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Growing up, my Spanish-speaking abilities were heavily lacking, which always made communicating with my abuela a real struggle. She took care of my sister and I, her apartment was always spotless, she made amazing food and she loved her novelas, but other than what I could see on the surface, there wasn’t much I knew about this woman I called “Wela.”

Even at a young age I became interested in knowing as much about her as possible. I’ve been blessed with a grandmother whose memory is razor sharp, and over the years, as my Spanish improved, I took the time to finally get to know the woman who I always felt harbored a bunch of stories I was longing to hear.

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If you’re fortunate enough and still have an abuela in your life, take the time to really get to know her. Learning about your abuela’s past can be humbling and inspiring with stories that you can continue to share in the years to come. I thought I’d know exactly what her stance would be on key issues like love and dating, but she definitely threw some curve balls my way. Here are some of the best questions I’ve ever asked my grandmother.

How did you meet your husband?

Courtship and falling in love was different when our grandparents were growing up. There was no online dating or Tinder, but that doesn’t mean that your abuela doesn’t have a juicy dating story. When I asked her about how she met my grandfather, it was beautiful to see her face light up as she spoke with such clarity about meeting her husband, who was very affectionate with her. It’s a side we won’t see, unless we ask.

Why did you come to the U.S.?

My parents were born in the States, so it was my grandparents that made the sacrifices to move from Puerto Rico and settle in New York. Asking about what prompted their migration will open you up to truly understand the sacrifices they made. It’s a conversation that will leave you bursting with gratitude.

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What was your dream growing up?

Prepare yourself: This question may leave you with a mixed response. Maybe your grandmother was a great artist who was able to live out her full potential, or she could have been the type who never had an opportunity to really dream that big because she was always faced with a more pressing reality. Either way, it’s worth knowing and using her response as motivation to dream a bigger, more intention-filled life.

How did you feel when you had your first baby?

My grandmother had six children in Puerto Rico and three in New York. Naturally, after thinking about campo life in the '50s and '60s, I can only imagine that having a child in New York would have been easier, but to my surprise, she preferred having her kids and raising them in PR because, although she had less amenities, the support she received from her family was all she felt she needed.

What is/was your marriage like?

I never had the opportunity to meet my grandfather, but I know that he was a very loving man. Without judgment I heard my abuela speak with pride about how she always kept a clean home and had a meal ready for my grandfather. While those are not my only marriage goals, I now see that cooking and taking care of others has always been her way of expressing love, and my belly thanks her for it.

What dating advice would you give me?

This will absolutely vary depending on the type of grandmother you have and the type of woman you are. When I first asked for dating advice, I thought I was setting myself up to hear some antiquated line about how I’m getting old and need to hurry up and settle down. I was pleasantly surprised when my abuela took the time to remind me of my value and never pushed me to settle down. Her main advice is to continue being strong and independent and urged me to never settle with any sin verguenza.  

What do you think about the world today?

My abuela spends way too much time in front of her TV, so of course she thinks women dress too scandalously and men and women make out too much. However, she sees all the opportunities her grandkids now have, so she knows all her past sacrifices were worth it.