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Today is Dia De Los Muertos, the Day of the Dead, a pre-Colombian tradition which honors the dead, and believes that adult souls come to visit their living relatives.

As a child my father would bring home sugar skulls and sweet pasteries and explain this Mexican tradition.  He’d show my brother and I pictures from festivities in his hometown in Veracruz, Mexico, which seemed like a far away land compared to our hometown in Miami, Florida. With my Cuban mother and grandmother we would light candles next to old pictures and small offerings for dead loved ones and pray for them.

As an adult, I prepare a small altar in honor of my ancestors. Remembering them brings me peace and comfort. I take a moment to realize where I come from and the sacrifices made on my behalf by earlier generations.

I may not do the traditions perfectly, but I try to hold on to these important family customs and honor my Mexican culture and my own Mexican-Cuban upbringing. Next to la Virgen de Guadalupe (the patron saint of Mexico and the Americas) candle is card of La Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre (the patron saint of Cuba). The pictures of all my grandparents, the Mexican ones and the Cuban ones, stand side by side as I honor their lives on this special day.

Looking at the pictures reminds me, I am a proud child of immigrants. I am a proud child of exiles. I am a proud Latina.

In recent days, it seems that reporters and pundits have tried exceptionally hard to put immigrants against exiles, Mexicans versus Cubans. Be it using sloppy reporting or anecdotes, they have attempted to weave discontent in the Latino community, enough to try to give a Mexican-Cuban American some kind of personality disorder.

First off, immigrants come to this country for the same thing, better opportunities. Be it for political or economic reasons they all come to America in search of the American Dream. To those that want to imply that the hopes and dreams of immigrants and exiles are different are delusional and as we say, are buscapleitos (troublemakers.)

Are Cubans and Mexican different? Yes. Are there similarities? Yes. Does each

Another beautiful weekend in Northern California…..I spent the weekend with fellow alumni from Florida International University during their FIU Wine Country Weekend festivities. We stopped in at two wineries owned by FIU graduates, B Cellars and Uncorked at Oxbow. Pictures below…

Enjoying a beautiful day in Napa, California…


Below, FIU Faculty and fellow alums celebrate FIU graduate Celeste Carducci of Carducci Wines and Uncorked at Oxbow in Napa Valley.

Recently my boyfriend and I went on a camping trip to Yosemite National Park. I wanted to share some of the 300+ pictures from the trip (posted 6 photos below).   Most of these photos were taken with my iPhone and used Instagram filters for some extra definition. Follow me on Instagram at BettinaInclan or view more here.

Below are some two photos of us as we climb up Vernal Falls on the Mist Trail.

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This image below is of us at Yosemite, composed of a collection of photos I have on my iphone. I use the iphone app – PhotoMosaica to get the effect. Very cool.

(Photo after the jump)

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I admit it, I am a nerd, a tech nerd.

I salivate hearing about the latest gadgets and new uses for technology. I’m that rude person that has their iPhone on the dinner table, always worried about the “just in case,” and gets jittery if I don’t check it at least once….Yet, every once in a while its good to unplug, to get off the grid….

This weekend, my boyfriend and I went on a spur of the moment trip to one of our favorite place on earth – Yosemite National Park.

For a few days we enjoyed hiking and camping, internet-free with no help from Google on “how to build a wood fire.” It was just us and mother nature – and about a few thousands other campers.

The highlight of the trip was the hike up to Nevada Falls, a 7 mile round-trip adventure, filled with strenuous up hill climbs, unforgettable ranging waterfalls, incredible overlooks and even rainbows. It’s an unforgettable experience.