“You sound so American!” one girl said.
Well, that was something I had never heard before. Apparently there was some sort of secret code. People could tell where you were from just by the way you talked. American? American! How does one even sound American? I was shocked by such a claim but slightly embarrassed as well. I mean no one ever told me I sounded American. I was praised in my Spanish class in Jacksonville for having such a great Spanish accent. I mean it was apparent that I was far from fluent but American. Was that an insult? I mean you could tell Cuban Spanish from Mexican Spanish but I never thought I would be considered gringa (American). The old me might have said something like, “Soy Cubana, no es gringa,” and of course others would laugh. Then I would wonder, were they laughing at the joke or at me?
I had always been a shy kid. I was always fearful of judgement and now my voice gave it away. I began to rely heavily on my parents for means of communication when the situation involved me having to speak in Spanish. I could not bear to see the look of confusion on people 's faces when I spoke Spanish, so I turned to my parents who were both fluent in Spanish. I was frustrated and fed up. It was one thing to occasionally speak Spanish but without it you couldn’t survive in Miami. I couldn’t wrap my head around such logic. I was struggling to make it by with so little Spanish while others were graduating high school with no English. This angered me so much I began to resent Spanish speakers.
I abandoned what little Spanish I knew. S...
... middle of paper ...
...d in. I went around the office greeting the staff. It was just another day of internship. Nothing exciting really.
I approached Riemy’s desk, “Do you need any help?”
He looked up from his computer, “Um…” he wiped his hands across his face, “Yeah. Can you make some copies?”
I grabbed the master copies from the top shelf and walked over to the copy machine. The phones continued to ring as I loaded the machine. The humming of the machine was interrupted by the sound of Emma’s voice.
With several files in hand she said, “Hey. Do you mind taking the Spanish speaker on line 3?”
“Oh! Um. Sorry, I didn’t tell you. I don’t speak Spanish.”
“Oh really? I could have sworn… Never mind.”
“I got it!” said Reimy from behind us. “Congresista Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. Como puedo ayudarte?”
“I thought you spoke Spanish.”
“It’s alright I know I look the part,” I said with a chuckle.
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