Both my parents are from Guatemala and it’s interesting because they didn’t meet until they came to Chicago. It’s even more interesting to find out the connections that they had at some point: my mom was friends with my dad’s sister and my dad worked for my mom’s father.
My parents made a decision, if we want our kids to know Spanish, we have to speak it at home. My dad had already been here for several years so he was fluent in English but my mom wasn’t necessarily. She was learning as it went along but she suffers from severe hearing loss so learning a language is hard. For her, it was more like learning how to lip read in a different language, which is super hard. They made a decision as a couple, we want our kids to know Spanish. So we spoke only Spanish at home with our parents and each other. But as soon as we left home everything was different.
I grew up in a pretty diverse school. We grew up playing together and our reality was exactly the same. We would come out and play and communicate in English and then, when we would go home, our household was Spanish, their household was Bulgarian, their household was Serbian/Croatian/Bosnian. That’s what we knew of other kids. It wasn’t necessarily different. That was the norm. – Enrique