photo: Giphy

I recently celebrated my two-year anniversary of moving back to Texas. It’s been wonderful to be back to my home state. Don’t get me wrong — I loved California, but while you can take the girl out of Texas, you can’t take Texas out of the girl. Luckily for me, I’m not only a Texas girl, but I’m a Texas Latina. A Tejana born and raised. While I love celebrating all my Latina sisters of different backgrounds, I must admit being a Texas Latina is the best. Moving back to Texas after living in California has been a strong reminder why I feel fortunate to call myself a Texas Latina.

You Can Two-Step AND Dance Cumbia

Dancing is part of a Texas Latina’s DNA. Not only do you enjoy putting on your cowboy boots and two-stepping the night away, you can also put your heels on and dance cumbia and ranchera. You can two-step to a George Strait song just as easily as you can dance to “Baile Esta Cumbia” by the Tejano queen herself — Selena Quintanilla-Perez. A true Tejano wedding isn’t complete without a mix of country music, cumbia, and ranchera.

You Enjoy Homemade BBQ AND Mexican Food

Living in Texas, you’re so close to Mexico that finding authentic Mexican food is a simple task — either you go home or find a great restaurant down the street. Eating authentic frijoles, tamales, mole, etc. is part of the Tejano lifestyle. But if you ever get the craving for smoked brisket, pulled pork, and coleslaw, you can also go down the street to a neighbors or local BBQ joint for some good ol’ Southern grub. Amazing news for your tummy, but maybe not so much for your waistline.

You Celebrate Texas AND Mexican Independence Day

No state has more pride than Texas does. Drive around and you’ll see the Texas flag flying everywhere with signs of “Texas Forever.” You also know the words to “Deep in the Heart of Texas” by heart, so its no wonder people celebrate Texas Independence Day (March 2). But come September 16, you’re also ready to celebrate Mexican Independence Day. Nothing says "puro party" better than grabbing some tequila, blasting some Vicente Fernandez, and celebrating with your family and friends. Who doesn’t enjoy double the celebrations?!

You’re Trilingual

Growing up as a Texas Latina, you’re fortunate enough to speak three languages: English, Spanish, and Spanglish. When you’re at school, you speak fluent English with your teachers and peers. At home, you speak Spanish to your padres and abuelos. Any other time, you’re alternating between the two and speaking Spanglish in every other instance. See, Texas Latinas are trilingual and all without the help of Rosetta Stone!

You Can Actually Visit Two Countries Within a Day

If you live in or are visiting a border town, you actually have the ability to travel between two countries within a day. As a native El Pasoan, my family and I would cross the border to Juarez, Mexico, on occasion for dinner, to shop at the mercado, or to enjoy some festivities. I could enjoy the country and culture of my family and ancestors and come back to the U.S. with a travel time of 20 minutes (depending on bridge traffic). Many Latinos don’t have that luxury to visit their home countries so easily and I feel grateful for the opportunity to have visited Mexico as often as I have. While my family may not cross the border as often now, at least we still have the option to do so.

We’re In Good Company

Still not convinced being a Texas Latina has its perks? Well, many smart and talented Latinas can call or have called Texas home. Fellow Texas Latinas include Eva Longoria, Selena Gomez, and Demi Lovato. Plus, we can’t forget la reina Selena Quintanilla-Perez. We Texas Latinas are in good company!

Being a Tejana has many perks and I’m proud to call myself one. Living in the United States next door to the country of my family and ancestors has made a significant impact on who I am and the woman I’ve become. Being a Texas Latina is the best, but it also comes as no surprise. After all, everything is bigger and better in Texas.