Indian dad, European mom, identified Latina.

11-1Nisha Balaram,
Oakland, CA.

My dad would joke around, saying that my mom couldn’t help but fall in love with him when she first saw him. My mom was usually busy in the kitchen at the time, and would smile and roll her eyes in response to his comment; when the pungent scent of lentils and turmeric finally filled the house, jokes were put aside. Growing up, my mom occasionally laughed and said that if she had any more freckles on her arms, she’d be considered brown too. But I prefer the differences between my parents; they are not perfect, but they are a perfect combination. Growing up, our small family of four was geographically isolated from extended family members, with our relatives dispersed across the U.S. and India. During high school, I found a home in various Latino cultures, and was drawn to the many traditions and large family gatherings. Now reflecting back, I cherish the connection I had with being an “honorary Latina,” because it is within that culture that I found a sense of belonging. However, this same sense of belonging reminds me of my complex roots and the opportunity I have within my own family to connect myself with an intricate and beautiful network. After all, we are all human, and have so much to learn from each other.


Tweets by Michele Norris