La Cerca (The Fence)

Image source: Orange Grove Media

Image source: Orange Grove Media

Today is Spanish Friday so this post is in Spanish. If you participated in Spanish Friday on your own blog, leave your link in comments. Scroll down for English translation!

Uno no siempre puede saber todo sólo mediante observar. Ser observador es importante, pero sólo si uno recuerda que como ser humanos, nuestra abilidad de ver algo con los ojos y destilar la verdad, es imperfecto, limitado e influenciado por nuestras propias emociones, experiencias, y creencias.

Tomemos por ejemplo esta sencilla cerca. ¿Por qué estaba construida? ¿Los dueños quieren privacidad? ¿Es por protección o un sentido de seguridad? ¿Quieren previnir que salga su mascota o sus niños? ¿O que no entran extraños y animales desconocidos? ¿Tal vez van a construir una piscina o tienen un perro que muerde, y no quieren poner sus vecinos en peligro? ¿Es por razones estéticas, que se ve bonita la propiedad? ¿Quizás quieren vender la casa y están agregando valor a la propiedad? o es que ¿No quieren que su vecino les moleste?

Lo único que sabemos es que hay una cerca, pero no podemos saber por cierto por qué hay una cerca sin preguntar a los dueños. Pero ¿por qué estoy hablando de las cercas y los supuestos? Estos pensamientos se inspiraron en una hermosa serie que he estado leyendo en The New York Times. La serie se llama “The Way North“, y se trata de la inmigración.

The Way North: Day 25” es una entrevista con una mujer que se llama Francene en Wichita, Kansas. Francene ha vivido toda su vida en Wichita en la misma propiedad. Ella cuenta tanto las experiencias positivas y negativas que ha tenido con los inmigrantes mexicanos en la communidad que han estado moviendo a las casas en su vecindad. Ella contó sobre jovenes mexicanos que quebrarón una ventana, y entraron en un edificio de su propiedad, dañaron y robaron cosas. Contó también del hombre mexicano y su hijo que hicieron las reparaciones a la ventana y trataron de cobrar menos por la reparación porque se sentían mal por lo que le pasó. Una parte de la historia menciona a la familia mexicana que vive detrás de la casa de Francene. Anteriormente Francene les llevaba sandías cada domingo durante sus barbacoas familiares … hasta que se construyó una cerca.

Al final del artículo, nos encontramos con Leonel, el vecino mexicano que vive detrás Francene – El mismo vecino que construyó la cerca. Cuando el escritor del artículo hablo con Leonel y le dijo cómo se sentía Francene, Leonel expresó sorpresa. “¿En serio?” dijo Leonel. “Ella es una buena persona. Yo no sabía que iba a molestarse. Simplemente lo hicimos para hacer la casa más bonita.”

Esta historia me puso muy triste, porque estos tipos de malentendidos y suposiciones dividen a la gente más que la cerca física. Es una lección de no saltar a conclusiones.

¿Qué “cerca” estás malinterpretando en tu vida?

[ENGLISH TRANSLATION]

One can not always know everything simply by observing. Being observant is important, but only if one remembers that as human beings, our ability to see something with our eyes and distill the truth is imperfect, limited, and influenced by our own emotions, experiences, and beliefs.

Let’s take for example this simple fence. Why was in built? Did the owners want privacy? Is it for protection or a sense of security? Do they want to prevent their pet or children from going out? Or prevent strangers and unknown animals from coming in? Maybe they’re going to build a pool or they own a dog that bites, and they don’t want to put their neighbors in danger? Is it for aesthetic reasons, to make the property look nice? Perhaps they want to sell the house and they added the fence to increase the property value? Do they not like their neighbor and want to make it more difficult for that neighbor to bother them?

The only thing we know is that there is a fence, but we can’t know for sure why there is a fence without asking the owners. But why am I even talking about fences and assumptions? These thoughts were inspired by a beautiful series I’ve been reading in The New York Times. The series is called “The Way North“, and it’s about immigration.

The Way North: Day 25” is an interview with a woman named Francene in Wichita, Kansas. Francene has lived all her life in Wichita on the same property. She recounts experiences both positive and negative that she’s had with the Mexican immigrants in the community who have been moving into her neighborhood. There are the Mexican teenagers who broke a window, entered a building on her property, damaged and stole things. There is the Mexican man and his child who made the repairs to her window and tried to undercharge her for the repair because they felt badly about what had happened to her. One part of the article mentions the Mexican family that lives behind Francene’s house. Francene used to bring them watermelons each Sunday during their family barbeques… until they built a fence.

At the end of the article, we meet Leonel, the Mexican neighbor who lives behind Francene’s house – the neighbor that built the fence. When Leonel was told how Francene felt, he expressed surprise. “For real?” Leonel said, “She’s a nice person. I didn’t know it was going to bother her. We just did it to make the house look nice.”

This story made me really sad, because these types of misunderstandings and assumptions divide people even more than the actual physical fence. It’s a lesson in not jumping to conclusions.

What “fence” might you be misinterpreting in your life?

Latin American Themed Cellphone Cases

latin-american-cellphones

Disclosure: Latinaish.com has partnered with Cricket Wireless as a 2014 Blog Ambassador. All opinions are my own.

Several years ago I was diagnosed as having carpal tunnel syndrome. It’s a common ailment for writers to develop, and I still haven’t gotten around to having surgery. Besides my hands feeling weak and arthritic at times, one of the worst symptoms of CTS is the increased instance of total butterfinger moments. (Those who have CTS know what I’m talking about!)

For the rest of you, let me explain: I’ll be holding something (an ice cream cone, a book, the remote control) and all of a sudden, my hand will just decide all on its own, that it doesn’t want to hold it anymore. I get no warning whatsoever. A frequent victim of these butterfinger moments is my cellphone.

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve dropped my phone – and some of them have been from standing position over concrete. Thankfully I have a case on my phone and so far (knock on wood), my Samsung Galaxy s4 hasn’t been damaged. I’m sure that having a case on my phone has been at least partly responsible for protecting it, so I recently decided to invest in another case, as the one I have on it is pretty boring, (just a cheap grey-colored one.) While looking for a new case, I realized that some of you guys would probably love these as much as I do. Want to help me pick out which one I should buy? I narrowed it down to four and I’m having trouble choosing. Let me know in comments which case I should get!

el-salvador-phonecase
El Salvador phone case from Zazzle/AllWorldTees

sugarskulls-case
Sugar Skulls phone case from Zazzle/Thaneeya McArdle

world-map-case
World Map phone case from Zazzle/PMCustomGifts

frida-1-case
Frida Kahlo phone case from FineArtAmerica/Elena Day

For more from Cricket Wireless ambassadors, follow the #VidaConCricket hashtag and @MiCricket on Twitter.

When Your Hijo is American…

allstate-commercial

While watching a game today, I discovered another company who made a great commercial worth sharing. It’s one of the “mala suerte” Allstate commercials, and in it, a Mexican father and his Mexican-American son are driving to the soccer stadium to go see a game… I don’t want to spoil it by giving too much away, so just check it out! Well done, Allstate!

(I actually wrote about this exact topic during the last World Cup. See the post HERE.)

Refresco de Ensalada

refresco-de-ensalada

Hot summer days call for cool refreshing drinks, and Salvadoran “Refresco de Ensalada” (also known as Agua de Ensalada, Salad Drink, Salad Water, or Fruit Salad Drink), is like drinkable fruit salad. The tiny pieces of minced fruit are not to be swallowed! Sip the sweet liquid, and then savor the apple, mango, pineapple, and orange pieces that find their way onto your tongue. It’s a drink and a snack all at once! Assemble your fruit and get chopping!

fruits

Refresco de Ensalada

You need:

1 20 oz. can pineapple slices in 100% pineapple juice
1 mango, peeled
3 oranges
2 Granny Smith apples
juice of 1 lemon
6 cups cold water
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt

Optional: iceberg lettuce
(See notes for additional variations!)

Method:

1. Put the lemon juice into a large mixing bowl.
2. Mince the apples into tiny, uniform pieces (as you see in the photo below.) Stir the minced apple into the lemon juice as you go along. (This keeps them from turning brown.)

cut-apple

3. Peel the mango. Mince. Add to the bowl.
4. Open the can of pineapple. Pour the juice into the bowl.
5. Mince the pineapple and add to the bowl.
6. Squeeze the juice of 2 oranges into the bowl. (Do this over a sieve to avoid seeds falling in.)
7. Mince the remaining orange and add it to the bowl.
8. If using lettuce, add 1 cup of minced lettuce to the bowl. (I kept mine on the side and added it to my individual cup later since Carlos didn’t want it in his.)
9. Transfer the contents of the bowl to a large pitcher. Add 6 cups of water.

(Note: Once we drank all of the liquid, we later added another couple cups of water to finish off the fruit, so you’re able to add more than 6 cups of water, but you’ll have increase the sugar and salt in the next steps if you do.)

10. Add 1/3 cup sugar and 1/2 tsp. salt. Stir. (I prefer to keep the juice as natural as possible without adding too much additional sugar and it tasted great to me with 1/3 cup. Some may prefer this drink sweeter and you may add sugar to your personal tastes. Carlos added sugar every time he drank a cup of it but my boys and I liked it without adding more. If your fruit is super sweet, you may find you don’t want to add any sugar at all.)

11. You can drink this immediately, but it tastes best if you put it in the fridge for at least 1 hour, (and even better if you can wait until the next day.) Serve cold.

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refresco-de-ensalada-con-lechuga
(I like lettuce in mine. It sounds odd, but give it a try!)

Other variations of this recipe typically include mamey, marañon, watercress (“berro”), and even cucumber. Feel free to experiment by adding your favorite fruits and vegetables, or fresh herbs like mint.

An Open Letter to Mr. Clegg, Who Hates American Soccer Fans

Dear Mr. Jonathan Clegg,

There are posers, wannabes and fakes in every group of fans, regardless of the sport – but in your Wall Street Journal article “Why I Hate American Soccer Fans”, you made some pretty harsh judgements. I tried to move on with my day after reading it, but I’ll admit, you got me a bit riled. (So congratulations to you if you’re trolling. Well done, sir.) However, on the off chance that you were sincere in your ridiculous remarks and petty complaints, I would like to set the record straight on a few things.

You want to know why some Americans refer to the sport as “fútbol” instead of “soccer” – I shall explain. The United States is a very multicultural country, and many of us watch our “fútbol” on Spanish-language channels; some even prefer the lively commentary in Spanish, have grown accustomed to it – it’s part of the sport for those who haven’t known it any other way. Some of us even come from Spanish-speaking households, or perhaps watch the game with Spanish-speaking friends. You know, it’s funny, a Brit complaining about Americans calling it “fútbol”, when the more common complaint from our friends across the pond is, “Why do you call it soccer? It’s football!” … Well, you got your wish, it’s just that we decided to say it in Spanish. What seems to be the problema?

Then you complain that some of us call the field a ‘pitch’, the game a ‘match’, and the jersey a ‘kit.’ Although you have assumed otherwise, most people I know don’t do this to be pretentious, but because if we want to watch a game in English, it’s often a British commentator using those British terms. Is it that difficult to understand that when one is a soccer fan in the United States, they inevitably find themselves rubbing elbows literally and linguistically with people who aren’t Americans and thus pick these things up? … But you know what? It’s fine. You can have your pitches, matches and kits back, just kindly return all the Americanisms that have somehow made their way overseas. Oh! And please refrain from watching our Hollywood movies, those are ours. No one else can watch them.

On a related note, you complained about our obsession with ‘tifo’ – Yet, if I’m not mistaken, ‘tifo’ are of Italian origin, so would you kindly tell England and all the other countries displaying them at games to knock it off? Why can’t they come up with their own traditions? While we’re at it, everyone in the world except China must stop setting off fireworks, (with it being a Chinese invention and all.) I’m sure we can come up with some other cool way to celebrate things.

On the topic of these American fans you so detest wearing soccer scarves on hot days – This is not a phenomenon unique to soccer and it does not automatically guarantee you have spotted a “poser.” Americans do all kinds of crazy weather/fashion related things. Have you not seen girls on college campuses wearing furry UGG boots year round? Have you never witnessed shirtless men with painted chests in bone-chilling cold supporting their American football team at the stadium? I also find this particular complaint kind of hilarious given that England’s national team has been practicing while wearing extra layers, including hats and gloves so they can prepare for Brazil’s heat. Maybe you guys would like to borrow some of our scarves since you don’t want us wearing them anymore?

I think the thing that made me most insane about your diatribe was that after all these complaints about Americans pilfering soccer traditions from other countries and telling us how unimaginative we are – you then dove headfirst into telling us how stupid our own unique soccer traditions seem to you. Which one is it, Mr. Clegg? You can’t have it both ways.

As for Clint Dempsey’s nickname, “Deuce” – That’s his rap name, I’m not even kidding, and fans didn’t give it to him. Look it up. (He’s actually really good. Can Rooney rap? Didn’t think so.)

To close, I would just like to remind you, Mr. Clegg, that this nation is built on a foundation of mixed traditions, languages, and adaptations from all the beautiful cultures that make us who we are – I don’t see why you would expect our growing love of soccer to be any different.

See you at the World Cup, amigo.

Tracy López
American soccer fan, like it or not

No Hay Nada En El Fridge

lafamilia

Today is Spanish Friday so this post is in Spanish. If you participated in Spanish Friday on your own blog, leave your link in comments. Scroll down for English translation!

Ni sé cómo encontré esta telenovela educativa que se llama “Long Live La Familia”, pero me alegro de haberla encontrado. Es casi 30 minutos de duración y un poco cursi, pero yo miré todo el episodio “No Hay Nada En El Fridge” y hay mucho que me encanta: La mezcla de idiomas, las interacciones entre las diferentes generaciones, los calcetines con chanclas … Mírala y dime lo que te gustó. (Puede saltar a 3:40 en el video, que es cuando comienza la telenovela.)

[ENGLISH TRANSLATION]

I’m not even sure how I stumbled upon this educational telenovela called “Long Live La Familia”, but I’m glad I did. It’s almost 30 minutes long and a little cheesy, but I watched the whole episode of “No Hay Nada En El Fridge” and there’s so much I love about this video: The mix of languages, the interactions between different generations, the socks with chanclas… Watch and tell me what you liked. (You can skip to 3:40 in the video, that’s when the actual telenovela starts.)

Pão de Queijo: Brazilian Recipe Attempt #2

brazilian-cheese-rolls

So, last week I made brigadeiros and announced that I would be trying as many Brazilian recipes as I could over the next couple months in honor of the 2014 World Cup’s host country. Since I woke up this morning craving something savory for breakfast instead of the cookies I’ve been eating with coffee lately, I decided it was time to attempt my second Brazilian recipe.

Pão de queijo (cheese bread) is exactly what you think it is. These little rolls are best eaten hot right out of the oven, (at least that’s how I liked them.) The recipe I tried, recommended eating them with sweet spreads which sounded weird to me at first, but I ate a few with Nutella and they were really good like that. Bonus: If you’re avoiding gluten, these are gluten-free since they use tapioca flour. This was the first time I made anything with tapioca flour, but I loved the chewy texture it gave the inside of these rolls so much that I would love to use it again in other recipes.

brazilian-cheese-rolls-2

Thankfully I froze the majority of the rolls so I didn’t eat them all day long, and now I have enough to accompany two future dinners. Carlos hasn’t had a chance to try these yet, but my boys both liked them.

The recipe I used for my pão de queijo is over on The Other Side of the Tortilla if you want to try it yourself!

USA! USA! USA! Giveaway!

usa-giveaway

So, the other day I stopped at a store we have here on the east coast called “Five Below.” Five Below is like the most awesome dollar store ever and is targeted to teenagers. Everything at “Five Below” is five dollars or less, (¡obvio!) … Anyway, I stopped in the other day and was so psyched to see they had a big soccer section set up near the sports equipment in honor of the upcoming tournaments. Fútbolmania seems to finally be hitting the United States!

Not only did they have Panini album stickers, (of which I bought a ridiculous amount even though I keep saying I’m going to stop buying them), they had soccer balls, T-shirts, stickers, magnets, lanyards, sunglasses, cellphone cases, scarves and all kinds of things for the U.S. team and others.

five-below-world-cup

So, here’s the deal, I bought a few things for a giveaway because I want to encourage everyone to cheer on the U.S. team. Many of us have favorite teams besides the U.S. team, whether we have roots or some sort of connection to another country outside the U.S., or a favorite player who isn’t from the United States, or maybe we just like the playing style of a particular team — Go ahead and cheer that favorite team on too, but don’t forget to show support for the U.S. team. Like I said, it seems like fútbolmania could catch on here, and as soccer fans, that’s super exciting. Let’s do our part to show the U.S. team support and get others excited about the sport. Are you in?

===========GIVEAWAY CLOSED==============
Congratulations to: Sarah Quezada!
==========================================

GIVEAWAY DETAILS

Prize description: One lucky winner will receive the items pictured in the photo at the very top of this post: 1 USA soccer ball (which may arrive deflated for shipping purposes), 1 USA soccer magnet, 1 USA soccer decal, and 1 USA soccer lanyard.

Approximate value: $10

- How to Enter -

Mandatory entry: Just leave a comment below telling me which American soccer player you like best. (The soccer player doesn’t have to be on the U.S. roster for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Please feel free to name a player from a U.S. Major League Soccer team or U.S. Women’s Soccer team. (Please read official rules below before entering.)

Optional extra entry opportunities: Once you have completed the mandatory entry, you can do as many of the following for extra entries in any order you wish:

Follow Latinaish on Twitter, and leave a separate comment here with your Twitter name.

“Like” the Latinaish Facebook page, and leave a separate comment here saying that you did.

• Subscribe to Latinaish.com in the sidebar on the right where it says “Free Delivery” – either via email through WordPress.com where it says “Sign me up!” or through Bloglovin, and leave a separate comment here saying that you did.

Official Rules: No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years of age or older to enter. You must be able to provide a U.S. address for prize shipment. Your name and address will not be shared with any third party. Please no P.O. Boxes. One entry per household. Make sure that you enter a valid email address in the email address field so you can be contacted if you win. Winner will be selected at random. Winner has 48 hours to respond. If winner does not respond within 48 hours, a new winner will be selected at random. Giveaway entries are being accepted between June 3rd, 2014 through June 9th, 2014. Entries received after June 9th, 2014 at 11:59 pm EST, will not be considered. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. If you win, by accepting the prize, you are agreeing that Latinaish.com assumes no liability for damages of any kind. By entering your name below you are agreeing to these Official Rules. Void where prohibited by law.

Buena suerte / Good luck!

Disclosure: I did not receive any product or payment to run this giveaway. This giveaway is not an official FIFA World Cup 2014 giveaway. This giveaway is not an official Five Below giveaway. Both FIFA and Five Below retain rights to their own individual trademarks and I do not claim any official connection with either company. Items for giveaway were purchased by me. As always, all opinions are my own.

A Garden for la Virgen de Guadalupe

The garden before we fixed it up.

The garden before we fixed it up.

As a member of Lowe’s Creative Ideas Network I received gift cards from Lowe’s in order to purchase supplies to complete projects. All opinions are my own.

Many years ago my suegra brought a very large statue of the Virgen de Guadalupe into our household. At the time I wasn’t happy about it because it was extremely large and she expected us to display it in the middle of our small living room. We ended up putting the statue in a garden on the side of our house, and that’s where it’s been ever since.

Over the years Carlos and I both became fond of the statue, (although we’re happy with its outdoor location and don’t regret putting it there) and this year we decided we should give a little more care to the neglected garden we put her in.

virgin-garden-BEFORE-2

I spent hours at Lowe’s trying to decide what I wanted to plant in the garden. We knew we needed top soil, so that went onto the cart first, but then I took forever choosing flowers.

Roses seemed a logical choice because of the story of the Virgen de Guadalupe, but I was a little intimidated by the thought of caring for them. It’s been a couple months now since we planted the roses though, and I have to say, they really haven’t been difficult. If you’ve always wanted to plant roses but have been worried you’ll kill them, I recommend buying some and giving it a try.

Carlos says I have a “good hand” with the plants, (that’s a direct translation of “buena mano” in Spanish – which is like saying someone has a green thumb), but it isn’t true. I’m not a great gardener and I’ve had things die before – a lot of the time I think I just get lucky, but really, the roses haven’t been a challenge at all.

Besides the roses, I thought it would be nice to plant rosemary. I love the smell of rosemary and the way the herb looks – but planting the rosemary was also symbolic. During the Salvadoran civil war, there was a Catholic archbishop named Oscar Romero. He was an outspoken defender of the people and it ended up costing him his life. “Romero” is how you say “rosemary” in Spanish.

For added color I chose some heather and snapdragons. Finally! All done and ready to get to work, right? Not quite. As we were getting ready to head to the check-out, a big spiky plant caught my eye.

“This looks kind of like Flor de Izote,” I said, calling Carlos over. Carlos inspected it. “It is,” he said, “That’s Flor de Izote.”

Flor de Izote! The national flower of El Salvador.

Flor de Izote! The national flower of El Salvador.

I checked the tag on the plant, (carefully because the leaves are very sharp!) and it was labeled “Variegated Spanish Dagger.” A quick check of the internet via my smartphone, and I found that these most likely are the same plant, or at least are closely related. (Any botanists out there who can verify?)

Flor de Izote went onto the cart. Instead of planting the Flor de Izote directly in the ground, I thought it would be nice to have it in a pot. Luckily, I spotted these beautiful pots made in Mexico. We hurried out of Lowe’s before I bought enough plants to rival the U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C.

pots-at-lowes-for-gardening

Back at home, we unloaded the supplies and got down to work.

lowes-garden-supplies

pullingoutplants-garden

I don’t have any fancy step-by-step directions this month. We pulled everything out of the garden besides a large bush and the statue itself, then added some fresh top soil. I set the plants out, (still in their pots), to see how they looked in different locations. When I settled on the layout I liked, we dug the holes and planted them.

One thing I was still not satisfied with was the fact that you could see the ugly yellow gas line. Stacking some old cement patio pavers and putting the Flor de Izote on top helped, but Carlos ended up going back to Lowe’s and buying a white plastic lattice screen to help further disguise it.

virgin-garden-2

We’re really happy with how it turned out and we visit that side of the yard almost daily to check on things, water flowers if it hasn’t rained, (and sometimes fix things up. Our dog Chico has stepped on a few of the snapdragons and broken them. I also caught him trying to eat a rose one day.) If my suegra were here and she caught Chico in the garden, I can imagine her reaction and it makes me smile; she would chase him out of there, waving her hands as if to smack him, maybe with a chancla held high. She would almost certainly yell “¡Chhhhhht! Chucho condenado!” and then walk away muttering…”Ay, qué pecado…”

virgin-garden-3

Do you have a Virgen de Guadalupe garden? What did you plant in it?

Want more creative ideas?

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Check out more from Lowe’s Creative Ideas Network by subscribing to their Creative Ideas Magazine and E-Newsletter, following them on Pinterest, and by seeing what the other Lowe’s Creative Ideas Network members are up to.

Brazilian Bon Bons (Brigadeiros)

brigadeiros-2

With the World Cup coming up, I’ve got my mind on Brazil – but more specifically, I can’t stop thinking about Brazilian food. I did some research (also known as looking at photos of food for several hours) and have come to a conclusion – my life needs more Brazilian food in it. During the World Cup, my cocina will become a cozinha, (you guys are pretty smart so I don’t have to tell you that’s Portuguese for “kitchen”, right?)

Since I have pretty much zero experience in Brazilian cuisine, I decided to start out with the easiest recipe I could find.

Brigadeiros are basically Brazilian bon bons, or maybe more accurately, truffles. From what I read, they are the most popular candy in Brazil and essential at children’s birthday parties.

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I love how mine turned out. They’re like little soccer balls (how perfect!) … And the ones with the little round sprinkles remind me of Huichol beaded art.

If you want to make a batch of brigadeiros, the recipe I used is on From Brazil To You.

Anyone want to join me in learning to make some Brazilian dishes during the World Cup? Leave a comment and let me know!