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IntroductionThis was a very interesting and exciting interview for me to do.

I really enjoyed
every bit of it because of how much I was able to learn. When deciding on whom to
interview I didnt really know where to turn to. I tried to think of every culturally
different person I knew in my life; then I realized I worked with some ladies that fit that
category but I didnt know much more then that. When I had to pick between several
women to interview I decided to go with the one that I knew the least about; thats how I
picked Maria. The interview went well I wasnt sure exactly how it would go because I
didnt really know anything about Maria but the conversation was casual and I feel like
we were both able to learn a lot about each other. Something that helped with the
interview was how open Maria was. I was able to interview Maria in one sitting but I
regularly talk with her at work now. It was really nice getting to know Maria along with
getting to know the culture of El Salvador.
Maria Landaverde is 60 years old and has 6 kids along with 15 grandchildren.
Maria was born and raised in El Salvador and moved to the United States at the age of
21. While Maria loved it in El Salvador and the life she had already established, she made
the decision to move to the United States and create a new life that she loves now more
than anything else in the world. When Maria moved to the United States she had already
had a family of her own including kids and she had to leave them in El Salvador for 5
years before they too could come to the United States. Growing up she learned English
but never took it seriously because she never thought she would have to use it. English is
hard to speak but her kids are all bilingual in Spanish and English as well. I asked Maria
why she decided to leaver her kids and move to the United States, she explained that her

mother came first and then her aunts and uncles decided to move to the United States and
she came with them. She moved to the United States because there were more
opportunities here. She was most looking forward to her children growing up with more
freedom, better work and economy and in a safer environment. Maria says she wishes she
could go back to El Salvador but shes happy in the United States because she was able to
have a better lifestyle.
El Salvador is a tiny country located in Central America. Its known for its
beautiful pacific beaches and mountainous landscape. El Salvador is the most densely
populated country in Central America with a population of more than 6.29 million.
Among the dense population comes a large diversity of people that work very hard and
love spending time together.

CultureWhen asked to describe her culture, Maria explained that the people were very
happy and very hard workers. Growing up Maria learned that it was important to go to
school and get a good education. This was such an important part of her life because there
wasnt a lot of opportunity in El Salvador. As a lot of people live in El Salvador a wide
range of diversity still exists. Maria said she never noticed any trace of discrimination or
racism at all. Everyone is considered equal. When people would emigrate from other
countries to El Salvador the President allowed absolutely no racism. Even when there
was no way to allow more people into the country it was never due to race, gender or
sexual orientation. One reason that Maria loved El Salvador so much was because of how

traditional it is. There was never a lot of change or disagreement in her country, the
people all got along great and life was really happy with all the loved ones around.

FamilyGrowing up Maria lived with her mom and dad, aunts, uncles, cousins and sisters.
In El Salvador it was not uncommon growing up to live with a lot of her extended family.
Today she lives with her son and 2 sisters. Even after Maria grew up and moved to the
United States she was still able to maintain that cultural tradition of living with a lot of
family. When asked to define family Maria explained it as the most important thing in
life. You sacrifice everything for them and would be willing to do anything for them.
Maria has lived with her family for over 30 years and they mean everything to her and
they spend all their time together as well.
CommunicationIn El Salvador the main language was Spanish but there were small Indian
dialects integrated but the country was very small. Maria explained that there werent any
different attitudes or personalities with the language but that everyone is different and
they all have their own style. Along with that there were also no specific gestures or
postures that had any significance in speaking but that her family taught her that they
expected her to sit up straight and to act proper.

FoodIn El Salvador they eat all types of food. Growing up Maria ate a lot of beans,
tortillas, and chicken. She lived by the ocean so there was a lot of access to seafood

which is Marias favorite. The people of El Salvador eat very healthy by eating
vegetables and a lot of fruit i.e. Mango, Papaya and other very tropical fruits. Maria also
learned how to cook tamales but she explained that each country makes tamales
differently. Marias family raised/ grew a lot of their own food. They raised chickens,
pigs and rabbits along with a very big garden. Maria described the countries food as not
being bad at all; it was good in nutrition as well as in flavor.

Dance/ MusicDance is a very big part of the people of El Salvadors life. Maria remembered it
as dance and music everywhere. Everything was celebrated with dance and music which
allowed everywhere to be fun and exciting because the people were always very happy.
The most popular of the dances were Cumbyas and the salsa. There isnt any specific
gender dance Maria explained; families typically would dance together (even as young
children), couples would dance and sometimes they danced individually too but for the
most part everyone danced the same moves and all together in a group. The people of El
Salvador are very religious but religion doesnt carry into their dance or music. This
doesnt mean they go overboard in the wrong direction though, there is no sexual or
sensual connotations integrated into the dance or music, everyone just celebrates and has
a good time together. Maria stated that the dance culture has stayed the same for many
years and that the music is whats valued the most which tends to be played live with
instruments including the guitar, marimba, tambourine, harp, maracas, trumpets and a lot
of singing. Maria learned to dance at a very young age which is common for all children
in El Salvador.

DressAs for the clothing worn when dancing the women wear big bright colored dances
with a lot of ruffles on the skirt allowing a lot of movement. The men wear a nice button
down shirt and dress pants. On the contrary when everyone is just having a big
celebration the people just wear their typical everyday clothing that is a lot similar to the
clothing of the United States. Maria explained that the clothing doesnt show any
significance toward a certain identity. Everyone dresses the same the only difference is
throughout the economic classes and young kids often wore hammy downs.

Holidays/ CelebrationsWhen it comes to holidays and celebrations in El Salvador the majority are the
same as ones celebrated in the United States. They have the typical Christmas, New Years
(one of their biggest celebrations) and one that is different from the ones celebrated in the
United States is Dia Muertos which is a celebration of the dead where families go to their
loved ones gravesites and clean and decorate them with flowers celebrating their life.

Experiences of moving/ living in UtahMaria has loved living in Utah ever since she moved here. She was a little timid at
the beginning because that meant leaving her children behind for 5 years but she was also
excited about it because it meant a new start. She stated that shes never really had a
problem with the language because she learned it when she was a young girl but said that
she doesnt like speaking English all the time and that she speaks it in her house still

because she wants her children to still have that culture in her life. While somethings
definitely changed for her when she moved to the United States she believes that her
overall life is better. She is able to cook the same food that she grew up with, the clothing
isnt any different, she still lives with a lot of her family and the celebrations havent
changed for her.

ConclusionThroughout this interview a lot happened. Although the interview was only about
an hour I learned about someones whole life, a whole new culture and a completely
different story than I have ever heard before or had to experience. To be honest whenever
I thought of Hispanics I thought Mexican or South American I never really thought much
more into all the different cultures or countries encompassed in South America and when
I interviewed Maria and learned that she was from El Salvador it really opened my eyes
and taught me that there is a lot encompassed in not only the word Hispanic but in South
America too. Although Marias life is a lot different from anything Ive ever had to go
through, I felt like I was able to understand a lot of what she was saying and relate to a lot
of what she told me. For the overall culture I really like it. I was really impressed with the
unity that a family has and I feel like I can really relate to that. Family is the most
important thing in my life and I would and will always do anything for them too. For the
food Im not the biggest fan of some of their food choices but I love how healthy they eat
and that they make so much of it on their own. I would never be able to raise animals of
my own but I love having a big garden and growing fresh fruits and veggies of my own to
cook with. The people of El Salvador are such happy people and I admire that so much. I

especially love the celebrations they have. As Ive grown up I went to church and school
dances but dancing hasnt ever really been a big part of the parties or celebrations or
holidays that weve had but the dancing and music of Marias culture seems super
exciting and Id love to experience that sometime. One thing that didnt really surprise
me was the dress styles. The everyday clothing in El Salvador seems to be a lot like the
same type of clothing in the United States as well. I definitely agree that clothing styles
differ based off of the economic status of that person as well as the hammy downs.
Something that I found really relatable was that there werent many differences in the
holidays we celebrate. The biggest one that was different from the United States was Dia
Muertos which I personally think is a wonderful holiday to have; its a great way to keep
your loved ones close even after theyve past. This culture is very wonderful and its
been great learning so much about it and about Marias life.
Doing this interview has been a real eye opening experience for me. I was able to
learn a lot about a different culture and I was able to separate how much is truly
encompassed in the word Hispanic and South America and about a coworkers life. I was
able to learn a lot about myself as I have noticed how privileged I truly am just by living
in the United States my entire life. Ive never had to worry about how many opportunities
Im going to have when I get older when looking for work or for college options; Ive
also never had to worry about getting hammy downs or eating food that I dont like
because Ive always been able to get whatever food I want. I definitely dont view myself
as having an overabundance wealth or as being spoiled but I am very grateful for the way
Ive been raised and all the privileges I do and have had. This interview went very well
and now I have made new friend out of it too.