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Of course, cultural clashes can be a disheartening experience. As soon as I emigrated to the US, I dated an American girl.

But even if your relationship ends up in failure, down the line you will value what you learned. I frequently noticed her peculiar gesture whenever I talked to my parents on the phone.

Setting the personal qualities aside, any expatriate is also a vessel of beliefs, attitudes, customs, and mainly, surprises. After a few occasions, I asked her why she stared at me that way.

She smiled and said: “I just think it’s sweet the way you talk to your parents.

She said that it would just be easier because we would have the same culture, the same values, and the same way of thinking, but as Selena Gomez has eloquently put it: the heart wants what it wants — cue music.

Of course, my mom was partially right, and like a lot of happy endings mine did not start off with love at first sight.

Think of it as a culinary scavenger hunt and finish your plate before I eat the last of your . OK, you know that dream you have where people are talking about you in another language? See, before I met my Southern charmer, we'll call him L, I met his parents. While I went all feisty Latina on him, he just smiled and nodded and told me I was right, it was like an episode out of The Twilight Zone, and then before I knew it we were telling each other our life stories.He had left them to set up his room while he went off to the school store to pick up his books. We talked for hours, and the more we spoke the more apparent it became that we were from two different worlds. Up until that moment I thought such a life existed only for Hollywood darlings on the silver screen, not for actual normal people.Being a neighborly Latina, I went over there and helped them bring in their rug and bookshelves while I told them their no-good son shouldn't have left them to do the heavy lifting. He grew up playing tennis, going to country clubs, and spending his holidays in South Carolina at the beach, eating fried chicken and biscuits. I told them that when he came back I would give him a piece of my mind.