ánimo rosa, ánimo

courtesy of estudiabetes.org

courtesy of estudiabetes.org

One of my favorite expressions in Mexico is “ánimo amigo/a, ánimo“. It’s direct translation is “courage friend, courage”. But I think a more apt translation is “be strong friend, be strong”. Countless times at work, on facebook, at a restaurant, I would hear or read a person lament their strange fate. And countless more times, one of their friends or family members would whisper or write back “ánimo“.

courtesy of desmotivaciones.mx

courtesy of desmotivaciones.mx

In fact, the expression became such a part of my life that I began to use it on myself. My prior form of motivation used to be “buck up, buttercup”. But now, whenever I find myself in a peculiar, unfamiliar, or less than ideal situation, I say “ánimo rosa, ánimo“. I like it. It seems softer yet firmer. It doesn’t beat me up, yet it reminds me I am strong. I have used it in countless dire situations – getting my visa, looking for a job, looking for an apartment. You name it, I have dealt with it by reminding myself I have inner strength.!

courtesy of weather.aol.com

courtesy of weather.aol.com

Now I mainly find myself using it when I hear the latest Chicago weather forecast. Which in the grand scheme of life is a minor dilemma. Unless of course, you lived in Mexico for three years and your first full winter back, mother nature has gone completely crazy.!! In fact, tonight and tomorrow again, Chicago is getting more snow.! Just in time for the morning communte. Yippee.!! And all tomorrow morning, I will be whispering to myself “ánimo rosa, ánimo“.

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Tecate take 45

courtesy of tecate.com.mx

courtesy of tecate.com.mx

Feliz lunes.! Happy Monday.! This past week has been super busy with setting up my new apartment, so I apologize for the tardiness of my blog post. I have finally seen belongings I haven’t set eyes on in three years.!! Sometimes, it’s nice to be near your belongings once again. There is a time to roam and a time to nest 🙂 Plus, I started a new job last week, so that took up a lot of my time – logistics of getting there, learning the new position, and all of my co-workers names.!! Whew.!

This last year being back in Chicago has been a long haul for me. There were many times, I thought about just giving up. The only problem was I wasn’t sure what I was giving it up for.?! So I stayed and plodded through. I am finally feeling as if I have made some headway. In fact, I feel like I have fought an epic battle this past year. So to honor this last year, I offer you this week’s (or really last week’s) Tecate commercial.

It’s called Tecate Batallas Epicas or Tecate Epic Battles. The slogan reads “los verdaderos hombres solo usan los guantes” or “real men only use gloves” because Tecate is a proud and loyal sponsor of boxing in case you are wondering. This week, I also feel that “las verdaderas mujeres solo usan los guantes tambien.!” I know for a fact this woman feels that way 🙂 Enjoy.! Y salud.!!

could you repeat that please.?!

courtesy of morguix.com

courtesy of morguix.com

Before I went on my study abroad trip in March of 2010, I decided to take a six week introductory Spanish course with my friend A. I wanted to learn the basics, such as “where is the bathroom?”, “how much does that cost?”, and “do those chickens bite?”. Our teacher instructed us to use the following phrase when we did not initially hear what she said – “¿Puede repetir eso, por favor?”. In other words, “Can you repeat that, please?”

Throughout my class and my study abroad trip that was the expression I used. Later on, I would discover I was being very formal and only foreigners used that expression. Once I moved to Mexico, I started to get lazy and I would say “Que?” or “What?”. The first time my boyfriend heard me say “Que“, he freaked out.

“Omg.! That’s so rude.! Don’t ever use that again,” he exclaimed.!

“So then what should I use?”, I queried, slightly taken aback at his intensity because he wasn’t normally intense.

“Mande”, was his reply. “Huh.?!”, was mine.

courtesy of focusonmexico.com

courtesy of focusonmexico.com

The word ‘mande‘, (pronounced MAHN-day), comes from the verb ‘mandar‘ which means to send or command. It is a contraction of ‘mandame’ which translates to order me or command me. The expression is a holdover from Spanish colonialism when Mexicans used the phrase in a submissive manner. Even today, the phrase is used in a respectful manner with parents, older relatives, and those who have a higher position than others.

However, it is also used when your are being polite and do not wish to sound rude. “Mande” is much more appropriate than “Que” or “¿Puede repetir eso, por favor?” It is similar to saying ‘pardon’ in English which is also much more polite than ‘what’ and much shorter than ‘can you say that again please’.

After this new tutorial, ‘mande‘ became my go to word.! Especially, since after my first year living in Mexico, I threw myself into learning Spanish more extensively. I was constantly asking people to repeat themselves.! Exhausting.! But worth the work.!

courtesy of pinterest.com

courtesy of pinterest.com

Then I met my friend C. You will remember C. as my lovely friend who was a professional dancer and most recently won the beauty pageant for Best Looking Grandmother in Quintana Roo.!! She is not only a very beautiful woman, but a brilliant one as well.

She untaught me the expression ‘mande‘ because to her it symbolized the very submission of the Mexican people to the Spaniards.! By continuing to use the phrase, she believed Mexicans were passively being submisive through language. Who knew? That was my first lesson that sometimes when you learn a language, it is not only knowing the word that is important. The history of the word is important. The connotation and the denotation of the word is extremely important. And the emotion behind the word is probably the most important.

C. taught me to use the expression, “Dime” or ‘tell me”. I now had a brand new expression to use, again. Funny enough, throughout my job at the hotel, I constantly heard the phrase ‘dime’ used among my peers and those with a little more education, or from the bigger cities such as D.F. So I began to feel more comfortable and felt like I was fitting in. I have to admit that when I started on this journey to Mexico, I never would have guessed how a small expression like ‘can you please repeat that’ would morph into my own awakening. A small linguistic quirk took me on a journey from foreigner to submissive neophyte to belonging 🙂

eres a toda madre!

courtesy of zazzle.com.au

courtesy of zazzle.com.au

One day in early January, I was on facebook messaging with one of my close friends, P. You will remember P. from my trip to Mexico in September. She was my translator during my shopping around afternoon for attorneys (a blog post I still owe you.!). She was also my fellow reveler during our free tequila shots.! Yippee.! Anyways, we were going back and forth for several hours probably talking about men, and the beach, and crazy situations you find yourself in from time to time. At the end of our conversation, we wished each other good night. Not even several minutes later, she posted on my facebook page the following – eres a Toda Madre! te quiero mucho amiga!

courtesy of keepcalm-o-matic.com.uk

courtesy of keepcalm-o-matic.com.uk

At first, I was confused. I mean I understood the part that she loved me. But was she calling me a total mother.?!? I had never heard that expression before and actually had to google it.! I was too embarrassed to tell her that I did not understand the expression. So according to all the sources, such as urbandictionary.com, toda madre is a Mexican expression referring to something that’s fantastic or really cool. If someone, like your friend P. says to you – eres a toda madre – what they are really saying is that you are great and/or exciting. Wow.! How cool.!

P. and me at Starbucks

P. and me at Starbucks

What a great compliment.! I want to use it on everyone now.! I mean who doesn’t want to be called great and exciting.?! I know I do 🙂 But to be called great and exciting doesn’t have the same mouthfeel as to be called – eres a toda madre.! That comes with intensity.! And I like intensity.! It’s kinda similar to being called a bad mothafucka.! But without the swearwords.! Or the bad part.! jaja.. And just so you know, my friend P. is a toda madre tambien.! No doubt about it.! So now that all of you have a new expression to use, I suggest that you throw it around at will. I know I’m going to start right now.! My new job is toda madre.! My new apartment is toda madre too.!! jajaja… And you my fellow bloggers and readers son a toda madre tambien.!

Tecate take 44

courtesy of tecate.com.mx

courtesy of tecate.com.mx

It’s the end of the weekend.!! And it’s the beginning of a new week.! And I for one am very grateful.! Moving and cleaning this week has been extremely exhausting. I think even my eyelashes hurt.!! jajaja… This week is also exciting because I start a brand new job.! One I have been waiting for several months 🙂 So I raise a Tecate to all my friends who helped me move and helped me during my job search.! Thank you.! Thank you.! Here’s to an amazing ride.!!

To celebrate, this week’s Tecate commercial is called Tecate Vestido or Tecate Dress. It’s hilarious..!! A woman comes out of the bedroom with a dress on and asks her man “does she look fat in it?” He replies that she does look a little fat or un poco gordita. The woman begins to cry all through their evening together while the man spends the rest of the night consoling her. Or does he??? Enjoy.!! Y salud..!!