Marcela Sarmiento

May 11, 11 Marcela Sarmiento

City you live in:
Staten Island, NY.

English/Spanish/ Spanglish

I feel incredibly fortunate to be fully bilingual. When I was little I lived in Colombia for a couple of years and when we returned to the States my dad was determined to not let me lose my Spanish. He was BEYOND strict! Every day after school, I would finish my homework and then would have to write a dictation he would read out loud, or I’d have to copy a couple of pages of a story written in Spanish. He would then correct it to make sure that all the tildes were over the correct á, é, í, ó and ú’s, and that the spelling was spotless. Every time I would complain (practically every day!), he would emphatically say, ‘En esta casa no se habla inglés¡yo siempre hablaré con acento el inglés pero tú vas a hablar bien el español!’. I used to HATE it but today I am beyond thankful for all he did… and when I have kids, I’ll be sure impart the same technique ;)

Favorite Latin food you can’t live without
Oh my goodness, there is just too many to name! All Latin food is delicious because it’s prepared with love and shared in familia. But if I have to name something, rice is without a doubt a staple in my diet (it’s so important it’s the only thing I know how to make… embarrassing to admit but true, I can’t cook!). My favorite rice dishes: Arroz con coco, arroz con pollo, arroz con fideos, arroz con leche, even ¡arroz con cola-cola! (it’s delicious I promise).

What is your Latina contradiction?
Besides the cooking? Hmm, this is a toughy. After about 30 minutes trying to get a really good one, I’m completely drawing a blank so I guess I’ll elaborate on my lack of cooking skills. My mom is an AMAZING cook and I think most Latina moms have a way of seeing undiscovered flavors, of exploring and combining unlikely foods to create (surprise!) a delicious meal! This would NEVER happen if I cooked! If I am experimenting with food… run and fast!

When you think of Latin culture what are the first words you think of?
Berraquera… Berraquera is a very Colombian word that means strength, tenacity, courage, resolve. In other words, whatever we set our mind to we can achieve. Los Latinos somos unos berracos… all that rice we’ve eaten has given us the strength of character and conviction to dream it and achieve it. We just need to start believing that we are berracos.

What is your ethnicity? Or where is your family from?
¡Colombia! Though I was born here in the US, my heart will forever be yellow, blue and red. I love the special connection I feel to the country of my parents.

Latina? American? Both?
I recently told someone, ‘I am too Latina too be American and too American to be Latina’.  So I guess both, I am proud of the wonderful values and passion only my cultural roots could have given me but I am also proud of what this country stands for, freedom, independence, opportunity. I’ve profited from both and I feel incredibly lucky for it.

Favorite Latin artist or music?
Also too many to name! I love it all! I love Juanes’s pop, Mana’s rock en español, El Grupo Niche’s salsa, Juan Luis Guerra’s merenguito and bachata, the list goes on!

iPhone or BlackBerry?
Blackberry (though I totally want an iPhone!)

How do you describe your style?
Wow! I’ve never actually thought about how to describe my personal style. I like to dress well, look pretty (¡o sea, soy Latina!) but still like to be comfortable (I love what heels do to my posture but I’d trade the glam for the comfort of flats any day!).

[description]My mom is an AMAZING cook and I think most Latina moms are…If I’m experimenting with food… Run and fast![/description]

[ethnicity]Colombian[/ethnicity]

[name]Marcela Sarmiento[/name]

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