Gorda y más Gorda

We’re sitting at the table, myself, Carlos and Suegra. She is telling us one of her stories – puro chisme, of course. This is what she brings back from El Salvador along with the souvenirs, suitcases full of gossip – usually about who died, who is dying, who is sick but not dying, and who got really fat.

“Recuerda la Nia Marí?” she says. Carlos nods. Yes, he remembers her.
“Tiene dos hijas,” she goes on, “y qué mujeronas!” Suegra says, “Con las panzas así!”

She extends her hands far out in front of her to show how fat they are. She tells us they look pregnant but they’re not pregnant. Then she gestures to me and says, “La Tracy no es nada!”

In previous years, this would have caused me to burst into tears, but I know she doesn’t mean it how it sounds. She isn’t the most tactful person and she probably thought she was giving me a compliment – but saying, “Those women are really fat – Tracy is nothing in comparison!” doesn’t translate well to English, does it?

To make matters worse, Suegra is force feeding me when eating is really the last thing I want to do. (Because although I didn’t cry, it did make me self conscious.) Last night she mixed up a jar of Tiste, poured a glass and forced it into my hands. “Drink it, drink it! You’ll like it!”

I don’t want to drink it-drink it. Tiste is made from corn, sugar, water and cacao, and though that combination sounds horrible, Tiste, full of carbs and sweetness, actually tastes good. I took the smallest sorbito I could, told her it was fantastic, and then handed it off to my older son when she walked away.

Other things she has tried to force feed me the past week: Semita (pineapple cake), Conserva de Coco (sugar coconut candy), and Hot Chocolate – (she had the cocoa specially milled for me in El Salvador.)

To make matters worse, Suegra bragged about how much weight she lost in El Salvador … She does this thing where she sticks her thumb in the waistband of her pants and pulls it out so we can see just how much.

Thankfully, the universe always keeps things in balance – including egos. We went to the Latino market and my favorite cashier (the one who gives me a discount), greeted Suegra enthusiastically. “Where have you been?” he said to Suegra. She beamed, for her absence was noted. “I was in El Salvador,” she said. “Ah,” the cashier responded, “Maybe it’s because I haven’t seen you in so long, but you look much fatter!”


  1. Ah, bienvenida a casa, Suegra. :-) When I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Malawi (where it is considered to be a GOOD thing to be fat), I once wore this gingham dress I found super-cheap in the market and as soon as my students saw me they were like, “WOW Madam! You look SO FAT today!” (Yes, “fat” not “phat”). Needless to say, that was the last time I ever wore that dress.

  2. Bitter about your Suegra’s comment much? LOL! You are too funny in your writing…that is a compliment :-) Antes de que te enojes conmigo tambien, jajaja. Oye, pero en serio, and I could totally picture every scene. I bet you gave that cashier a big old smile as you left…and a tip!

    • I wouldn’t say I’m bitter – Carlos said I handled it surprisingly well. I’m at a place where I can take a deep breath, laugh and let it go – mostly. I don’t try to seek revenge, pero, when the venganza comes in the form of karma I will laugh without shame. LOL ;)

      And yes, now I love that cashier even more. Tax free Bubu Lubus and now this. He is the best. jiji

  3. Es que la cosa es así: Una cosa es ser gorda tripuda (como las hijas de Mari) y otra muy diferente ser rellenita. En mi querido pais, las chicas flacas (tipo spaghetti) son un total FAIL. A los chicos les gusta “la carnita” no los huesitos.Les gusta agarrar los “muffin tops”!
    Estar “rellenita” es símbolo de estar sana, bien alimentada, fuerte. Así que ser gorda a lo Botero, sigue de moda!

    • I love your ending, Tracy. Great story! Pero porque soy flaca, digo algo más ;) Todo el mundo tiene su propia belleza en su propia manera. No importa el tamaño. And there is someone for everyone :)

      • Tienes razón – gracias a Dios, somos muy diversos – y como dijiste, “there is someone for everyone” :)

  4. Ayy pero que chistosa esta historia!!! Your descriptions where dead on!!! Qué bárbara Traysi!
    She sounds a lot like my s·u·e·g·r·a· with all the chismes and the updates about who´s fat, who´s fatter y pura de esa. Jajaja!

    Good thing my “sweter” would never daaaare to hint about mis rollitos. EVER!

    Thank you for this great story! Y que bueno qu llegó la Suegra para tener muchas mas!

  5. Hilarious. Way to hold your tongue and do the right thing! I’m looking forward to more suegra stories to help us all learn to be better people.

    I usually lose a lot of weight when we go to Bolivia…but not this time.

    I also have this very confortable dress that I love. I’ve threatened to throw it in the trash because every time I wear it, someone asks if I’m expecting. I wore it in Bolivia when we were taking a hike up a mountain one day. While I was giving our info to the guard, my husband was having a little conversation with another man. He smiled at me when we had gotten on our way, “Do you know what the man asked me?”

    “No, what?” I innocently replied.

    “If you’re expecting!”

    The only reason I still haven’t thrown it away is in case I am one day really expecting, then I can say, “Yes. Yes. Yes.”

    • LOL – I have some clothes like that too — I love peasant blouses – the ones that are fitted over the breasts and then flow out? They look very “maternity” on a gordita. Ah well.

  6. Hi Tracy, this post is priceless and it just goes to show you how funny the world is. My mom is the same way when giving us “compliments” and usually I just laugh, except when I am PMS-ing and burst into tears for some silly comment.

    I’ve seen your tweet RT by the blog hermanas so I wanted to stop by your site. Love your story and look forward to reading your posts!

    Take care,

    • Hola Patty :) Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment. I’ve seen you around too but I guess this is us officially “meeting” so “mucho gusto” :) Our group of “hermanas” is growing and growing. It’s fantastic but also difficult to keep up with everyone!

      I look forward to visiting you back and getting to know you as well. Gracias :)

  7. LOL! Hysterical! I can visualize every aspect of your story very well. About 25 years ago or so, when my wife and I were living together prior to getting married, my mother came to visit us. At one point she looked at Chris (my then fiance) and said/asked in broken English: “you got fat, huh?”

    My sister and I just about died! I looked and Chris mentioned that maybe she had put on a little weight; a pound or two. My sister began to chastise my mom that she made Chris feel bad, etc. My mom shrugged and said “pues a mi parece que si engordo un poco.” Aaaaghhh!!!

    Fortunately, Chris knew it was not an insult. To this day we laugh about it.

    But suegra…I can hear that conversation! I love your description of the force feeding and the tiste pushing. Priceless!

    • So glad your wife didn’t get her feelings hurt. You can’t be too sensitive when you marry into a familia Latina, (and I’m naturally quite sensitive, so I’ve had to toughen up!)

  8. Ay Dios! Tracy, it does not sound nice even in spanish what she said! Good thing the cashier helped you out!! Well, welcome back suegra, always good for stories here, we kind of miss her in a weird way!

  9. jajajaj aye las suegras… la mia tambien … she makes remarks where u rnt to sure if there compliments or rude? confusing… lol bt i love the end of ur story jajajajaja its like karma just takes care of it all for u… i am also rofl about her gesture to show u how she lost weight my tia does that all the time lol

    • LOL, Suegras are the masters of making comments which can be taken any number of ways. That way when you get angry/hurt they can back out of it and be like, “You thought I meant what? No, no, no – You MISUNDERSTOOD me…” jajaja

  10. Very funny Tracy! Its crazy how different cultures can compliment and criticize and you are never sure how to take it. Sounds like my in-laws who are from the East Coast and VERY matter-of-fact. They don’t hold any punches. I’m use to it now, but it took a while ;) Love your story! I can picture your suegra. Jaja!

    • LOL – The thing is, what the cashier said is not really uncommon. Her friends and family have said things like that before, too. I do like him (the cashier) though ;)

    • LOL, MJ. Honestly, I’m not hot to get rid of her. We have our issues but she makes life more interesting and I learn a lot about my husband’s culture through her, (not to mention the extra Spanish practice the kids and I get.) … Besides, I’ve come to accept that she basically lives here – this isn’t just a visit. She goes back to her country for a few months each year, but she always comes back. I don’t think she plans to retire here forever, but she will be here quite awhile.

    • Roxana – You have NO IDEA how many cuentos… I actually have posts backed up in drafts – and that’s the stories I feel are appropriate to share. There are twice as many I won’t even type up. LOL.

    • A new amiga! Yay! … Thanks for your nice comment :) I can’t wait to visit your blog and get to know you a little better.

  11. Hi, Tracy,

    I haven’t been in the blogging world lately since we’ve moved house and I’m living in a hotel while our new house is being remodeled. There is so much to do!

    I’ve missed reading your blog and hope to be more fully back soon.

    However, I can’t resist saying I can identify with the forced feeding since I’m fighting the battle of the bulge.



  12. *LMAO* Great! Love the ending. OMG. What she said didn’t sound any better to me in Spanish. My mother-in-law puts her foot in her mouth all the time. I know it doesn’t come from mean-spiritedness, but sometimes I end up with my hands over my son’s ears to keep him from hearing some of her tonterías. Bet it was your suegra’s attempt at a compliment.

    Ay! o_O

    • Who knows with her – she doesn’t have any tact – no mental filter at all – she just says whatever pops into her head! :p

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