Spanish

Things Bicultural Couples Do

Bicultural and/or international couples (in my case, both) have some habits that can seem odd for an outsider. Most of the time, when Mario and I take a trip, we end up speaking a weird hodgepodge of English and Spanish and Spanglish, which confuses the locals who just want to place us in a little box. (Oh, Americans; or Oh, Spaniards.) But no, we’re not so easily categorized or identified.

Mix up traditions

I wear my wedding ring (alianza) on my right hand because I didn’t have the traditional engagement ring and wedding ring match set. I wanted everyone who saw me, in Spain and in the US, to know I was taken, so I figured I’d wear one ring on each finger. Problem solved. Mario, on the other hand (literally), wears his on the other hand, his left. Why? It’s more comfortable. So we mix up traditions. So what?

We also chose to say our vows both in English and in Spanish, because those words in our native languages were and are really important to us.

Oh yeah, and we had two weddings. We’ve decided we could have one every year. There are lots of states, after all.

Code switch

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10 Language Mistakes Guiris Make in Spanish

We all mistakes. We definitely all make mistakes when learning a foreign language. (Heck, we even make mistakes in our own language! Mario loves to point out when this happens to me in English.) These mistakes aren’t anything to be ashamed of; indeed, they are natural and fun ways to learn—if you have the right attitude! When I first got to Spain, I made a ton of mistakes. I swear, every other word that came out of my mouth was wrong! I’ve come a long way since I wrote on my Facebook wall that I was incapable of speaking Spanish properly.

Guiris make a lot of mistakes in Spanish. (I’m including myself among them!) This list is far from comprehensive; it’s just what first came to my mind. What sort of things do guiris like myself do wrong?

Cervantes Spanish Mistakes

We …

1. … conjugate verbs incorrectly.

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Great Spanish Slang to Make You Sound Like You Belong in Spain

I don’t know about you, but in my high school we learned Mexican/South-American Spanish. Now there’s nothing wrong with this (except for the part we totally skipped a tense [vosotros]), but when I decided to study abroad in Spain, I knew I wanted to learn Spain Spanish (Castilian Spanish). Only one problem: I didn’t know any Spaniards, nor had I entered the wonderful world of blogs. So I came to Spain in 2008 with very little knowledge of colloquial Castilian Spanish.

But you? No need to worry—I’ve got you covered. Here are some of my favorite ways to sound totally guay in Spain:

Es la caña

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Let’s Link—Week 3

Let's Link!

And we’re back with another link list! Sorry for the delay, but last weekend I was visiting Zamora and Mario’s family for the November 1 holiday, Todos los Santos, or All Saints’ Day in English. In Spain, families tend to visit the graveyards to put flowers on relatives’ graves. We had a merienda consisting of chocolate a la taza (basically melted chocolate, thick and delicious), chorizo, Zamoran cheese, fried bread, two kinds of cake, wine, and liqueurs. Other, more-widespread culinary traditions include eating Huesos de Santo (Saints’ Bones) and buñuelos de viento, which are filled with whipped cream, pastry cream, or chocolate.

Here are some of my favorite links from the past two weeks:

Do Different Languages Confer Different Personalities? Ah, a great question. I often feel more eloquent as well as funnier in English. In Spanish, I’m much less likely to express an opinion, because I find that it’s easier to quash. I also have a fear of looking silly, so this leads me to say less.

For Mind and Body: Study Finds Mediterranean Diet Boosts Both. For those of us living in Spain and consuming loads of olive oil, good news! The diet boosts both cerebral and physical health! I’m always happy to hear what I’m already doing is good for me.

The American Smile. I found this article, by fellow expat blogger (in Germany) Alex, to be hilarious and mind-opening. I never thought of this! Do Americans have a distinct smile? I know we smile a lot and especially on cue. But most of the time my smile is genuine; I’m not faking it. Also, I agree with Alex that flossing is not just made up by dentists. Flossing is totally important!

Recipe: Chorizo Burger with Paprika. It seems the UK has gone “mad” over chorizo, and this recipe just adds more evidence to the pile. A chorizo burger? Has the UK gone too far?

The Guiri Complex. What is really like to live in another country? Sometimes I get the picture that people think we live in a constant vacation world, that our lives are only filled with sunshine and rainbows. What is it like to miss things from the US? Should we always be searching those things out or treat them as what they are—a treat? Cat explores this question.

And now in Spanish …:

Esquelas curiosas publicadas en ABC. Esquelas are like death announcements, in which the family of the deceased puts a notice in the newspaper. The Spanish newspaper ABC recently published this article for Halloween of some of its more curious notices, including one that lamented that the deceased forgot to pass along a recipe for “pickled paella”!

Una docena de los nombres de chica más puestos en España. Recently I read about some of the most popular girls’ names in the US, and this article supplied what I’d wanted since: a list of the most-popular Spanish girls’ names. Obviously, María leads the list.

Thanks for reading! Any links you’d like to share?