Flor Olivo is a regular contributor and also writes on her personal blog, Florecita Growing Up and on her literary blog, Reading with Eyes Wide Shut. You can find her on Facebook.com/FlorecitaGrowingUp and Twitter.com/FlawurMedia, plus check out her great videos on YouTube.com/Flawur.
What are three personality traits that best describe you and how do they impact your personal identity?
I am very open to criticism because I like learning new ways to become a new me, I like getting things done and I am family-oriented. I feel these traits mold my identity because they are characteristics that have been molded by my upbringing. I think these are traits I share with other members of my family. My father is a very hard working, get things done kind of person. My mother is very good at telling us what we can change to be better. We have been taught to be humble and learn from every experience. I value my family’s knowledge and I am teaching my children to do the same in their lives.
What are your fondest childhood memories related to your cultural heritage?
When I look back on my childhood I have to admit that most of my memories are fond. Sometimes I have to work on remembering some of the bad things that occurred. I didn’t realize how culturally rich my upbringing was until I moved to a state where my culture wasn’t as easily accepted and catered to. I grew up speaking spanish, with children just like me. Every special occasion was a big celebration. We ate, danced and hung out with family. I didn’t realize until I was older that we didn’t have the nicest things growing up. I always thought I was so special and truly appreciated the things I had. My mom used to always say, “We may not have a lot of wordly riches but we are rich because we have a great family.” I truly believed that having a big family meant you were rich for a long time.
What was your family like when you were growing up?
I have 2 brothers and 2 sisters. So it was us 5 and my parents. My grandparents lived with us most of the time growing up. Like I said above, most of my memories are happy. We lived in a 3 bedroom house and shared rooms, clothes and a restroom. We lived in the same house from when I was 5 years old until I was 18 years old. We grew up with a lot of the same friends, neighbors and acquaintances. Every summer my cousins who were 7, came and we hung out together. Those summers are some of my favorite of all.
How did you meet your husband?
I met my husband at an immigrant rights rally. We were both doing a lot of the same community work and would see each other at events and stuff. At the time we met, my husband was working on a community garden, I love gardening, so I would go and help him.
What is your family’s heritage, culture, language, faith, etc.? What is the key to successfully combining traditions and values in your home?
My husband and I are both Latino-Americans but our heritage stems from Colombia, Mexico, Chile, El Salvador, and Guatemala. We don’t have to try to hard to combine our traditions and values. Many of them are shared, and the things we are different about we share without too much effort because we both come from mixed culture homes we are open to the idea that others values are important as well.
What made you decide to become a writer/blogger?
I’ve always been a journaler. My mom always bought us diaries and encouraged us to write. In 2007, I was going through a messy divorce, I was pregnant with my second baby and I needed a journal I could carry around to motivate myself. One of my good friends, Irazema, had started a blog a year or so before me so we became blog friends. At first my blog was private and only specific people could see it. In February of 2011 I decided to make my blog public. My husband was working out of state and it helped me to be able to tell him about our adventures while he was gone. I was really surprised at how much readership I got right of the bat. Most of my hits come from people who aren’t bloggers themselves.
Tell us about your little ones, how many and how old are they? Do you write about them on your blog? If so, what are your favorite posts about your children?
I have 3 kids. A 6 year old girl, Natalia. A 4 year old boy, Andrei. And a 16-month old, Frankie. My blog is about growing up. My children have been an essential part of that process so I blog about them a lot. My favorite posts about them is when I write things about their growth experiences. Their realizations, etc.
What is your personal mission? What do you seek to achieve in your lifetime?
My main thing is to be happy at whatever I am doing. I know I am not happy unless my hands and my brain are busy. My short term goals were to finish school, I am graduating next semester with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and a minor in Peace and Conflict Studies. I plan to be a journalist and/or do graduate work in that field. When I am old and look back on my life though, the thing I want to be happiest about is that I created happy memories for my children to cherish. I want them to look back and remember how great their childhood was.
If you had a bucket list, what would be your top 5 things to do/see? Why?
1. The indigenous ruins in Mexico, Central and South America because I want to know and understand more about my indigenous ancestry.
2. I would like to visit the Amazon Rainforest. I love nature and it would make me happy to be in a place that is saturated with nature.
3. I would like to visit North Korea. I am intrigued by their culture and politics. I wish I could go undercover and see how it really is.
4. I would visit Cuba as a Cuban resident because I would also like to see what it is like from the inside out.
5. I’d like to snorkel to the deepest possible spot in the ocean. I would love to see the variety of animals that live down there.
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