The Random Aventuras of Tracy & Carlos

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 in italics!

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Este video no es completamente en español y la verdad es que uno tiene que ser bilingüe por entender todo – pero así es nuestra vida. Lo siento a los que no entienden todo pero ojalá todos disfrutan de alguna manera.


This video is not completely in Spanish and the truth is that you have to be bilingual to understand everything – but that’s how we live. Apologies in advance to those that don’t understand everything but hopefully everyone enjoys it in some way.

Bilingual Parenting Takes Commitment… and Re-commitment

Sometimes I think I have the bilingual parenting thing down. We get into a groove and I’m speaking Spanish to my kids and they, more and more, are responding to me in Spanish – but it’s inevitable that just when we’ve hit our stride and are on the road to fluency, we will have a setback.

One big problem for me is that I don’t speak Spanish when I’m stressed or tired or very busy. The other day I woke up and realized, “My God, I’ve been stressed and tired and very busy the past few weeks! I’ve had so much on my mind and so many deadlines. I’ve barely spoken Spanish to my kids at all!”

This is when I kick myself in the nalgas and promise to start all over again.

Yesterday morning before my younger son left for school, I warned him not to run to the bus as he usually does, because a slick layer of frost covered the ground.

“Cuando venga el bus, no vayas corriendo, okay? El suelo está bien liso, entiendes?”

My son tilted his head not unlike a dog when you speak to it. I could almost see the words enter his ear, twist themselves inside his brain and translate one-by-one into English. He spoke aloud as he decoded the message.

“When the bus comes… don’t run… because…the ground is slippery?”

He still understands me, but there is more lag time. Then when he speaks, he doesn’t even realize he’s mixing English and Spanish in ways I’ve never even heard before.

After school he asked me what day we’re going to his grandmother’s house for Thanksgiving.

“El viente dos,” I said.
“Oh, el twenty dos,” he answered.

There’s no point in lamenting wasted time and stalled progress. I’m human, I was tired, I spent weeks speaking very little Spanish to my kids who I desperately want to be fully bilingual. It happens. Seguimos adelante.

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Related: SpanglishBaby: Raising a Bilingual Child is Always a Work in Progress

Conversations at Casa López

There is usually at least one funny conversation in our household each day. I often share these conversations with friends and family on my Facebook page, but I decided to share the fun with all of you. Here are a few from the past few months.

Carlos: Opossum is same as a “tacuazin”, right?
Me: I think so. Check Google Images.
Carlos: How do you spell it?
Me: O-P-
Carlos: O?!

[I was talking to Carlos about something I can't remember and I said, "even though I'm not Latina"]

10 year old [interrupts]: You are too!
Me: No, honey, I’m not.
10 year old: You are Latina! You’re half like me!
Me: No, baby, I’m not Latina.
10 year old: Mommy, you are, cause you married Daddy.
Me: If you marry someone from China, are you going to be half Chinese?
10 year old: Yeah, of course!
Me: Oh. I didn’t know it worked that way.

Me: How do you say “listeners” in Spanish?
Carlos: What kind of listeners?
Me: Like listeners to a radio show… Would it be “escuchantes?”

Me: It’s in Kansas.
Carlos: Which Kansas?
Me: What do you mean which one? Kansas, the state.
Carlos: But is it in Kansas or Ar-Kansas?

Gringo co-worker: Hey you see those two German Shepherds over there?
Carlos: Yeah.
Gringo co-worker: You better watch out. They don’t like Mexicans.
Carlos: Well, good thing I’m not Mexican.

13 year old: I’m supposed to make tabs to divide my notebook for Spanish class.
Me: Okay.
13 year old: The teacher wants us to label one of the tabs “RECURSOS.”
Me: Mmhm.
13 year old: What does it mean?
Me: Can you take a guess?
13 year old: …Um… Repeat diarrhea?

Hey, at least he broke the word down and made a logical guess based on what he knows. (“Curso” is slang for “diarrhea” in El Salvador – not sure if that’s the case for anywhere else.)

[Me reading bedtime story to my 10 year old]

Me: “¿Puedes encontrar la araña?”
10 year old: Mommy, I’m not stupid. The spider is right there.

“You have to give me the credit of the doubt.” – Carlos

(He mixed up “Give me credit” and “benefit of the doubt.”)

“Do you know what time Obama is supposed to start speaking? … I want to watch but I don’t want to miss Chavito.” – Carlos

“You’re just adding more wood to the fire.” – Carlos

(He meant “fuel to the fire.”)

“I want to rent that movie Chale Homes.” – Carlos unsuccessfully trying to say “Sherlock Holmes” but sounding like a Chicano instead.

What is the funniest conversation you’ve had lately?

Keep Calma and Vote Obama

I’m not planning on getting too political here on Latinaish.com despite it being an election year, but I couldn’t resist sharing this greeting card I discovered this evening at Target.

Wow – this simple card manages to hit 3 demographics at once!

1. Spanglish speakers
2. Democrats or others voting for Obama
3. People familiar with the “Keep Calm” meme

Congratulations to the artist at Recycled Paper Greetings for hitting it out of the park. And for Republicans out there, no worries, there was a much less catchy “Keep Calm, Vote for Rom” version as well.

Pizza Patrón Forcing Hungry Gringos To Speak Spanish – Gringos Outraged

Image source: Seth Werkheiser

Bilingualism has many rewards including enhanced cognitive skills, lower occurrence of dementia in old age, higher paying job opportunities, double the pool of friend and relationship possibilities, and now, free pizza.

A Texas-based pizza chain is getting some backlash over their latest promotion. On June 5th from 5 to 8 pm, Pizza Patrón customers who order in Spanish will receive a free large pepperoni pizza, but this has some monolingual English-speakers feeling a little cheesed off. (I couldn’t resist the pun. ¡Perdóname!)

“This is America and in America we speak American when we order Italian food!” said one angry customer, (Okay, I made up that quote, although it’s not much of an exaggeration from real quotes I’ve read.)

Pizza Patrón unfortunately can’t claim to be surprised by the reaction they’ve gotten since they generated a similar response in 2007 when they announced that they would accept pesos as payment.

Image source: Pizza Patrón

Regardless of how ridiculous people are being about the promotion, they can’t accuse Pizza Patrón brand director Andrew Gamm, of not playing fair – Hungry gringos wanting their share of the pie will not be left out. “If you don’t speak Spanish, come on in. We’ll give you the phrase and make sure everyone that shows up walks away with a pizza.” (By the way, the very difficult phrase customers must learn how to say is “Pizza, por favor.” …Seriously people, if you can’t say that, you have bigger problems than not being able to get a free pizza.)

Image source: Pizza Patrón

Did you notice how “pizza” is spelled in the advertisement above? That is genius marketing at work. Here’s an excerpt from a Pizza Patrón press release explaining:

“Collateral materials for the promotion feature the word PIZZA spelled with a “C” resulting in text that reads PICZA POR FAVOR™ (pronounced “PEEK-ZA”). Company officials say many of Pizza Patrón’s corporate staff members pronounce words like PIZZA as PICZA or PEPSI as PECSI.

“Nearly half of our corporate staff says PICZA (“PEEK-ZA”) instead of PIZZA,” says Gamm. “And when we dug a little deeper, we soon realized that a good number of our Hispanic customers also say PICZA (“PEEK-ZA”) too. We thought it would be fun to incorporate that cultural component into the campaign.”

I have to say, at our house it’s pronounced “PEEP-SA”, but “PICZA” is close enough that I smiled, recognizing right away what they were up to.

How do you pronounce “pizza” at your house?

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Bonus: Check out this hilarious take on the Pizza Patrón news story over at Pocho.com – Speaking Spanish gets you a free pizza – and Pocho Ocho other things

Sniglets for Latinos

Image source: sAeroZar

When I was a kid I discovered a book at my grandparents’ house called “Sniglets” by comedian Rich Hall. The book explained that a sniglet is “any word that doesn’t appear in the dictionary, but should” and was full of humorous made-up examples, such as:

Aqualibrium (ak wa lib’ re um) – n. The point where the stream of drinking fountain water is at its perfect height, thus relieving the drinker from (a) having to suck the nozzle, or (b) squirting himself in the eye.

Cheedle (chee’ dul) – n. The residue left on one’s fingertips after consuming a bag of Cheetos.

Nurge (nerj) v. – To inch closer to a stoplight thinking that will cause it to change quicker.

Purpitation (per pi TAY shun) – v. To take something off the grocery shelf, decide you don’t want it, and then put it in another section.

Shmiddle – (n) The hole in the center of a bagel. “The cream cheese was oozing out from the shmiddle.”

Snargle (snar’ gul) – v. To lessen the visual impact of a horror movie by filtering it through one’s fingers.

[more here]

After I discovered that book of Sniglets as a kid, I began trying to come up with my own and had a lot of fun doing it. I don’t remember any of the ones I invented back then but I decided I wanted to come up with some today – except I wanted to put a new spin on it. How about Sniglets for Spanish/English bilinguals? Here are a few I thought up.

Sniglets for Latinos

Ranchteza – (ranch-tay-sa – noun) the sadness one feels while listening to classic Mexican Ranchera music that they enjoy but depresses them nonetheless. Example: I love to hear Pedro Infante sing Cu-cu-rru-cu-cú Paloma, but it causes me to feel some major ranchteza.

Bilingaffe – (by-ling-gaff – noun) when a bilingual person unintentionally uses the grammar of their second language when saying something in their native language, resulting in odd speech. Example: The other day when Carlos asked me why I wasn’t eating I said, “It’s that I don’t have hunger” and immediately cracked up laughing because my brain thought “Es que no tengo hambre” but my tongue spoke English – I made a bilingaffe.

Inglespond – (en-glay-spond – verb) when children respond in English even though they’ve been spoken to in Spanish. Example: I asked my daughter “¿Dónde está tu chaqueta?” and she inglesponded, “I left it at school.”

OVNI-plato – (ohv-nee-plah-to – noun) the plate of food one takes home from a party, which usually consists of a styrofoam or paper plate inverted on top of another styrofoam plate and wrapped in foil or plastic wrap. Could contain pastel de tres leches or main dishes such as tamales, carne asada, arroz, & other sides. Example: Hey, Ramón, make sure you bring me home an OVNI-plato from Silvia’s party!

Dulcovery (dools-covery – noun) a piece of candy one finds in the grass, discovered long after the breaking of a piñata. Example: Look at this, dulcovery! I found a Bubu Lubu over by the lilac bush – must be from Estefany’s cumple last week.

Your turn! Leave me some “Sniglets for Latinos” in the comments! Feel free to mix it up – use English and/or Spanish words to come up with your own word!

How Bilingual Siblings Argue

(Overheard conversation between my two sons yesterday.)

13 year old: Ugh! My hair is being so stupid! It won’t do what I want it to!
10 year old: I hate when I can’t style my hair, too.
13 year old: Ha! I wish I had your hair! You have good hair!
10 year old: Does that mean you think I’m bonito?
13 year old: No, you’re still feo.
10 year old: What?! … Well, you’re feo-er!
13 year old: You’re the más feo del mundo.
10 year old: Well, you’re feo to the luna and back!

You realize how badly you want your kids to be bilingual when you make no attempt to break up the argument but instead smile that they’re insulting each other in Spanglish.