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I was just wondering…

Often, I find that the word I grew up using isn’t the word that they use here in Yucatan. For example, enchufe is replaced by the word contacto, that’s an electrical outlet or socket in English. I’ve grown accustomed to getting blank looks when I speak Spanish, but I wasn’t prepared when the same thing happened to me in English! At a recent meeting of the Merida Writer’s Group,I read the first draft of the sugar chapter in my book. I used the word soda, mainly because I didn’t want to signal out Coke or Pepsi but wanted a generic term. LG explained that in the part of Canada she is from, soda means bicarbonate of soda or maybe carbonated water, like in the phrase, “I’ll have scotch and soda, please.” My curiosity is piqued, I’ve been pestering all my friends, asking them the generic term for soft drinks in their home region. Now it’s your turn,II need your help.What ...

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Looking for paws

Orderly, organized and planned, not the words often used to describe my endevours. Vowing that this project would be different, I started a Pinterest board, titled Dining Room Redo (I’m prone to obvious clever names like that, I also named my gray mare Silver and an orange tom, Rusty). My first stop was Ana White’s amazing website of free and easy building plans, I found a couple of  farmhouse style tables that I liked. Not being certain that they were easy enough, I found this blog post after several hours of wandering the net eventually. It was exactly what I wanted. First order of business was to buy four legs in the appropriate style. Table legs in Spanish are called patas, this actually doesn’t feature into my story, but I thought you might like to know that little tidbit. There is an excellent lumber yard a 100 yards from our home. There I found the perfect turned leg, the price ridiculously ...

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Just do it !

Remember that motto? Just do it! I think it was a Nike campaign slogan. According to a book that I am reading,Surprisingly…Unstuck: Rewire your brain to exercise more, eat right, and truly enjoy doing so., it doesn’t exactly work that way. Maria Brilaki’s book teaches you how to go about making changes, she goes into the types of changes and what sort of results each one returns. The biggest bang for your buck comes from radical change, which is the most difficult to achieve. She gives an alternate strategy, but this post isn’t about that, her book explains her method much better than I ever could. The other day, I was listening to another person complain about the nebulous they who don’t try to learn Spanish. She was rather contemptuous of those people. While I didn’t exactly take her to task, I did put forward my needs must theory of language acquisition,  in other words, I think that unless you are ...

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A typical week in Merida

Being that today is Thursday, this will really be an abbreviated week, but still fairly typical for us. Normally on Mondays I go to my crafts group from 10 am to noon, the location varies as we take turns hosting. This week, I did something else, Husband and I attended a small gathering honoring one of our friends. Since it was being held downtown, we planned on walking,stopping at the pharmacy on the way. The offer of a ride changed our plans. We are nothing if not flexible. Feeling peckish after the gathering, we decided to have an early lunch. Like most expat gatherings,there were cookies and soda available but we refrained. Husband used to have a big sugar jones, but he wasn’t tempted by the homemade cookies where before he would have consumed his share happily. The German restaurant, La Bier Haus has opened a location on Calle 62 x 57 y 59, we’ve been talking about checking it ...

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Why is gingham called mascota in Spanish?

Scouring the fabric stores for two hours this afternoon, I finally found what I was looking for, black and white mascota ( mascot or pet is the literal translation ). I have no idea why gingham is called mascota in Spanish. I had shown my daughter the C0501 young girl’s  dress and she liked it. She gave me some ideas on fabrics that she would like. One of her likes was a classic, black and white gingham. Gingham or mascota  is readily available for about $16 a meter or one dollar six cents a yard (at today’s extraordinarily favorable exchange rate of 14 to 1). Unfortunately, it’s a crummy synthetic fabric that feels like nylon to me. Wanting a quality fabric,preferably one made of cotton, I headed to the basement.El Gran Chapur has a very nice selection of fabrics in the basement of their centro location. The fabrics there are lovely, lots of cottons, tropical weight wool and linen and ...

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Juan y María didn’t cover this stuff.

Answering my phone during painting class, I was confused to hear Husband say “I don’t want to spoil the surprise but I have someone here you should speak to”. My mind raced, a surprise is usually a good thing, so the first thing I thought was “Do we have visitors? Is one of my kids here?” There was silence on the line and an unfamiliar voce asked me in Spanish what I wanted. Really confused now, I replied that I had no idea why I was speaking to him. Turns out that Husband had decided to surprise me and buy a dressmaker’s dummy! Telling him about seeing them for sale,I had mentioned the price being around $2400. My big dilemma was deciding what size I needed. Husband went to the shop and said that he wanted to buy that particular mannequin for me, he knew it was the one because it was the correct price. His Spanish gave out when ...

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illiterate in two languages

My friend, Jonna, sometimes jokes that she is illiterate in two languages. I am beginning to think that I can’t spell in two languages. I’ve always been good at spelling. One of my first real non-babysitting jobs was correcting papers for a sixth grade teacher. Staring at the spellcheck underlined word, I couldn’t understand what I had done wrong.I try to correct spellings first before depending on spellcheck. Spellcheck and I don’t  always agree. Our vocabularies are usually quite dissimilar and it’s guesses can change my sentences in a bizarre way when I let autocorrect function automatically.Therefore, I try to figure out my errors on my own, correcting  without relying on the computer.  Sounding the word out, doesn’t help anymore, I seem to be using Spanish phonetics rather than English in my orthography. “F” replaces “ph” as in foto or farmacy. I have consistently been using “e” instead of “i” and vice versa. For example,the word that was causing me ...

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return of the false friends

Here is a post that I wrote about false cognates, False Friends.  Introduce is still a hard one for me, or rather remembering to presentar rather than introducir people. Most of the other ones, I do all right with. I am off to the kitchen to make some crackers using sesame and sunflower seeds instead of grains. Enjoy the re-run, I’ll post about my efforts later. Oh, don’t forget to read the comments, some of the bloopers people shared are really funny,

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Mi Burrito

A E I O U el burro sabe mas que tu. Did you ever do that exercise in Spanish class? It’s practicing the vowel sounds. It probably isn’t allowed anymore, the soccer moms would object to their precious snowflakes being told that a donkey is smarter than them.Burrito is an interesting word. The word always makes me think of those enormous tortillas filled with rice, beans, guacamole, sour cream, carnitas, and cheese  we used to eat NOB.A burrito can also be an ironing board and a dolly. Not the kind of dolly a little girl hauls around but a hand truck to haul things with. Those are also called un diablito. I have what I call my little ol’ lady shopping cart. It’s a fancier version of the wire carts, mine is more like a big bag on wheels, complete with umbrella holder and fancy three wheeled roller. It also has a kickstand, but I fell on it once, so ...

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