"El que no sabe es come el que no ve”
(“The one who has no knowledge is like the one who does not see.”)
Questions & Answers about “Los Dichos” with Author and Television Personality Cristina Perez
In this bilingual book, Judge Cristina Perez opens a window into her Latino community as she celebrates life and interweaves traditional Latino dichos (sayings and proverbs) into her life experiences. It is impossible to read a dicho without learning something important. Everyone will have a favorite.
Cristina allows readers to peer into her life, as she offers reflections and guidance on many issues facing us today. Cristina celebrates each other, her Latino community and culture and most importantly, rejoices in the spirit of what she believes defines a woman in today’s world.
The book is written for everyone, regardless of gender or race, but geared especially for young women and men, who hold the key to unlock the secret of success for future generations – their respective cultures. This book should remind everyone that life should not be taken for granted but lived to the fullest extent.
Following, is an exclusive one on one interview with Cristina Perez about her motivation to write her first book, lessons she learned and those she hopes you the reader receive from her book, and of course about “Los Dichos” themselves.
What made you want to write this book?
Today, more than ever there seems to be cultural identity confusion among young Latino women and men. Not only does mainstream society question who we are, in my case, we try to define what it really means to be a Latino in the United States. We try so hard to make it in “mainstream” America that we forget and sacrifice the very thing that make us unique – our culture and unique identity. We look to others for inspiration and instruction, when we should be looking at ourselves, our parents, ancestors and traditions. My wish is that this book will teach, guide and inspire all people, especially the young, of whatever generation and background that the key to success at whatever level is to stay connected with the valuable lessons our culture has to offer. The answers to all of our questions lie within each one of us. Our identity, our culture, is what defines each one of us and each should never be sacrificed, at any cost.
I also write this book to celebrate Latinas. In the book, I answer many questions that I am constantly asked, including: How, as a Latina, can you make it in a so-called man’s world? How do I win respect in a bi-lingual world? How am I able to have a family and career successfully? As a Latina, how have I been able to ‘blend in’ successfully in the United States?
Lastly, I hope that through this book, I can serve as another “bridge” to bring all Latinos to the “mainstream” but more importantly, the mainstream to Latinos.
Cristina, what exactly are Dichos?
Dichos? Well, you can say dichos are rules to live by, at least they are the rules that I live by day-to-day. Dichos are invaluable proverbs or sayings that are passed down from generation to generation within the Latino culture. In just a few words, each delivers a serious message, value or belief. They offer valuable human experiences and somehow validate the trials and tribulations we go through. They are profound lessons to be learned from the life experiences of our forefathers. They incorporate the astuteness of these past generations and serve as teaching tools for us to live by today and for future generations. When we face challenges in life, we can look to a dicho to give us a sense of clarity of specific situations. They are eye-openers. Dichos provide messages of hope, direction or guidance usually just when we need them. Ironically, dichos always express a basic truth that for some reason escaped us for the moment and put us back on track in the right direction.
There are thousands of dichos, some humorous, some serious, some of which are specific to certain countries, however, each has a particular meaning and are generally universal and transcend cultures, gender, economic barriers, and generations. Dichos are part of so many of the beautiful traditions of communication within the Latino culture.
Dichos also allow our elders to uniquely connect with the new generation. I have taken valuable lessons from dichos my mother (and grandmother) taught me, making some of my own along the way and used them for direction in all facets of my life.
As you will see, this book, like my life, is premised on solid fundamental teachings and lessons I have learned through dichos. I choose to use dichos because they are a vehicle to take a relatively simple concept to transcend and guide you through certain situations in life. Each chapter provides a symbolic dicho followed by my interpretation of such and how it applies in my life. Each chapter also expounds on the initial dicho by discussing other relevant dichos.
What lessons did you ultimately learn from writing this book?
I’ve learned from writing this book the difference between words versus actions. I have all these great lessons… I learned that I need to take my own advice. I’ve been working so hard trying to be perfect at everything. I don’t have to be the perfect everything and find the solution all the time. I learned that I too have so much in me that I’ve learned that I’ve yet to use. For me this has been an awakening… I have so much power and knowledge that I should view life in a more positive, fuller and appreciative way. I need to take my own advice. If I just relax and listen to what I say I’d be a much better person. I’m so grateful for the life that I have that people take for granted. I’ve learned that I can’t take for granted that I have work and that my husband and I can provide for our daughter. Writing this book has been a true awakening.
What lessons do you hope that your readers will take away from this book?
I hope that the reader is able to go on a personal journey and discover what is important to them in life. I hope that once they’ve read the book they learn what defines them; their own unique identity. Maybe they already knew about it but never knew it was a gift. It might be their language, how valuable their mother is, pride in their traditions, their family greatness or the one thing in their life that is good and worth struggling for; something good and valuable about themselves. I can only hope that all of this is in their hearts.
On a personal note, I hope that this book has given you something to connect to and believe in, and then made that thing yourself. And the hopefully you will go back and connect with your own family, culture and ancestry in a way that you never thought possible and never realized was there the whole time waiting for you.
Causes Cristina Perez Supports
• Board of Trustees, Trustee, Padres Contra el Cancer, 2004-present
• Chair, Curriculum Center, American Immigration Law Foundation, 2006