Category Archives: el macho
Taking photos at Fiesta DC this past Sunday was a challenge for a number of reasons, but one of those reasons was the sheer number of other people trying to photograph and video tape the event. At times I felt like I was in a group of paparazzi fighting for position – and then when I would finally frame the perfect shot, someone would inevitably ruin it by running across with a video camera or sticking their iPhone in front of me.
Some of the people were amateur or hobbyist photographers like me, some were obviously freelance professionals or working for media – And then there were young males, usually equipped with cellphone cameras, who were just trying to photograph the nalgas of the cachiporras to share on their Facebook.
Anyway, here are my favorite shots which I had some fun editing and a video of the general atmosphere.
By the way, speaking of nalgas, at one point during the parade a woman with a very generous backside stood in front of us. Carlos, to his credit, didn’t even seem to notice despite the fact that her “pants” were actually leggings and you could see her thong through the fabric.
“¡Qué bárbara!” a little old man said. The old man, not content to enjoy the view by himself and feeling the need to share, elbowed Carlos. Jutting his chin towards the woman in front of them he said, with a lascivious expression on his face, “Ella es Santa Bárbara, ¿vá?”
Carlos looked confused, “Oh, ¿sí?” he replied.
“Ssssíííííí,” the viejo hissed appraising the woman’s behind, practically licking his lips. Noting the fact that Carlos didn’t understand what he meant, the viejo then asked, “¿No sabes?”
“¿No?” Carlos said, the question on his face.
I rolled my eyes at the predictable dirty old man.
“¡Es santa por delante y bárbara por atrás!” the viejo said, erupting in laughter as if he had said the most clever and original thing in the world.
Carlos laughed politely and I pinched him.
“What?” Carlos said.
“Stand back here, away from the viejo chuco,” I said.
After the parade we had lunch. I wanted pupusas but Carlos made a good point that we eat pupusas all the time and that we should eat something different, so we ended up buying delicious Mexican tortas. (The boys and I had the torta milanesa de pollo with horchata. Carlos had the torta de carnitas with agua fresca de tamarindo.)
Just as we finished eating and were deciding what to do next, I heard “Los Hermanos Lovo” announced on a nearby stage.
“No way!” I said out loud, “Hermanos Lovo!”
Carlos looked at me like I had lost my mind as I pulled his hand in the direction of the stage.
“It’s the Chanchona music I blogged about. Remember?… Hermanos Lovo!”
For three songs I tapped my hand against my side, tapped my feet, and moved my hips, waiting for people to dance, but only a few people were dancing, and they were getting stared at. Everyone else just pretty much stood there and watched the performance. I found this a little strange given that at most Latino dominant events I’ve been too, there’s usually not a lack of dancing. I wonder if most of the people there have become too Americanized in this respect? Too self-conscious?
I couldn’t take it anymore. I leaned toward Carlos and he leaned toward me so he could hear me.
“Want to dance?” I asked, eyes brimming with hope like a child asking for a puppy.
Carlos said nothing, just turned toward me and took me in his arms, and we danced.
Within seconds much of the crowd had turned to look at us and stood gaping. Carlos whispered in my ear, “We’re being photographed and video taped.” I felt a flood of gringa self-consciousness wash through me but we kept dancing, and soon, the people around us, were just a blur of colors.
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!
Carlos está sentado en la mesa después de trabajar y está comiendo una merienda con una sonrisa en su rostro.
“Estas galletas,” me dice, levantando una galleta cubierta en chocolate y admirandola antes de comer una mordida, “Estas galletas siempre quería comprar cuando era niño en El Salvador.”
“Y por qué no las compraste, pues?” pregunto yo.
“Eran muy caras,” dice Carlos, “Sólo los niños ricos las tenian.”
Las galletas que compramos son de marca “Chiky” y cuestan aproximadamente $2.50 por una docena paquetes que contienen 6 galletas cada uno. Imagino que cuestan todavía menos en El Salvador.
“Somos ricos,” digo yo, “Aunque tenemos un montón de billes sin pagar, tenemos Chiky.”
Carlos is sitting at the table after work and eating a snack with a smile on his face.
“These cookies,” he says, lifting a cookie covered in chocolate and admiring it before taking a bite, “I always wanted to buy these cookies as a child in El Salvador.”
“So why didn’t you?” I ask.
“They were very expensive,” says Carlos, “Only the rich kids had them.”
The cookies we buy are “Chiky” brand and cost about $2.50 for a dozen packages containing 6 cookies each. I imagine they cost even less in El Salvador.
“We’re rich,” I say, “Although we have a lot of unpaid bills, we have Chiky.”
I’m not usually one to deprive Carlos of a food he is craving if it’s in my abilities to make it. As old-fashioned as it may seem, making food for Carlos and the boys and watching them enjoy it is one of my favorite things. That being said, when Carlos requested Sopa de Res the other day, (something I make for the family often in the winter) I found it strange enough that I didn’t want to make it.
“Sopa de res?” I said, “But it’s summertime! It’s hot out!”
“What’s wrong with that?” Carlos said.
“You don’t eat stew in the summer – that’s just weird. Soups and stews are for fall and winter. They warm you up and comfort you when you’re cold.”
“Well, I don’t think like that,” Carlos reminded me. “In El Salvador the weather is always hot so when are we supposed to eat soup?”
I realized he had a point and bought what I needed to make Sopa de Res on Friday. As I make it right now, the weather seems to have obliged with my “soup eating rules.” It has been cold and rainy all weekend.
SOPA DE RES
1 to 2 lbs. stew meat
2 tablespoons Canola oil
salt, pepper to taste
1 onion, chopped
4 cups vegetable broth
14 oz. chunky salsa (whichever kind you like)
1 to 2 cups baby carrots
2 cups chopped potatoes (whichever kind you like)
2 to 3 corn cobs broken in thirds, (1 cup frozen/canned corn can be substituted)
1/2 small cabbage chopped in wedges
sliced pickled jalapeños
handful fresh cilantro, washed and chopped
fresh lime wedges
Brown meat and onion in oil in a large soup pot. Season with salt and pepper.
Add broth and salsa. Meat should be slightly covered, if not, add water until it is.
Bring to a boil then lower heat. Simmer, loosely covered until meat is cooked and tender.
Add carrots and potatoes – Continue simmering until these are tender.
Add corn cobs. Simmer until corn is cooked.
Add cabbage and cook until tender, (not soggy!)
Ladle into bowls. Add cilantro to each bowl. Serve with a wedge of lime to squeeze on top and warm homemade tortillas. If you like it spicy, add some pickled jalapeños.
Recipe adapted from: Caldo de Res
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!
Cosas extrañas suceden en el trabajo de Carlos – A veces la razón es porque la mitad de los empleados son inglés-hablantes nacidos en Estados Unidos y la otra mitad son hispano-hablantes nacidos en México; Carlos cae en el medio – un bilingüe salvadoreño.
Usualmente el jefe y la gente que trabajan en la oficina, utilizan a Carlos como traductor cuándo necesitan mandar un mensaje a los que trabajan en el taller, pero recientemente la secretaria ha querido hacer traducciones solita con la ayuda de un traductor en línea y ella le gusta colocar carteles en las paredes para todos los temas imaginables.
Aquí hay una cartel en la puerta de un baño. Por alguna razón el jefe quiere que sólo utilizan este baño para orinar.
Un buen recordatorio: Si tienes acceso a un hablante nativo, por favor, confíen en él en vez de usar un traductor en línea.
Strange things happen in Carlos’s work – Sometimes the reason is because half of the employees are U.S. born English-speakers and half are Spanish-speakers from Mexico; Carlos falls in the middle – a bilingual Salvadoran.
Usually the boss and the people working in the office use Carlos as a translator when they need to send a message to those working in the shop, but recently the secretary has wanted to do translations alone with the help of an online translator. She likes to put signs up on the walls on every imaginable topic.
Here’s a sign on the door of a bathroom. For some reason the boss wants the employees to use this bathroom only to urinate.
A good reminder: If you have access to a native speaker, please, trust in them instead of using an online translator.
“¿Qué onda, vos?” pregunté a mi hijo mayor una tarde cuándo venia a casa de la escuela.
“Mira mamá, te tengo una sorpresa,” dijo mi hijo con algo escondido detrás de su espalda.
“¿Qué es?” pregunté.
Mi hijo reveló un sombrerito negro, decorado con lentejuelas. En purpurina color verde, blanca y roja, estaba escrita la palabra “BICENTENARIO.”
“Ah, de México, es. Qué bonito,” dije, “¿Dónde lo econtraste?”
“Lo gané por tener la calificación más alta de mi clase de español,” dijo con orgullo.
“Wow, qué bien. Muy bien,” dije yo, “pero a dónde vamos a ponerlo? Tu papá no le va a gustar.”
Después de unos minutos, dicidimos ponerlo en una estantería llena de libros y chucherías.
“A ver cuántos días le toma por encontrarlo,” dije sonriendome.
Bueno, más tarde entró Carlos a la casa después de un día trabajando. Me dio un beso y empezó a platicar por unos minutos cuándo él paró de hablar muy abruptamente.
“Ey,” dijo, frunciendo el ceño, “¿Qué es esto?”
En menos de quince minutos lo ha encontrado.
“What’s up?” I asked my oldest son one afternoon when he arrived home from school.
“Look, Mom, I have a surprise for you,” said my son with something hidden behind his back.
“What is it?” I asked.
My son revealed a little black sombrero decorated with sequins. In green, white and red glitter the word “Bicentennial” was written.
“Ah, it’s from Mexico. How nice,” I said, “Where did you get it?”
“I won it for having the highest score in my Spanish class,” he said proudly.
“Wow, that’s great. Very good,” I said, “but where are we going to put it? Your Dad isn’t going to like it.”
After a few minutes, we decided to put it on a bookshelf full of books and knick-knacks.
“Let’s see how many days it takes him to find it,” I said smiling.
Well, Carlos later came home after a day of working. He kissed me and we started to chat for a few minutes when he very abruptly stopped talking.
“Hey,” he said, furrowing his brow, “What is this?”
In less than fifteen minutes he had found it.
En las últimas semanas, los pájaros se han vuelto locos. Cómo es primavera, los pájaritos están peleando, enamorando, y buscando lugar a dónde pueden hacer el nido. Bueno, uno de los pájaros es más tonto que los otros, y sigue tratando de entrar a la ventilación del horno que está en el exterior de la casa. Cada mañana escucho unos sonidos de rascando y de alas furiosas del pájaro tratando de entrar. Cada mañana salgo de la casa gritando, “Nooo! Vete! Vete ya, pájaro bobo!”
Un día tuve la idea ingeniosa de dibujar un búho, y coloque el dibujo con cinta adhesiva cerca de la ventilación. A la mañana siguiente, el pájaro estaba haciendo la misma cosa – no tuvo miedo de mi dibujo. Tal vez no es tan bobo como pensé. Mi siguiente idea fue colgar cerca un carillón, pero eso tampoco funcionó.
Carlos me había visto luchar con este problema y me preguntó si quería ayuda. A veces puedo ser terca y quiero hacer las cosas solita, pero esta vez acepté. Carlos se quedó mirando la ventilación, pensó por un momento y luego entró a la casa. Segundos más tarde regresó con la bolsa de los limones que es una malla de plástico. Sin herramientas, con no más que sus manos, sujetó la malla cubriendo la ventilación.
Gracias al ingenio de los salvadoreños, no he oído el pájaro desde entonces.
Carlos the inventor
In recent weeks the birds have gone crazy. Since it’s spring, the birds are fighting, falling in love, and looking for a place where they can build their nest. Well, one of the birds is a little stupider than the others, and it keeps trying to enter the oven vent on the outside of the house. Each morning I hear the sound of scratching and the beating of furious wings as the bird tries to come in. Every morning I run out of the house screaming, “Nooo! Go away Go away, stupid bird!”
One day I had the idea to draw an owl and tape the drawing near the vent. The next morning, the bird was doing the same thing – not at all afraid of my drawing. Maybe it’s not as dumb as I thought. My next idea was to hang a wind chime nearby, but that didn’t work either.
Carlos watched me struggle with this problem and asked if I wanted help. Sometimes I can be stubborn and prefer to do things by myself, but this time I agreed. Carlos stared at the ventilation, thought for a moment, and then went into the house. Seconds later Carlos returned with the bag from the lemons which is a plastic net. Without tools, with nothing more than his hands, he attached the plastic net around the vent.
Thanks to the ingenuity of Salvadorans, I have not heard the bird since.
Ultimamente Carlos y los niños han jugado un juego de FIFA fútbol en Wii. A mi me encanta mucho el fútbol pero no entiendo cómo uno puede pensar que este juego de video es divertido. Agitando un control remote de el Wii no tiene nada que ver con pateando una pelota de fútbol, pero Carlos y los niños sigan gritando “gooooool!” como están ganando la Copa Mundial.
Lately Carlos and the boys have been playing a FIFA soccer game on the Wii. I love soccer very much but I don’t understand how one can think that this video game is fun. Shaking a Wii remote control has nothing to do with kicking a soccer ball, but Carlos and the boys continue shouting “goooooal!” as if they’re winning the World Cup.
Check it out!
En su trabajo, Carlos se ha hecho muy amigo con uno de sus compañeros mexicanos que se llama Benjamín. Juntos, ellos le gustan hacer burlas a otro compañero quién es gringo. Carlos y Benjamín comenzaron con un chiste de guiñar uno al otro porque se hace incomodo para el gringo.
Bueno, a pesar de que Benjamín es su amigo, le gusta engañar a Carlos también. El otro día, con su teléfono celular oculto, Benjamin hizo un guiño a Carlos y luego grabó en video Carlos guiñando en repuesta para poder chantajearlo.
Por suerte, Carlos no siente nada de vergüenza y no le importa si Benjamín muestra el video a sus hermanos y primos que trabajan con ellos. Carlos hasta dijo que puedo compartir el video aquí. Supongo que Benjamin tendrá que intentarlo de nuevo para capturar a Carlos haciendo algo más vergonzoso.
At work, Carlos has become good friends with one of his Mexican co-workers named Benjamín. Together, they like to play jokes on a gringo co-worker. Carlos and Benjamín started a joke where they wink at each other because it makes the gringo uncomfortable.
Well, even though Benjamín is his friend, he likes to trick Carlos as well. The other day, with his cellphone hidden from sight, Benjamín winked at Carlos and then video taped Carlos winking back, with plans to use the video as blackmail.
Luckily Carlos didn’t feel at all ashamed about the video and he didn’t care if Benjamín showed it to his brothers and cousins who also work there. Carlos even said I could share the video here. I guess Benjamín will have to try again to catch Carlos doing something more embarrassing.
Other posts about Carlos’s co-workers:
In high school we would have one week of gym class that we spent in the weight lifting room. It was in a dark, windowless room down a forgotten hallway. Students were allowed access to it after school but it was often forgotten, except by the jocks. The girls stood in a corner talking, watching the boys, examining their nails and refusing to do anything other than a minute on the rowing machine – preferring to take a zero for the day. I, however, loved our week in the weight lifting room.
Already known for challenging boys to arm wrestling contests at lunch time, (and sometimes winning), my reputation was further sealed by my behavior in the weight lifting room. The boys gathered around to see how much I could bench press, taking bets that I wouldn’t be able to do it each time the peg was moved lower and the weight got heavier. I fed on their pessimism. I loved being underestimated. I took a deep breath, felt the muscles ripping but pushed, pushed, pushed, my lips closed tight, my nostrils flaring. I heard them say knowingly to each other, “She can’t lift it” – as I struggled. My arms shook and I pushed harder still until I would feel the weight give way and my arms straightened above me in victory.
I didn’t care that I wasn’t the kind of girl you ask to the prom, but instead the kind of girl you ask to help push the car when it breaks down. I come from a family of strong women. My mother is well-known for re-decorating while my father is at work – sometimes moving heavy furniture up and down two flights of stairs by herself.
I associated femininity with weakness and wanted no part of it, but I realized how simplistic this point of view was when I gave birth to my first child. Giving birth is an act that is simultaneously the height of femininity and strength. Now, as the mother of two boys, the lone female in a household full of males, I value my feminine side more than I did growing up. Being married to Carlos though, has made me examine my femininity from a cultural perspective. It hasn’t been easy to sort out.
I will try to open a jar of pickles. Carlos will offer to help, reach his hand out for the jar, and I’ll turn away with the jar, stubbornly determined to do it myself. This is when Carlos will tell me I’m like my mother or say, “Why do you have to be so American?!” … to which I’d reply, “Why is it an insult to your manhood for me to open the pickles myself?!”
Over the years, I’ve learned to (usually), hand over the jar of pickles. It makes Carlos feel good to do it for me. I never pretend I can’t do anything, but if it’s difficult, why not give him the satisfaction of feeling that he takes care of me?
I thought that over the years, Carlos and I had mostly ironed out this one cultural wrinkle. We both have made compromises. I let him open jars of pickles that are difficult for me to open, (damn you, carpal tunnel) – and he doesn’t expect me to act completely helpless – fair enough… but at the grocery store while I was unloading the cart at the cash register, I retrieved the case of bottled water from the bottom of the cart and hefted it up and onto the conveyor belt. I thought nothing of it but Carlos whispered through clenched teeth, “Hey, you should have asked me to do it. You’re embarrassing me.”
Embarrassing Carlos was not my intention or even something I had considered – I just wanted to get the groceries checked out so we could go home, (and for the record, the cashier seemed completely unaware of the battle going on right in front of her.) I guess the lesson here is that Carlos and I will always have cultural issues to work on – nothing is ever resolved so completely that it won’t pop up again, so ingrained are the traits we bring from our two different backgrounds.
What is your take and your experiences on the topic of feminine strength vs. machismo?
Tener el pelo largo significa que tengo que buscar formas creativas para atarme el pelo, especialmente en invierno cuándo mi pelo está mojado después de bañarme y me da frío sentirlo tocando mi piel. Usualmente hago un moño desordenado pero a veces trato algo diferente, incluyendo trenzas.
La única cosa es que Carlos se pone un poco raro conmigo cuando me ve con dos trenzas. Su rostro se ve como cuando nos conocimos, sus mejillas cambian a color rojo y sus ojos brillan. “Te ves tan bonita”, me dice, tirando las trenzas. Pensé que me veo un poco ridícula con trenzas. Yo ni siquiera salgo a la calle así, pero si Carlos le gusta, me decido a aceptar sus piropos.
El otro día, cuando tenía el pelo en dos trenzas, Carlos actuó de la misma manera, y luego me llamó su “cinco de yuca”.
“¿Cinco de yuca?” dije, “¿Qué es eso?
Carlos me enseño un video, “La Cinco de Yuca” por Los Caballeros del Sabor.
Ahora sé por qué se pone tan tontito sobre las trenzas!
Having long hair means I have to find creative ways to tie it back, especially in winter when it’s wet from the shower and it makes me cold to feel it touch my skin. I usually do a messy bun but sometimes I try something different, including braids.
The only thing is that Carlos gets a little weird with me when I wear my hair in two braids. His face looks like when we first met, his cheeks turn red and his eyes sparkle. “You look so pretty,” he says, pulling my braids. I always thought I look a bit ridiculous with braids – I don’t even go out in public like that, but if Carlos likes it, I decided, I will accept his flirtations.
The other day, when I had my hair in two braids, Carlos acted the same as he’s been acting, but then he called me his “cinco de yuca.”
“Cinco de yuca?” I said, “What is that?
Carlos showed me a video, “La Cinco de Yuca” by Los Caballeros del Sabor.
Now I know why he gets so silly about the braids!