Melanie Mendez-Gonzales originally started her blog, ¿Qué? Means What?, as a means to explore her self-defined, “identity crisis.” She blogs about embracing her culture, teaching her kids Spanish, and her passion for faith, family, San Antonio, and more.
At ¿Qué? Means What? you occasionally confront (and humorously detail) your self-described, “identity crisis.” How has blogging helped you discover more about yourself?
Blogging has helped me with my cultural identity crisis by allowing me a space to explore and share. I think my posts have changed from questioning it to now celebrating it. The facet of blogging I appreciate the most is learning that I’m not the only one with an identity crisis! I love it when readers say, “Me too!” or “That is exactly what happened to me!” I can laugh with them instead of feeling like they would laugh at me and my “secret.”
What’s one thing in (or about) San Antonio that you wish more families knew about?
Nothing! I don’t want any more people to know how amazing San Antonio really is or they will keep moving here! LOL! En serio, San Antonio is more than meets the eye. We have thriving subcultures in technology, film, music, and food. It’s an exciting time to live in San Antonio.
You’re a co-director of the San Antonio Chapter of LATISM. What is LATISM all about and how can people get involved?
LATISM. It is a national non-profit group of volunteers who take action to move the Latino community forward in areas of business, health, education, and technology. We use social media as a tool to “make things happen.” In our San Antonio Chapter our goal is to be able to provide at least one student with a substantial scholarship towards a technology or communications degree. Anyone can join! Simply Like our Facebook page and sign up for email updates. We aren’t filled with tons of rules. Just follow us and show up to meetups when we have them to find out where you can get involved.
As a homeschooling mom teaching your sons Spanish, what resources do you use? Do you have any favorite classes or online games to recommend?
We are taking a break from homeschooling and giving charter schools a try. Not that I didn’t love homeschooling, but we wanted to take advantage of this opportunity that presented itself.
I do my best to teach my boys Spanish by: reading Spanish or bilingual books; Flashcard apps on iPad; Spanish Pre-K reading apps; and listening to música en español! I honestly don’t have a system. I find and keep apps by trial and error. Even if I like them but they don’t want to “play” with the app, I get rid of it. No point if they aren’t interested. What has worked best for us is speaking Spanish at home. I’m not proficient in Spanish by any means. What I’ve found, though, is my boys will do what I do. If we don’t know a word or phrase, we hold on to it until Dad gets home. They love that Dad has the answers when Mom doesn’t. Teaching your kids another language takes persistence. Stick to it! Here is a post of bilingual resources I still use.
What is the best thing blogging has brought into your life?
The best thing blogging has brought into my life is friendships. I have met some amigas increíbles and I know we will be lifetime friends. That’s not easy to do as an adult. I think it’s because, for many of us (even if there is some compensation), blogging is a labor of love. We pour so much into our bloggy creations. I call mine my third child. Moms bond over their children’s joys, pains, and challenges. Bloggers bond over the joys, pains, and challenges of their blogs.
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