All Nonfiction Bullying Books Academic Author Interviews Celebrity interviews College Articles College Essays Educator of the Year Heroes Interviews Memoir Personal Experience Sports Travel & CultureAll Opinions Bullying Current Events / Politics Discrimination Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking Entertainment / Celebrities Environment Love / Relationships Movies / Music / TV Pop Culture / Trends School / College Social Issues / Civics Spirituality / Religion Sports / Hobbies
- Summer Guide
- College Guide
- Author Interviews
- Celebrity interviews
- College Articles
- College Essays
- Educator of the Year
- Personal Experience
- Travel & Culture
- Current Events / Politics
- Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking
- Entertainment / Celebrities
- Love / Relationships
- Movies / Music / TV
- Pop Culture / Trends
- School / College
- Social Issues / Civics
- Spirituality / Religion
- Sports / Hobbies
- Community Service
- Letters to the Editor
- Pride & Prejudice
- What Matters
It’s funny how a normal Sunday can transform into the day you’ve looked forward to all your life. I remember when I was little that I dreamed every night about my big day; the day where I would outshine everyone. Be the center of attention. Coming from a Hispanic family, a Quinceañera is a very special tradition where young ladies transform into women. Me, being the youngest daughter of two, had to experience my sister’s quinceañera first. Then came July 15th when my very own Quinceañera took event. I woke up, like any other day, with my cousin sleeping beside me. The only difference was that my mom was tugging at my leg to get up and take a shower. Rolled up in towels, I got dresses in normal clothes and went downstairs to eat the only food I would eat for the whole day, or so every Quinceañera warned me. After finishing the only two tacos my stomach could hold down, I ran upstairs to find another fourteen people running in every direction.
I went into the room I was occupying alongside my sister, Ivette, and cousin, Daniella. I saw Daniella in a buttoned up shirt and shorts going through her suitcase looking for the dress she was going to wear for the party. As I looked at her, the door flew open and let Ivette and my mom, Sandra in. My sister was dripping wet with a towel wrapped around her body, and my mom had the messy hair. But the look of her eyes was a whole mystery. At the first glance, I could easily tell by the bags under her eyes that she had not slept at all last night. But once I looked closely, I could tell a mixture of emotions swarming through her chocolate brown eyes. She looked at me with empathy but also with something I couldn’t really put my finger on. Perhaps joy? Or maybe even sadness that I grew up so fast.
She kept her stare on me but as if ignoring me she turned around and told us it was time to go to the make-up and hair appointment. She closed the door behind her and walked out, leaving Ivette, Daniella, and me to our privacy. When both were ready my oldest cousin, Samuel, stared the car and drove us to our appointment. Once we got there the lady greeted me with a warming smile and told me to sit. As I sat there I saw a slender, black haired girl staring at me. No make-up, her hair was in a messy bun. Her eyes looked confused, not knowing what to expect. As the lady came I turned my attention to her and gave myself away to the hands of these people. The ones who were going to turn me from the normal girl that I was into the woman I was going to become. As she started to curl my hair and began to piling the make-up on my face, I realized that this was really happening. I was actually going to live the day of my dreams.
As she finished and I looked in the mirror, I saw that some other girl had replaced the one who was sitting there just moments ago. Her hair was a beauty and her face was flawless. The lady who did all the magic began to put on my tiara, as well as the other girl’s. Daniella came in and saw me with all my make-up on. I can still see the smile as she looked at me examining every inch of my face. Still in my plain clothes I went into a separate room to change into my puffy fuchsia dress. To put the process in a few word; it was horrendous. Not only did my dress fit loose, it was a tad bit long too. Therefore I kept picking up the sides of the dress in order for it to not fall and make a complete fool of myself. After the long twenty minutes had passed by Ivette and Daniella were ready with their dress and all. My mom had told us the limousine would be arriving soon and that we could tell him where to go, so we could take a couple of pictures.
Once the limousine was outside waiting for us, we hopped into it and told the driver to escort us to Santa Lucia Riverwalk. Once there, we got out and the three of us posed for pictures as the driver took them. While walking down the path, people kept pointing me out and telling me that I looked like a princess. When it was time to go, we walked to the limousine and towards the beauty salon to pick the rest of the family up. As our tummies began to rumble we had the great idea of stopping at KFC for some popcorn chicken. And we did, I can still hear the worker’s voice when he exclaimed, “Oh! It’s a Quinceañera!” Once we got out of there, we drove straight to the beauty salon were all the family was waiting outside. My aunt, Ruth, climbed in and could already tell something was up.
Trying to hide the food, we ate it every time my aunt looked away. Once we made it to the church, we sat there waiting for the camera man to get ready for my entrance. As I looked behind me I saw some sixteen-year old cadets walking towards the entrance doors. Once the cue was given for me to go out, I tried to put my best smile on and walk with confidence. The cadets lined up to make a pathway for me to go in. One of them dressed in white pants, the rest were in navy blue pants, was glancing over towards me his hand held out for mine. At first I hesitated. Why? I don’t really know. But then I walked over to him and placed my hand in his. He looked at me and we started talking. Then he asked me which preparatoria I went to. That’s when I told him that I didn’t go to school in Monterrey, but in South Carolina.
He looked somewhat shocked since being from the “extranjero,” is not common. Before we could talk anymore, it was time to make the entrance and for the religious ceremony to begin. We walked hand in hand through the passageway the other cadets had made. At the end of the corridor my mother and father stood there waiting for me. The cadet, Ricardo, gave my hand to my father and I linked my arm with my mother. The three of us walked down until we saw the chairs we were going to use for the next hour and a half. The priest began by reading me some scripts from the bible and telling me that this was finally the day when I transformed into a young adult. The ceremony was beginning to end, but not before the priest asked me to read a section of the bible.
Not having read out loud in Spanish since seven years ago, I was terribly hysterical. But as I read it flawlessly I knew I had nothing to worry. Not one mistake was pronounced from my lips. Finally the priest ended the ritual and I began heading out with my parents. Outside of the church a cameraman stood there waiting for me. I took photos with every single guest; I stayed with my aching cheeks for an hour or so with flashes blinding my eyes. When the last person took their photo with me, I couldn’t have put a bigger smile in face if I could. I sat with Ivette and Daniella at a bench. Daniella was eating some mango ice cream and offered me some. Eating had never been such a problem for me. At first I forgot that I had lip gloss on and basically ate a spoonful of mango mixed with lip gloss. It’s not as appetizing as it sounds, trust me. After giving up the thought of eating ice cream we got into the limousine and headed home.
At the house, we went to pick up the mini dress I was going to dance in. Still eating the now cold KFC food, my aunt turned around and asked us if we had food. Thirty minutes flew by and it was time to head towards the reception, leaving the food behind. We got there before anyone else and I ran upstairs into a separate room where I would walk out from and have my entrance. I sat there alone, thinking of every scenario possible; from tripping over my dress to getting caught on fire. My thoughts were not helping me calm down. As if answering my prayers, Ivette and Daniella walked into the room to check up on me. They stayed there until some guy came into the room. I and he were left alone and he asked me what kind of music I preferred. Giving him the “It doesn’t matter. If people like it, play it,” speech, the cadet from the church came in.
He stood there and told me we had to do a dance with all the cadets. In other words, I had to learn a dance in ten minutes. During a spin, I saw the cameraman come in. I took my hand away from Ricardo’s and looked at the guy to see what he wanted. He told me he wanted to get a couple of shots with me in the room. As I finished taking them, with my mouth now shaking from the pain, the man left and me and the cadet began to practice again. But suddenly the door flew open once more and this time cadet after cadet started walking in, thirteen, to be exact. With the chairs spread out in the room, they sat down and started talking amongst themselves. Once one of the cadets exclaimed that they should introduce themselves to me, they started presenting themselves down the line. Giving their name and stating their current grade level, they were pretty funny since some of them began introducing themselves as “Brad Pitt” and “Tom Cruise.” Calming somewhat down, I laughed at their jokes knowing they were trying to make me feel better.
Don’t get me wrong though, being the only female in a roomful of guys did not make me so steady. Again, like a life savior, Daniella walked in and looked shocked as she saw guys everywhere. I ran to her and hugged her, not having missed a female human soul so much before. We started talking in English and every cadet kept staring at us as if we were some rare species of some sort. When she had to leave, I was once again alone with fourteen other guys. Soon after that, the cadets except for Ricardo had to leave and make the passageway for me and him to walk in. After a couple of minutes alone with him, I heard the announcer. “Ladies and gentleman please give a warm welcome to the quinceañera, Adriana Martinez” Ricardo reached out for my hand and he opened the door as he led me out and walked down together. The joy of not tripping over my dress was enormous. But what felt better was when I saw my mom and dad there waiting for me. Again, Ricardo let go of me and handed me over to my dad and also linking my arm with my mother. The three of us walked all around the dance floor showing me off to the guests.
As we made the circle the cadets made a barrier and in the middle my dad and I stayed there to dance the father-daughter dance. As the song played and we moved with the tempo, my eyes filled with tears to know that I was going through all of this. The time had flown by without even noticing. Not so long ago was I pouring my eyes over my sister’s quinceañera rather than mine. I could tell my dad wanted to cry, but played the macho card he stayed composed while I cried. The song ended and my dad leaned over and whispered “Lo hiciste perfecto. Te quiero mucho,Adrianita.” To brighten things up, we started doing the fifteen roses. It’s a special tradition when fifteen man dance with me, each handing me a rose as a gift.
Dancing with each of them was incredible, noticing that everyone had their own way to do so. Some of them were obviously used to doing it; others were too tense that I had to remind them that we had to move. The fifteenth rose was given and my parents came to meet me and walked me over to the side. Ricardo, the main cadet, came and took me by my hand to dance the vals we had practiced a few minutes ago. With that being said, I should tell you that my heart felt like it was going to explode. I’m just happy I didn’t faint because I was so mortified. But like Ricardo told me, they all guided me and the only thing I did was go along with it. So that went pretty well. But the only thing that I remember so vividly is having the shorter cadets, who were obviously younger, step on my dress every time they took a step. Besides that, it went flawless.
The dance ended and we took the picture for memory’s sake. Before the cadets left, Ricardo and I opened the dance floor by dancing a cumbia. Not being used to dancing, let me just tell you that it went horrible. So horrible that when I asked help from Ricardo to remember my quinceañera, that’s one of the things he mentioned. Going back to the party, he left and I grabbed Daniella and started dancing with her. Time flew and before I knew it my ballet, Efecto Zero, was there and ready to dance the vals. After a month of practicing the vals and the surprise dance, I was finally going to perform them in front of all my guests. The vals came first; dancing to Selena Gomez’ “Who Says” had never been so special. I looked towards the crowd and I found people smiling at me, others like my mother choking back tears. Once that was over, I went upstairs to change from my puffy dress to a short one to which I was going to be dancing to.
“You have five minutes, tops,” kept running through my mind as some employee was helping me undress and change. The necklace, the bracelet, the earrings; I had to take all of that off plus change my tiara for a bow headband. I was panicking as the minute handle started to go by so fast. As if destiny had asked for it, the second I was ready, Eddie, my instructor came up to get me and walk me down the steps to perform the surprise dance. Once in the dance floor, I looked around and I saw hundreds of pair of eyes staring at me. I never would’ve guessed that so many people would come just for me. For once in my life, I felt special, wanted even. The familiar tune of “Lovumba” by Daddy Yankee came on and I knew it was time to remember the routine and leave it all in the floor. At first, the movements began fading away, but once I took the first step it all came to me. All the steps were coordinated in my body and performed at the right time. The dance was wonderful and by the grinning faces I could tell I did great.
Efecto Zero’s time at my quinceañera came up and had to leave. With them gone, the mariachi my Grandmother, Josefina, had booked for the night came in and started playing their instruments while singing “Las Mañanitas.” My mom and dad stood beside me and held me as my eyes began to water. But to make situations more emotional, the mariachi began playing “La Ultima Muñeca,” which is a song about how girls stop playing with their dolls and enter womanhood. As if reading my mind, they began to brighten the mood by playing “El Mariachi Loco,” and having guests come and dance to it. More uplifting songs were played and danced to until they had to leave. Then came some little kids dressed in traditional Mexican clothes who were going to entertain the crowd by dancing Regionales. People underestimated them, as well as I, because of their age. I mean, the youngest was six and the oldest was twelve. Not many believe these little kids are capable of dancing it, but was I wrong. The kids brightened the night up with every of their moves and their everlasting smiles.
They danced, time went by and time came up for them to depart. Then the lights were dimmed, music played and people rushed to the dance floor. Non-stop dancing until midnight just so I could open my surprise present. One of the employees came over with a big pink box; she set it down in front of me and walked off. I opened it and saw the most adorable stuffed panda in the world. Hugging it and setting it down the party continued up until three in the morning. But for me, the party is still going on in my heart.