So I married a Gringo...
On September 5, I celebrated my anniversary. I can't believe 26 years have gone by since I married my Gringo Michael! My courtship and wedding were like a fairytale. I met him during my junior year at college at a local bar while I was on a date with another guy, who I liked more as a friend. I knew I wanted him the minute I spotted him leaning against the jukebox. He met all of the requirements of a typical 20-something-year-old. He was good looking, fit, a nice guy who treated me with respect, easy-going and to my surprise (for a Gringo) one of the few white guys that I had met who could dance!
Read more ¿Qué más?: Are our Latin traditions holding us back?
The dancing was the only (although key) requirement from my Latin checklist. The sex was also great. We made love all the time and everywhere! After graduating from NYU I returned to Chile and we decided to "see what happened." I dated a few Chilean guys and kept comparing my gringo to them--he treated me as an equal, he was "self-made" (although not wealthy), he was good looking and the sex was great (again, these were two very important attributes to a young woman!).
Most of the chilenos I met were "hijos de papito" (came from wealthy daddies), machista ,and they did not fit the looks of my Gringo that I had grown to love (blonde and blue-eyed). We were apart for less than a year and he came to Chile to ask for my hand.
We had a double wedding in Chile (my sister Valeria married Kurt, a South African) and the entire ceremony was in Spanish except for the vows--so that our other halves knew what they were getting into! My sister and I moved to our respective new homelands leaving our families and Chile behind. We had fallen madly in love with foreigners and only now I understand the pain my poor mom felt!
Twenty-six years later I have no regrets but wow has my list of requirements undergone a complete transformation! My biggest change to my list would be "must live close to family." I think this has been the one requirement I would add to the list. I would advise my daughter and Latinas who are defined by their familias to reconsider. The one benefit from living in this country with no family is that it forces you to work extra hard on your marriage. "Great" sex is no longer on my list. Our list of requirements today are 1) keeping our marriage fresh, 2) continuing to pursue our individual interests and passions but also find something that we both love to do, and 3) particularly for me, I need to work at bringing the "good looks" back!
I am grateful that 26 years later my gringo not only respects me but that he is extremely supportive; a great companion and still has the looks I fell in love with! Finally and most importantly, as a mamá Latina, that he has been and is a fantastic father. ¡Te quiero, mi gringo!
Image via Lucia Ballas-Traynor