Category Archives: Language

Cada día sabemos más y entendemos menos

Everyday we know more and understand less.

Cada día sabemos más y entendemos menos

Today we went fishing. It was the second time in my life that I have ever been fishing, but it was a lot more fun than I remembered. We got a late start to the day so we weren’t able to spend as much time as we wanted fishing. However, the time that we did get to spend together was pretty great.

We were in Lake Livingston in Texas, about an hour from Houston. And the lake was so peaceful and quiet. I can’t remember the last time we spent time just enjoying each other’s company. It was nice. I guess the older I’m getting the more I realize how valuable these moments are for our family. 

Growing up the moments we spent together doing things like this are the ones that really stick out the most. They remind me of the happier times, and the times we spent just experiencing life together, and that for me is what made my childhood such an adventure.

It’s been a funny year this year. Not just because it’s 2016 and as everyone on social media has been exclaiming, “it’s been a crazy year!” Also because it’s brought so many unexpected events, life situations, and personal growth. I can’t honestly say I am the same guy who started this blog almost 8 years ago now, but what I do know is that the changes that have happened in my life have been because they needed to happen.

I needed to understand my place in the universe. I needed to value my own abilities and skills. I needed to be confident in the possibilities. I needed to understand that life is about cycles. Sometimes you’re up. Sometimes you’re down. That doesn’t matter so much, what matters is that you can withstand and persevere no matter what.

And as silly as it might sound, I feel I have been preparing all of my life to understand this. Like every moment of joy and every moment of sadness, of struggle, of defeat, of happiness, has been a lesson. A lesson I’ve had to understand in hindsight. And it was only through these lessons that I was able to grow and expand my ability to understand and accept the how and why. It’s not always been easy, and I certainly have my doubts about it getting any easier, but at the same time I am encouraged to witness the strength and fortitude of others who have withstood so much more than I. 

My hope is that I too can make it to the other side without falling apart. That would be a tremendous achievement. 

Cada día sabemos más y entendemos menos

PreK12 Plaza introduces the eBook Plaza App – #ebookPlaza #sp

This is part of a sponsored collaboration ̊with the PreK12 Plaza. However, all opinions expressed are my own. #eBookPlaza #PlazaBilingue

When he was younger it was so much easier. I would tell him no and he would listen. We would say “tell us in Spanish,” and he would. Then eventually came the moment when he decided it was okay to communicate with us in both English and Spanish, and we agreed. It’s not that we didn’t want him to be bilingual. We do, and he is for the most part. What we didn’t want to do was force the relationship between him and our native language. I’ve actually written at length about the trials and tribulations of raising a bilingual kid here.

Growing up, my own parents never forced Spanish on us. We understood it because it was part of who we were, and because we used it in everyday life. The same could be said about our experience with the English language. We learned it, because we needed it to function in the society where we lived.

PreK12 Plaza introduces the eBook Plaza App - #ebookPlaza #sp

I kind of want his relationship to both languages to be just as organic. And hey, if he wants to learn any more languages too, even better!

What we didn’t have in the early years was a lot of technology to support our bilingual education efforts. Sure, there was Spanish-language programming online and on broadcast, but that’s not the same as something more interactive. Something more interactive is what I discovered in the new eBook Plaza App by PreK12 Plaza.

PreK12 Plaza introduces the eBook Plaza App - #ebookPlaza #sp

This new, fully bilingual, free app, offers parents, children, and even educators access to a ton of English- and Spanish-language educational content right in the palm of your hand.

PreK12 Plaza introduces the eBook Plaza App - #ebookPlaza #sp

I downloaded the app myself, and after playing with it a bit found myself pretty excited to share it with friends and family. Edgar seemed to enjoy the variety of content too.

PreK12 Plaza introduces the eBook Plaza App - #ebookPlaza #sp

Once you download and open the app, you can navigate content for age groups from PreK to 12th grade. It’s all neatly organized, and very easy to navigate. You’ll also find great resources for parents and teachers + you can personalize the app with a personal profile.

PreK12 Plaza introduces the eBook Plaza App - #ebookPlaza #sp

The eBook Plaza app is available for free at iTunes, Google Play and Amazon Marketplace. Additional information and downloads are available at: PreK12Plaza (English) or Plaza Bilingüe (Spanish). Download the app today and try it for yourself.

You can also follow PreK12 Plaza on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

TWITTER PARTY

Now if you want to hear more about the eBook Plaza App from others who have used it extensively, make sure you join us for the Bilingual eBook Plaza App Twitter Party on Tuesday, November 15, 2016 at 8:30 p.m. ET / 7:30 p.m. CT. Just use the hashtags #ebookplaza and #plazabilingue to participate!

PreK12 Plaza introduces the eBook Plaza App - #ebookPlaza #sp

Mexi-Vocabulario: Pellejo

Pellejo.

It’s one of those words I’ve heard all of my life. Although until one of our recent road trips, I had all but forgotten about it to be quite honest. We were driving to California, past New Mexico somewhere, when all of the sudden the deejay on the radio started saying pellejo over and over again.

Mexi-Vocabulario: Pellejo

It really took me back to all of those times I’d heard my parents, my uncles, my aunts, their friends, and so many others use this palabra in Spanish.

Back then all it would make me think about was the papada on a turkey. You know, the turkey neck. Because after all pellejo in it of itself is basically referencing one’s skin.

I told Anjelica about it and we had a little conversation about what the word actually means when it’s used in references like: me salve por el puro pellejo; sali, pero con el puro pellejo.

We both agreed on the meaning in the end. Basically that you avoided something “by the seam of your pants” or “just barely.” The idea being that you just avoided or completed something, but pretty much just by a stroke of good luck or something.

Now if you’re looking for a more technical definition, here’s some of what WordReference has to offer:

– Piel quitada del cuerpo del animal.
– Piel de los animales.
– Toda la lana que se esquila de un animal.

UrbanDictionay does not yet have a definition in their database for this word.

Should I go in an add one?

Mexi-Vocabulario: Pellejo

No soy monedita de oro

Today I realized que mañana soy cumpleañero one more time. Esta vez I’m getting closer to that age where people start telling you things like “you’re no spring chicken anymore” or “you’re over the hill.” The truth is, depending on who you might ask, that statement may very well be true. Age, as you know, is very subjective.

The truth of the matter, though, is that with age also comes a little less… let’s see how would one say this… pena, verguenza, concern about what others might think. I guess in a way for me, age has slowly been making me more sinverguenza.

I am okay with who I am. I am okay with my imperfections. I’m mostly okay with my choices. And I am also okay with dealing with the inevitable consequences of whatever choices I’ve made. This past year has been especially critical in forcing me to be okay with all of the above, even when at times I didn’t feel 100% ready. It’s kind of been like a crazy boot camp in my life, this year. Things have happened that honestly weren’t expected. Personal and professional relationships in my life have been tested. My own character has been put through the grinder and forced to answer some very tough moral and ethical questions. I’ve had to choose between being the bigger person or being the bigger a$$h###e.

I’ll admit, at times it was the latter, and it felt pretty damn good too. But when it came to the decisions that really mattered, the choices that really weighed on me and caused me to lose many nights of sleep, the ones I would have to live with, I want to believe I took the more adult approach of not taking things so personally.

And the reality is they were never really personal at all.

People make mistakes. We’re all human and sometimes no matter how hard we try, things are just not going to work out the way we want them to. The choice we do have, I believe, is how we react to every situation. That’s what is more telling of who we really are. As Cyndi Lauper might say, what helps us see each others true colors. Oh boy, now I’m really starting to age myself.

So here’s the thing. I am turning one more year older. I don’t really have anything very profound to say about this particular “milestone” in my life. It’s here. It doesn’t feel like such a big deal. Although I did feel the need to write this blog post for some reason. I guess that says something about me.

Maybe I thought something insightful would come to me. As you can tell, nothing has. The only thing that keeps coming to mind is that one song by Juan Gabriel… “no soy monedita de oro, pa’ caerle bien a todos… así nací y así soy, si no me quieren, ni modo.”

Yup, pretty much.

I don’t want to double this milestone and realize that hey, you know what, I should have just gone for the things that I really wanted in life.

I think I’m just going to take them.

La vida cambia. La vida da mil vueltas.

La vida cambia. La vida da mil vueltas.

I remember this was one of the more common phrases I grew up hearing most of my life. Usually it was something adults would say to one another in passing. I’ve always been real metiche so from what I could gather it always seemed like it was being used as a form of consolation. Like “there, there, everything is going to be okay.”

What the specific situations were that required consolation I don’t recall. Even if I did I don’t think it was in me at that young age to truly understand what the real issues might have been. But again, one of my favorite pastimes as a kid was hanging around the adults listening to what they were talking about and trying my best to decipher what exactly they meant.

I mean ask my eldest sister and she will tell you. At one point in her early dating years she became so annoyed with my nosy and pestering behavior as a huerco that she took the banana she had brought with her from our apartment to the park where she was meeting her then boyfriend (along with all of kids as her chaperones) that she peeled it and plastered it atop my head and then along my face to express her frustration. Needless to say after that happened I was pretty quiet the rest of the walk home.

Pero, unfortunately for her, that only dissuaded me from my annoying ways for the moment.

A few hours later it was back to metiche business as usual.

But going back to that expression. La vida cambia, la vida da mil vueltas, is something that only started to make sense to me later on in life. Como quien dice, hasta que me calló el veinte.

And I’m pretty sure that’s probably quite normal. The older we get the more we learn. The harder the falls the more memorable the lesson. The more experience of our own we gain the more we understand the decisions we didn’t quite understand before. And hence, there you go, I guess that’s the cycle of life really. Until you live it for yourself sometimes you just don’t get it.

The other thing that’s true is that you just really never know where life will take you tomorrow.

That’s the conversation I was having over the phone with my jefita this weekend. She said something that really stuck with me then, that I think might also apply to this line of thinking about life turning and changing constantly.

Uno hace planes y la vida pasa.

Here’s a very loose translation.

We make plans and then life happens.

A question about Mexican accents?

I don’t think I’ve mentioned before how obsessed I am with NPR’s podcast Latino USA. It’s produced by The Futuro Media Group, which counts on the leadership of executive producer and award-wining news anchor, Maria Hinojosa. Seriously, I am super obsessed! On the way home from Miami I must have listened to at least half of all of their shows on iTunes.

Everyone in the car was pretty hooked by the time we made it to Houston, jajaja! You’re welcome Latino USA! No, pero en serio, if you haven’t heard the show yet, give them a listen.

This week, as I was listening to one of the show’s latest episodes, Texas’ Poet Laureate Carmen Tafolla uttered the following quote during her interview and stopped me dead in my tracks. It was such a great question, mainly because it’s something we don’t generally discuss out in the open, let alone on a national podcast on NPR! What Tafolla asked was quite simple actually:

How come a French accent is considered cool, and a British accent is considered cool, and a Mexican accent is considered dumb?

The rest of the interview is just as powerful and provocative. If I did this correctly, you should be able to listen to the entire interview below:

But I definitely think it’s a question we should think about individually and really internalize. Why is it that Mexicans as a community continue to be perceived as less than other communities? And how can we change these misconceptions and stereotypes?

A question about Mexican accents?

Not knowing where you’re standing

An old friend used to use this expression a lot. No saber donde estás parado. As in not knowing where one is standing. That would be the literal translation, but in actuality it was more metaphoric than anything else.

You see, this phrase would usually come up when someone just didn’t get it or didn’t seem to want to understand what was being explained to them. Then the conversation excluding that person would turn to expressing the frustration we all felt that our perspective didn’t seem to be of interest, or even valid in some instances.

Inevitably someone would say: lo que pasa es que ni siquiera sabe donde está parado.

In other words, they didn’t have a clue.

That phrase has come to mind so many times in the years since that it’s become sort of one of those givens in human interaction. Because the reality is we’re all bound not to “get it” at one point or another.

And hey, you know what, that’s okay.

You live and you learn.

Not knowing where you're standing

10 Piropos to Conquer Your Love Interest

If you’re not familiar with piropos, well let’s just say you’ve been missing out. Now yes, we do realize a great many of you may not be particularly fond of this form of “flattery” some use to compliment the person in whom they are interested.  And that’s precisely what piropos are supposed to be… compliments. Albeit a great many of them too risqué or even inappropriate, according to some. For our round up this Valentine’s Day we opted to stay more on the PG side of the these sometimes-romantic, sometimes-offensive compliments.

So here we go. These are a few of the piropos we found online that we thought were tiernos to some degree.

Oh and bonus… there’s also a video at the end of this post with Juan attempting to use some of the piropos he was more familiar with.

Enjoy, and whatever your plans this Valentine’s Day, make sure you remind yourself how awesome you are!!

– Your Valentines, Los Metiches

10 Piropos to Conquer Your Love Interest 10 Piropos to Conquer Your Love Interest 10 Piropos to Conquer Your Love Interest 10 Piropos to Conquer Your Love Interest 10 Piropos to Conquer Your Love Interest 10 Piropos to Conquer Your Love Interest 10 Piropos to Conquer Your Love Interest 10 Piropos to Conquer Your Love Interest 10 Piropos to Conquer Your Love Interest 10 Piropos to Conquer Your Love Interest