¿De qué tienes miedo tú?

Last week I got an unexpected invitation to an event in Miami which will be at the end of May. I never in a million years thought that my husband would let me go, but I mentioned it to him anyway. He gave me the expected answer of “No y no!” … It’s funny how I feel unappreciated here at home sometimes, yet when there’s any possibility of me going away for a day or two, the family acts as if the entire household would collapse in my absence.

After a day or two my husband couldn’t take any more of my quiet disappointment and he relented. He said I can go! For those of you with machos protectivos, tú sabes que esto es un BIG DEAL.

So I went from deep disappointment to absolute joy within minutes, but it didn’t take long for the anxiety to set in. Now I was SCARED. Why would I be scared to go? There are many reasons. For a shy person, taking this trip is stepping out of my comfort zone in a million ways.

So, that’s how I had been feeling over the weekend. SCARED. Excited, but scared.

Well, yesterday I went to Mass and the homily that the Padre gave was about “miedo” (fear). He said some rather inspiring things. The one quote I latched on to was “Viva tu vida sin miedo.” (Live your life without fear). The “Viva tu vida” is rather catchy in Spanish.

Of course, I can’t even have a religious experience without interruption. The Padre turns to the congregation and says, after a dramatic pause, ¿De qué tienes miedo tú? (Of what are YOU afraid of?)

There was silence as people pondered the question… and then, from the back of the church, a man’s voice with a very strong Mexican accent replies to the rhetorical question…

“La migra!”

There was quite a bit of laughter and it took awhile for it to die down so the Padre could go on with the message but the Padre seemed to have a sense of humor about it.


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.

You know you married a Salvadoran when…

Okay, bear with me on this one. If you aren’t married to a Salvadoran, or at least know one well, this won’t amuse you. For those of you familiar with the ways of Salvatruchos, read on…

You know you’re Married to a Salvadoran when…

• You have a machete in the closet

• You know what “puchica” means

• You celebrate National Pupusa Day on the 2nd Sunday of November

• You can pronounce “Chalatenango” and “Zacatecoluca”

• You know that a “guanaco” is not just a South American llama

• You think Pollo Campero is better than KFC

• You’ve come to think that pointing at things with your lips instead of your finger is normal

• You’ve drank soda from a plastic bag

• You’ve rarely seen your spouse without “chanclas” in the house

• You don’t bother buying a swimsuit anymore and just swim in your clothes

• You try to scare your kids with stories of Cipitío and La Sihuanaba

• People have asked if your spouse is in MS-13 as a joke, but you could tell they were a little worried

• When your spouse’s relatives say they want to “visit”, you know they’re moving in

I Love Lucy

As a little girl, one of the first crushes I ever had, was on Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz). I vividly remember watching I Love Lucy with my mother while folding towels warm from the dryer. I sometimes wonder how much this later influenced what I sought in a man because from a young age (we’re talking Elementary school), I very much developed a “type” and my crushes on boys very rarely strayed from a particular set of qualities.

In 7th grade, as part of sex education class, the teacher had us make a list of things we sought in a partner. It was to help us realize what we wanted. Some of the things on my list were quite different from the other girls in my class. I had the typical virtues on my list: kind, intelligent, generous, romantic… but #1 on my list was the word “accent”.

I’m pretty sure Desi Arnaz influenced this preference. It’s an odd thing to think about. To imagine that if a young Cuban man I would never meet, hadn’t pursued his dreams back in the 1950’s, my life could be dramatically different. (And the fact that an interracial couple was put on TV back then and became popular is even more shocking.)

Here is one of my favorite clips from the show. This is the episode where Lucy goes to Cuba on vacation and meets Ricky for the first time.


(Phone conversation with Mr. López this morning)

Mr. López: I just want to say ‘thank you’ for being so supportive. What is that saying?… Um, ‘Next to every great man is a great woman.’

Mrs. López: Actually, I believe it’s, ‘Behind every great man, is a great woman’.

Mr. López: I knew that. It’s the same in Spanish. I didn’t think you’d like it that way.

Mrs. López: You are a smart man.