Ms. Sierra Shares a Piece of Puerto Rico with Cultural Club | Monarch Media

Editors, Riana McDermott ‘24 and Lilly Russionello ‘24,  interviewed Ms. Mariana Sierra, AP English Language, AP Literature and creative writing teacher at Trinity Hall. Sierra is originally from Puerto Rico, however, she moved to the United States a little over a decade ago in search of a rigorous graduate program in literature. She grew up in Bayamon, a metropolitan area outside of Puerto Rico’s capital. While it was a difficult decision to leave due to the fact that she loves her family, the good weather and the food, she desired to enhance her academics.

Sierra made her decision to stay in the United States because of the laws surrounding job placement for Puerto Ricans. Additionally, she met her husband while living in the States. She explained the most difficult adjustments in beginning her life on the Mainland of the United States were the things she took for granted. She misses her family and the fun of extended family always dropping in. The beaches of her homeland were beautiful, as well as the scenic mountains. She also misses the music, as it is essential to the cultural and personal identity of those from Puerto Rico. Lastly, she relayed, “Puerto Rico has a place for everyone.” Sierra now visits her family in Puerto Rico more often than she did in years prior. She also shared that she does not enjoy paying to get on the beach, as that was not customary in Puerto Rico. 
Sierra carries traditions over to her home in the States. She explained that she must listen to salsa music when cleaning the house, and she greatly enjoys making Puerto Rican food for big holiday celebrations. She exhibits the spirit of the holidays she vividly remembers from growing up. However, she said it is difficult to carry over traditions. She expressed the difficulties of living in a colony and how that affects her identity and the identity of those around her. She shared that at times she felt forced to be patriotic. Additionally, she grapples with making the country proud. 
Sierra spoke to Trinity Hall’s Cultural Club about her culture and life in Puerto Rico. She brought in her favorite traditional Christmas foods for students to try. She provided rice and pigeon beans, as well as coconut nog.

Sierra said, “I would be Puerto Rican even if I were born on the moon.” Members of Cultural Club enjoyed the food and moreover a deep look into Sierra’s heritage and what it means to be Puerto Rican. 

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