Category Archives: Corazón
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!
Cada día nuestro perro Chico nos muestra que está loco. Le gusta comer tierra de las macetas en la casa, perseguir su cola, tratar de entrar a la tina cuando estoy bañando, y ahora hemos descubierto que le gusta perseguir la luz de una linterna. Por todo eso y más, ya tiene el apodo de “Chico Loco” – pero el otro día en el carro, mientras escuchaba música, yo comencé a reír porque la canción me recordaba al perro. La canción era “Latinos in Paris” por Pitbull y Sensato, y en la letra dice “Este chico está loco.”
Pitbull (el cantante) Loco…
Perro (que no es de raza Pitbull) Loco…
Each day our dog Chico, shows us that he’s crazy. He likes to eat the dirt from my potted plants, chase his tail, tries to get into the bathtub when I’m taking a bath, and now we discovered that he likes to chase the light from the flashlight. Because of all this and more, he’s earned himself the nickname “Chico Loco” (crazy Chico) – but the other day in the car, while listening to music, I started to laugh because the song reminded me of our dog. The song was “Latinos in Paris” by Pitbull and Sensato, and part of the lyrics go, “Este chico está loco” (This boy/guy is crazy.)
In response to the New York Times article regarding the lack of Latino authors and books for children, Latina bloggers have launched the “Latinas for Latino Literature” campaign which works to identify the problems in today’s publishing world that contribute to this lack of diversity so that we can provide ideas for changing the situation to the benefit of not only Latino readers and writers, but to the benefit of the industry itself as they tap into this growing demographic. Look out for forthcoming Google hangouts, Twitter parties, and follow-up posts as this coordinated effort to bring quality books to an emerging group of readers continues.
I kneeled on the coarse, crimson carpet at the library, the third library I had visited that week, trying to find something, anything, on the shelves about El Salvador – the native country of my new husband. I often left libraries and bookstores defeated, with a stack of novels about Mexico, Mexicans, migrant workers – stories that I ended up loving, and still love – but what I really wanted was a book with Salvadoran characters, and I couldn’t find any. Any book I did manage to find about El Salvador would be non-fiction, and usually about the civil war.
When I became a mother of two boys, two Salvadoran-American boys, I wanted desperately to buy them books and read them stories with characters they could relate to. Again, visits to the library and bookstore turned up books featuring Mexican and Mexican-American characters, when we were lucky.
These days, the library selection has gotten better, and the online selection is a dream come true compared to what I faced when my boys were younger. I’ve read books about Cubans and Puerto Ricans, Argentinians, Venezuelans, Guatemalans and Paraguayans, and thanks to Sandra Benitez, an amazing book called “Bitter Grounds” with a diverse Salvadoran cast. I stayed up late turning the pages, almost not believing that after so many years, I was finally reading a book with Salvadoran characters.
Why am I writing this? – Because I want the publishing industry to know that I am here – an avid reader, hungry for these books for myself, for my husband, for our boys, and for the children out there whose parents won’t go to the trouble I’ve gone to – the children who are at the mercy of whatever their school librarian decides to put on the shelves.
I want it to be known that I hunger for even more diversity, for Latin American characters and characters of Latin American descent from all walks of life. Don’t stop telling the story of the migrant worker, the immigrant, of Mexicans – but let us hear other voices too. We want to hear from characters who are rich, who are poor, and everything in between. We want characters who are white collar workers, and blue collar workers. We want characters who are beautiful, ugly, inspirational, relatable, flawed, ordinary, outrageous, wise, hilarious, serious, complex – in other words, we want all the diversity of voices that are available in the general market. Please, keep seeking out fresh authors and publishing their stories – We are here waiting for them, (and in some cases, some of us are here writing them, too.)
Do you feel there’s enough diversity in the books commonly available in bookstores and libraries? Which Latino/a author or book most influenced you and why?
Chécalo: Other “Latinas for Latino Literature“
Most of you know that I write for several websites each month. I usually share those links on the Latinaish Facebook Page, but I wanted to link this one up here for those who might not be on Facebook since this particular post is so relevant to my usual content on Latinaish. I also took the opportunity to make a bicultural/bilingual gift tag for your Christmas gifts (see above!) Feel free to print it out and use it!
Now for the post:
Mixing Traditions for a Bicultural Christmas
Fifteen years ago I married Carlos, a Salvadoran immigrant who spoke little English. Because we were young, pregnant, and poor at the time—instead of moving to our own place—I moved Carlos into my parents’ house where I was still living. From the outside it didn’t seem like the most ideal situation, but living with my English-speaking Anglo parents turned out to be a unique opportunity for Carlos to get a crash course in English and American culture.
Of course, living in such a situation made our diverse backgrounds that much more apparent—especially during holidays, and especially during Christmas…[READ MORE HERE]
You’ve probably heard of “First World Problems”, “White Girl Problems”, “Mexican Problems” and various other versions, but today I give you a “Salvadoran Problem.” There might already be websites and hashtags for this, but here is my first contribution because this actually happened to me yesterday and I started laughing when I realized some of you out there might be able to relate.
As you can see, we have this big jar of pennies and when we are really scraping the bottom of our checking account and need gas or something, we bring the pennies to our bank to send them through the coin changing machine. The only problem is that somehow colones often get mixed up in the jar, (I don’t know how since I try to keep these types of coins in a special box and it’s not like these are even circulating anymore.)
I believe the coin changing machine is supposed to catch foreign coins and spit them back out, but I never want to risk losing one, so I have to dig through the pennies, one-by-one, to make sure I take the colones out.
#101HispanicWaysToDie was a trending topic on social network Twitter today.
The range of responses to the hashtag was interesting. The vast majority, including myself, had fun with the hashtag – just some light-hearted joking around. Others became nostalgic for childhood, even when it meant remembering being smacked with a chancla. Some people expressed disgust at the hashtag, possibly assuming the worst, and not actually checking it out. Then there were the racists who couldn’t resist jumping in and talking about illegal border crossing – decidedly NOT funny.
One Latina tweeted “say [to your parents] you’re going out with a moreno” – It was unclear whether the person who wrote it meant it seriously, as an honest commentary on their reality, or if they were trying to be humorous. This unfunny tweet which points out the racist tendencies of some parents, was re-tweeted 301 times and favorited 119 times at last count and there were other similar tweets which, perhaps reflect a sad reality that deserves more discussion en la comunidad latina.
Whenever there’s a trending hashtag on Twitter, you’re going to get this diverse mix of funny, honest and offensive. I jumped in and tried to keep my tweets light and funny. Here they are re-purposed for this blog post. Feel free to add your own in comments!
13 Latino Ways to Die
1. Suffocation after too much Vicks Vapo-Rub has been put up your nostrils.
2. Pine-Sol and bleach fumes after your mother cleans the house.
3. Setting off illegal fireworks.
4. Third degree cheese burns from not allowing the pupusa to cool before attempting to consume.
5. Laughing with your siblings during misa.
6. Accidentally telling your Mom that you’re “embarazada” when you actually mean to say you’re embarrassed.
7. Parents use a lesson from the old country. You respond “But we’re not in El Salvador! We’re in the United States!”
9. Riding in the back of a pickup truck.
10. Laughing when your parent translates a Spanish idiom to English but it makes no sense.
11. Rooting for the U.S. team when they play your parent’s home country in soccer.
12. Kicked in the nalgas by a bota picuda.
13. Making too much noise in the room when your abuela is trying to hear her horoscope from Walter Mercado.
Update! Related Link: #101HispanicWaysToDie Shows True Colors on ModernMami.com
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!
Como dije la semana pasada, nosotros adaptamos a un perro y le pusimos el nombre “Chico.” El otro día Carlos habló a un amigo en El Salvador y le contó sobre nuestro nuevo miembro de la familia.
Carlos: “Le pusimos el nombre Chico.”
El amigo: “Y es el nombre de alguien con quien no te llevas bien?”
Carlos: “No, ¿por qué?”
El amigo: “Porque así hacemos a veces en El Salvador. Un vecino ya pusó mi nombre a su perro.”
Después de la llamada, Carlos me contó que dijo su amigo.
“Qué interesante,” dije, “Pero ¿no crees que ‘suegra’ es un nombre extraño para un perro?”
As I said last week, we adopted a dog and named him “Chico.” The other day Carlos called a friend in El Salvador and told him about the new member of our family.
Carlos: “We named him Chico.”
The friend: “And is that the name of someone you don’t get along with?”
Carlos: “No, why?”
The friend: “Because that’s what we do sometimes in El Salvador. The neighbor already named his dog after me.”
After the phone call, Carlos told me what his friend had said.
“How interesting,” I said, “But don’t you think that ‘mother-in-law’ is a strange name for a dog?”
Sometimes I think I have the bilingual parenting thing down. We get into a groove and I’m speaking Spanish to my kids and they, more and more, are responding to me in Spanish – but it’s inevitable that just when we’ve hit our stride and are on the road to fluency, we will have a setback.
One big problem for me is that I don’t speak Spanish when I’m stressed or tired or very busy. The other day I woke up and realized, “My God, I’ve been stressed and tired and very busy the past few weeks! I’ve had so much on my mind and so many deadlines. I’ve barely spoken Spanish to my kids at all!”
This is when I kick myself in the nalgas and promise to start all over again.
Yesterday morning before my younger son left for school, I warned him not to run to the bus as he usually does, because a slick layer of frost covered the ground.
“Cuando venga el bus, no vayas corriendo, okay? El suelo está bien liso, entiendes?”
My son tilted his head not unlike a dog when you speak to it. I could almost see the words enter his ear, twist themselves inside his brain and translate one-by-one into English. He spoke aloud as he decoded the message.
“When the bus comes… don’t run… because…the ground is slippery?”
He still understands me, but there is more lag time. Then when he speaks, he doesn’t even realize he’s mixing English and Spanish in ways I’ve never even heard before.
After school he asked me what day we’re going to his grandmother’s house for Thanksgiving.
“El viente dos,” I said.
“Oh, el twenty dos,” he answered.
There’s no point in lamenting wasted time and stalled progress. I’m human, I was tired, I spent weeks speaking very little Spanish to my kids who I desperately want to be fully bilingual. It happens. Seguimos adelante.
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. English translation is in italics!
Hay un nuevo miembro de nuestra familia! – Es un perrito que adoptamos. Pusimos el nombre “Chico” y ya está aprendiendo a ser bilingüe. Chécalo!
There’s a new member of our family! – It’s a puppy that we adopted. We named him “Chico” and he’s already learning to be bilingual. Check it out!
This is a real conversation I had earlier today while scheduling our new puppy for a visit to the veterinarian’s office. (I was going to just type out the dialogue but thought a comic strip might be fun.)
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. English translation is below!
Este año no pensé que ibamos a tener una ofrenda por Día de los Muertos. Dos años pasados, sin realizar que los salvadoreños no celebran Día de los Muertos igual que los mexicanos, hice una ofrenda para el papá de Carlos. Carlos agradeció el gesto pero ponía algo triste y esto no fue mi intención. El problema fue que Carlos no estaba acostumbrado tener una ofrenda porque en El Salvador no se hace eso.
Mientras que los mexicanos llaman el día “Día de los Muertos” y celebran la muerte, abrazan la muerte, aún se ríen de ella – los salvadoreños llaman el día “Día de los Difuntos” y lo consideran un día de recordar sus queridos fallecidos en una manera mucho más sombría.
El año pasado, no queriendo repetir mi error, no tenía previsto hacer una ofrenda, pero mis hijos me dijeron que les gustó la tradición y querian tener una. Entonces, hicimos una ofrenda por nuestro perro que se murió.
Este año no tenía planes por hacer una ofrenda otra vez, pero Carlos me dijo que ya se siente comodo en tener una ofrenda con sus queridos fallecidos. Entonces, nuestra ofrenda incluye el papá de Carlos, la abuela de Carlos, el abuelo de Carlos, (que se murió sólo una mes atrás), mi abuelo y dos perros.
Hay demasiados detalles en la ofrenda por explicar, pero les voy a explicar un poco. Tal vez ustedes pueden buscar los artículos en la foto que menciono.
El papá de Carlos, (“Don Max”) le gustó mucho el casamiento – un plato hecho de arroz y frijoles. Por eso, hay arroz y frijoles. También tuvo un camión pick-up, y estaba muy orgulloso de él. El papá de Carlos era un entrenador de fútbol y le gustaba echar chile en su comida, (algo raro por un salvadoreño, pero algo que le gusta a Carlos también.) Don Max no era muy religoso pero era super dedicado a San Antonio.
Mi abuelo tampoco era muy religoso, pero identificó como judío. Le gustó la música “Big Band” y se comió Corn Flakes cada mañana.
Hay una historia sobre el abuelo de Carlos. “Papá Milo” era muy bueno por nadar y a veces cruzó el Río Lempa nadando para traer grandes bolsas de maíz para su familia. El abuelo de Carlos también fue el alcalde de un pueblo de Chalatenango, y casi siempre andaba con sombrero de vaquero.
La abuela de Carlos se llamaba “Mamá Juana” y era una mujer muy dulce. Ella tuvo diez hijos, y le encantaban las flores. Yo recuerdo que a veces Mamá Juana, en la manera de muchas salvadoreñas del pueblo, usaba un delantal encima de su vestido, aunque no estaba cocinando.
¿Hiciste una ofrenda tú? Quién estás recordando?
This year I didn’t think we’d have an altar for Day of the Dead. Two years ago, without realizing that Salvadorans don’t celebrate Day of the Dead the same way Mexicans do, I made an altar for Carlos’s father. Carlos appreciated the gesture but it made him kind of sad, which was not my intention. The problem was that Carlos wasn’t used to having an altar because Salvadorans don’t make them.
While Mexicans call the day “Día de los Muertos” and celebrate death, embrace death, and even laugh at death – Salvadorans call the day “Día de los Difuntos” and consider it a day to remember your passed loved ones in a much more somber way.
Last year, not wanting to repeat my mistake, I didn’t have plans to make an altar, but my boys told me they liked the tradition and wanted to have one. So, we made an altar to one of our dogs which had died.
This year, again I didn’t have plans to make an altar, but Carlos told me he feels more comfortable now to have an altar with his passed loved ones. So, this year we have an altar which includes Carlos’s father, Carlos’s grandmother, Carlos’s grandfather, (who died only a month ago), my grandfather, and two dogs.
There are too many details to explain them all, but I will explain the altar to you a little. Maybe you can find the items I’ll mention in the photo.
The father of Carlos, (“Don Max”) really liked casamiento – a dish made from rice and beans. For that reason, there are rice and beans. He also had a pick-up truck which he was very proud of. Carlos’s father was a football coach and he liked to put chile pepper on his food, (kind of rare for a Salvadoran, but something Carlos also likes to do.) Don Max wasn’t very religious but he was super dedicated to Saint Anthony.
My grandfather wasn’t very religious either, but he identified as Jewish. He liked Big Band music and ate Corn Flakes every morning.
There’s a story about Carlos’s grandfather. “Papá Milo” was really good at swimming and sometimes he would swim across the Lempa River to bring big bags of corn to his family. Carlos’s grandfather was also the mayor of a town in Chalatenango and almost always wore a cowboy hat.
Carlos’s grandmother was called “Mamá Juana” and was a really sweet woman. She had ten children and she loved flowers. I remember that sometimes Mamá Juana, in the way of many Salvadoran women from the countryside, used to wear an apron over her dress, even though she wasn’t cooking.