cultures. I love them all but I will admit my American culture consumes me sometimes.  

Since most of my family is living in Honduras, engaging with my Honduran culture is hard. Honduras has been through a lot politically and culturally, so the culture has been washed and reduced to a few signifiers. 

Baleadas, the scarlet macaw, and our beautiful five-starred, navy blue flag are a few of the things that come to my mind when I think of Honduras. I’ve only been once when I was 9, and sadly I don’t remember much. I am only left with the stories my parents tell me about growing up in their mother country. 

My parents tell me stories of growing up picking bean fields and selling food on the street as young as 5 years old. Doing manual labor and helping their parents earn money is a staple of any older Honduran immigrant. 

But amid remembering the hard times, they also remember the good times. My mother tells me about how she would be scared to go to the fairs for fear of violence but she always liked seeing it from afar. 

She remembers cooking fresh food, not the nasty fast food that we Americans have, she says. My father grew up in poverty like my mother but he has crazier stories. As a boy, he would climb trees, steal chickens and have machete fights, a typical 12-year-old boy.

Older adults tell me stories of patron festivals where they celebrate their patron saints, dance folklórico and see horse races and bullfights. But they say that’s where the culture stops. There isn’t much because of excessive violence, poor politicians and corrupt officials dimming the lights and culture of the Honduran people. 

So wanting to keep a dying culture in my heart is an uphill battle. Maybe one day I’ll experience my culture for myself, but for now, I’ll cling to my parents’ stories and the stories of fellow immigrants who live here now. Juggling multiple cultures is a battle I’m glad I have.

 I think having multiple cultures connects you to more people. It’s easier to have a laugh with someone if you know their culture, even if you may not look like you do. But sometimes I feel insecure.

When speaking Spanish I stutter my words, or I hide my Southern accent and vocabulary, and I feel like I truly don’t belong to any of my cultures. I wasn’t born into the culture my skin represents and I don’t look like the cultures I grew up in. 

I want to embrace all of them but sometimes the people within my cultures do not embrace me. I was too American and didn’t know how to communicate with other Hispanics in school, and I was too Hispanic for the Americans. 

l used to call myself a “weird mixture” because I was a Southern Honduran-American. I hope I see more “weird mixtures” in my life. I like seeing diversity not just in skin but in culture.