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Hello, I'm Vanessa. Friends and family call me Vane (pronounced "vah-nay").

Throughout my life, I've felt somewhat torn. Being both Spanish and American, my life has been a composite of dual-citizen experiences. Easter egg hunts interlaced with holy week (Semana Santa) processions, 4th of July BBQs graced with tapas, and both Santa Claus and the Three Kings making their way into my living room to leave presents in the middle of the night...these are only a few examples of this duality. 

As a child, my everyday life was split down the middle until I graduated from high school. I attended an American military school located in a small base in southern Spain with American teachers and mostly American students, aside from a few Spanglish kids like myself. During the school day, I was mainly American, but as soon as the school bus drove off the base and dropped me off at home, my Spanish time was kicked off by none other than my mother's delicious home-cooked meal. 

Now that I'm older, the integration of both nationalities is still present within me, but now that my day is not structured in such an American/Spanish way as it was when I was growing up, I get lost in the duality sometimes. Some days I feel more American. Other days I feel more Spanish. Some days I feel balanced and identify as both, and yet other days I feel neither, as if I was an outsider looking into two familiar places of which I will never be a true native, recognizing the pretty and ugly of each culture objectively. 

This duality that I've sometimes thought of as a gift, and other times as a curse (I must admit), has made me feel torn and split down the middle emotionally and geographically. It would take too many words for me to explain why I crave each place from time to time and why it's important for me to take the trip to Spain from Austin regularly, which is where I currently live. 

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"Sweet Down the Middle" is a tribute to feeling internally divided, because it can be a beautiful yet strenuous thing. It is a photo-baking journal of pastries and desserts that are inspired by both my Spanish and American sides. But between you and me, this is also a way of reassuring myself that I will always keep both sides alive within me, as I dread to think who I'd be if either side were ever to slip away from me. 

Thank you for reading.