It is a reminder that my parents did not just immigrate to Nueba Yol; they also time-travelled to a future time period where: machismo is less overt, gender norms are a decade or two more progressed, certain Spanish-to-English translations are taboo, and being poor can sometimes feel middle-class.
Es un safe haven for when my Spanish breaks down and the words mix up como locrio de bacalao. A fuga for when my peers from both worlds tell me I have two accents; a last resort for the moments that my “English is not very good-looking” and I’m told, “tu español ‘tá malísimo.”
It is both a departure from and an arrival to my parents’ native campo; it is my dual passport permitting frequent travel between two societies. My credentials in the debate between who is a better rapper: Daddy Yankee or Jay-Z, El Lápiz or Nas.
It is simultaneous acculturation into two cultures—the marked centerline in a game of tug of war. Spend too much time on one side and you risk losing the other.
Abel Veloz is a first-gen Dominican-American, US Army Veteran, and occasional experiential writer from Hudson County, NJ. Previous works appear in the NJ Star-Ledger and Al Día News.