The screen is black, the faded bright blue words read ”A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away..." a quick pause and then all of a sudden a screaming set of trumpets blare the beginning cords of the opening crawl of Star Wars.
Born from a Colombian Chinese family, I have been granted a responsibility-not so much a responsibility but the honor- to be prideful of my heritage. I identify as Colombian though I have never set foot on the cobble stone roads my mom walked to get to school nor have I felt the salty breeze of my dad’s hometown market. My parents, as immigrants to the states, have completely immersed themselves to American culture. Sometimes, I feel like my dad’s southern accent has destroyed his free-flowing fluid and beautiful Spanish vocabulary when I haven’t heard him talk about his days back in Cali.
I have always grown up learning about American culture through movies, TV shows, and series. While my great grandmother, Mami Angelina, would watch Betty la Fea; I spent my younger years watching The Sound of Music, Full House, and The Cosby Show. Though the Spanish language was the first to come out of my lips, I still felt pressure at school to acculturate and I soon learned when not to roll my "r"s and what the meaning of "y'all" meant; though, I can proudly say that my love for cumbia, salsa, and merengue have not left my bones.
Some people believe that certain memories have been instilled forever, tattooed, or embedded into their mind for constant retrieval and constant reminder of the joy or the lesson that those memories provide. I push this theory to the next step when I say I believe some of these lessons and memories can serve as poignant spots in the maturation of someone’s perspective. In my past experience, telenovelas and movies have been the perfect way to absorb memories, lessons, and stories that have taught me lessons and given me memories that I’ve grown up from.
Because I grew up with all boys, my connection to telenovelas has been soley through my great grandmother and Betty la Fea. My emotional connection has been stronger to The Amazing Spiderman, Superman, Batman, X-Men, and in particular, Star Wars. Those were the "telenovelas" I grew up to. Those were the stories that I identified my fears, my insecurities, and my progression as a young bystander in life. I identified with Luke, Peter, and Bruce in their fears and their progression as they matured in their families and in society. Sure, of course I wanted to be Lois Lane and Mary Jane Watson. But I saw myself as more of a leader- like Queen Amidala- the one who got to use a gun and fight for herself and those who were dear to her.
I am excited to absorb memories and lessons- though some of them may be traumas and hard to process- I know I will be able to journey further in my path to develop as who I am as a person. Looking at all the different character developments that telenovelas offer- though they may be tied by a single love story- I know I will be able to be impressed upon by my heritage’s values and lessons they have for a work-in-progress like me.