Category Archives: amor
September is a special month to me. It’s the month I started this blog last year, and though my husband and I met each other at the end of August all those years ago, September is when we became novios. And so today has me thinking about the early days, when we were new to each other, and I was still discovering all the little things about him that endeared him to me…
I first noticed my husband’s escritura, (handwriting) within minutes of meeting him. He gave me his name and phone number, and instead of the chicken-scratch I was used to seeing from American boys, I held in my hands something not only completely readable, but strangely intriguing.
As novios, I looked forward to his love letters, not just for the words themselves, but the way in which they had been written – the form of each individual letter. Everything about him reminded me of how different we were, from our inability to communicate at times, (I read his love letters with an English-Spanish dictionary by my side), to something as simple as the way we write the letter “e”.
They say “love is blind”, and while I agree with the sentiment, it isn’t literally true. We saw our differences, and were fascinated by them.
Many handwriting experts claim you can’t tell a person’s ethnicity or nationality by their handwriting, but again, I say this isn’t true. (Link is to a PDF titled: “Spanish Handwriting And Spelling” – a document meant for non-native Spanish speakers deciphering Spanish documents to extract information. The fact that such a document exists proves that there are differences!)
Maybe it isn’t fool proof, but I’m able to pick out the handwriting of native born Salvadorans from that of U.S. born Americans. While I haven’t seen handwriting samples from all Latin American countries, everybody in my husband’s family – his mother, his sister, his brother, his cousins and uncles – even completely unrelated Salvadorans I’ve met, all have similarities in their handwriting. I can’t tell you if it’s a uniquely Salvadoran handwriting or a Spanish-speaking/Latin American way of writing, but it is different – and noticing a difference is not a bad thing.
In this politically correct world we’re admonished to look for the similarities, but I say go ahead and look for the differences, and celebrate them, because they’re beautiful.
I wanted to write about all the things I love about my husband, so I started to make a list. Some of the things I love are his voice, his accent, (in Spanish and English), his laugh. I decided to record him talking, but it didn’t go exactly as planned. He was tired and being stubborn… and then he got downright silly.
And as if I haven’t already shown how weird I am, this video confirms it. If you’re wondering why I wanted him to say “lagartija” (lizard), it’s because I love the way that word sounds in Spanish. I don’t know what it is, but that word makes me a little weak in the knees, (native Spanish speakers are laughing at me right now. Está bien.) … I love the word so much that Espinoza Paz’s “La Lagartija” is like a love song to me.
Other words I was trying to get my macho to say were my name and his name, because I like the way he says those, too.
To my native English speaker friends, which words do you love to hear in Spanish? … Native Spanish speaker friends, which words do you love to hear in English?
I love to cook. I love it because it fully engages all my senses and allows me to be creative while doing something practical to care for mi familia. I love the diversity of colors, textures, scents, tastes – the memories it conjures and creates.
My only problem is that I often used to stain my shirts. After I ruined much of my wardrobe, my husband asked Suegra to make me an apron.
Here is something nice I have to say about mi Suegra – she is a very talented seamstress, (and she’s completely self-taught!) She can make anything imaginable, from the sweetest little dresses for baby girls to silly Halloween costumes for mis niños – and when she’s not living with us, I realize what a useful skill it is as I haphazardly repair sofa pillows myself with crooked, child-ish stitches.
My favorite thing she ever made for me is my apron. She takes a lot of pride in her work and she took the time to embroider it in the traditional Salvadoran style. Salvadoran folk art contains colorful images of familiar things – houses, flowers, birds, and animals.
I wanted to take a photo of my apron to show you, so I put the camera on the counter top and set the timer.
I always take more than one photo just in case. I set the camera up again and while my husband has been known to run into the kitchen and steal bites of food before dinner is ready, this time my husband ran in to steal a besito.
I don’t usually post photos of myself or my husband, and especially one so intimate, (¡Qué escándalo! ji ji ji…) but this photo makes me happy and I wanted to spread the love.
“Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all.”
- Harriet Van Horne
I am so tired. I’ve been waking up at 7 am almost every morning to catch the first game of the day. Then I spend an inordinate amount of time on Twitter watching the games with my friends, which is so much more fun than watching alone.
If you want to watch with me, come on over! (A small warning though, I got overly passionate during Mexico’s game and let loose a few dozen “Viva México Cabrones!” … This is not the Spanish I intend to teach my kids. My apologies to those with delicate ears.)
Yesterday, Mexico’s historic win against France had me feeling breathlessly excited for a country I have absolutely no roots in, (“I wish I was born Mexican, but it’s too late for that now.” – Morrissey), and today, I am proud of how the U.S. played against Slovenia, yet simultaneously pissed that their third goal was taken away, leaving it a 2-2 tie, instead of a win.
Whatever the outcome, I’m exhausted and my productivity is laughable. Somehow I’ve managed to keep up with the 2 articles per week deadline over at Copa Café. I will keep links to those posts here for those who want to go read them.
What do you do when you get a craving for birthday cake, but there are no family birthdays on this month’s calendar? You celebrate an un-birthday.
When I called my husband and asked him to pick up a birthday cake, (yellow with white icing, please), on his way home, he obliged. Actually, he more than obliged. He took the opportunity to be muy romántico.
Saying that word, (“romántico”), reminds me of the first Spanish language album I bought. It was 1995, which makes me around 16 years old. The album was “Vida” by La Mafia. Who knows why I picked it up but I remember listening to it on repeat, with the lyrics insert spread before me on the carpet. I especially loved the song “Yo soy ese romántico” because it was one of the few songs I understood all the words to.
“Yo soy ese romántico
Yo soy ese lunático
Que pinta corazones
con tu nombre
Por toda la cuidad
Yo soy ese romántico
Yo soy ese lunático
Que llama cada noche
Que te dice que te ama de verdad.”
I remember my love sick sighs, dreaming of meeting a guy who would be as romantic as the one in the song.
I guess sometimes dreams come true.
Maybe I’m romanticizing it since I was only there for a couple days, but I really fell in love with Miami. I don’t know if it’s the kind of place I could live in year round. I’m an East Coast girl at heart. I need my change of seasons, my autumn leaves. I need the smell of fresh cut grass in the summer time… but going tropical felt good at least for a little while.
I loved the art deco architecture, the rustle of palm trees, the turquoise blue of the ocean, hearing Spanish everywhere we went, the adorable casitas, the couples dancing to the salsa version of Coldplay’s song, “Clocks“, the taxi drivers hanging out their windows and calling out piropos to pretty girls, mojitos, learning how to run in tacones, guava cupcakes, and most of all, the diverse group of amazing women who I now call mis amigas.
Going to Miami was life changing in ways I never expected, and probably in ways I have yet to see.
Those who were there with me may know that I argued on and off with my husband via text message almost the entire two days. This made me feel vergüenza, because I know what it looks like from the outside looking in. Most people like to keep up the appearance that their marriage is perfect, but sometimes there is no hiding the truth.
I felt lucky that despite my shyness, I bonded so quickly to all of the girls and that I was able to open up to them. Many of them gave me good advice, some simply a listening ear and a knowing smile. Marriage isn’t easy and mine is no exception. In fact, bi-cultural marriages tend to be even more difficult.
In the end, my husband and I came to a major turning point as individuals and as a couple. My husband was forced to realize that his celos is a result of his own insecurity and I was able to fly free long enough to realize that living like a pajarito in a cage of gold, is not how I want to live. Changing won’t be easy, but we had a very difficult heart-to-heart and our marriage has weathered another storm.
Lights go out and I can’t be saved
Tides that I tried to swim against
You’ve put me down upon my knees
Oh I beg, I beg and plead, singing…
Confusion never stops,
Closing walls and ticking clocks,
Gonna come back and take you home,
I could not stop, that you now know, singing,
Come out upon my seas,
Curse missed opportunities…
And nothing else compares
Oh no nothing else compares
And nothing else compares
You are, Home, home,
Where I wanted to go…
Disclosure: General Mills paid for my trip to Miami for their Qué Rica Vida media event. I received no compensation, monetary or otherwise, for writing about the event. All opinions expressed are my own.
Last week my husband refused to buy me a shirt because he disagreed with the text printed on it, but in the end he swallowed his pride and surprised me by making a special trip back to the store to get it for me.
When a Salvadoran man buys a shirt declaring Mexico to be “numero uno”, you better believe he’s in love.
(¡Te quiero también, nene!)
Last Sunday my youngest son, my baby, was baptized. The only thing is, “my baby” is 8 years old, far past infancy when most Catholic children are baptized. Our oldest son was baptized on a trip to El Salvador when he was a year old at my Suegra’s insistence, but we never got around to it for our second son.
I would say that we’re bad Catholics, but I’m not even Catholic so I am putting all the culpa on my husband. I was raised Protestant and never officially converted, so an 8 year old getting baptized is completely normal to me, since we do it when the child willing expresses a desire to be baptized.
Anyway, after the Padre made a joke about our son being old enough to get married, he consented to baptizing him. We were surprised that the Padre barely hesitated, not because of the child’s age, but because I’m not Catholic and my husband and I are not married in the Catholic church. (I think that Suegra lied to the church in El Salvador about all of this when our oldest son was baptized.)
So, our son, who requested to be baptized, was very excited. In the days leading up to the baptism, we explained a lot of things to him about what the ceremony meant and what would happen. We explained the part about padrinos a few times, but I could see that he wasn’t quite understanding me, so I told him in English.
“Padrinos means ‘Godparents’ in Spanish.”
“Padrinos are Godparents?”
“I’m going to have a Godmother?!”
“Yes, and a Godfather, too.”
His little eyes sparkled and that’s when I realized that the only point of reference he has for what a “Godmother” is, would be from the story of Cinderella.
“Honey, you know that real Godmothers aren’t magical, right? It’s not like a fairy Godmother…”
“…Um… I know that…” he said, (but rather unconvincingly.)
After that conversation, and several others, purchasing a candle, and other such preparations, we were ready.
The day of the ceremony we sat down in the first row, the seats reserved for those participating in the service, and listened to the Padre’s homily about “Amor”. He said it’s the most important thing on this Earth, to show love. The Padre gave several examples but at one point he said, “This past week I had to call the church office to discuss the importance of love. There are so many rules and regulations for things like baptisms. I told them, ‘Would you rather show the people God’s love, or bureaucracy?’”
Obviously there must have been some internal debate at our church as to whether we should be allowed to baptize our son. I’m glad that the Padre chose to show love rather than to block us out with red tape as others were apparently attempting to do.
I’m not a strongly religious person. I’ve struggled with my faith since I was a little child, but I do believe Jesus said, “Let the little children come unto me.” I don’t understand why anyone would want to prevent parents from bringing their child to God.
I can’t help that I was raised Protestant, and as for the small civil ceremony where my husband and I married – If one believes that God is everywhere, then is He not just as present in that court room as He is in the church?
As for my own faith in God, I have no way of controlling the doubts that cloud my heart, but at least I’m honest about them instead of pretending to be something I’m not. The important thing here is that my husband and I are willing to raise him in the church, regardless of our own personal spiritual struggles.
At the end of the day, our son was baptized and now he’s talking about wanting to study for First Communion. This day, amor was declared the winner. I only wish that were always the case.
My (Anglo) family is having a reunion tomorrow. They all love tamales, so here is my contribution.
Know that if I ever make you tamales, I must love you very much. ¡Cuánto trabajo!… Now I need a nap.
Pasión, even the way most Latinos say it, the word drips with desire or anger, or un otro tipo de passion, because passion is not just love, n’ombre, it is a strength added to every emotion. A life sin pasión? No manches! That is a life not worth living.
The passionate Latino – Is it a stereotype? Is it truth? I can only say what I know, and I know Latinos to be a passionate people. It is an admirable trait – one that produces heroes willing to fight and even die for a cause, unforgettable all-consuming loves, and fierce loyalty, but it can also override the prized Anglo virtue of “sensibility”. Pasión is emotion, as puro as 100 proof Tequila, and it can burn in the same way. Pasión does not stop to think. Chale! Pasión acts, consequences be damned.
In a marriage, pasión can be at times romantic, and at other times exhausting. A passionate man is just as likely to be violently hot-tempered as he is to bring you flowers and then kiss you from head to toe. Sometimes you don’t know which you’re going to get.