Pedreros

Hola! 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! For English Translation, scroll down!

Estabamos andando en el carro de nuestro amigo Lalo, por una calle de San Salvador.

“En esta area tienen que tener cuidado con los pedreros,” dijó Lalo desde el asiento del conductór.

“Son muy peligrosos,” agregó, levantando un dedo en advertencía.

“¿Pedreros?” dijé yo, desde el asiento tracero.

“Sí,” dijó Lalo, mirandome por el espejo retrovisor.

‘Pedreros’ era una palabra nueva para mí, entonces toqué el brazo de Carlos, que se encontraba en el asiento del pasajero en frente de mí.

“Qué es un pedrero?” pregunté en inglés.

“Pues, no sé,” dijó Carlos.

“Tal vez significa una persona que tira piedras,” supusé.

“Lalo,” Carlos preguntó, “¿Qué es exactamente un pedrero? Tiran piedras a los carros?”

Una pequeña sonrisa salío de su rostro y de una forma amable trató de no reír.

“Nooo,” dijó Lalo, “Los pedreros usan pipas por fumar roca de cocaína.”

De repente, entendí.

“Ahhhh!” dijé yo, “Pedreros son crackheads!”

[ENGLISH TRANSLATION]

We were riding around in our friend Lalo’s car on the streets of San Salvador.

“In this area you have to be careful with the pedreros,” said Lalo from the driver’s seat.

“They’re really dangerous,” he added, lifting a finger in warning.

“Pedredros?” I said from the backseat.

“Yes,” Lalo said, looking at me in the rear view mirror.

‘Pedreros’ was a new word for me, so I touched Carlos’s arm, as he sat in the passenger seat in front of me.

“What is a pedrero?” I asked in English.

“Um, I’m not sure,” Carlos said.

“Maybe it means someone who throws rocks,” I guessed.

“Lalo,” Carlos asked, “What exactly is a pedrero? Do they throw rocks at cars?”

A small smile appeared on Lalo’s face and he politely held back laughter.

“Nooo,” Lalo said, “Pedreros smoke cocaine rocks in pipes.”

Suddenly, I understood.

“Ahhh!” I said, “Pedreros are crackheads!”

El Salvador – The much awaited souvenirs

[Today is Spanish Friday so this post is in Spanish. Apologies that there is no English translation this week. If you have a question about something, ask me in comments and I’ll try to answer you. If you participated in Spanish Friday on your own blog, leave your link in comments!]

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Fuimos a El Salvador en agosto, y claro que trajimos recuerdos!

Si no has visto los blog posts sobre recuerdos de otros años, chéquealos. Hay un montón de cosas chistosas que ya compartí anteriormente:

From El Salvador with Love
From El Salvador with Love (Part 2)
Souvenirs from El Salvador 2011

Okay! Los recuerdos de este viaje!

Un capirucho y un trompo

Un libro sobre tradiciones de El Salvador

Tic Tack (alcohol)

Un librito para enseñar a los niños cómo escribir en el estilo salvadoreño. (Pero creo que ya es muy tarde para ellos. Sus escrituras no son tan bonitas – es típica cómo la mayoría de varones en los Estados Unidos.)

periódicos

juego de futbolito

Huaraches que no me quedan. Una mujer me obligó a comprarlos en el mercado. Me siento mal que los compré y que están en mi closet sin usarlos, cuando hay gente en El Salvador sin zapatos.

pulsera

Pulsera de los santos. Compré dos de unas mujeres fuera de las ruinas de San Andres. Días después, tuve ganas de comprar más pero no las encontré. En una tienda en Metro Centro, pensé que encontré las mismas pulseras, pero al chequearlas más cerca, descubrí que no eran fotitos de los santos pegados a las cuentas – eran fotitos de Justin Bieber.

Me compré esto para colgar las llaves, pero al día siguiente, me encontré una que me gustó más.

Esta la tenemos en la pared cerca de la puerta principal de nuestra casa. Afortunadamente mi madre y vecinos que nos visitan no hablan español.

Este es un huevo de barro y tiene algo muy especial adentro.

Hollywood… El Salvador?

[Today is Spanish Friday so this post is in Spanish. For the English translation, please scroll down. If you participated in Spanish Friday on your own blog, leave your link in comments!]
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Caminando en las calles de El Salvador, encontramos muchas cosas inesperadas. Por un lado, había hoyos tan grandes que pudieron comer totalmente a mi niño menor, (¡Ojo en una esquina cerca de Parque Libertad! Había un hoyo que se parecía a un pequeño Boquerón.)

Un hoyo suficiente profundo por meter la mitad de tu pierna. San Salvador.

Después de casi dar un paso en cosas asquerosas o peligrosas, formé el hábito de mirar por dónde caminaba. Un día cuándo fuimos caminando por el museo Tín Marín, yo estaba sorprendida por encontrarme a mis pies, unas estrellas como las que están en Hollywood.

Había sólo tres estrellas que estaban un poco descuidadas y sólo son para los atletas salvadoreños. Estaban en la acera en frente del Estadio de Mágico González.

Desde que regresamos a los Estados Unidos, han arreglado el estadio adentro. Ojalá que arreglan las estrellas, (aunque tienen cosas mil veces más importantes en que pueden usar el dinero ahorita.) También espero que un día deberian añadir estrellas para La Selecta de Playa.

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[ENGLISH TRANSLATION]

Walking the streets of El Salvador, we came upon a lot of unexpected things. For one thing, there were holes big enough to completely eat up my little boy, (Look out on a corner near the Parque Libertad! There was a hole there that looked like a little version of the Boquerón.)

[The “Boquerón” is the nickname of San Salvador’s volcano crater.]

After almost stepping in disgusting and dangerous things, I formed the habit of watching where I walked. One day when we were walking to the Tín Marín museum, I was surprised to find my feet standing on stars like the ones that are in Hollywood.

There were only three stars that were a little uncared for, and they’re only for Salvadoran athletes. They were on the sidewalk outside Estadio Mágico González.

Since we’ve returned to the United States, they fixed up the stadium inside. Hopefully they’ll fix the stars, (although they have things that are a thousand times more important that they could use the money for right now.) I also hope that some day they add stars for the football players of La Selecta de Playa.

Muchas Gracias to my Blogalicious Sponsors!

This weekend I will be reporting from Blogalicious – a conference “aimed at celebrating the diversity of women of all ethnicities in social media.”

The conference is being held about 20 minutes from Washington, D.C. this year, so I knew I had to go. Despite its proximity, there are still expenses associated with going to a conference, so I’m thankful to the sponsors who stepped up to support Latinaish.com in attending Blogalicious 2011.

It’s especially awesome when those that offer to sponsor you are brands you’re proud to represent. Here’s a little bit about each of them.

Chí Chí & Flaco – is “a modern t-shirt line savoring the flavor of Latino and Hispanic culture in the United States.” (If you have Cuban roots, you’ll especially want to check them out.)

New Latina – is an online magazine, (which I’m very proud to contribute to), that celebrates and redefines Latina women while providing a supportive community.

Kellogg’s – Ya sabes! You probably have a box of their cereal in the cabinet right now. I do, except it’s empty. (Why do the kids do that?)

And look what I discovered while grocery shopping this week – Bilingual cereal boxes!

This is the Spanish side of the cereal box. "New Choco Zucaritas" ... the other side is in English and they're called "Frosted Flakes Chocolate."

When I saw the bilingual cereal boxes I was even happier that I agreed to the Kellogg’s sponsorship, but the truth is, Kellogg’s has had a long history with the Latino community.

I still remember when Carlos and I first married and he wanted me to buy “Cornfleis” at the grocery store. I had no clue what he was talking about until he put a box of “Corn Flakes” in our cart. I love that Carlos loves Corn Flakes because that used to be my grandfather’s favorite cereal. Seeing the classic box with the rooster on it in our cabinet gives me some good memories.

Of course, Carlos doesn’t eat it like my grandfather did. He heats up the milk in the bowl and eats it warm. (Is that a Latin American thing?)

Anyway, I’ll have more to share from Kellogg’s especially for la comunidad Latina later via Twitter and right here on Latinaish – so stay tuned! My last sponsor is:

Latina Bloggers Connect – LBC connects brands with Latina bloggers and is another website I’m super proud to contribute to. At Blogalicious I will be part of the #SprintConnects LBC team. Along with Ana Flores, Dariela Cruz, Chantilly Patiño and Rachel Matos, I’ll be sharing photos, updates and tweets from the conference all weekend on Twitter, Facebook and Latina Bloggers Connect. There will be a contest and prizes for those attending Blogalicious – so be sure to check that out!

Excited to reconnect with mis hermanas blogueras and meet new amigas as well. Ojalá we’ll learn and have fun all at the same time. See you there!

Disclosure: All companies mentioned above have sponsored my attendance at the 2011 Blogalicious Conference. This is not a sponsored post or paid advertisement. This blog post conforms to WordPress.com Terms of Service. All opinions are my own.

Ambientador

[Today is Spanish Friday so this post is in Spanish. For the English translation, please scroll down. If you participated in Spanish Friday on your own blog, leave your link in comments!]
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Real Intercontinental, San Salvador, El Salvador

Cuándo fuimos a El Salvador y nos dimos cuenta que no podíamos quedarnos en la casa de la infancia de Carlos, decidimos que necesitábamos encontrar un hotel lo más pronto posible. Fuimos al Hotel Real Intercontinental, con la intención de quedarnos sólo una noche, pero terminamos quedandonos allí todo el viaje.

“No cualquier persona se hospedan en este hotel,” decía nuestro amigo Lalo, observando todo el lujo en el lobby.

Y tenia razón. Durante nuestra estancia habia un montón de reinas internacionales de belleza riendo arriba y abajo por los pasillos, (tanto para el placer de nuestro hijo adolescente y el hijo adolescente de Lalo.) También habia un equipo de fútbol – pensamos de Puerto Rico, pero no estabamos seguros. El portero entrenó en la piscina mientras los niños estaban nadando.

Este hotel era bellisimo, limpio, y los empleados bien amables. No era barato, pero para nosotros algo económico, porque ganamos un poco más cada día en los Estados Unidos que unos salvadoreños ganan en una semana. También hicimos un buen trato con buffet de desayuno incluido. Cada mañana esperabamos con mucha anticipación los tamales de elote, frutas frescas, pupusas hechas a la orden por una muchacha con su traje típico, chorizos de Cojutepeque, frijoles molidos, huevos revueltos, quesadilla y todos los pan dulces que puedes imaginar, taza tras taza de un café perfecto – Ay! Casi lloro recordandolo y queriendolo.

Después del desayuno siempre saliamos por el día, andando en varias aventuras. En las noches nos retirabamos, agotados y polvorientos, a nuestra habitación por bañar, descansar, mirar la tele, hablar de nuestro día y finalmente, por dormir.

Una noche mientras mirabamos la tele y preparando para acostarnos, olimos humo de cigarillo saliendo de la ventilación. Humo de cigarillo es uno de los olores que no soporto. Sin ser dramática, les juro que me da ganas de vomitar.

Yo sabía que en las habitaciónes era prohibido fumar y entonces hablé a recepción para preguntar si pueden hacer algo.

“Claro que sí, Señora López. Podemos llevarle un ambientador?”

Yo acepté aunque no sabía qué era un ambientador. Después de colgar el telefono pregunté a Carlos y tampoco sabía él. Asumimos que un ambientador era un tipo de maquina para filtrar y limpiar el aire.

Al final había un “tan tan” en nuestra puerta. Fui a la puerta y la abrí.

El muchacho uniformado con una sonrisa muy agradable en su rostro, me pidió permiso por entrar en nuestra habitación para atender el problema.

“He traído el ambientador,” dijo. Le dije que por favor pase adelante y le dí las gracias por venir a nuestra habitación tan noche, a lo que respondió, “Siempre estamos a la orden, Señora López.”

Yo esperaba que él vuelva a recuperar el ambientador del pasillo, pero él ya lo tenía en mano. “Con permiso”, se disculpó y empezó a rociar Febreze por toda la habitación.

El olor a humo desapareció y nos fuimos a dormir riendo de la nueva palabra que había aprendido. Como resultado, “ambientador” significa “room spray.”

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ENGLISH TRANSLATION:

When we went to El Salvador and we realized we could not stay in Carlos’s childhood home, we decided that we needed to find a hotel as soon as possible. We went to the Hotel Real Intercontinental, with the intention of staying only one night but we ended up staying there the whole trip.

“Not just anyone stays at this hotel,” said our friend Lalo, looking around the fancy lobby.

He was right. During our stay there were a bunch of international beauty queens laughing up and down the hallways, (much to the pleasure of our teenage son and the teenage son of Lalo.) There was also a football team – we think they were from Puerto Rico, but we’re not sure. The goalkeeper trained in the pool while the kids were swimming.

This hotel was beautiful, clean, and the employees were friendly. It was not cheap, but for us somewhat more affordable, keeping in mind that the income we make each day in the United States is more than some Salvadorans earn in a week. We also got a good deal with breakfast buffet included. Every morning we anticipated the tamales de elote, fresh fruits, pupusas made to order by a girl in traditional dress, chorizos de Cojutepeque, refried beans, scrambled eggs, quesadilla and all the sweet breads you can imagine, cup after cup of perfect coffee – Ay! I almost cry remembering and wanting it.

After breakfast we always went out for the day, going on various adventures. At night we retired to the room, tired and dusty, to bathe, rest, watch TV, talk about our day and finally, sleep.

One night while watching TV and getting ready for bed, I smelled cigarette smoke coming from the air conditioning vents. Cigarette smoke is one of the odors I can not stand. Without being dramatic, I swear that it makes me want to vomit.

I knew that smoking was prohibited in the rooms so I called down to reception to ask if they could do something.

“Of course, Mrs. Lopez. We can bring you an ambientador?” he offered in Spanish.

I agreed that we’d like one, but I didn’t know what an “ambientador” was. After hanging up the phone, I asked Carlos and he didn’t know either. We assumed that an “ambientador” was some type of machine to filter and clean the air.

Soon there was a knock at our door so I went to the door and opened it.

The young uniformed man with a smile on his face asked permission to enter our room to address the problem.

“I brought the ambientador,” he said in Spanish. I told him to please come inside and thanked him for coming to our room so late, to which he replied, “We are always at your service, Mrs. Lopez.”

I expected him to turn around and retrieve the “ambientador” from the hallway, but he already had it in hand. “Excuse me,” he apologized and began to spray Febreze around the room.

The smell of smoke disappeared and we went to bed laughing at the new word we had learned. As it turns out, “ambientador” means “room spray.”

I’m not crazy, I’m bilingual

“How was your trip?” various family members asked me the week we returned from El Salvador.

“Loved it,” I’d say, “I didn’t want to leave.”

“Really?” they would respond, “But, why?”

Clearly I had not answered as expected.

When people asked the “why” though – I began to fumble.

“I don’t know, I’m just happier there. I haven’t really processed all that yet,” I’d say, to blank stares as they waited. Surely there must be a reason!

“The colors are brighter there,” I’d offer, feeling foolish.

How can the colors be brighter there? Is that scientifically possible?

All I know is that here in my suburban neighborhood in the United States, my house and all the other 150 houses in the neighborhood, are some variation of the same color – white, cream, beige, eggshell. When I take a walk in our neighborhood, there’s nothing to see. It’s boring cookie-cutter house after another.

In El Salvador, houses are bubble gum pink, lemon yellow, parrot green, and sky blue. Even everyday objects there – laundry baskets, chairs, flowers, seem more colorful. It makes me happy. I walked literally miles on the streets, distracted by all there was to see, without growing tired.

Two school girls walking in the rain – Izalco

A boy with balloons – Chalatenango

Looking out a window – Soyapango

I tried again to explain, “why” I hadn’t wanted to leave El Salvador, taking multiple verbal paths that went nowhere.

“I feel more inspired there” was another dead end.

Finally – “Here in the United States, everyone keeps to themselves. They stay locked in their houses. In El Salvador everyone goes out. Strangers talk to each other, and everyone has a story to tell.”

One of my family members spoke up, “But why would you like being in a place that is more social when you’re anti-social? You always say how shy you are.”

“But I’m not anti-social in El Salvador! I’m not shy when I speak Spanish!” I countered immediately. More blank stares.

Someone changed the topic of conversation, faces turned away from me and I was left to wonder if I was crazy.

Since that day of failing to express myself, failing to communicate, failing to connect with my own family in my native language, I have thought about the “why” a lot. Now, I wondered, not just “Why am I happier in El Salvador” but “Why am I not shy when I speak Spanish?” … None of it made any logical sense.

And then I found an article on PsychologyToday.com called, “Language: My Spanish Side.”

I read:

“Bilingual people display differing personality traits depending on which language they are speaking, researchers have found. Psychologists at the University of Texas, Austin, asked bilingual Mexican-Americans a set of questions designed to assess personality, such as “Are you talkative?” and “Do you tend to be disorganized?” Many participants changed their answers when questioners switched from Spanish to English or vice versa.”

After I read that article I nearly cried with joy. I’m not crazy! I’m just bilingual!

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Other recommended reading: Articles by François Grosjean, Ph.D – a Professor of psycholinguistics and the author of “Bilingual: Life and Reality.”

Tijuana

[Today is Spanish Friday, so this post is in Spanish. For an English translation, scroll down. If you participated in Spanish Friday, please leave your link in comments.]

Sólo en años recentes aprendí a pronunciar “Tijuana” correctamente. A oidos de hispanohablantes, los gringos a veces la pronuncian como es alguien en su famila… “Tía Juana.”

Fui una vez a Tijuana – era mi primera vez en salir de los Estados Unidos – y la unica vez que yo ponia pies en México, lindo y querido.

Yo era joven – no más que 10 años. Mis abuelos estaban viviendo en San Diego y cuando fuimos a visitarlos, dijeron un día, en vez de nuestras frecuentes visitas a lugares como Disneyland y Sea World, por qué no vamos a México?

Unos años más tarde, me puse a pensar que es injusto que fuimos a México sin pasaporte, sin planes, sin miedo, sin ahorrar dinero por pagar un coyote, sin ninguna vergüenza.

Yo era una niña, un poco molesta porque no pasé el día con Mickey Mouse, mientras yo estaba rodeada de niños más joven que yo, vendiendo chicle para poder sobrevivir.

[ENGLISH TRANSLATION]

Only in recent years did I learn to pronounce “Tijuana” correctly. To the ears of native Spanish speakers, gringos sometimes pronounce it as if it is someone in their family… “Tía Juana.”

I went one time to Tijuana – it was my first time leaving the United States – and the only time I set foot in Mexico, lindo y querido.

I was young – no more than 10 years old. My grandparents were living in San Diego and when we went to visit them, they said one day, instead of our frequent visits to places like Disneyland and Sea World, why don’t we go to Mexico?

Some years later, I began to think about the injustice of it – that we went to Mexico without a passport, without plans, without fear, without saving money to pay a smuggler, without shame.

I was a girl, a girl who was a little annoyed because I didn’t get to spend the day with Mickey Mouse. Meanwhile, I was surrounded by kids even younger than myself, selling chewing gum to survive.