I find it very difficult to appropriately define my “personal heritage”, however I used the criteria I learned in World Heritage class to determine my personal heritage. Heritage is defined as, the way we appropriate our past and central in the construction of identity. Many people confuse heritage with history but they are not aware the heritage is not always facts, it is defined but what the individual wants to remember, either positive or negative. That means it is open to manipulation, depends on how the interpreter wants to see it. Ultimately, my personal heritage consists of Mexican and American cultures.
To begin with, I am full Mexican, both of my parents are from Jalisco, Mexico; the place where I was born. I lived in Mexico up until I was seven years old, therefore the Mexican culture really contributed to building up my personal heritage. For example, part of my intangible personal heritage is speaking spanish at home and with some of my friends. The other part of my personal heritage is made up of the 10 years that I have lived here in the United States. Personally, I think that most of my personal heritage is made up of the American culture. I witness this because in comparison to my parents I am so much more open minded, and I don’t follow up with a lot of their customs.
In addition to my personal heritage, I think most of it is intangible heritage for example something that I would’ve never thought I would ever do in my life is polynesian dancing. It has been a rough path and one of the most challenging things I have ever done in my life. When I was a freshman in highschool, one of my friends encouraged me to go to her polynesian practice. Ever since then I have fallen in love with the dancing, it serves me as a get away from negativity. The drum beats and ukulele in the songs are so soothing to my ears. When I dance I get caught up in the moment and enjoy myself, like a little kid enjoys a double scoop ice cream cone on a hot day after school. Dancing for me is bliss and makes up a huge part of my personal heritage.
Another part of my personal heritage is the influence my immediate family has on me. I cherish my parents and two older siblings very much, as a matter of fact they influence a lot of my decisions. They have made me the person I am today, we have share the same beliefs. Also, we encourage each other to be the best that we can be in life and always look out for each other. My family is my main support system and without them I wouldn’t be myself and the person I am today. My personal heritage of polynesian dancing differs a lot from my national heritage because it is an activity I never expected to do in my life. My family is a mixture of Mexican American culture with some buddhist beliefs, therefore it differs from my national heritage because the typical Mexican is usually Catholic. Migrating to the US really altered my personal heritage in many ways.