Living in Puerto Rico as a single mom and schoolteacher, was not an easy feat. Struggling to make ends meet, the only way to break the cycle, was to move northbound to the United States, our mainland. Florida became our new home, and despite the change of scenery, language, and culture, I was determined to raise my daughter culturally aware of her origins. Promoting the preservation of our mother tongue, our music, literature, food, and everything else that entails being a Puerto Rican islander, became my number one priority. My daughter grew up to be fully bilingual and preserved her native culture, but also embraced a new one.
Years later, my daughter welcomed the first generation in our family to be born in the mainland and made me a grandmother of twins! Now, as grandmother, together with my daughter and her Venezuelan husband, have the double task of teaching the twins their cultural heritage through awareness and ethnic identity. Our collective goal is for the twins to blend and not melt into the American melting pot, by preserving the rich Puerto Rican and Venezuelan cultural essence.
Arepas y Piononos: The Twins, is here to inspire the preservation of culture for the new generation that is born and raised away from their parents and grandparents’ homeland. The book is written in dual language for beginner readers with beautiful illustrations to turn family story time into a journey back home.
Irma Heidi Ortiz-Torres