Corazón Guatemalteco (Guatemalan Heart)

During National Hispanic Heritage Month, we are recognizing the rich diversity and cultural values of our Hispanic and Latino community in our employee network through their personal stories.

To celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month,

we interviewed some of our employees to get a better understanding of how their cultural traits play a role in day-to-day life and how it influences our banking habits. Sally is a Branch Representative at our Arrowhead Branch, and would like to share her point of view and the influences her Guatemalan heritage has had on her life.

What is your Hispanic heritage?


What events or traditions do you celebrate that are specific to your culture?

We celebrate Christmas starting December 24th. I remember as a kid we would wake up super early and start prepping for making tamales. We would clean and cut the banana leaves, make the masa, sauce, cut and cube the meats and start wrapping them. We also go hard on birthdays! Carne Asada is a must, jumpers, water balloons, pinatas, candy bags and Cumbia music are just some staples to those special events.

What is something that you want others to know about your heritage or cultural identity?

I want people to know that not all of our families have 50 people. Some of us have really small families, that's okay. Also, there are so many different types of us: We are Mexican, Guatemalan, Salvadorian, Nicaraguan, etc. Oh, and not all tamales are the same! Ha-ha-ha!

Do you feel like your family is more progressive or traditional with their finances, and why?

I feel my family is very traditional in their finances. They are big savers. They only like to spend on necessities. Now, that doesn't mean we don't spend. We totally do, but it’s for the important things like houses, cars, quinceaneras, weddings, trips back to the old country and, of course, DISNEYLAND!

How does your heritage influence your spending/saving habits? Is there an emphasis on saving for long-term goals? Have you received financial advice from your family/elders based on your culture?

In my family we learned to save. My parents immigrated here from Guatemala in the 80s, so working and saving was key to their survival . My dad, since I could remember, would always tell me to start saving for a house. A house is one of the biggest investments you can make, and he was right. Also, not to buy expensive clothes because you are going to grow out of them, and they are going to get messed up in the dryer!

How was your experience growing up in relation to your culture? Were traditions important to your family?

Traditions were very important in my family. My parents would emphasize never forgetting where we come from. Guatemala is rich in family traditions; working hard and trying to make a better life for yourself and your family. That is what my family did, and that is what I am doing now. I will also keep this going with my daughter. Spending time with the family was so important to my parents. We would always sit down and eat dinner together and talk about our day; every Saturday morning, as soon as you would hear the music turn on, you knew it was cleaning and laundry day. Sunday was church, and as an adult I still continue to do all that with my little family.

Who has had a major influence in your life?

My dad and my dad's best friend. They’ve taught me everything I know. If it wasn't for them teaching me about money and saving and investing early on in life, who knows where I would be right now? Because of them, I know what working hard is and wanting to "salir adelante" means - keep moving forward in life, no matter what obstacles you might encounter.

What are some common misconceptions people have about your culture?

That our tamales are not good. Don't let the banana leaves and aluminum foil fool you. Underneath that, there lies a delicious delicacy that is best paired with a bolio, or french roll as its called in English.

This question is very important: What are your favorite food dishes?

Oh man! This is a tough question. My favorite breakfast food is chorizo con huevo, with black beans, queso fresco and some warm corn tortillas. That right there is the breakfast of champions! My favorite all-time, non-breakfast food would be Caldo de Res, which is a Beef soup with delicious broth, veggies and meat. I will even eat that in the summer. I am sure you have seen the memes, but look them up if you haven’t.

Share anything else about your culture, heritage, and/or experiences that you’d like!

Our favorite movie is Apocalypto. We are hardcore fans of our soccer team...even though we never win. Ha-ha! Caldo de Res, Vicks Vapor Rub and Sprite can cure any illness, and we enjoy having a good time with our family and friends.

Share your unique story on our social media accounts about how your own culture or family has influenced your life through finances and traditions.

October 5, 2021

Published by SunWest Credit Union

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