My name is Leslie Nunez and I am a 1st generation Dominican/American mother of two spunky girls, Sophia and Aracely. Growing up I was constantly surrounded by the traditions of my mothers homeland, spoke Spanish as my first language, and could always smell the sweet/savory aromas of my families cooking. I never had a second thought to what life is like outside of a Dominican household, this was what seemed normal to me and my siblings.
As I started to develop into my own person, I picked up “American” customs, began to speak English a little more frequently, traded my curls for soft stands, and pushed away from the annoying family get togethers and parties. I wanted to fit in more with the crowd. I lived out the rest of my teenage and young adult years claiming to be a PROUD DOMINICAN, but not really living in the traditions and customs I was once raised in.
Becoming a wife and mother is where my story line started to change, I wanted my beautiful brown-skinned Dominican angels to be as proud as me! But how? When they watched movies there were no characters that looked like them, when we took them to events there were no kids who looked like them ( you see where I live is predominantly White, we wanted the best, and I grew up thinking White was the best), so then movies and tv shows were being released by some of their favorite TV channels. When I sat with my daughters to watch these shows, most of the traditions that were being displayed on these big screens were of the Mexican culture. The girls LOVED them, I secretly loved them too. My girls wanted to learn Spanish and I was excited, but they wanted to learn Spanish because Princess Elena spoke Spanish, they wanted to learn Spanish because they wanted to go to Mexico were CoCo was from. I had let the traditions and old sayings my mother said to me as a child just disappear.
I started speaking to my mother more about her homeland, asked my grandmother what is was like when she was a child, listening to them speak with a twinkle in their eye about a land they loved so much made me wonder, how can I get the twinkle in my children’s eyes. I sat and the words poured out of me as I wrote a book, starring Sophia and Aracely in a whirl wind of an adventure through the Dominican Republic! These short stories will have historical figures, landmarks, and famous myths of our motherland!
Needless to say that my children are PROUD to be Dominican, and looking forward to their first trip over, and I hope as you read my stories you too fall in love with the beauty of my people, the history that made us, and understand the struggles and sacrifices made for me to stand here as an American citizen!