For just about all of my life, I lived in neighborhoods where there was a heavy Latino influence. Little Havana, Miami was one of the neighborhoods where I have strong ties to.
Growing up, I had the luxury of having access to plenty of Latino-centric things like foods. Ever since I had moved away, I realized there's just some things I miss!
1 - Can't Find Certain Seasonings
The other day I wrote about how I ordered Puerto Rican seasonings online, because every grocery store I have visited, don't carry it. Luckily, my abuela also sent me a huge box of seasonings, so I am good for maybe 6 months!
2 - No More $3 Cuban Breakfasts
The cool part about living living in a Latino neighborhood was that I was able to get a very big Cuban (or any kind of Latino) breakfast for about 3 bucks (oh, and that included cafe con leche)! YES THOSE WERE THE DAYS!
3 - Some Latin Restaurants Are Considered "Fine Dining"
Sometimes, I just want a normal plate plate of Dominican food. Something that should cost maybe 6 bucks, end up costing around 20 bucks, because it's considered luxurious (and unique). And you start to wonder if the fried yuca that you ordered is infused with gold flakes...because...
4 - Hole-In-Wall Latin Restaurants Don't Exist
Sometimes I just want a greasy, hot alcapurria from a local vendor. But forget trying to even find these sort of things! Street foods and hole-in-wall food places are pretty damn rare.
5 - Relationships With Neighbors Can Be Different
Living in a Latino neighborhood, everyone knew everybody. Sometimes we even knew your chisme, too. We'd say hi to each other, bring each other food, gossip about the new neighbors moving in, and even see our families grow very closely together. Just like moving in general, you have to start new relationships with neighbors. But it's also a challenge because Latinos in general just have special bonds with each other.
6 - You Feel Awkward Blasting Latin Music
Remember when you were able to blast salsa music on a Friday night - and that was okay (and even sometimes encouraged)? Yeah, not anymore. Especially if you're living in a relatively quiet neighborhood, you've got to keep the volume low. Blahhh!
7 - Salsa Dancing Isn't Social, It's Professional
What I've noticed that if I go to a Latin nightclub, the dancing is a bit different. Instead of being social and relaxed, you typically see professional dancers on the dance floor...which can definitely be intimidating! Dancing all of my life, my moves were never calculated -- they just were!
8 - You Can't Rely On Spanish If You Forget A Word in English
Has this ever happen to you? Although you're fluent in English, you just forget the word in English, but the Spanish word pops into your head. It was easy to just say the Spanish word when you're in a Hispanic neighborhood. You'll be understood. But if you're somewhere else where Spanish (and specific Spanish slang) isn't used, you have to rely on other words to describe what you mean. Tragic!
9 - "Authentic" Foods Aren't Actually Authentic
Growing up Latino, you just kind of figure out what's traditional or authentic. When you actually go to a 5-star rated restaurant where the description raves about its authenticity, you grab your wallet and head out. But just like with the fine dinning stuff, you quickly realize the arroz con habichuelas your ordered tastes off and expensive.
10 - You Realized You've Taken Things for Granted
There were certain things I had no idea were inaccessible or difficult to access when I moved away. Things like Cuban cigars, local Latin food vendors, spots to play dominoes, and the authentic cafecito is hard to come by. I miss all of those things! But, I still have love for the new neighborhood.