Tag Archives: refranes

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

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.

Cuando el perro es bravo hasta a los de casa muerde

Heard this on the radio today, and it got me thinking. Is it really true? That when we’re angry and despechados we’re also blinded about who we might be affecting and how exactly we could be hurting them?

No sé… like many other dichosit does kind of make sense.

Cuando el perro es bravo hasta a los de casa muerde
Stray Dogs by BenStoney

La Sangre Llama

August: Osage County. Probably not the best choice of movie to watch when you’ve got a lot on your mind. I’d remembered seeing this movie out a long time ago in the theaters. It was promoted as being in the theaters. I never actually saw it. Last night, though, we found it at RedBox and decided to rent it. You might have seen this film by now, so you know what I’m talking about. I won’t go into details for those of you who haven’t. Suffice it to say there were several points during the movie at which my mouth was open and my eyes glued to the television in complete silence, and without any movement at all.

Meryl Streep is one of my favorite actresses, but even from her, I wasn’t expecting so much drama. It was intense.

So, of course, afterwards I’m all like “damn, that was too much.” It got me thinking about family and what that single word means. Your brood. The unit you were born into. The people who know you better than anyone, and who can’t just turn their back to you and forget you. I don’t know of anyone who actually has. Because even though you can choose not to speak to one another, or see each other at all, the thing is those memories and ties you’ve built over a lifetime don’t go away.

They’re ingrained in us. As much a part of us as the blood running through our veins.

La sangre llama, we like to say.

La Sangre Llama
August: Osage County

I do believe that. I believe it because I live it. The smallest of details can trigger yearnings inside of me that are so deep I cannot fully understand them. I can see inklings of me and my family in others. Sometimes those encounters are joyous, like when a woman walking a certain way, wearing a certain sweater, grabbing her hair a certain way, reminds me of my sister doing the same. I smile and think about her. Sometimes those encounters can be sad, like when a stranger looks past the person cleaning around them, or pretends they’re not even there, I can’t help but to think of my parents who have spent so many years doing that same work. I see their faces, remember their sacrifice, and feel unbelievably grateful.

Sometimes those encounters can be bittersweet. Not happy. Not sad. Just somewhere in between. Like when a young child reminds me of my younger siblings, the innocence they once had, the way life has a manner of snatching that innocence away from all of us. Those encounters especially are the ones that make you stop and think. Because no matter how much we think we know, no matter how certain we are right now, we can’t ever be certain that we will feel the exact same way tomorrow.

There are blogs posts here, in this very blog, that I can go back and read and not recognize myself. It’s human nature, I tell myself. We all grow, change, evolve. Maybe we do. I’m not all that certain I can trust my own answers anymore. What I do know right now is that family DOES mean “nobody gets left behind.”

We’re not perfect. Every family has their own issues. Far be it for me to claim perfection in my own family. What I do know is that part of growing up is learning to accept the imperfections in those who we love, as well as in ourselves. Family, for me, means making mistakes, saying things at the wrong time, not having the right words to say at the right moments, sitting in complete silence at times, holding one another when there’s nothing else to be done, and most importantly feeling true forgiveness in one’s heart, even when the words “I forgive you” aren’t necessary.

Family, for me, is about feeling happy and at home no matter where we are.

Family, for me, is in the heart.

Tanto Peca El Que Mata La Vaca Como El Que Le Agarra La Pata!

juanofwords tanto peca el que mata la vaca como el que le agarra la pata dicho

No PETA we haven’t harmed any animals – especially not vacas – in the making of this post.  Tampoco do we have barbacoa or birria all of a sudden.  I wish.  Then I would really not be sitting here in front of the computi typing my little fingers away.  Instead I would be stuffing my face… one taco after the other  topped to the brim with pico de gallo, salsa verde and a little Valentina sauce on top of all of that.

You Mexicanos de a Madre (or if you just so happen to like hot sauce as much as I do) me entenderan!  Coincidentally my friend Letty listed me in her Twitter group for #MexicanosdeaMadre and ever since I have been walking around wearing that label proudly.

What?!  Wasn’t our cholo video proof enough for you?!

There isn’t any real point to this blog post.  I’m sorry.  We haven’t killed any cows.  I’ve not been holding the leg of any animal while they are being slaughtered.  I haven’t slaughtered anyone either lately, metaphorically speaking.  You know con mis palabras or miradas.  I am really committed to giving “nice” a fair chance this year.  I am.  I am.

That repetition just now was for myself.

¡Ando bien chiquiado oigan!  Haven’t been able to put my finger on why exactly just yet.  It’s not burn out.  I can say that.  It’s more like frustration, brain farts, coraje, irritation, desgana, hueva, flojera, cynicism… sigh, and so many other little things all together.

What do you call that exactly?  And more importantly how do you fix it?

Remedios caseros welcome!

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I’m Having A Walter Mercado Moment!

walter mercado moment juanofwords
My Walter Mercado moment.

Today I’m thinking dichos.  That’s just the way my mind works.  Este año como que desde el principio 2013 has decided to give me a run for my money.  As someone who has always loved to write, and about myself at that, it’s not often that I can sit in front of my computer and just not want to write anything personal at all.  I usually have a tendency to reveal too much in my writing.  That’s not the case in person when you meet me.  In person I am much more agarrado with what I reveal about myself and to who.  There’s something about looking someone in the eyes and talking about myself that makes it that much more intimate.  That much more intimidating.

Let’s just say it takes a minute, or several hundreds of them, for me to warm up to people.

So anyway, este año has already been good… and not so good in other ways.  It’s keeping me on my toes (in more ways than one) to say the least.  Whenever that happens I just start thinking about or researching dichos and refranes to give me inspiration, or just to make me laugh.

I’m sharing a couple of the ones that have put a smile on my face below:

  • Ahora es cuando chile verde, le haz de dar sabor al caldo
  • Buscas al burro y estás montado en él
  • El peor puerco siempre se lleva la mejor mazorca
  • El que es buen gallo, donde quiera canta
  • El que nace pa´ tamal del cielo le caen las hojas
  • Guajolote que se sale del corral, termina en mole
  • Mientras más conozco a la gente, más quiero a mi perro
  • Para pendejo no se estudia
  • ¡Atáscate ahora que hay lodo!
  • Esas pulgas no brincan en tu petate

Tell me your not smiling de oreja a oreja!

Now as Walter Mercado would say “paz, dinero y mucho, mucho amor.

¡Un abrazote les mando!

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Top 10 Dichos for New Year’s Eve

New Year's Eve in Times Square

If you believe in 2012 time will truly be of the essence, considering the end of the world and all according to the Mayan calendar, then let’s just pretend this Bucket List is sort of a how to guide for putting your best foot forward in the next and final 12 months of life on earth. Think of it as all of the best advice your momma gave you growing up on how one should lead a good life! And hey, if we do live to see another year, this advice might just enrich your life anyway.

  1. Haz Bien Sin Mirar A Quien – Do good for the sake of doing it, regardless of who might be on the receiving end of your good deeds. You don’t need to be thanked. You don’t need to be acknowledged. It will all be returned to you in the end. Read More About This Dicho Here.
  2. Amor Con Amor Se Paga – Love is paid with Love. There’s no other way around it. If you really want to experience true love you have to learn how to love. How to love others, how to accept love, and most importantly, how to love yourself. Read More About This Dicho Here.
  3. Mientras Hay Vida Hay Esperanza – So long as there is life there is hope. The last thing we should ever let go off is hope. There are going to be horribly painful moments in your life, when you probably won’t be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel, when life might not even seem like it’s worth living. It is these moments when our faith is truly tested. No matter what the odds, know that tomorrow is another day and that things will inevitably get better.  Read More About This Dicho Here.
  4.  No Hay Peor Ciego Que El Que No Quiere Ver – There is no one more blind than the one who chooses not to see. Or loosely translated could also be “you can’t help someone who doesn’t want to help themselves.” Regardless of how hard you attempt to deny your own truths, or those of others, life always has a way of bringing them to light and making you deal with them whether you want to or not. Remember that age old rule, honesty is the best policy. Read More About This Dicho Here.
  5. En Boca Cerrada No Entran Moscas – If you don’t want drama, keep your mouth shut. Nobody likes a chismoso, especially if your gossip is intended to offend and hurt others. Of course life without a little harmless gossip just wouldn’t be as much fun. The key is in keeping it respectful and not humiliating anyone. Read More About This Dicho Here.
  6. La Muerte Es Lo Único Seguro Que Tenemos En Esta Vida – The only sure thing in life is death. Sorry, but your momma was right. It doesn’t matter how much money you make, how much fame you might achieve, how luxurious of a life you might lead, at the end of it all you’re still headed towards the final truth we all share: death. Concentrate not on how much you can attain, but on how much you can affect the lives of others and how you will be remembered. Read More About This Dicho Here.
  7. Dios Aprieta, Pero No Ahoga – God squeezes, but doesn’t choke (sort of a literal translation). Or if you prefer a less religious interpretation, what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. When you’re at the brink of desperation, right about ready to just give up, always remember that life is precious and ALWAYS worth living because you never know what tomorrow could bring. Okay, so this dicho is very similar to number three, but it’s just such great advice! Read More About This Dicho Here.
  8. Quien Bien Te Quiere Te Hará Llorar – You are going to cry and that’s okay! Sometimes letting go and just letting it all out is the best thing you can do for yourself. I’m telling you from personal experience, the more you have been holding in, the more relieved you are going to feel when you just stop and allow yourself to feel what you need to feel. It might be a little embarrassing,sure. Then again what’s more important? Peace in your heart and soul or saving face? Besides, it’s not like you can’t go lock yourself up in the restroom and cry your eyes out. Read More About This Dicho Here.
  9. Más Vale Tarde Que Nunca – Better late than never. It truly never is too late to right a wrong, or make a change, especially if it means you will be happier. So often we are held back by our own insecurities and excuses, preferring to live with the consequences of our actions and decisions, that when we finally decide to accept that apology or offer our forgiveness we can’t help to wonder why we waited so long in the first place. Challenge yourself. Ask yourself what is holding you back. Read More About This Dicho Here.
  10. De Noche Todos Los Gatos Son Pardos – Certainly we’re different. In so many ways. There wouldn’t be enough space on my poor little server to go through all of our differences, and the truth is they don’t even really matter. We are much more similar than we are different. Remember that when someone approaches you for help, when they are too scared and weak to speak up for themselves, when they are hopeless and helpless, when you yourself are under any of these distresses, that on a human level we are all the same. Read More About This Dicho Here.

Want even more Dichos? Click Here.