On Fictional Immigrants, Accents & Why We Like What We Like

I’ve mentioned my love for Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz) and his accent, on more than one occasion, but yesterday a thought occurred to me – a sort of, “Which came first? The chicken or the egg?” sort of question. I wondered, was it already pre-programmed within me to like accents and Ricky Ricardo just happened to be the first to ignite it? – Or was there something about Ricky Ricardo that created a preference for that specific quality?

Whether it’s accents or ice cream flavors, who can really say why we like what we like? Maybe a psychologist or brain specialist of some sort would be able to explain this better – I’m not really prepared to delve into that today, or probably ever.

What I do want to talk about are fictional immigrants in film and television, as well as actors putting on an accent which is not native to them, because these are stories and characters I’m very often drawn to. There’s a fine line between creating an authentic character and one that reinforces stereotypes, but I’ve had some favorites over the years. Here they are in no particular order.

Actor Bronson Pinchot played the very loveable Balki Bartokomous on the sitcom Perfect Strangers. Balki was supposed to be from a fictional island in the Mediterranean Sea called Mypos. Pinchot is an American actor born in New York.

Actor Tom Hanks played Viktor Navorski of the fictional country Krakozhia in the movie, The Terminal. Tom Hanks was originally born in California, and you probably already know what his regular speaking voice sounds like.

Actor Adhir Kalyan played Raja Musharaff, a Pakistani exchange student sent to live with a family in Wisconsin on the TV show Aliens in America. In real life, Adhir Kalyan was born in South Africa and speaks with a lovely South African accent.

Actor Naveen Andrews played Sayid Jarrah, an Iraqi character on the TV show LOST. Andrews was actually born in London, England and is of Indian heritage. His regular speaking voice is with a British accent.

Can you think of other actors who played characters from fictional countries or who put on an accent that wasn’t their own?

A Sweet Game

BY TRACY LÓPEZ
(This was originally published on the now defunct CafeMagazine.com on June 14, 2010. Since this piece is no longer available online, I thought it would be fun to reprint it and take a look back at our familia during the 2010 World Cup.)

On Friday, my kids and I gathered around the television to watch the opening game of World Cup 2010, Mexico vs. South Africa.

I was rooting for Mexico, so naturally the kids were, too, (much to the annoyance of my Salvadoran mother-in-law who awakened to the entire household vested in green).

The kids really like fútbol but they have short attention spans, so to make it more exciting for them I promised candy at half-time – but this was not any ordinary candy. This was a mixed bag of “Dulces Mexicanos” from our local Latino market. Luckily my boys are pretty adventurous and were willing to give everything a try. Here is how they rated the Mexican candies, keeping in mind they’ve been raised on chocolate, butterscotch, jelly beans and other traditional U.S. candies. The candies are rated from one star (yucky-face inducing) to five stars (they’d eat the whole bag if I let them):

boycandy

Coconut “banderitas”: The tri-colored green, white and red Mexican flags were pretty to look at and tasted almost as good. Rating: ***

De La Rosa Dulce de Cacahuate: To be fair, I buy these all the time and am slightly addicted, so this candy is very familiar to the boys. They rated it highly and licked the crumbs from the wrapper. Rating: *****

Pica Pepino Relleno con Chile (lollipop): My younger son took one lick and rejected it. The older one took a few licks and ultimately agreed. I thought it was kind of interesting though. Rating: **

Duvalín Dulce Cremoso Sabor Avellana y Vainilla:
My husband really likes these, but the kids weren’t that impressed. Rating: **

Go Mango Enchilado: I think the boys were more put off by the way this one looked than the way it tasted. They barely gave it a nibble. To me it tasted like a slightly spicy fruit snack. Rating: *

Obleas con Cajeta: How can cajeta possibly not taste good? Yet, they didn’t like this one. Rating: *

Eskandalosos Paleta de Caramelo con Chile: I thought they would reject this one immediately but they loved it. They were fruity flavored with just enough spice to make them interesting. Rating: *****

Benyrindo: Deceptively shaped like a Coca-Cola bottle, everyone was fine with this candy until biting into it and releasing the tamarindo flavored juices. Maybe you have to be raised eating tamarind to appreciate these sorts of things? Rating: *

Pica Limón: One child rated this highly and the other rated it low, yet they both kept trying it and laughing. I think the fun of this one is watching people’s reactions after eating it. Rating: ***

In the end, Mexico and South Africa tied 1-1, bitter disappointment for fans on both sides who wanted to see their team win, but my boys’ memories of the game are not bitter; they are sweet like cacahuate, sour like limón and spicy like chile.

¡Vamos USA!

USA-familia-2

Disclosure: This is a compensated campaign in collaboration with Crest® and Latina Bloggers Connect. All opinions are my own.

The tagline of Crest®’s current campaign is “Más lejos llega tu equipo, más cerca estás” and it’s totally true; with each game, our familia gets closer – not just physically during goal celebrations which turn into hugging-jumping-up-and-down-mini-fiestas, but we’ve had a great time bonding and creating traditions.

I always say I’m not superstitious, and I often tease Carlos because he’s very superstitious, but I have a few “traditions” which make me feel more confident about my team winning a game.

When Mexico was still in, my tradition was to put a can of sweet peas next to the television. My kids were confused the first time until I explained that in Spanish, sweet peas are called “chícharos” – and Chicharito’s nickname is “little pea.” Now it all made sense! (Well, sort of. It still might be a little weird.)

peas

When the US team plays, first of all, everyone in the family is required to wear their American flag T-shirt, (we still need to invest in the official jersey now that, thankfully, the team no longer looks like Where’s Waldo.)

Second, we eat hot dogs during every game the United States plays. I like to make my hot dogs sort of “Sonoran style” with a slice of bacon, mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, chopped tomato, onion and jalapeño on a bun which I toast for a few seconds on the comal. They’re delicious, but after eating them, your breath will be kicking.

After I finish my hot dogs I usually run off for a minute to brush my teeth, (and hope I don’t miss any of the action!) Since I signed up for this campaign, I bought Crest® Complete + Scope because I wanted to make sure it’s a good product, and that’s the toothpaste I’ve been using. It’s kind of awesome that it’s an “all in one” toothpaste. Not only does it whiten teeth, fight cavities, and prevent tartar, but it has mouthwash built right into it so you don’t knock out any of your family members yelling “¡GOOOOOOOOOOL!”

If you want to #CelebrateCloser and give Crest® Complete + Scope a try, here’s some coupons! (Click here!)

What are your family soccer traditions? How do you celebrate during fútbol games, and which teams are you cheering on? … We can’t wait for today’s game at our house. ¡Vamos USA!

20 Salvadoran Slang Phrases (in GIFs)

This Spanish Friday I’m going to do things a little differently than usual. Instead of a post in Spanish followed by the English translation, I decided we’d have a little fun and I could do a Salvadoran version of this Mexican slang post on Buzzfeed, complete with animated gifs. Note: Guatemalans and Hondurans may also use some of these words/phrases – and some are probably not appropriate to use around your abuela. ¿Listos? Here we go!

hola-beauty-queen

1. ¿Qué onda, bichos?
Rough English translation: What’s up, guys?

puchica2

2. ¡Púchica!
Rough English translation: Shoot! [Can also be used as a positive exclamation when impressed.]

hiju

3. ¡Hijueputa!
Rough English translation: Son of a bitch!

magico

4. Ta’ chivo, ¿vá?
Rough English translation: It’s cool, isn’t it?

cabal

5. Cabal.
Rough English translation: Exactly.

chucho2

6. El cipote está afuera juegando con en chucho.
Rough English translation: The kid is outside playing with the dog.

patas2

7. Tus patas están bien chucas porque no usaste chanclas.
Rough English translation: Your feet are really dirty because you didn’t use sandals.

ride

8. ¡Ey, chero! Dame un rai!
Rough English translation: Hey friend! Give me a ride!

nervioso

9. Me da nervios.
Rough English translation: It makes me nervous.

paja3

10. Pura paja habla esta maje.
Rough English translation: This idiot tells nothing but lies.

cipitio

11. ¡No seas bayunco!
Rough English translation: Don’t be goofy/stupid!

chindondo2

12. ¡Ay! Golpeaste. Por cierto vas a tener un chindondo.
Rough English translation: Ouch! You hit yourself. You’re going to have a bump for sure.

pisto

13. ¿Tienes el pisto de la cabuda?
Rough English translation: Do you have the cash from the lending circle?

paco-flores

14. ¿Dónde está el bolado?
Rough English translation: Where is the thing?

bolo

15. ¡Qué bien baila el bolo!
Rough English translation: How well that drunk dances!

pupusa-bailando

16. La fiesta estaba bien vergóna. Estaba toda la mara allí.
Rough English translation: The party was really awesome. The whole gang was there. [And by "gang", I mean group of friends, although "mara" can also refer to criminal gangs as well.]

caida

17. Jajaja, ¡te pelaste!
Rough English translation: Hahaha, you screwed up!

vaya-pues

18. Vaya pues.
Rough English translation: Okay then.

yuca

19. Está yuca.
Rough English translation: It’s difficult.

vos

20. Vos.
Rough English translation: You

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.)

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.)

5 Hechos Sobre Nosotros

5hechos

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!

Ser perfectamente honesta, no sé qué escribir hoy para Spanish Friday, entonces, vamos a tratar algo nuevo. Voy a compartir 5 hechos sobre Carlos y yo que nunca compartí – pero si lo lees tú, tienes que dejarme 5 hechos sobre ti en los comentarios. ¿Trato hecho? ¡Vamos!

#1. Me quebré un hueso en el pie cuando era un adolescente. Carlos quebró un dedo en el trabajo hace muchos años. A veces nosotros dos tenemos un poco de dolor donde nos quebramos cuando llueve.

#2. Tamarindo es el sabor favorito de Carlos cuando compramos Jarritos. Para mi, el tamarindo es el sabor menos agradable.

#3. Quejas más comunes de Carlos sobre mí: que estoy en la computadora demasiado, que cambio la estación de radio demasiado, que tengo el perro demasiado consentido. Quejas más comunes de mi sobre Carlos: que se enoje muy fácil, que quiere todo perfecto, que sólo le gusta ver las películas de acción con un montón de explosiones.

#4. El personaje de una película o programa de televisión que Carlos dice es más como yo: “Kathleen Kelly” en You’ve Got Mail. El personaje de una película o programa de televisión que yo digo es más como Carlos: “Danny Castellano” en The Mindy Project. (Estamos hablando de personalidad, no
apariencia.)

#5. Cosas que me dan miedo: la mayoría de los insectos y personas en trajes (incluyendo los payasos.) Cosas que le dan miedo a Carlos: “Nada” dice, (¡pero no le creas!)

[ENGLISH TRANSLATION]

To be perfectly honest, I don’t know what to write today for Spanish Friday so let’s try something new. I will share 5 facts about myself and Carlos that I never shared before – but if you read it, you have to leave me 5 facts about yourself in the comments. Deal? Let’s go!

#1. I broke a bone in my foot when I was a teenager. Carlos broke a finger at work many years ago. Sometimes we both have some pain where we were injured when it rains.

#2. Tamarind is Carlos’s favorite flavor when we buy Jarritos. To me, tamarind is the least palatable.

#3. Common complaints Carlos has about me: I’m on the computer too much, I change the radio station too much, I spoil the dog too much. Common complaints I have about Carlos: he loses his temper too easily, he wants everything to be perfect, he only likes action movies with a lot of explosions.

#4. The character in a movie or TV show that Carlos thinks is most like me: “Kathleen Kelly” in You’ve Got Mail. The character in a movie or TV show that I think is most like Carlos: “Danny Castellano” on The Mindy Project. (We’re talking about personality, not appearance.)

#5. Things that scare me: most insects and people in costumes, (including clowns.) Things that scare Carlos: He says “Nothing.” (But don’t believe him!)

¡Ya tengo mi álbum para la Copa Mundial!

panini-album-1

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!

¡Ya tenemos nuestro álbum oficial Panini para la Copa Mundial Brasil 2014! Si no sabes que es, es un álbum que uno puede llenar con calcomanías de los jugadores. Compramos el álbum por $2 y las paquetes de calcomanías $1 cada uno. Cada paquete contiene 7 calcomanías. A veces uno tiene dobles y puede intercambiar con otros para conseguir las que se necesita.

El álbum venía ya con unas calcomanías gratis, ¡y el mío venía con Chicharito!

chicharito-sticker

Me encanta el álbum por muchas razones, pero una de las razones es porque es multilingüe.

panini-album-2

El otro día Carlos llegaba a casa con diez paquetes. Usualmente toda la familia se divierte en poner las calcomanías en el álbum pero Carlos y yo tuvimos un desacuerdo sobre el mejor método de hacerlo.

panini-stickers

Yo dije que sería mejor si primero ordenamos las calcomanías por equipo, pero Carlos dijo mejor vamos página por página en el álbum, encontrando las calcomanías como necesitábamos. Terminamos haciendolo de la manera que Carlos quería y tuvimos que volver varias veces para las calcomanías olvidadas.

La próxima vez tratamos a mi manera!

¿Cuál es tu método para llenar tu álbum?

[ENGLISH TRANSLATION]

We have our official Panini album for World Cup Brazil 2014! If you don’t know what that is, it’s an album that one can fill with stickers of the soccer players. We bought the album for $2 and the sticker packets for $1 each. Each packet contains 7 stickers. Sometimes one gets doubles and they can trade them with other people to get the stickers they need.

The album came with a few free stickers, and mine came with Chicharito!

I love the album for a lot of reasons, but one of the reasons is because it’s multilingual.

The other day Carlos came home with ten packets. Usually the whole family has fun putting the stickers in the album but Carlos and I had a disagreement regarding the best method to do this.

I said it would be best if we first organized the stickers by team, but Carlos said it’s better if we go page-by-page in the album, finding the stickers we need along the way. We ended up doing it the way Carlos wanted, and we had to go back several times for stickers that had been overlooked.

Next time we do it my way!

What method do you use to fill your album?

Note: I am not an official sponsor or partner of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™. Any mention of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ was editorial in nature and should not be interpreted as an endorsement on their part of myself, my opinions, or this website. I am just a soccer fan sharing with other soccer fans. All opinions are my own.

Atol de Avena

atol-de-avena-latinaish

When my suegra lived with us, she used to buy oatmeal, which she called by one name and one name only – “Quacker.” This used to make me crazy because “Quacker” sounds like a nickname for a duck, but it was her mispronunciation of the brand name “Quaker Oats” – and perhaps it’s a common mispronunciation in El Salvador, the same way Corn Flakes are called “Con Fleis” – I honestly don’t know if it was a suegra thing or a Salvadoran thing.

When my suegra would make oatmeal though, she didn’t even attempt to decipher the directions on the can; the result was more like soup than anything I previously recognized as the thick, lumpy oatmeal of my childhood. I told her many times that you aren’t supposed to add that much water or milk, but she would only look at me like I was stupid and sip her oatmeal out of her favorite cumbo.

It was only years later that I found out what “atol de avena” is – and realized that my suegra had never been attempting to make American-style oatmeal in the first place. So, here is a lesson in humility, a reminder that there isn’t always one right answer, and a recipe for “atol de avena” which I am sipping right now, suegra-style.

Atol de Avena

2 cups water
1 cinnamon stick (and/or ground cinnamon)
1 cup uncooked oatmeal (I use Quaker Oats 100% Natural Whole Grain Old Fashioned)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk (I used 2%)
4 packed tablespoons brown sugar or other sweetener (see directions below)

Directions:

1. In a medium pot over medium-high heat, bring 2 cups water, a cinnamon stick, salt, and oatmeal to a boil. (If you don’t have a cinnamon stick, you can add ground cinnamon to taste later.)

2. Reduce heat to a simmer. Stir continuously for about 3 minutes.

3. Add milk and stir until heated through. Remove from heat.

4. While still warm, you’ll want to add the sweetener. I usually use brown sugar, (4 packed tablespoons), but you can use piloncillo, dulce de atado, or dulce de panela. My suegra never would have added more sugar than this as she doesn’t like things overly sweet, but feel free to add more if you don’t find it sweet enough. You can also add ground cinnamon for more flavor as this recipe yields a very mild tasting atol de avena.

5. Serve warm. Makes about 4 cups.

Perro Portero

purin

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!

¿Necesita un momento de ternura? Este perro de raza beagle que se llama Purín y vive en Japón está listo por La Copa Mundial! Mira como defiende la portería.

Fuente: MAS.SV

[ENGLISH TRANSLATION]

Need a moment of cuteness? This Beagle named Purín who lives in Japan is ready for the World Cup! Look how he defends the goal!

Source: MAS.SV