Flying brings out the Latina in me!
I've been living in this country consistently for more than 30 years, I've been married to my gringo for 25 years and I have no family (parents and sisters) in the U.S. Although my two best friends are Latinas, I spend most of time at work and socializing with Americanos. So you would think that I would have assimilated completely by now. I can easily "blend" in but there are certain situations and roles that bring out the Latina in me and I realize that there are certain traditions, beliefs and values that I will hold on to forever. My biggest fear is flying.
Ironically, travel has always been an important part of my career since I deal with clients all over the country. Overall, I'm OK if the flight is smooth, if I can see the ground and if there's little turbulence.
The minute we take off my Latina ritual starts. I start off with a prayer I learned as a little girl "angel de mi guardia.." and then ask my entire familia who has passed to protect me as well as everyone on the flight. I start with mi abuelo, mis tios and then I move on to my husband's family. I pray in Spanish on and off throughout the flight and I listen to cheery, Latin music (unless the flight is so bad I can't concentrate!).
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I have held hands with complete strangers – business executives, yogis, women, men, a teen and even a CNN correspondent. I ask them to hold my hand when it gets extremely turbulent although we might have not even spoken to each other until that point. Usually they try to talk to me but I tell them that I just need them to hold my sweaty hand while I pray.
Once I had our whole row of women holding hands and praying. Of course, they happen to be Latinas going back home to Miami from NY. I've only had one gringo refuse to hold my hand! My kids love hearing about my "flight" stories when I get home. Gracias a Dios, they don't mind flying! I love flights that go to Latin America or Hispanic routes where everyone claps and se persinan when you land. I fit right in!
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