Chewing Words

noun. verb. adjective. adverb…they're all tasty in my book

Please to Me No Habla Español

with 14 comments

Yo Ti Quiero

I took Spanish in high school. Then my junior year I went off to Norway for a year. And I forgot every word of Spanish I had ever learned. Except for the Spanish of that irritating little dog, the ubiquitous “Yo quiero Taco Bell“ism that everyone could parrot and did. Mrs. Somebody-Or-Other who taught me high school Spanish would have been very disappointed because she always gave me A’s. And it’s sad I can’t remember her name, because she really was nice in spite of the way she said “‘kay” after every sentence, short for “ok.” I can also picture her clear as day. I just can’t hear any Spanish words coming out of her mouth as I picture her. Except “Yo quiero Taco Bell.

As I’ve delved into this mission of mine to take seriously the commitment I made to post daily, I’ve been trolling around a blajillion other blogs. Reading and reading and commenting and reading. There was a time when I was too scared to comment, especially on blogs that are popular and well-trafficked. But as I’ve aged (like a fine wine…), I’ve acquired this Damn the Torpedoes mentality in many areas. I now enter into a blog as though I could give a hoot and comment as though I’ve been there since the start and have every right to give my “IMHO.” In actuality, the complete opposite is true because I really do give a hoot, and know I’m a newbie and thus a possible intruder, and will often angst for ages over how to respond to someone I’ve decided I already really like reading.

This weekend, in that Damn the Torpedoes attitude I sometimes wear at home when I’m childless and have nowhere to be and don’t feel like walking outside in the cold to empty my counter-top compost binette, I sat, for hours, and read blogs. I knew I should get up and vacuum, but Damn the Torpedoes, no! Sometimes I’ll read a book. Or I’ll watch a cheesy romantic comedy. Or I’ll find archived episodes of Gordon Ramsay spouting off at the peons who have no Michelin stars to his 3. I used to knit and listen to audiobooks until the numbness in my hand made that too uncomfortable. But this weekend I chose Blog Road.

CLICK! HERE! NOW! if you want to see the (now defunct) New Breed of couch & computer potato delights.

It’s what I call being a Spuddite (I thought I came up with that word, but I should know better; there are persons who are younger and swifter than I out there). Admittedly, I’m only partial Spuddite; I don’t totally ban the technology of computers. Because though I am hopeless at computer games  (my thumbs simply can’t go that fast) and keeping up with all the Twittering and Facebooking and SMSing (w’s^, qt? r u kewl 2 go 2 *$?),  and the fact that I should (but don’t) increase my gigs so I can download movies and videos and porn in HD, I still love sitting on my hind end, hours on end, reading blogs. I love the immediacy, the often raw and unpolished postings that capture a moment in some stranger’s day. And then, when you’ve read for awhile (whether it’s over months or the whole 6 year blog in one day), there’s that phenomenon that occurs where these people who take the time to blog become unStrangers. Many times I don’t know them or their names. Often I’ve never seen them except, perhaps, for a digital look into their world. But reading them and the blogness of them becomes a pleasure that isn’t verboten or weird (well, not too weird, I hope). It’s acceptable and usually harmless.

So I was damning the torpedoes this weekend, getting all warm & fuzzy from finding all these kinshippy blogs, and I found one that had the most amazing photos. The blogger had illustrated his year in pictures with photos he had taken in 2010. He’s 23 and shoots with some sort of Canon. Beautiful work. I mean, impressive (I’m not a photographer and for those of you who may be more knowledgeable than I, I shall defer to you as to all the technicalities of photography). All I can say is his photos made me stop. I looked at each one and then I moseyed over to his Flickr page to have a look at more. I just had to tell him how beautiful I thought his photos were, that looking at them was like receiving a gift. Except for the small problem that his whole blog is in Spanish (you wondered when I’d get back on point, didn’t you?). I had no idea if he understood English and I didn’t want to be presumptuous. I wrangled with it in my head for awhile, actually. “At 23 he may have been to university or had some schooling where he’s learned English. But he lives in Guatamala, and I have no idea what schools are like in Guatamala. He could be from El Petén and speak Mopan or Itzá. But he looks like an American kid with his t-shirt and spiky hair and slightly fuzzy photo. But what if I’m wrong?

I knew I could simply respond in English and be done with it, not my problem. But something about his photos made me all conscientious, like I needed to at least TRY. I mean, after all, Mrs. Somebody-Or-Other gave me A’s every semester, there had to be something in my head, somewhere. Yo quiero Taco Bell. Not quite what I was angling to say. Yo ti quiero. A slight improvement, but also not what I was after. I began reading through some of his Spanish-language photoblog and realized I understood a lot. Inspired, I began Spanishing out my comment. Except it kept coming out in bits of Norwegian and Italian. In frustration, I went to a translation website and entered what I wanted to say in English. It spit it back out in Spanish. However, knowing the propensity for those sites to spit out “murderer” when you’re really trying to say “I heart Muggles!” I checked and rechecked my mostly Spanish comment and am fairly confident I at least got across the correct sentiment. I’m sure grammar and usage were a tad off, but one half hour later, I had my 6 sentence commento en español, complete with tildas and accents. Success!

Oscar the Spanish-Speaking Blogger replied to my comment via his blog. He said, “Thank you so much!! It means the world for me!! … you have given my 2011 a sweet start! Happy new year for you!” In ENGLISH.

Lesson? A 23-year old with a Canon who photoblogs like he does will almost always speak English with better accuracy than my translating gymnastics are going to help me speak Spanish. But hey, my silver-lining: at least there’s more Spanish in my head now than that Taco Bell lovin’ chihuahua.

3/362: PostADay


Written by cr8df8

January 3, 2011 at 4:53 pm

14 Responses

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  1. My 9th grade Spanish 1 teacher ran our class like a POW camp. She started Day 1 in total Spanish. If you had pee running down your leg, you still had to ask to go to the bathroom in Spanish. Aside from having wet pants all the time, I became fluent in Spanish very quickly. To this day, I equate urine with Espanol.


    January 5, 2011 at 3:29 pm

  2. I loved this post for many reasons, but mostly for its humor and honesty. I studied Spanish in high school, too, and wasn’t very good at it until I took Italian in college, and suddenly Spanish words were flying out of my mouth at all the wrong times.

    You said you were new at blogging, but there’s already so much here. I’ll be back to read more. Meanwhile, I wanted to wish you luck and motivation in your quest to post every day. And I hope this new year treats you with kindness and only happy things.


    January 4, 2011 at 9:29 am

    • Hi Charles! Thank you for coming by :) I know for me, Spanish & Italian & Norwegian are definitely not a good combo. Oy. Sometimes I feel like I can barely speak English, for heaven’s sake.

      Thank you for the motivation & luck, I do most appreciate it. We shall see how much the quality suffers ::SOB::


      January 4, 2011 at 11:40 pm

  3. The Taco Bell dog! I was just wondering the other day what happened to that little guy. I may have been a bit obsessed with him for a brief period in my childhood.

    I love The Hipster. She rocks. Thanks for checking out my blog!

    Good luck with posting daily! Are you planning to post on weekends, too?


    January 4, 2011 at 7:13 am

    • Yes, the Hipster is a shake-down sista!

      Loved your blog and yes, I will post every day includug the weekends. I have a feeling it’s going to suckash, but that’s the fun part!


      January 4, 2011 at 11:38 pm

  4. my cat comes from Italy, so she is forced to talk with me, a German, using body-language as a bridge to understanding each other …


    January 4, 2011 at 4:29 am

    • Kitties from Italy are quite good at the body language, I hear!


      January 4, 2011 at 11:36 pm

  5. oh! and your comment was writen in perfect spanish (more complex than what I ussually speak)


    January 3, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    • Ha! “more complex than what I usually speak”…that’s typical. Leave it to me to make it more complex than it needed to be, for heaven’s sake. But now I know the translator works, yay!


      January 3, 2011 at 6:27 pm

  6. That “murderer” / “I heart Muggles” thing troubles me. I use Google’s translater all the time. I wonder if I’m on some watch list.

    Thanks for linking to Oscar’s blog. I’m going to check it out as soon as I catch up with what’s been going on with my unstranger “blends”. (Suzanne’s word for blog-friends. Happy spuddin’!

    Hippie Cahier

    January 3, 2011 at 5:58 pm

    • The murderer thing only applies in the Voldemortian/Mugglish translator.

      Oscar’s blog is definitely worth a peek.

      Blends! That’s perfect. And my Spud Adventures have just begun!


      January 3, 2011 at 6:25 pm

  7. HEY! you rock! you made me laugh with this one! thanx for your comments I really apreciate cool..GRACIAS!! I learned most of my english at school :D (feels cool being part of your blog)


    January 3, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    • Oscar, it was so funny when you responded to my comment in English, I felt like such an eejit! But I am still glad I looked up words in Spanish; it made me use my brain a little bit.

      And I am SOOO glad to include you on my blog. Your photos are stunning. And I’ll need to read up a bit on your blog so I can learn more about you. Online translator just an ALT+TAB away, of course :)


      January 3, 2011 at 6:06 pm

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