Well, okay, the title of this post is a little bit specific to my personal experience, but truthfully, a lot of bilingual and/or bicultural people will relate. Which ones ring true for you?
When you have a family get-together and you’re sitting between your monolingual English-speaking family and monolingual Spanish-speaking in-laws.
When you overhear other gringos mispronounce Spanish words, such as “jalapeño” so it sounds like “hala-pee-no.”
When telemarketers call your house and ask, “¿Habla español usted, señora?”
When a native Spanish speaker seriously overestimates your fluency and starts talking crazy fast in a dialect or accent you aren’t used to but you have too much pride to ask them to slow down.
When your spouse says you cook his/her native food better than your suegra.
When you and your spouse get into an argument brought on by cultural differences and you suddenly feel very patriotic.
When another chick tries to flirt with your spouse right in front of you.
When you’re in an aisle at the grocery store and people start having what they think is a private conversation out loud in Spanish, not realizing you understand every word.
When you’re eating at an in-law’s house and they tell you what parts of the animal the food is made from.
When you see a native Spanish-speaker struggling to communicate with an impatient cashier in English and you aren’t sure if you should intervene/help them out because you don’t want to offend them.
When your spouse forgets a word in their native Spanish, and you remember it before they do.
When your suegra says something to you in Spanish that has a double meaning and after a few seconds, you realize it was a backhanded compliment meant to insult you.
When you visit your spouse’s native country and people compliment your eye color.
The way people look at you in a doctor’s waiting room when they call out your Spanish last name and you stand up.
When you forget a Spanish word mid-sentence and you’re like, screw it.
When you fill out paperwork and come to the “Are you Hispanic or Latino/a?” question.
When someone says, “¡Guau! Hablas muy bien el español.”
When you get ready to go to a party or event hosted by Latino friends or family… (or go out for tacos.)
When, even after all these years, you still have very strong gringo/a preferences for personal space.
When newly married bicultural couples ask you and your spouse how you’ve managed to stay together so long and are hoping for some really wise words to guide their marriage.