I grew up in the Caribbean* until middle school, when my entire life changed and I came to the United States. From what I had seen in Spanish-dubbed movies like Home Alone and Mrs. Doubtfire, the U.S. was all skyscrapers and giant suburban houses and manicured front lawns. It looked nice!
Imagine my shock when, instead, it was rebel flags, trailer parks, and woods. Lots and lots of woods. Some lakes, too. With gators.
You see, I had come to the deep south 😄
Unlike whatever Twitter’s trying to sell you, my personal experience was actually pretty nice.
I made friends with the nerdier kids, being a huge dork myself 🙂 What we mostly had in common was our love of reading and… we were all dirt-poor. The popular kids had money. We didn’t. A lot of those kids, poor like me, happened to be white.
My good friend Christina was what she called a “redneck.” It was my first time hearing that term. Uh, it was my first time hearing ALL terms. All words. All of English. I only spoke Spanish for the first year I was there, then learned English with immersion and the help of my friends.
I asked a boy one day, “Why do you call yourself a redneck? What’s that?”
He pulled the collar of his shirt, leaned in, and said, “See my neck? Does it look red to you?”
“No.” It looked beige, not red.
“No, really. Look at it.”
I think he was joking with me. I said, “Oh, I see it now.” I didn’t 😆
My friends were very welcoming. Ashley took me to a demolition derby one day, and I had a lot of fun. Another time, Christina asked me to come mud bogging with her.
“That sounds fun,” I said. “What is it?”
“We take a truck down to the hole and play in the mud.”
“It’s fun,” she insisted. “If you don’t have a truck you can just play in the mud and stuff.”
“You can wear a bathing suit if you want.”
I politely declined… 🤗
Christina and I were friends all through middle school and high school, don’t get me wrong! I just didn’t want to play with her in the mud, because that’s what it sounded like. I’m sure it was more fun if you actually had a truck (we didn’t).
I did go swimming in murky, gator-infested lakes, and I really cringe when I think back on that!! Yikes!! 😱😱😱
Did you know about mud bogging?
안녕! Bye! Ciao!
* I don’t like saying exactly where I’m from due to a weird experience I had. I can explain in the comments if anyone is curious.