Thursday, May 5, 2011

Spanglish is My Second Language

Feliz Cinco de Mayo, todo el mundo! That means "Happy Cinco de Mayo, entire world!" in Spanish. Or something. My Spanish is a little rustido. I celebrated by having an authentic Mexican meal of steak with broccoli. Fine, it's not Mexican in the least. The wine that Geo got, though, is pretty authentic, I think. It's called Los Vascos, which sounds pretty Spanish to me. It means "The Bosques". And bosque is the name for areas of gallery forest found along the riparian flood plains of stream and river banks in the southwestern United States. Thanks, Wikipedia!

I'm also not quite sure what Cinco de Mayo is, per se. Something about Mexico and France, apparently. I am going to go ahead and assume, though, that the original holiday was marked by women painting their nails and watching TV. So, I'm going all out to honor the original intent of the day.

You know what's sad? I spent FIVE years in middle and high school learning Spanish. Five years conjugating verbs, giving myself Spanish names (Yolanda, Esperanza, Ana, Burrita), five years asking where the library is and giving someone instructions for how to prepare a proper hamburguesa. I passed the AP test in high school with flying colors, and didn't need to take any more Spanish classes. But now I know almost no espanol. I know the dumb stuff - cerveza, biblioteca, camarero, izquierda. Crap like that. But the fact that I used to be able to carry on FULL conversations in Spanish boggles my mind now. I'm totally useless in Mexico now.

But because I had the most hard-core Spanish teacher straight from Cuba or something, who wore gym shorts over his jeans, I will ALWAYS remember these helpful phrases/words: "Muertos agradecidos" (the Grateful Dead). "Cocaina" (cocaine). "Embarazada" (pregnant - NOT "embarassed". This mix-up WILL prove embarrassing if used improperly). "Mierda! Policia!" ($hit! The police!). And of course "Yo no estoy listo para tomar la examen." (I'm not ready to take the test yet). Guys, you just can't put a price on a strong education.

So I've been to Mexico four times - cuatros veces. And every time I go, I know fewer and fewer Spanish words. The last time I was there, I didn't even ATTEMPT to ask the concierge if we could get a taxi for 6 people at 7 p.m. And that's EASY! Because after my immediate major mistake of trying to ask the front desk guy for another key to my room (I asked for "una otra puerta", which means "another door"), I gave up altogether. Soy una idiota.

I guess it's like math. I'm sure I must have learned basic multiplication and division at one point, but since I've never used applied it in real life, the information just got replaced with facts about Ke$ha. Just like Spanish, apparently. If you don't use it, you lose it. Adios, muchachos.

Anyway, in honor of Cinco de Mayo, I've gone through the trouble of google translating the following phrase into Spanish. ¡Tenga un gran fin de semana, todos! ¡Y no se olvida de dar su mamá es un exceso abrazo gigante el domingo! ¡Veré ya entonces! (From what I can guess, it means "Have a great weekend, everyone! And always remember to put your mom in an excessive big Sunday! I already saw then!") I couldn't have said it better myself. Feliz Cinco de Mayo, everyone!

Hasta la vista!


Grandmaman said...

All I remember is "a TILDE" and "como esta usted"

Pharon Square said...

The tilde! I had forgotten about that! I refer to it these days as "the squiggly line". Which is, I'm pretty sure, what Spanish people sometimes call it too.

Don't you speak French too though? I wish I could speak French...but it sounds much harder considering lots of Spanish words are just English words with "o" at the end. Like "grupo" or "telefono". Easy peezy!