Hispanic Heritage Month: Nico Chavez
My Hispanic cultural identity
My family moved to the US before I was born so that my sister and I would have the opportunities they only dreamed of. I was lucky enough to visit Peru annually where I got to spend plenty of time with my grandparents and extended family. We would watch movies, walk around the city, and eat…a lot! If you did not already know, Peru has some of the best cuisine in the world – several top world chefs come from Peru.
Peru is rich with culture and history. Since I moved to the US at such an early age, I still have so much left to explore about Peruvian history, but I have a deep connection to where my roots began. As a Peruvian American kid growing up in the US, I was always looking for ways to connect with my heritage. I remember going to Peruvian festivals and seeing la Dance de Tijeras a dance of complex moves holding a pair of scissors. It was amazing! The dancers sometimes danced for 12 hours! I was so in awe of it that I would then recreate some parts of the dance with friends. I will never forget seeing my sister learn and dance one of our most traditional dances, la Marinera, a dance that shows the blending of our Spanish and Black culture. This might be one of the reasons I love to listen and dance to Afro-Peruvian songs like El Alcatraz.
I moved back to Peru when I was 12 for about six years for which I am eternally grateful. This is where I really got to experience Peru. I traveled, hiked and camped. I explored Peru’s deserts, mountains, jungles and coastline while meeting the best people – my people. I had the opportunity to try a variety of indigenous foods like juanes, trucha frita, pachamanca and cuy, to name a few. Plates that are not generally thought of when people speak of Peruvian cuisine, but nonetheless some of the best!
What does Hispanic Heritage Month mean to me?
If I am being completely honest, I do not celebrate Hispanic Heritage ‚Month‘ simply because I always celebrate being Hispanic. I am grateful for the opportunities my family gave me when they chose to leave behind family and friends to move to the US in search of new opportunities. To me, being Peruvian is about the connection I have with my family and my country. It is about having pride in our country through the best and the worst.
I am happy and grateful to work for a company that shines the importance of Hispanic Heritage Month because it has given me a moment to reflect on my family, country, and who we are. Viva Peru!
Hispanic Heritage Month series
Read more interviews from our colleagues celebrating their Hispanic heritage here:
Elda Baez at Frazer Jones – Viva Mexico
Miguel Mendez at The SR Group – Viva Ecuador
Mirna Sanchez at Frazer Jones – Viva Nicaragua