Conversations at Casa Quezada – a guest post!

casaquezada

I absolutely adore Tracy’s posts that share the hilarious, family moments that make up her bilingual household. I can relate so much, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to add a few of our own family’s multicultural conversations.

I’m an American girl, born and raised in the South. I am “bilingual-friendly,” meaning I know just enough Spanish to be dangerous. My Guatemalan husband Billy and I are raising our two bilingual-ish kiddos in Atlanta, Georgia. Here are few of our favorite Spanglish-y moments!

Me: (looking around the parking garage) Okay, we’re parked in Aisle 8.
Billy: THAT? (pointing at the sign) That. That is how you spell aisle?! Eye-eez-lay???

Billy: (hanging pictures) Does it look straight?
Me: Hmm… I’m not sure. Are we sure we want them there? Maybe a little higher?
Billy: (handing me a hammer and some nails) Go kill yourself!
Me: Um… What?
Billy: It’s an expression. You know…
[long pause]
Me: Oooh, knock yourself out!

Me: (reading a picture book in Spanish)
4 YO Daughter: Mom, please stop. I know that you don’t speak Spanish.

When dad has two languages, and mom has only one, you get this:
4 YO Daughter: My daddy is my Papi. And my mama is a big girl!

At a fruit stand in Los Angeles

Me: Hola. Por favor quisiera piña, sandía, mango, y coca.
Vendor: (eyes widening) Coca? Quiere coca?
Billy: No, no, no. Ella quiere coco.

Basically, I ordered a bunch of fruit and then “coke,” which, similar to English, is also slang for cocaine. I just wanted some coconut!

Me: Where are the chips I asked you to buy?
Billy: (hands me a bag)
Me: (putting away the Ranch dip) Awh, man. I asked you for chips, not tortilla chips!
Billy: Wait. What? You wanted potato chips? But you asked me for chips, not potato chips!

Stranger at the airport: Are you going to Guatemala?
4 YO Daughter: No, no. I’m going to Wat-te-ma-la. Wat-te-ma-la is Spanish. Gwah-tuh-mall-uh is English.

Thankfully, this kind man turned to my husband to ask if we were raising her to be bilingual and then offered some sweet encouragement.

Sitting in the OB/GYN office with our first pregnancy.

Me: “I’ve been having Charlie Horses at night.”
Billy: What are those?
Me: Leg cramps.
Billy: Why don’t you call them leg cramps?
Me and the midwife: I don’t know!
The midwife: Have you been having any Braxton Hicks?
Me: I don’t think so.
Billy: What is that?
Me: False contractions.
Billy: Why does everything in English need a first and last name?

My daughter’s toddler friend trying to work out our bicultural household:
Well, her mommy’s name is Sarah. And her daddy’s name is Papi.

We were visiting a Spanish church for the very first time. I was about seven months pregnant.

Stranger: Bienvenidos! (Rubbing my belly with both hands.) Hola bebito!
Billy: (looking at my panicked face and laughing) We’re not in an English church anymore! (leaning in towards me in mocking compassion) Do you want to go hide in the corner?
Me: (eyes wide, nodding) Yes!

sarah-quezada Sarah Quezada lives in Atlanta, Georgia in a talkative, Spanglish household with her Guatemalan husband and two amusing kiddos. She writes about culture, family, and immigration on her blog, A Life with Subtitles. Sarah is a big fan of travel, basketball, and peppermint patties. You can connect with her on Twitter or Facebook.

Conversations at Casa López – Part 6

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!)

Tracy: Mejor el perro malo que conoces que el perro que no conoces.

– Tracy mixing up the dicho “Más vale lo malo conocido que lo bueno por conocer.”

Carlos: “Tracy, why are you talking so loud? You’re like a vieja tamalera. ”

– Carlos when I was apparently talking too loud early in the morning

13 year old son: How do you say ‘pig’ in Spanish?

Tracy: Cerdo.

13 year old son: … But I thought it was ‘cuche’?

(“Cuche” is Salvadoran slang for pig.)

Tracy: The boys both need new earbuds again.

Carlos: Again? Both of them?

Tracy: Yeah… Hey, is there a Salvadoran Spanish word for someone who always breaks or loses things?

Carlos: Yeah, irresponsables.

13 year old son: You’re always watching that.

Tracy:: [shrugs] I like it and they always play re-runs.

13 year old son: But you never finish it. Is “La Fea Más Bella” a series or a movie?

Carlos: It’s a soap opera.

13 year old son: What’s that?

Tracy: A telenovela.

13 year old son: Oh. Why didn’t you just say that?

Tracy: ¿Estas tortillas son hechas de harina o de trigo?

Carlos’s friend: Maíz.

[I was trying to ask if they were flour or corn tortillas but for some reason I stupidly asked if they were tortillas made from wheat or flour – which is the same thing. Basically, “Are these flour tortillas or flour tortillas?”]

Carlos: I got everything we need to make the Smurfs.

Tracy: S’mores.

Carlos: Oh, right. Smurfs are pitufos.

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.

Conversations at Casa López – Part 4

casalopez-2

Today I bring back this series with my family’s most recent “bilingual moments” and funny conversations. (Be sure to share your recent funny conversations in comments!)

Tracy: Whatcha doing cutie pants?
Carlos: Not much—
Tracy: I was talking to Chico.

Carlos: Look, the guy at the Latino market gave me the merchant copy. [Shows me a receipt]
Tracy: Why is this the American copy? Did you want it in Spanish?
Carlos: What?
Tracy: Why are you calling this an American copy?
Carlos: No, I said MERCHANT copy.
Tracy: Oh, it sounded like you said ‘MURICAN copy.

“Mommy help! Get him off me! He’s hurting me with jalapeño breath!”

– My older son being pinned down by my younger son who was breathing into his face after eating pickled jalapeños

Tracy: Hey, this book says Mexican women don’t shave their legs. I’m moving to Mexico.
Carlos: Um, that sounds… anticuado. How old is that book?
Tracy: Published…(turns pages)… 1972. Oh.

Carlos: I’m going to cut the grass.
Tracy: It’s Sunday. That’s bad karma.
Carlos: But it needs to be done.
Tracy: Ay ve vos.
Carlos: Well I can’t now cause you jinxed me.

Tracy: Can you grab me a wad of paper towels?
Carlos: Huh?
Tracy: Can you grab me a wad of paper towels?
Carlos: A watt?
Tracy: A wad!
Carlos: What is that?
Tracy: Tanate! Can you grab me a tanate of paper towels?
Carlos: Why didn’t you just say that to begin with?

13 year old: Hey Daddy, have you heard of that singer Macklemore?
Carlos: Yeah, he’s from Soyapango.
13 year old: You say everyone is from Soyapango!

Carlos: Ooo, you got Abuelita chocolate!
Tracy: Yup.
13 year old son: Who’s the old lady on the package?
Tracy: Abuelita, of course.
13 year old: Oh.
Tracy: Hey Carlos, isn’t that the same lady in the Pedro Infante movies?
Carlos: Yup, that’s Nana Tomasita.
13 year old: Let me guess, she’s from Soyapango.
Carlos: Nope. She’s from Chalate.

10 Gifs For Parents Raising Bilingual Kids

Parenting is one of the biggest challenges there is, and bilingual parenting can be twice as hard. Here are 10 animated gifs only parents raising bilingual kids will understand. Laugh, cry, be entertained – I know you feel me.

#1. When your bilingual child is just a baby everything is new and awesome. Mixing the languages together is totally normal and totally adorable. So your reaction when your baby speaks Spanglish is something like:

so-cute

#2. Fast forward 10 years though and your child is still not fluent. Your child’s Spanglish at this stage of the game may have become somewhat less enchanting.

weep-die

#3. But then one day your child says their first curse word in Spanish, (and you know they learned it from you.)

amazing

Hey, at least they’re speaking Spanish.

#4. And then comes that magical age when they get to pick a foreign language at school. The child you’re raising English/Spanish bilingual tells you they want to take… French.

wait-what

#5. Okay, okay. We must embrace all language learning. It’s fine, they can learn French. Maybe they’ll be trilingual you say to yourself. But then they ask for help with their French homework and you discover your mouth will only pronounce French words following Spanish-language rules so you’re completely unhelpful.

blooblah

#6. At some point you realize hey, we’re not speaking enough Spanish at home, so you try the famous “I won’t acknowledge you unless you speak Spanish” tactic.

wont-hear-it

#7. However your child’s reaction to the “I won’t acknowledge you unless you speak Spanish” tactic is:

ok

#8. Time to get stealthy. You decide you’ll try to sneak Spanish into your child’s life by listening to Spanish-language music in the car.

botas-picudas

#9. However, this is your child’s reaction when you listen to Spanish-language music in the car right before they put their earbuds in.

dont-want-to-hear

#10. You’ve all but given up until one day your teenager develops a crush on a native Spanish speaker at school and suddenly takes a renewed interest in learning the language.

Frank-Underwood-Saying-Welcom-Back-House-of-Cards-S2-E1

Apachada

I always share Carlos’s English mistakes, so it’s only fair that I share when my Spanish goes terribly wrong.

First let me explain: This past weekend was really busy, mostly in a good way because I did a lot of things I wanted to do, but there was one obligation I wasn’t really thrilled about, and that was a meeting at 8 o’clock in the morning on Saturday. The meeting was a mandatory part of an academic program our oldest son is in, and at least one parent was supposed to attend.

So on Saturday, Carlos dropped me and our older son off for the meeting and then he went with our younger son to have an oil change done on the car. The car ended up needing a few hundred dollars in repairs to pass inspection so Carlos texted me and let me know he was going to be late picking me up.

I confess, I was kind of grumpy Saturday morning. I had wanted to sleep in, I was at a boring meeting where I’d be stuck for who knew how long, I had a cold on top of allergies and felt miserable, plus Carlos and I had skipped breakfast. Carlos was stressed about the car repairs and I’ll admit, I was being a little (uncharacteristically) needy because I didn’t feel well. Only a hilarious misunderstanding could cheer me up, thankfully those are abundant in our family.

Two things you should know:

#1. The place where the meeting was held is down the street from the hospital and we have eaten in the hospital cafeteria as a family a few times, even when we had no reason to be at the hospital. Strange but true. (The food is good and it’s not expensive.)

#2. I mention someone named “Sue” – That’s a friend of ours from Mexico. I adore the way she speaks Spanish and am always picking up new vocabulary from her, (or at least attempting to.)

Here are the text messages that followed. (My texts are in blue and his are in white.)

text1

text2

text3

text4

¿Cómo se dice SPORK?

spork

Over the weekend we got some takeout food for dinner. At home, I dumped the bag of sauce packets, napkins and plastic utensils onto the table.

“Hand me one of those forks, please,” Carlos said.
“It’s not a fork,” I said, holding it up.
“Hand me… one of those thingies,” he said.

(Carlos’s English includes the word “thingies” since apparently I say that a lot.)

“It’s called a ‘spork’ – It’s a spoon-fork, see?” I handed the plastic utensil to him.
“Spork, okay,” he said, taking it from me, more eager to eat than to get a vocabulary lesson.

I took a bite of my food and chewed thoughtfully.

“How do you say ‘spork’ in Spanish?” I asked.
“You don’t,” Carlos answered.
“There’s no word for ‘spork’?”
“No.”
“Oh!” I became excited. “Hold on, okay, let’s see… In Spanish, ‘spoon’ is ‘cuchara’ and ‘fork’ is ‘tenedor’ so a spork could be… CUCHADOR!”

I fell in love with the new word immediately.

“You can’t do that,” Carlos said.
“What?”
“You can’t just make words up.”
“I just did! This is a cuchador! And I’m going to go tell the whole internet!”

After dinner I went online and typed “How do you say ‘spork’ in Spanish?” just to make sure Carlos was right, that there wasn’t already a word that existed. To my amusement, Carlos was wrong and there is actually already a word… and it’s ‘cuchador.’ I’m a little disappointed that I didn’t invent a new word, but I’m impressed that my bilingual brain came up with the correct word by putting together what it already knows. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t, but it doesn’t hurt to give it a try!