Ancestry DNA: Part 3

Image source: Flickr user charamelody

Image source: Flickr user charamelody

In Part 1 and Part 2, I took you through the process and results of my own DNA test with Ancestry.com – Now it’s Carlos’s turn!

Around this time last year I asked Carlos if I could order the DNA test for my birthday present. Ever since then Carlos has been wanting to do his own DNA test, but has always balked at spending the money on it. I decided that since my birthday is coming up again, this year my present will be Carlos’s test. You may wonder how something for Carlos is a birthday gift for me, but I’m just as curious about his results as he is, and I can think of few things I want that would be this much fun. So we ordered the test today. Below is my interview with Carlos to see how he’s feeling and his thoughts on the topic. Because I already covered the “how to” of the DNA test in Part 1 when I did mine, we’ll skip discussing the technical aspect of Carlos’s test. Part 4 will be posted when we receive his results!

Tracy: How are you feeling about the DNA test? Nervous? Anxious? Excited?

Carlos: I’m not really nervous, more curious than anything else.

Tracy: What do you think you’ll find out? Any predictions?

Carlos: No, I’m not sure. No idea. Maybe that I’m mostly indigenous?

Tracy: Why do you say that? Did anyone in your family speak an indigenous language or anything?

Carlos: I don’t know, because of my skin color, I guess. No one in my family spoke Náhuat that I know of, I don’t know if older generations spoke it.

Tracy: What do you already know, or think you know, about your roots? What family stories, recipes, or traditions did you have growing up that offer clues to your ancestry?

Carlos: I don’t have any clues. My family didn’t pass down traditions the way people do here [in the United States]… I mean, my family’s traditions were like everyone’s traditions – just Salvadoran traditions, Salvadoran culture.

Tracy: Were both sides of your family Catholic?

Carlos: Yes, as far as I know.

Tracy: Who are the oldest relatives you remember, and what do you remember about them?

Carlos: My mom says some of her father’s side of the family was light-skinned, but for my dad I don’t really know anything. My dad looked more Japanese than anything, and his mother looked Asian too.

Tracy: Your mother’s side of the family, as far back as you know, was from Chalatenango and your father’s side was from Ilobasco, right?

Carlos: Right, as far as I know. I don’t know any family history farther than that.

Tracy: Wait, you told me a story once about one of your family members in Europe, didn’t you? Who was that? Was she born in Europe?

Carlos: Oh, that was one of my [maternal] grandfather’s grandmother’s sisters…I think. She was born in El Salvador but she learned French and went to be a nanny in France. During World War II they had to flee and the family got separated. She took the child up to the mountains and kept him safe. When the family was reunited they were so thankful that they took care of her the rest of her life.

Tracy: She stayed in France and died there?

Carlos: No, she came back to El Salvador but they sent her money the rest of her life… Something like that. I’m never sure about these stories.

Tracy: Anyway, you said she was born in El Salvador, so that wouldn’t make you French.

Carlos: No.

Tracy: What if you get a really unexpected result? Do you think you’ll want to explore that culture and your roots a bit more?

Carlos: Yes, definitely.

Tracy: When I got my results I shared them with my sisters so they would know more about their heritage, but you don’t have any full-blooded brothers or sisters; all your siblings are half-siblings. Do you think you’ll share your results with any of them even though they won’t know what parts of your ancestry results are also theirs?

Carlos: No, it’s more for me to know, and for our boys to know the other half of their heritage.

Ask Latinaish: How Can I Learn Spanish?

Image source: Kasaa

Image source: Kasaa

Over the years I’ve received hundreds of emails from people who have stumbled upon Latinaish.com and, recognizing a kindred spirit, reached out to me. Sometimes they want a recipe for sopa de mondongo, or to know the meaning of a word in Salvadoran slang, and sometimes they just want to say thank you for something they found useful on my blog. Sometimes the words I receive make my day, and sometimes they keep me up at night. Sometimes the person needs mother-in-law advice, or bicultural relationship advice, sometimes the person emailing tells me they know no one else who understands their situation and they hope I can help. I’m always humbled that complete strangers trust me with their very deepest hurts. I always respond from my corazón and give the very best guidance that I can. Sometimes the person will correspond with me for awhile and I see the situation resolved, but most of the time I never find out what ended up happening.

As much as I love receiving these emails, I realize that for each one I receive there are many more people out there who may have the same question, or a similar situation, and could be helped by my reply, so I’m going to start publishing some of my responses as “Ask Latinaish” posts. I will of course always keep the identity of the person asking the question and the details of their situation completely anonymous.

The first question I’ll be answering here is:

How can I learn Spanish?

Answer:

I most often get this question from gringas like myself who have married into the culture and want to raise bilingual children. Either she has had limited experience in the language, a few classes in high school, or has just learned a thing here and there after meeting her native Spanish speaker partner.

The human tendency is to want immediate gratification – We’re surrounded by it: Lose 10 pounds in 1 week! Organize your junk drawer in 5 minutes!

Language learning isn’t one of those things you can magically speak fluently in a short amount of time – Even babies start out with the basics and build their way up. That being said, there are ways to become proficient in a language more quickly, and the very best way is through immersion.

For the benefit of yourself and your child, encourage/beg/make deals with your native speaker partner to speak to you in their native language. It is one of the most valuable gifts they have to give. Encourage your partner to speak Spanish to your child and tell him all the benefits it will bring to your son or daughter. A few of the benefits:

• Your child will be more in touch with his heritage, and better able to visit your partner’s native country to explore his roots.

• He will be able to communicate with his grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. Family is so important and if he can’t speak Spanish, chances are as he gets older, he will drift away from relatives he can’t easily keep in touch with.

• Being bilingual, particularly English/Spanish bilingual, means that his job opportunities increase as an adult, plus he is likely to make more money than monolingual employees!

• Research has shown that children who are raised bilingual perform better academically in seemingly unrelated subjects like math, and music, plus they’re better at multi-tasking.

• Research has shown that bilinguals have a lower incidence of Alzheimer’s later in life.

Tell your partner all of this, do a quick Google search and find the articles to back it up if he doesn’t believe you. Some people just need to know concrete ways their child will benefit before they jump on the bandwagon.

As for learning Spanish yourself, aside from downloading Duolingo to your phone and playing it each day, (which I recommend!) – immerse yourself in the language as much as possible: the music you listen to, the TV you watch, the books you read, the friends you make… Surround yourself with native speakers as much as possible and SPEAK. Even if you feel awkward, make a million mistakes or people laugh at you. Speaking Spanish, more than anything else, will help your brain “click.” The more you speak, the more comfortable you become and the more vocabulary you learn, even if you have to stop mid-sentence and ask what something is called, or carry a little English/Spanish dictionary with you.

I hope this helps! Suerte! (Good luck!)

Playlist: Paz

During the month of December, blogueras Romina of Mamá XXI and Laura of Mamá Especial Cuenta Conmigo are posting messages of peace on their blogs and social media channels as part of the #MamisPorLaPAZ initiative they created.

You can read more about it here but I decided to contribute at least one post to the cause by creating this playlist for peace.

What song or video that fits the theme of “paz” would you add to this list? Share in comments! (And feel free to join initiative on your own blogs and social media channels.)

Juanes – Odio Por Amor

Natalia LaFourcade – Un Derecho de Nacimiento

UNFPA El Salvador – Yo Decido Vivir en Paz

Espinoza Paz – Si Amas a Dios

Señor Tenga – Mensaje de Paz

Playing for Change – United

Julieta Venegas – Un Poco De Paz

Juanes – Paz, Paz, Paz

A few videos (not songs) worth watching:

Naciones Unidas El Salvador – También soy persona

Unsung Hero – TVC Thai Life Insurance

The Most Astounding Fact – Neil deGrasse Tyson

Conversations at Casa López – Part 8

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: Police officers in England don’t use firearms and you never hear about mass murders there, do you?

Carlos: What about Jack the Stripper?

Tracy: [picks up a ghost-shaped Halloween cookie] Booooooooo!

Carlos: [picks up a pumpkin-shaped cookie] Booooooo!

Tracy: Um, no.

Tracy: He wants K.D.’s for his birthday.

Carlos: What?

Tracy: K.D.’s, it’s a type of fancy Nike shoe named after the basketball player Kevin Durant.

Carlos: Kevin Duran? Is he Latino?

Carlos: I have sarpullido.

Tracy: What’s that?

Carlos: That’s how you call rash in El Salvador – sarpullido.

Tracy: Oh, that’s so cute. Sapollido because when a person is rashy they get bumpy like a sapo!

“You’re lucky I’m phone-lingual.”

– My 17 year old son [who owns an iPhone] after I asked him to figure out something on my Android

Spanish “Netspeak”

woman texting by Jose Antonio Sánchez

Image source: Jose Antonio Sánchez

Learning a second language in the days before the internet was probably more straightforward. You learned how to speak, understand, read, and write it. Aside from the standard vocabulary, you may also have learned some slang. However in the age of chat, text, and social media you must also learn the “netspeak” or “chat language” of your second language.

After I recently looked up a word in Spanish netspeak which I couldn’t figure out, I decided to pass on some of the basics I’ve learned as a resource to those who might need it. Although I don’t recommend using it excessively yourself as it can form bad habits and encourage incorrect spelling (for example, substituting “k” for “q” in words like “quiero”), it’s good to know it if you need to decipher text messages, tweets, etc.

x = por
pq, xq = porque, por que
q, ke, k = que
kien = quien
cmo = cómo
xf = por favor
kiero = quiero
tqm = te quiero mucho
d = de
s = es
l = el
stas = estás, estas
bn = bien
toy = estoy
grax, gx = gracias
tmbn, tb = también
no c = no sé
qtl, ktl = que tal
qtpsa, ktpsa = que te pasa
= = igual
+ = mas, más
– = menos
aki = aquí
ak = acá
tranki = tranquilo
muak = besos

Want to learn more?

Lenguaje Chat on Wikipedia
20 Words and Phrases to Get Started Texting in Spanish – on Matador Network

Día de Los Muertos – book giveaway!

Dia de los Muertos book

It’s Día de Los Muertos, the sun’s coming round,
as niños prepare in each pueblo and town.
For today we will honor our dearly departed
with celebraciones – it’s time to get started!

So begins the fun, rhyming picture book, DIA DE LOS MUERTOS by Roseanne Greenfield Thong illustrated by Carles Ballesteros. I loved everything about this book, from the way it’s written in Spanglish which helps teach vocabulary related to the holiday, (a glossary is included) – to the colorful illustrations.

I think you guys will love this book too, so I’m excited to be able to offer one for giveaway. See details to enter below!

—GIVEAWAY CLOSED—

Giveaway Details

Prize description: One lucky winner will receive a copy of the book DIA DE LOS MUERTOS by Roseanne Greenfield Thong illustrated by Carles Ballesteros.

How to enter: Just leave a comment below telling me what you’re favorite part of Día de los Muertos is! (Please read official rules below before entering.)

Official Rules: No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years of age or older to enter. You must be able to provide a U.S. address for prize shipment. Your name and address will only be shared with the person responsible for prize fulfillment for that purpose. Please no P.O. Boxes. One entry per household. Make sure that you enter a valid email address in the email address field so you can be contacted if you win. Winner will be selected at random. Winner has 24 hours to respond. If winner does not respond within 24 hours, a new winner will be selected at random. Giveaway entries are being accepted between October 28, 2015 through November 2nd, 2015. Entries received after November 2nd, 2015 at 11:59 pm EST, will not be considered. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. If you win, by accepting the prize, you are agreeing that Latinaish.com assumes no liability for damages of any kind. By entering your name below you are agreeing to these Official Rules. Void where prohibited by law.

Buena suerte / Good luck!

Pan de Muerto

pan de muerto

Día de los Muertos is only days away. Where did the month of October go? I haven’t done half of the things I love to do this time of year, but I have gotten my altar set up. I just have a few more things I need to add to the ofrenda to make it complete. Have you started setting up yours? Do you usually include a pan de muerto? I’ve actually never made pan de muerto but NESTLÉ® contacted me with this recipe this week so I think I might give it a go. Here it is if you decide to make one too!

La Lechera Day of the Dead Bread (Pan de Muerto)

Ingredients:

FOR THE BREAD

4 1/2 to 5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus additional, divided
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon anise seeds
1 teaspoon salt
2 packets (1/4 oz. each) rapid-rising dry yeast
2/3 cup (5 fl. oz. can) NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Milk
1/3 cup water
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cut into pieces
4 large eggs, slightly beaten

FOR THE GLAZE

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup orange juice
Granulated or coarse ground sugar

Directions for bread:

1. COMBINE 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 cup sugar, anise seeds, salt and yeast in large mixer bowl.

2. HEAT evaporated milk, water and butter over low heat in medium saucepan until mixture reaches 115 to 120 F. and butter is melted. (If too hot, let it cool a bit before adding to dry ingredients.)

3. MAKE a well in the center of the flour mixture; pour in milk mixture. Beat with electric mixer on medium speed until blended.

4. ADD eggs and 1 1/2 cups flour; mix well. Gradually add remaining 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 cups flour (1/2 cup at a time) mixing well after each addition until dough is smooth but not sticky (You may not need all the flour).

5. PLACE dough on lightly floured surface; knead 10 to 15 minutes or until dough is moderately stiff, smooth and elastic. Additional flour may be needed to help prevent sticking.

6. PLACE dough in large greased bowl; turn over. Cover with greased plastic wrap. Let rise at room temperature for 60 to 75 minutes or until doubled in size.

7. PUNCH dough down.

8. CUT dough into 4 equal portions to make 3 “loaves” and 1 for decorations.

9. SHAPE 3 of the portions into round loaves on lightly floured surface, kneading as necessary. Place on greased baking sheet(s). Keep all dough portions covered with greased plastic wrap to prevent drying of dough.

10. SHAPE remaining dough portion into 3 small balls, tears, braids and/or bones.

11. TO DECORATE, place 1 small ball on top of round loaf, surrounding each ball with the remaining decorations. To adhere shapes to dough, gently score decorations, as well as areas on each loaf that decorations will be attached to. Adhere with dabs of water.

12. LOOSELY COVER with greased plastic wrap. Allow to rise at room temperature for another 30 minutes or until nearly doubled.

13. PREHEAT oven to 350 F. BAKE loaves for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare glaze.

Directions for glaze:

1. COMBINE 1/2 cup sugar and orange juice in small saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until syrup is formed, about 5 minutes. (Mixture may bubble up; remove from heat if it does, stir and then return to heat.) Remove from heat.

Final touches:

1. BRUSH loaves with syrup.

2. SPRINKLE with sugar; return to oven. Continue baking for an additional 5 to 10 minutes or until golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped.

3. TIP: Sprinkle colored sugar on loaves.

This recipe has been published here with permission from NESTLÉ®. This is not a sponsored post. No compensation was received for sharing this recipe. Recipe and photo property of NESTLÉ®.