Spanish | Surinamese

I see myself as a Surisevillana. My mother is from Surinam and my father is from Spain. They met in Spain. I grew up in Amsterdam.

I recognised I was mixed-race later in life, when I was little I never thought about being a child of 2 different ethnicities but in Spain my grandma had to defend me because people couldn’t understand me being her granddaughter. My parents lived in separate countries as I grew up, so they were not able to actively combine their different cultures. People didn’t believe that I was mixed. I don’t feel I have to prove anything, I am just me. Sometimes in life I feel more Surinamese and sometimes I feel more Spanish. I can switch easily. I also feel comfortable in any place because I adapt fast.

I do feel that being mixed-race has had an effect in my work life. I work as a Spanish teacher; my students really believe in what I am saying. I am also an entertainer, but it really depends on the event/genre I am working in.

I am sure there are bias attitudes but for me being mixed is an advantage. I speak my native languages (Surinamese, Spanish & Dutch) but I can also speak other languages which I think really puts me at an advantage.

I connect with different parts of my mixed cultures depending on the phase of my life. My upbringing is Surinamese. But I have had stages in my life were I really needed more Spanish input. I lived and studied in Spain for 2 years and then I became very Spanish.

When asked ‘where are you from?’ I always answer that I am from my mother’s womb. After than I will explain but only if I really feel like I want to give that kind of information.

A positive for me is that I feel comfortable in so many situations. I really have not experienced any negativity as a mixed person. I did as a Black person, because society sees me as Black.

It is very important for me to know where I am coming from. To know the history of my parents, ancestors will empower me and my children when it comes to their own identity. Nowadays mixed people are ‘hip’ in advertisements.

If I had the opportunity to be born again I would come back as myself. I love being me.