I come from a very diverse family. My immediate family growing up was quite Polish, we still have family on a hill once called “Pollock Hill”. The Polish festival was always one of my favorite days of the year because my great uncle would make homemade pierogies. Om nom nom.
When I was around 10, I think don’t quote me on that, my mom married an Italian man. His parents lived in South Africa, he had family still in Italy, his brother was married to a Puerto Rican woman, and he had lived about a gagillion places I swear. Including living in a van in Michigan for a year.
The introduction of my step-dad changed the shape of our family culture. I swear I didn’t know what loud was until I saw my step-dad and Uncle in a room together. They switch back and forth from Italian, Spanish, and English mid-sentence. And as Italians, all conversations are loud and have lots of gestures. With my uncle and step-dad there is always lots of swearing in three languages as well. Along with my new uncle also came my new Puerto Rican aunt. A loud and sassy woman who used to live in a house with both my uncle and my step-dad, you know she has got to be one brave tough lady.
I have grown up with these characters and the diversity they provided my family for so long I barely remember a time before them.
The point of this spiel though is that if my mom had never married my step-dad I may have never traveled to Puerto Rico.