Never miss a story from Corporate and Culture. Subscribe for in-depth analysis and articles.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are not just words but values that are exemplified through our culture at Cadence. In the DEI@Cadence blog series, you’ll find a community where employees share their perspectives and experiences. By providing a glimpse of their personal stories, we celebrate our One Cadence—One Team culture and the importance of sustaining it as we learn from diverse perspectives.
Written by Julia Perez, senior principal application engineer at Cadence
Walking in two worlds and not fitting in either may be relatable to anyone who is bi-cultural. One of my early memories of not quite fitting in is going to the theater with my cousins in Mexico. The popcorn, palomitas, was passed to me in the darkness. I was shocked when it had chili powder. “What the bleep?” was followed by a series of faces aptly covered by the following emojis: . Tajin, or some variation, was on everything: fruit, candy, corn. Eventually, I learned to keep an open mind and enjoy the sweet-sour that one often finds in life. Now, when I feel isolated, or I’m ‘the only,’ I crave Tajin and other antojitos. A drive to the nearest little Mexico leads to new memories by invoking the old ones.
In my Abuelos’ village, we kids roamed the streets freely. We played Loteria with pennies because that’s how I roll—frugal. We set off fireworks and made slingshots. We were active outdoors because we couldn’t afford Legos or an Xbox. My favorite game started when my cousins made a circle in the dirt for marbles or tops, trompos. Initially, I stunk at both, but I loved watching the trompo’s dance. If there were an Olympic trompos game, my cousins would bring home a medal—then sell bootleg versions, but that’s another story. I studied their technique and practiced. As I learned to make it twirl, they learned to transfer the trompo to the palm of their hand, back and forth, then attack the other trompos. The smaller trompos were coveted because they were hard to hit and carried a big sting, which wasn’t obvious at first. Playing with the best made me want to up my game. This hasn’t changed.
Tamales are at my local grocery store or restaurants at any time of the year. The reason my family ones are still the best, in my mind, is the memories of the assembly line. Both sides of a long table were lined with my tias and older cousins. The head of the table was reserved for the complex aspects and the interesting conversation. I was at the end of the line, cleaning the corn husks, for years. Patience and effort were required if I was to ascend to the three or four most-coveted roles. Upward progression on the assembly line was tough, and I was bounced back down a few times when I didn’t make the cut spreading the corn dough. This built character and perseverance since no one ascended without earning it. Tamales were not to be sacrificed to nepotism, favoritism, or trying to game the system. My sense of principles and integrity were learned at the end of the line.
If any aspect of this is relatable or made you smile, write to the author, Julia Perez.
If it didn’t resonate or if it offended you, write to Jeannette Guinn, our Cadencia (Cadence Latinx Inclusion Group) leader who always finds a reason to smile.