Opal Siren

My life in dreams

In between Sailors: The Hispanic Choice Awards

on October 13, 2011

On October 11th, 2011 I attended the 8th annual Hispanic Choice Awards in Philadelphia, PA. The event was held at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. It was my first time there and I must say that the Kimmel Center is a beautiful building. It has a very unique design. I normally do not like attending events like these. My poor husband does not like attending these types of events either, but in his true sailor way, he went and answered the call of duty. I was shockingly surprised, in a good way, that the event was fun and that it would bring me to reminisce about my past.

There were a few setbacks. For one, the event was delayed several hours. So , my husband and I were forced to explore a little about Philadelphia. It was refreshing to walk around the city. Of course I was walking and prancing around in a dress, and my husband was walking in his dress blues (I will remember not to hold his hand when he is in uniform!). But that still did not prevent us from having a little fun. As we were walking around the city, in my painful heels, I noticed how interesting Philadelphia is as a city. On one side there are these beautiful historic buildings and colleges. On the other side there are these wide avenues and tall buildings, very reminiscent of NYC. It is history trapped in our modern world. But it is there, looking out and waiting to be visited.

So once we got back to the Kimmel center, another set back. I was the only military wife that attended!!! Wow, talk about being sandwiched between sailors! I was the only housewife, but thankfully there was a female sailor that attended and was also sandwiched.

The Hispanic Choice Awards, honors and celebrates Latinos, organizations and businesses that empower the community. Once the awards started, we were received by a red carpet. We felt like celebrities. Then there was a cocktail hour. Cameras and members of the press were all there talking to some of the local celebrities of the area. There was a strong sense of community, celebration and achievement in the air. For me, it felt like I was part of something. Being a navy spouse and housewife, it is not uncommon to feel very isolated.

Once the actual show started, I was pleasantly surprised at the organizations that won awards. But one of them really stuck in my head. The award recipient was Esperanza College in Philadelphia, who won the Education Champion of the Year. I must say I felt very proud to see a latina woman accept the award. She was a doctor, not the medicinal type, but nonetheless a doctor. She gave a wonderful speech about “muchas gracias”, which means many thanks. Then, I thought about all the times that we forget to give many thanks. Many of the members of the audience and even the award recipients, are people who worked their entire lives and have really made something out of nothing. Many were immigrants trying to escape the poverty of their countries in order to provide for their families. Whether one agrees with illegal immigrants or not , there is something about it that one must admire. It is not easy to leave what one knows and the safety of family members , to go to the unknown. So, muchas gracias to my grandfather who sacrificed many things in his life to give me a better one.

As the ceremony progressed, I could not help but think about when I lived in the Dominican Republic (I am a U.S. citizen and my family is from there). I lived there for several years, feeling like I did not belong and wanting to leave so badly. But not this night…this night I felt like I was a part of the latino community and I felt so proud. I suddenly missed the smell of incense and cinnamon. The rice and beans, the warmth and the music.

Oh yes! Then the music started. There was one group that really hit home: Vena. They played Bachata. It is a rural tropical music medley at its finest. I was suddenly transported back in time, when I would visit relatives in the country, ride horses, and eat sweet bananas. I looked at my husband and felt so happy that I could share that night with him, surrounded by my culture and his fellow sailors.

Happy Reading!!!!

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One response to “In between Sailors: The Hispanic Choice Awards

  1. P.leon says:

    dominican college…

    buen post…

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