The inocentes, con español

4 Jun

We’ve come such a long way from our first weeks here. We could barely keep up in conversations, and I would often find my mind drifting from my friends at the table, thinking “what the hell am I doing?”, convinced I would never learn Spanish.

Little by little (with help from friends and a few tutorials) we worked it out. It helped that once Tam & Jota left we really couldn’t rely on anyone to translate things for us. We would have to learn, there could be no two ways about it.

We found that the easiest words were the most lovely or descriptive. From those words, we built upwards, adding grammar and verb tenses, welcoming our friends’ gentle corrections.

But, OK, the point of this is to list a bunch of Spanish words that I (we?) love.

  • Murciélago. More grandeur than “bat”.
  • Madrugada (or madrugar, etc)  really, this word is perfect. Telling someone that you woke up “at 4 in the madrugada” (and elongating the vowels to let it sink in) is a pretty descriptive way to tell others to back off and respect your early-rising grouchiness. As a verb, it encompasses everything. “No me molestes! Hoy yo madrugué y ahora estoy super cansada” or “Yo no puedo beber mas. Tengo que madrugar mañana y no quiero un guayabo!” . There’s something kind of magical in the word and something kind of dark.
  • Capucha
  • Macondo. It has no formal Spanish dictionary translation, but it basically means “something straight out of Gabriel García Márquez”. It’s based on the name of the fictional town Macondo in 100 Years of Solitude.
  • The phrase “sí o qué?” and all of its iterations. This is one that I will miss, and one that Greg is happy to see go. When asking someone how they are, you might ask “Estás bien? Sí o qué?” (“Are you well? Yes or what?”) or the much simpler “Bien o qué?” I like it for its simplicity and for its implication of intimacy (you would only use it with someone you know or someone you’re immediately comfortable with, on the same level).
  • Pues, a filler word similar to “like” or “well”. Paisas use it all the time: “Como estás, pues?” or “Ciao, pues”, “Pues, porque?”, etc etc etc. PUES
  • Parce/parcero which is a very regional and colloquial word for “friend”, more akin to “buddy”, “pal” &tc. If you want to be mistaken for a paisa or even someone from Medellín, you can always greet people “Qué más, pues, parcero?”

There are many words that we love here, but I think these have been inocente favorites every time. In fact, I’ve gone out of my way to say “capucha“, just for the joy of it. Capucha. So great.

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3 Responses to “The inocentes, con español”

  1. Mari Jarivs June 4, 2012 at 4:40 pm #

    What no pictures? I love your pictures, pues totally. An mp3 of you speaking these words would be lovely. Guess I’ll have to wait to hear your melodious voices – barely more than a week! Can’t wait.

  2. Aunt Toni June 5, 2012 at 2:18 pm #

    I have enjoyed every one of your posts. To think we were scared for you to
    go and you had such a wonderful time. On to your next adventure!
    Love Aunt Toni

    • nlnichols June 5, 2012 at 4:24 pm #

      Aunt Toni, you and me both! I think the first few weeks not a day went by without thinking to myself “…what…what am I doing, here?” I’m glad you had a chance to follow along with my posts! Hope to see you this Saturday 😉

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