diáspora y cultura vasca

Blogs > Growing up in Boise

Being Basque is pretty great


My name is Maitane Hollenbeck and I’m a Basque-American. My mom was born in Bilbao, Basque Country, and my dad was born in the United States. Because of this, I have the opportunity to experience different cultures, traditions, and lifestyles every day. This allows me to compare and contrast the people, food, ways of life, and everything in between from those two countries.

I visit Euskal Herria every year to see my family and friends. It fascinates me how groups of people can be so unlike each other just because they are from separate places. It is beneficial for me to know the difference in customs from the USA and the Basque Country because I’m able to be more educated and more comfortable, in the sense that I can distinguish different ways to relate to people who may not be from the same country as me. Not only this, but being able to share stories about my Basque friends to my American friends (or vice versa) creates a unique and engaging way to maintain a conversation and to keep them interested.

I live in Boise, Idaho where I participate in Basque dancing, Euskera classes, Basque Center dinners, Jaialdi, etc. Although my mother influences a lot of these things, I made the decision to  learn euskera on my own. My reason for wanting to learn the Basque language wasn’t an intellectual nor inspirational one, it was solely because I wanted to be able to have a kind of secret language with my mother (one that my brother wouldn’t be able to understand, but that’s besides the point). Our “secret language” is Spanish, but considering it is the second most spoken language in the world, it really isn’t all that secret (and my brother speaks it, too). Although I have a long way to go until I’m fluent in Euskera, I have already gotten over the hardest part, which was simply to gather the motivation I needed to start.

I feel extremely lucky to be able to visit Euskal Herria every single year because it is such a wonderful place. Without this opportunity, I would have never been able to create such strong bonds with my family, and my best friends such as Kaiene, Uxue, and June. I have the chance to enrich my Spanish vocabulary, enjoy authentic Basque food (amama is the best cook in the whole world!), and spend time with my family.

In sum, being Basque is pretty great.


  • Being Basque

    Being Basque is actually AWESOME!!!!

    Ricardo Arambarri (Miami), 10/08/2018 04:53

Maitane Hollenbeck

Maitane Hollenbeck

My name is Maitane Hollenbeck, a 13 year old Basque-American living in Boise. I love fashion and writing, playing with my dogs and hanging out with my friends. My dream is to be a writer and editor when I grow up.






© 2014 - 2019 Basque Heritage Elkartea

Bera Bera 73
20009 Donostia / San Sebastián
Tel: (+34) 943 316170

jaurlaritza gipuzkoa bizkaia