When it came to gratitude, my siblings and I learned from an early age that there was nothing worse than being ungrateful. We might not have understood exactly why, but my parents always told us that being malagradecidos was shameful. And even when it would have made perfect sense for them to be bitter and angry about what little we had, my parents never blamed anyone else for their own predicaments. At times it seemed like we were literally turning our other cheek and waiting for that next cachetada from life. And yet my parents were always smiling.