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A Latino & Gringa: The Not-So Average Couple

Interracial Couple
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The Single Life

A Latino & Gringa: The Not-So Average Couple

When a Millennial Americana begins dating a Honduran, cultural differences arise. Her love story…

On paper and in person, we didn’t look like your average couple. His freckled, olive skin, short stature and crooked teeth contrast with my mild—even post-Florida—tan, long legs and “orthodontically-straightened” smile. He saved 10 lives as a volunteer firefighter in Honduras and I took phone orders and made salads in an Italian restaurant in Chicago. He’s lived in the states for two years now but he doesn’t speak English yet. I’m working towards Spanish fluency and hoping to study abroad in Argentina next year. While we were dating, I enabled him, conversando en español the whole time. The downside? Having to translate my dad’s suitor interrogation and intimidation routine, a.k.a the “shotgun in the garage” speech. Needless to say, I didn’t go word for word.

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We were navigating cultural differences from the start. On our first date, he asked me when I wanted to marry. “Cálmate, hijo, es la primera cita!” I joked. It took a few hours to explain to him that we millennial Americans keep things casual, and even when it’s more serious, we “try it” for some time before we “buy it.” I don’t think the hombre processed that information, because he continued to talk about our future lives together. “Yo, Quixote, listen up,” I finally interceded, “If we’re gonna date it’s sin promesas!” All I could promise him was my time and affection in the ahorita. We began enjoying ourselves.

Then my feelings changed. I realized for me, he would be a better friend than boyfriend. Yet he was in love with me. It’s not a healthy relationship if one person is enamored and the other disenchanted. I didn’t want to lead him on, but I also didn’t want to hurt him. I broke the news as gently as I could. I learned some things about his past that weren’t so pretty, and realized he’d made me the solution to his problems. Not a good framework for our future.

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But I don’t regret any of it. We would empty our wallets, but fill our time together with laughter. Take prom; that afternoon we rode the train downtown in full regalia, walked through Love Park and shared a pint of rocky road at a bodega. We climbed the museum steps in style, unfazed by the breathalyzers disguised as flashlights and waved in front of our faces by a small army of district employees. It didn’t matter that none of our friends were there, or that the DJ didn’t play any Latin music and my ex was dancing with some 5-foot player in heels. We got to know other classmates, brought our own salsa to the dance floor and later, my ex’s date ditched him and made out with someone else at the after-party. But we had our own post-prom: a windows-down cab tour of the city on the way to my favorite diner. Nothing can go wrong when Stevie Wonder’s on the jukebox, even if it’s only for a moment.

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Carlina Green is a girl with a vision in her mind and a Pilot pen in her hand! She's a pure Latinga: white by nature and Latina by nurture. Next year, she plans to continue her study of Spanish (in Buenos Aires) and is currently in pursuit of fluency and happiness. Carlina is a part of the Millennial generation but appreciates snail mail much more than social media and turning paper pages more than digital ones. She's a poet and essayist who writes with alternating sincerity and humor.

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