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Tag Archives: speaking Spanish

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SSWG is an interesting phenomena, the letters stand for Speaking Spanish While Gringo. After years of observation, I have decided that this is a fairly common phenomena here in Mérida. Even though Husband is usually handsomely attired in a guayabera and pantalones tipo dockers just like most Yucatecos, he has never been mistaken for one, heck he hasn’t even been mistaken for a chilango. As residents, we often end up shopping or eating in places that are unaccustomed to extranjeros as patrons.I imagine our waiter having an inner dialog as soon as he spots Husband. “That’s a gringo! Gringos don’t speak Spanish, what am I going to do? Oh, no he just asked for something. What does he want? I don’t speak English, beer, gringos like beer!” so Husband requests in perfect Spanish his customary limonada natural and the server blinks and says questioningly “¿cerveza?”. At this point I jump in and say “Mi esposo pidió una limonada natural, por ...

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Sometimes I feel like Alice

Sometimes I have these “Through the Looking Glass” experiences (TTLG) or maybe they are more like the Famous Abbot and Costello routine Who’s on First? (WOF?). WOF? is a more accurate descriptionf for this little birthday tale.When we first came to Mérida, I mentioned to my neighbor that Husband’s birthday was coming up.The conversation went something like this (except in Spanish):Me: “Next week is Husband’s birthday.”Neighbor: “Oh, Mother’s day is next week too.”Me:”Husband was born on Mother’s day”Neighbor: “Husband’s birthday is on May 10th?”Me: “No, May 9th.”Neighbor: “So in the United States they celebrate Mother’s Day on the 9th of May?”Me: “No, this year it’s May 12th”Neighbor: “I thought you said that Husband’s birthday is May 9th?”Me: “Yes, it is.”Neighbor: “But then you said that May 12th is Mother’s day in the USA?Me:” yes, this year it fall on May 12th.” Suddenly, the light bulb came on!”Oh, is Mother’s Day always on the same date in Mexico?”In Mexico, Mother’s Day ...

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Learning new Spanish words

Today, I helped my friend learn some new Spanish words. They were: daños de tercera parte choque chiflan Which mean 3rd party damages, bang into, bevel. Many of the streets in Centro have a chiflan,or bevel in order to accommodate vehicles like buses making turns from one narrow colonial street to another. Everyone is okay, several flats of eggs got scrambled, my friend’s vehicle got clipped by a little truck delivering eggs.Of course everyone had insurance, the egg guy had Ing. My friend had another company. The Ing claims agent came out within a half hour, the egg man got to wait in the air conditioned Ing mobile, fill out his forms on a real desk, it was impressive. We walked across the street and waited in the shade at a cocina economica (chivarly is apparently not part of the claims adjustor’s code).I have an active dislike of talking on the phone in Mexico, my friend called the toll free ...

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And your name is?

I go by an alias in Mexico, well, not really, but it’s easier to tell people that my last name is Dìaz. When I got married I replaced by middle name with my maiden name. That is the way my passport shows it, my (now expired) California driver’s license and my FM3. I didn’t hyphenate my name, but I just never wanted to stop using my maiden name, but didn’t want to explain why I didn’t have the same last name as my children or my husband. I thought it was a good compromise at the time.Here in Mexico, woman don’t change their name at marriage. They might add their husband’s last name, so I could be Theresa Dìaz Mom’smaidenname de Husband’slastname. If I tell people my name is Dìaz Husband’slastname, it also looks like I am married to my cousin,plus the combination of letters makes Husband’s name a mystery to Spanish speakers. So there are the Spanish speaking people ...

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Hey, I’m famous!

No not really, but I got quoted on Viva!Vercruz! To understand what I’m talking about, please read this post . Basically it is about what I call Speaking Spanish while Gringo. Wildbill said that a very similar thing happened to him in Japan. If he wanted to talk to someone new, it was easier to start speaking from a position where the listener couldn’t see him. If they saw him first, then no matter what, they had difficulty understanding his Japanese. It’s all about expectations, someone who is inexperienced sees an Anglo face and assumes that they don’t speak Spanish. I think that is why comadre (with the world’s worst Spanish) gets understood, they don’t expect her to speak good Spanish, she doesn’t and so they get into charade mode and everyone has a good time guessing what she wants. It doesn’t happen to me, I have something else happen to me, since I am Hispanic and I came here ...

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The spice girls have nothing on me!

I received an email from my high school buddy, Carol. It was a recipe exchange, one of the requirements was that the recipe be simple and not use any exotic ingredients. I started thinking about exotic ingredients. Then that led to spices. By nature I am a collector, my garden isn’t an orderly affair of palm trees and ferns like I admire in many ex-pat yards, if one bougainvillea is good then 9 are better. Well, I am even worse with spices, I have 3 plastic shoe boxes of spices, plus jars of condiments and sauces. Everytime I see a spice or herb that I may need someday, I buy it. Sometimes I even use it. Which leads to this post, I thought out of morbid curiosity to list all the spices that I have acquired since I came here. The bulk of them were bought at regular supermarkets Walmart, Megabalcones, Chedraui and foreign food section of Liverpool. Whenever I ...

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Mariachis until Midnight

Our neighbors have friend visiting from NOB (north of the border), so what is more welcoming than Mariachis? I took a few pictures but most didn’t come out due to lighting issues. Even though this couple have only been here since July, they are already a part of our neighborhood, with kids streaming in and out of their house. The key is that they aren’t shy, or if they were when they came they’ve overcome it. None of them spoke Spanish before coming here, the little boy is probably going to be fluent in a matter of months, he has a Yucatecan buddy and they talk back and forth. The young girl is in school, she also takes Spanish lessons just like the adults, she also has a special friend to play with. Since this couple came our next door neighbor, little Katita (semi-adopted grandchild, she won my husband’s heart when she told him “I am going to visit my ...

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Sewing the Blue Victorian Day Dress

The completed, blue Victorian day dress. Why am I making one? Why am I getting behind on stuff. How can this happen when I don’t have a job or kids taking up most of my day? Those of you who know me from before, know that I was an active participant in historical re-enactments in California. Well, I am going to California in November, to spend Thanksgiving with my family, and while I am there I am going to Dickens Fair (Or as it’s really called The Great Dickens Christmas Fair). Since I gave away my costumes, I am making a new one. Doesn’t that sound simple, just sew up a new costume? First, I had to make myself a new dressmaker’s dummy, since I no longer have one, and the only ones I found were at Liverpool which is a pretty pricey store. Well, I used the directions on the Threads site and made a duct tape body double. ...

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