Thursday, May 7, 2009

Eat your fruits & veggies!

Casado, con una hija y una nieta, el secreto de su casi eterna juventud está en las cinco raciones “o más” de fruta que come al día. “Todo empezó por el hambre que pasamos en la Guerra Civil y la posguerra”, recuerda: “De chavales, recorríamos la huerta y cogíamos lo que podíamos. La fruta nos salvó, y mira a mí qué bien me sienta”.
--José Blasco Llopis

A few weeks ago I read this story about an 80-year-old Spanish man who skis every single day. Part of his secret to longevity? Fruit! The quote above says:

Married, with a daughter and one granddaughter, the secret to his almost eternal youth is in the five servings "or more" of fruit which he eats daily.
"Everything started with the hunger that passed us in the Civil War and in the post-war." he remembers: "Since childhood, we would go through the orchards and take what we could. The fruit saved us, and look how good I feel."

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Joke of the day!

I found this online somewhere, I take no credit! Enjoy! ...I'm going to try to stop watching Sex & the City and study for my linguistics final...

El argentino está visitando a su amigo mexicano en Los Angeles. El argentino no sabe inglés y le pide a su amigo mexicano que le enseñe como pedir comida.
--Fácil --le dice el mexicano--. ¿Te gusta el bistec con huevos?
--Claro --le dice el argentino.
--Eso lo puedes decir así: "y usté quien es", diciéndolo bien rápido. Suena como "steik an egs", que quiere decir "bistec con huevos".
--Ah, eso es fácil…
Al otro día el argentino va solo al restaurant y el mesero le pregunta:
--May I help you?
El argentino le pregunta:
--¿Y vos quién sós?


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Spanish word of the day


The way my Mexican coworkers say "sí." For the first few weeks, I kept trying to figure out who was named Simon. Ha.

(David-does anyone say this in Barcelona?)

Monday, April 27, 2009

Encuentro by José Agustín Goytisolo

José Agustín Goytisolo was born in Barcelona and was a child during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). His poetry captivates me because it is incredibly conversational. An English-language equivalent might be a poet like Billy Collins.
Anyway, I've been reading through his book "Palabras para Julia" (1979). Here is a poem I'm currently falling in love with:

Alegría yo te
he buscado y buscado
por todos los lugares
por todos los caminos
que andaba y desandaba,
alguna vez oí tus pasos en el bosque
otra vez escuché
tu risa pero nunca
te tuve entre los brazos
para poder hablarte
para decirte que
mi vida iba cayendo
como una gota de agua
que hacía frío y
que te he esperado siempre
roto y amante como
me ves como me tienes
contra tu pecho amiga.

The beauty of this poem is in its pacing. I read it fast, like a desperate prayer. I love the absence of punctuation and how he chose to put pauses in the poem with each new line.

Here is a rough translation:

Happiness, I have
looked and looked for you
in all of the places
in all of the streets
that I walked and unwalked
once I heard your steps in the forest
another time I listened
to your laugh but never
have I had you in my arms
to be able to speak to you
to tell you that
my life has gone falling
like a drop of water
that was cold and
that I have waited for you forever
broken and lover like
you see me as you have me
against your chest friend.

I read this as if it were one long run-on sentence. I think the ending is purposefully more ambiguous because the emotion is stronger and the reader/writer is getting closer and closer to a sob.

Hace tiempo!

Hello again.

Yesterday Joel told me this joke (probably need to read it aloud):

¿Que dice un jaguar a otro jaguar?
Jaguar you?
(How are you?)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


My friend David posted this great short film on his blog. The intro is in Spanish but the film is in English w/ Spanish subtitles.

I've never enjoyed zombies before!

(bit of grossness/violence & language, but really nothing in comparison to what I would expect from film w/ zombies)

Ice cream plans fail, Cassidy learns to chill

Jesús and I were supposed to get ice cream on Monday, but things didn't work out. This didn't phase my easy-going (therefore, clearly non-estadounidense) friend.

"Sabes que dice el camello?" (Do you know what the camel says?)

"Aún nos queda mucho desierto para recorrer." (We still have plenty of desert left to walk over.)

Jesús' astute recognition that Sparky's isn't going anywhere.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Spanish word of the day

...another tongue twister! Thanks to Rosario & Jessi @ El Rancho:

Pepe pecas
Pica papas
con un pico
Pepe Peca
pica papas.

(I'm not quite sure what this means--any ideas David?)

Monday, March 2, 2009

Spanish word of the day

...except today it is a joke:

Si un gato muere. Say it five times fast, but not in the presence of any modest Spanish-speakers. Should sound like you are insulting someone's mom.

Sunday, March 1, 2009


So this weekend has been the epic T/F Film Festival. I wore myself out on the first day! My lovely friend Amanda is in town from L.A.-yea! I've been catching up with her, volunteering, trying to stay up late enough to party & watching some great documentaries.

The highlights:
-Dancing at the @ction party on Friday night. The DJ played D.A.N.C.E. and Sarah and I became "those girls" who shrieked at the beginning of the song.
-Old friends:

-No Impact Man, a documentary about a family that decided to make no impact on the environment for one year. They lived in an apartment in NYC, watched reality TV and used electricity. By the end of the year, they were super excited to turn the power back on, but found they wanted to continue eating local food & riding their bikes everywhere. I decided that dancing on my laundry in the tub looks like much more fun than using a machine!

I'm off to see another movie & volunteer @ the Forrest Theatre!

Tongue twister!

Tres triste tigres tragaban trigo en un trigal! Say that 5 times fast.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Western Spaghetti

A little perspective...

My aunt Sandra sent me this Conan clip about the "good old days." Maybe we are the "crappiest generation," but I do think we could stand to be a little more amazed.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Story Corps

If you like NPR-style journalism, this site will make you happy. Oral history is so interesting! I feel lucky to live in an age where this kind of news-gathering is possible.

Toy Joy!

Austin, Tx is lovely. My dear friend Hannah lives there and I went down w/ some friends this weekend. It is a long drive, but I went with two of the silliest boys I know. They consumed a dangerous amount of B12 in energy drinks on the way down. It kept them hyper the whole weekend (and probably kept their pee orange).

One place Hannah took us to: Toy Joy. Why does Columbia not have a toy store like this? One thing I really wanted to buy:

That's right. There is an extra set of horns (rainbow & sparkly) for magical duels.

I did end up buying a book for my dad. It tells the life of Moses in Lego. This man must have the largest & most organized collection of Legos in the world.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


In the last few weeks I have:
-contemplated moving out & decided to live on my own
-accidentally rediscovered J.D. Salinger (made El Rancho a bit more interesting today)
-seriously contemplated going for a jog.
-read myself to sleep (a spanish dictionary...)
-won the high score on Photo Hunt w/ a crew of old friends
-signed up to volunteer for T/F!
-gotten up every morning at an unreasonable hour


Monday, February 2, 2009

Spanish word of the day

the high-pitched soft voice, slower speech pattern and exaggerated expressions that a mother (or anyone) uses to talk to her baby.

Not to be confused with madrileño: a person from Madrid.

If you are like me...

you might be eagerly anticipating the Oprah special on the octuplets from California. I'm still surprised that Nadya Suleman had so many babies inside her that the doctors missed one.

I think she's been pretty smart to keep quiet. She's hyping herself up with all the mystery. She probably will get that TV show she wants. I'm kind of hoping she doesn't sell her family out like that. Check out this blog about the first set of (naturally conceived) identical quintuplets to survive.

The Dionne sisters were taken (for their "safety") by the Canadian government. The Canadian gov't then set up a nursery for the sisters. They called it Quintland and opened it up to the public. The attraction brought in millions of dollars and the girls weren't reunited with their family until they were nine years old.

The third video down is especially interesting.

Does this story deserve to be on the front page?

Really? Is it even a story? It is also still on the front page of the New York Times website.

I love my niche publications, and I expect to see this story as a headline on But I feel like these newspapers are losing a bit of credibility by catering to the celebrity tabloid craze.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Today I had the biggest craving for

a strawberry white chocolate magnum ice cream bar. I wish I was in Retiro!

Spanish word(s) of the day



to face

All from "cara" which is face.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Gran Torino

This is the best movie I've seen in a long time. It is about a racist war vet who learns to make nice with his Hmong neighbors. It is beautifully written, has the most amazing cinematography and a wonderful message. I think it shows that globalization is changing our world, but that one can find family in anyone. The people you love don't have to look like you.

Trailer in German, Italian, Spanish & English:


My favorite Xmas present:

This book , edited by Peter K. Austin.

My interest in language was sparked by encountering so many different cultures in Spain and now I'm afraid I love linguistics. It sounds so boring, doesn't it? Language math?

But this encyclopedia of language makes it incredibly interesting. I love all the infographics and photos. The book, divided into 11 sections, organizes the languages by number of speakers and region. There are also sections on endangered and extinct languages.

I've come across some very interesting issues in this book. For example, did you know that some languages utilize whistling? It is in a hunting community and the hunters use whistles so as to not scare off their prey. But they aren't just whistling a few words, they can hold entire conversations!

In our globalized world, we have more and more exposure to other cultures. My experience has been a good one, but globalization may also lead to language loss. Not that languages haven't died out before, but it becomes increasingly more important for people to know a common language.

Take the sherpas of Nepal, for example. A few decades ago (or more), they wouldn't have any need to speak anything except their native one. Now with climbing tourism, it is probably more and more important for them to learn a language the tourists speak. While I whole-heartedly believe in learning multiple languages if you have the opportunity, the loss comes when generations cease to pass down their native language. Take for example Soma Devi Dura, a nepali woman, who is the last remaining speaker of her native language.

I believe each language reflects its culture in a detailed way that a foreign language can never perfectly match. Therefore, each language that goes extinct represents the death of a culture.

Most spoken languages:
Chinese (Mandarin): 1,055 million speakers
English: 760 million speakers
Hindi: 490 million speakers
Spanish: 417 million speakers
Russian: 277 million speakers

Some less spoken languages:
Bole: 300,000 speakers (native to Nigeria)
Emberá: 80,000 speakers (native to Panama & Colombia)
Kriol: 24,000 speakers (native to northern Australia)
Kickapoo: 250 speakers (native to Americas, speakers now live in Mexico)
Gong: 100 speakers (native to the same-named people group of Thailand)

(all language facts from the afore mentioned book)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Spanish word of the day

puzzle, riddle, brain-teaser

Romper is the verb for "to break" and cabeza means "head."

Sunday, January 18, 2009


I learned something new tonight.

Thanks wikipedia.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Mexican phrase of the day

Alex & Rosario are cooks at El Rancho. I mostly work with them and Jesús. When they aren't asking me if I have a novio or like to dance, they say "Que me cuentas?".

I used to ask people the same question in English when I was bored. "Tell me a story!"

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

My new cafetera!

I bought an espresso-maker at World Harvest the other day! I love this type of coffee pot because it is so simple and doesn't require any paper filters. It doesn't make Artisan-quality espresso, but it tastes like Madrid.

It has three pieces, the water goes in the bottom, coffee in the funnel cup (pack it in for a stronger cup!) and it all comes together in the piece w/ the spout.

You put all the pieces together and set it on the stove top. It takes very little time, depending on how high you turn up the burner. If you keep the heat low, it will taste less bitter and be much less likely to burn.

The water boils in the bottom half and is forced up through the coffee and then spills over the top, like a percolator.

Now I don't have to go through the embarrassment of ordering "a double decaf espresso with a little cold soy milk. Don't heat up the milk. Actually, would it be okay if I just added it?" like a true coffee snob. I am an ex-barista who OD'd on caffeine too many times to still enjoy real coffee. It is impossible for me to order like a normal person.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Spanish word of the day

to fall

If I drop a plate at work, in Spanish, I didn't drop it. It fell.

Yet another example of how a language can reflect cultural personalities. I love how this verb takes the blame off me and puts it on the plate!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Sitting in Sven's

My temporary roommates don't have internet, which is a nice change of pace. It has also driven me to go to coffee shops more. Now that I am caught up on the celebrity gossip, a blog update:

I went to World Harvest behind the Gerbes on Nifong for the first time a few days ago. I had big expectations. I wanted a refrigerator full of tortilla, fresh pasta and mozzarella cheese. I half expected there to be a whole aisle dedicated to canned meat or olive oil.

I had forgotten how far away I live from Spain.

However, I did find a candy bar I used to eat all the time in Madrid. And manchego cheese. I used to end up eating manchego cheese on everything just to avoid a bocadillo de jamón. Yum!

I also got pulpo and sprinkled in with paprika to make pulpo de gallego. Octopus. My sister refused to sit by me because it smelled so fishy. I didn't care. It wasn't awful...

The other big excitement was a new mokka! It is a Italian/Spanish-style coffee pot. You don't need any filters and it makes the best espresso!

I had a cup this morning and fell happily into the memories that smell and the taste bring back.

Only remaining disappointment: no European-style sausage.

More on the mokka soon.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Spanish word of the day

to howl

Love onomatopoeias.

Found on the front counter at El Rancho:

Adios Dishwasher
Querido de
tus pequeños
y grandes hoyos
ya me despido
si un día yo regreso
ya sería
por muy jodido!

El Chapo

I don't have permission to post this bc this a farewell poem written by Jesus. Hopefully he doesn't mind that I've posted it. I've been working with him for the last two weeks. He washes the dishes, I dry them. Working at El Rancho isn't exactly thrilling.

Today was especially slow and I spent most of my time practicing vocabulary words. Though I don't want to work in fast food for the rest of my life, part of me loves blue-collar jobs. I'm pretty sure I'd be happy as a professional roofer or house painter etc. The added bonus of speaking Spanish all day makes wiping up cheese sauce and being friendly to the racist customers worth it.

The other Jesus, older Jesus, thought this poem was so great that he taped it up above the dishwasher so everyone can read it.

Essentially, the poem says:
Goodbye Dishwasher,
loved for
your small and large pots and pans
I say goodbye
If one day I return
I would already be
totally screwed.

El Chapo