Una gata, un sapito, y un perico

gaty

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!

Ayer Carlos me enseño un vídeo para la canción “Gaty Zumbao” por Las Nenas de Caña, un grupo musical salvadoreño.

Después de verlo, desafié a Carlos – “Piensa en dos más vídeos musicales de El Salvador que cuentan con la tema de los animales.”

¡Se tomó menos de cinco minutos!

El Baile del Sapito – Grupo Bongo

(¿Quién necesita CrossFit? El Baile del Sapito es buen ejercicio.)

El Perico Preguntón – Los Caballeros del Sabor

¿Puedes pensar en otra canción salvadoreña acerca de los animales?

[ENGLISH TRANSLATION]

Yesterday Carlos showed me a video for the song “Gaty Zumbao” by Las Nenas de Caña, a Salvadoran music group.

After seeing it, I challenged Carlos – “Think of two more music videos from El Salvador that are also about animals.”

He took less than five minutes!

El Baile del Sapito – Grupo Bongo

(Who needs CrossFit? “The Little Toad Dance” is good exercise.)

El Perico Preguntón – Los Caballeros del Sabor
[Rough translation: “The Nosey Parakeet” by Los Caballeros del Sabor.]

Can you think of another Salvadoran song about animals?

The Magic That is The Latino Community

n-suit

This week I’m giving thanks for community, and the Latino community specifically. Let me tell you a story about something that happened last weekend.

Carlos and I had just returned from grocery shopping, literally still in the driveway with bags in the trunk to unload. My 16 year old son, who hadn’t seen me since leaving for school early that morning, greeted us and then launched into a “Mami, I hate to tell you this, but I’m going to need some money…”

This is a good moment for me to dispel a myth for some of you. Young parents have a tendency to believe that kids get less expensive as they get older — it isn’t true. Maybe this feels true for a few years after the diaper days, but there comes a point where your children out-grow the kid’s menu at restaurants and it’s downhill from there, financially speaking. Soon they start needing things they never needed before – cellphones, deodorant, face scrubs, and all manner of personal hygiene products.

They become increasingly conscious about the way they look, so your famous bowl haircuts will no longer suffice – now you must shell out for a trip to the barber for fancy Cristiano Ronaldo-style haircuts. (If you think you can recreate this look yourself with a pair of clippers, trust me that you probably can’t and your kid will hate you for a couple weeks.)

Then they start eating twice as much as you do. Groceries that used to last a week are gone within days. Just when you financially start to catch your breath and think you can make it work somehow, they start talking about getting their license. You can’t afford a car for them but you call your car insurance company to find out how much it will cost to insure them at the very least – You end that phone call sick in your gut, because you have to tell your kid that they have to wait for their license because you can’t afford to insure them. Meanwhile “all their friends” have their license already, and some of them were even gifted cars. You have a good kid though, and while disappointed, he understands. In a way, this makes you feel even worse because he’s a good kid and deserves things you can’t provide.

On top of these expenses, your kids’ free public school education is not so free after all. In addition to increasingly expensive school supplies, laptops, a printer, printer ink and paper to ensure your teen can type up and hand in presentable assignments, there are fees for everything imaginable. Dances, clubs, science projects, yearbooks, class trips, fancy calculators, musical instruments – God help you if they want to play a sport. And when you have an especially ambitious teen who wants to take advanced college-level classes, you pay even more.

When your child becomes a Junior in high school, it’s time to start seriously looking at the cost of college. There are days your brain just can’t take anymore. Your child will be talking about tuition, room and board, meal plans, books, and other expenses. With glazed eyes you will just nod your head while fantasizing about running away, except you don’t even have enough gas in your car to make it out of town, let alone enough money in the account to book a flight to Cancún.

So, back to the original scene – we had just grocery shopped, which is less and less fun the older I get. When I make it home, I’m just thankful the whole process is over – and then my son tells me he needs money.

What does he need money for? He needs to buy a suit. We’ve long put this off because of the expense but it was becoming unavoidable. His admittance into the National Honor Society and various other upcoming events would require it.

I felt panicked, frustrated, exhausted.

“I don’t know how we’ll find the money for a suit.” I sat at the dinner table surrounded by the bags of groceries and put my head in my hands.

My older son, thrift-minded thanks to his upbringing and the necessity of being so, offered, “We could look at Goodwill and Salvation Army?”

“Maybe,” I responded, but I wasn’t optimistic about the idea. I had looked for suits there before and even when I’ve been lucky enough to find the right size, they’re usually horribly outdated.

“What’s wrong?” Carlos asked, because apparently he had tuned out the whole conversation. So I explained that our son needed a suit within the next two weeks and I wasn’t sure how we’d afford one.

Carlos was uncharacteristically calm. (It seems we switch personalities every now and then.)

“A suit? Hmmm… Let me make a phone call.”

Carlos disappeared into the bedroom and came back 10 minutes later.

“I may have found a suit for you.”

Carlos had called a local Salvadoran woman who has been somewhat of a surrogate mother to him the past few years. She’s well-connected within the local Latino community so Carlos simply told her our older son would need a suit within the next two weeks and asked her if she could keep an eye out.

Her response?

“I have a closet full of suits. Come to my house with your son at six o’clock and we’ll see if any of them fit… And bring Tracy so she can make sure they look nice.”

At six o’clock we arrived at her house. She showed us into a bedroom with suits hung in the closet and some laid out on the bed. She later told me that she had actually had twice as many not long ago because a lawyer she knows had given them to her so that her visiting brother could take them back to El Salvador. These suits were just the remains of what he didn’t want or couldn’t fit in his suitcases.

It turned out two suits fit our son and she encouraged him to take them both. “If a suit fits you, too” she said to Carlos, “take it, please. You’re welcome to it.”

And so that’s the story of how Carlos procured not one, but two suits for our son, (plus one for himself) within just a few hours, thanks to our friend and the magic that is the Latino community.

carlos-suit-2

Conversations at Casa López – Part 5

casalopez-2

Here we go – my family’s most recent “bilingual moments” and funny conversations. (Be sure to share your recent funny conversations in comments!)

Carlos: [singing] Dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, happy all the day…
Tracy: That’s not how it goes.

Carlos: He stirred the soup, right?
Older son: What?
Tracy: He means stirred the pot.

Tracy: Hey, I just thought of something. How do you say wrinkle in Spanish?
Carlos: Arruga.
Tracy: That’s what I thought. Do you think they called caterpillars the same name because they’re wrinkly?
Carlos: What?

[Me mixing up arruga and oruga and thinking they were the same word.]

Younger son: I’m going to take Spanish class next year.
Tracy: Por eso tenemos que hablar más español, para que estes listo.
Younger son: Vaya pues.

[This was just funny because he answered in such a Salvadoran way, which is obviously not what they’ll teach him in class. In class he’ll probably learn a more standard response like “Está bien.”]

Carlos: What’s the weather for tomorrow?
Older son: I’m not sure.
Carlos: Where’s your phone? Ask Sirius.
Tracy: You mean Siri.
Carlos: [trying to save face] Sirius is the male version.

Hot Dog & Egg Tacos

hotdog-eggs

On occasion I’ve been known to make hot dog and scrambled egg tacos for breakfast. I was actually introduced to the use of hot dogs like this by my suegra. To be honest, for many years I thought it was just one of her weird inventions but when we went to El Salvador there were hot dog slices on pizza and finely diced hot dog pieces in Chinese fried rice, so I began to get the idea that this unconventional use of hot dogs wasn’t just a suegra thing.

If you want to give it a try, here’s my recipe for hot dog and egg tacos. Feel free to experiment and give it your own spin!

Hot Dog & Egg Tacos

You need:

2 eggs per person
1 hot dog per person
diced Poblano or Anaheim pepper (about 1 pepper)
finely diced vidalia onion (a small handful)

salt to taste
white corn tortillas, warmed and lightly toasted
Cholula (optional) or Salsa Verde (optional)

Directions:

1. Crack eggs into a large bowl and lightly whisk. Set aside.

2. Cut hot dogs in circles or dice – whichever you like. (Diced is safer for little kids.) Add to a non-stick pan with the onion and Poblano pepper over medium heat, stirring for a couple minutes until hot dog is lightly toasted and the onion and pepper have become slightly tender but not soft.

3. Add the eggs to the pan. Use a spatula or flat ended wooden spoon to gently move the eggs around as they cook. Try not to brown the eggs. Remove from heat.

4. Salt to taste if desired. Serve inside warmed and lightly toasted tortillas with a little Cholula hot sauce or salsa verde.

Optional: If you happen to have frijoles molidos on hand, you can spread those on the tortilla before putting the egg and hot dog mixture into it!

Immigrant Voices: Monica Herrera, Broadcast Journalist

The following is a guest post by broadcast journalist Monica Herrera, a Salvadoran by birth and New Yorker by choice. I hope you enjoy it.

“I saw many great journalists putting their lives in the line of fire to be able to inform, a TV channel closing down their broadcast because they were not allowed to tell the truth. I cannot talk about being a journalist without mentioning this sad period of time in my country because during those moments I learned the power of reporting the news, the power of freedom of speech and how information can impact and transform lives.” – Monica Herrera

Mirador  Cerro Las Pavas -Cojutepeque

By: Monica Herrera

When I was growing up in El Salvador, a small but beautiful country, I used to play in my backyard pretending to be a teacher. I remember all of my students were imaginary because neither my sister nor my brother wanted to play that game with me. That was the first sign of what I would end up doing with my life. No, I didn’t become a teacher, but looking back I realize that at that age, I discovered I am a storyteller and I wasn’t afraid to do things on my own when necessary. Skills like that are essential for a journalist.

Reporting- NYC

Growing up, I was part of a generation in which the civil war was part of our life. During that time, TV and radio were the only way to know what was happening. I saw many great journalists putting their lives in the line of fire to be able to inform, a TV channel closing down their broadcast because they were not allowed to tell the truth. I cannot talk about being a journalist without mentioning this sad period of time in my country because during those moments I learned the power of reporting the news, the power of freedom of speech and how information can impact and transform lives. All these moments and experiences are the reason why I am a journalist.

Covering- Serena WilliamsAfter a series of events that took me out of my comfort zone, I moved to New York. I earned a scholarship at the New York Film Academy to study Broadcast Journalism. I came to this country with hopes and dreams, I learned how to move around the city and I worked hard to find stories despite challenges. One day I found myself in the middle of thousands of people who were marching in one of the biggest demonstrations in NYC, and later in the middle of a conference room asking questions to Serena Williams, one of the best tennis players in the world, and since then I haven’t stopped.

I am who I am because of where I come from, a beautiful country full of breathtaking views, but also full of contrasts, warm and resilient people who always laugh even in their struggles. They inspired me to never give up. Everyone has a different path, and on my path which led to New York I found a community of people not only from my country, but from different places that needed their stories to be told. The multicultural exposure I gained over the years has given me the advantage of being able to reach more people; in that process I found my voice and my place in life. I don’t know where my path will take me from here, but what I know is that I love what I do.

Volcan de San Salvador

You can follow Monica Herrera on Twitter, Vimeo, and Instagram, or check out her blogs: Sports in High Heels, and Courage is my Name.

How to make: a Salvadoran-style wooden box

How to make a Salvadoran-style wooden box

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.

If you’re Salvadoran or if you’ve ever been to El Salvador, you know that little wooden boxes are a common handicraft made and painted in the traditional style – I own several little “treasure box” style ones and at first I wanted to try to make one of those complete with a lid for this month’s woodworking challenge. Once I started planning it out though, I decided that for my first attempt I should try a more simple design, so with Carlos’s help I made a medium-sized wooden box without a lid. The supplies and method I used are below if you’d like to give it a try!

How to make: a Salvadoran-style wooden box

What you need:

jigsaw
utility square
pencil with eraser
paper
heavy duty bar clamp
2 pieces of craft board 3/8 x 4 x 24″ (to be cut for the 4 sides: Left, Right, Front, Back)
1 craft board 1/2 x 6 x 24″ (to be cut for the bottom)
newspaper
sandpaper
Elmer’s Carpenters wood glue (interior)
painters tape
Q-tips
paper towels
paint in various colors (I used Valspar samples I already had on hand)
small craft paint brushes
permanent marker (black)

Directions:

1. Measure and mark your wood for cutting using the utility square and pencil. Very important! Remember to include the width of the front and back pieces plus the bottom for the measurement you need for your two sides. These are the measurements I ended up with:

Bottom: 6″
Front: 6″
Back: 6″
Left side: 6 1/4″
Right side: 6 1/4″

Tip: Craft wood is sold with a UPC sticker on it. When you remove the sticker it might leave behind a sticky residue. This can be removed with a little dab of peanut butter on a paper towel. (Yes, peanut butter!)

2. Wearing eye protection, carefully use the jigsaw to cut our your pieces. You should have 5: bottom, front, back, left side, right side.

Carlos-cutting-1

Carlos-cutting-2

3. Make sure all pieces are the correct size by doing a dry assembly of the box to see that the corners line up properly with none of the pieces being too long or short.

4. Lightly sand any rough edges if necessary.

5. On top of a layer of newspaper, glue the front and back to the bottom. Use Q-tips to remove any excess glue before it dries. It’s really helpful to have a second person helping you at this stage. One person should glue and hold the pieces in place while the other lightly secures the clamp. Do not secure the clamp too tightly or they may lean in. To ensure the sides are at a 90 degree angle, you can use a triangle square. Leave the clamp on for at least an hour to ensure the glue has dried. Now repeat step 5 to attach the other two sides. Note: Really try to avoid using too much glue which will cause your box to stick to the newspaper. If this happen, the newspaper can be sanded off with sandpaper.

Glue-Box

6. Once the glue has dried you should have a completed wooden box ready to be painted. Gently tap the sides to make sure you’ve done a good job and the box will hold together.

7. Practice a design with pencil and paper. Once you know what you want to paint, draw your design directly onto the box with pencil.

box-sketch-design

8. On a layer of newspaper, paint your design. Tip: Painters tape is helpful for making clean lines.

Tape-box

Paint-box-halfway-done

9. Once the paint is dry your box is ready to display or use!

Salvadoran-box-4

Salvadoran-box-5

Want more creative ideas?

Holiday-14-Blogger-Badge_200x200

 

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.

Si buscas inspiración, ¡ven y visita nuestra página de Facebook en español Lowe’s Ideas Creativas!

El Baile del Cuchumbo

randu

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!

Después de ver en las noticias de El Salvador, Carlos me enseño este video que se llama “El Baile del Cuchumbo” por un nuevo talento salvadoreño que se llama Randu. Por la mayor parte me gustó pero no sé mucho sobre el cantante. La única cosa que queda claro es que la canción es muy pegadiza y este muchacho sí sabe bailar. Me encanta verlo y aprender nueva coreografía. Aquí está la canción. ¿Qué opinan?

[ENGLISH TRANSLATION]

After seeing it on the Salvadoran news, Carlos showed me this video that’s called “El Baile del Cuchumbo” by a new Salvadoran talent named Randu. For the most part I liked it but I don’t know much about the singer. The only thing that’s clear to me is the song is catchy and this young man definitely knows how to dance. I love to watch him and learn new choreography. Here’s the song. What do you think?