warning: boobs ahead.??!

courtesy of searunner.sv-timemachine.net

courtesy of searunner.sv-timemachine.net

Another one of my favorite signs in Mexico were the speed bump signs or topes.! Literally, the first time, I saw this sign all I could think of was “warning – boobs ahead”.! What.?! And it wasn’t just me, other expats and tourists thought the same thing.! Maybe, all of us secretly have dirty minds 😉 But seriously, to not heed this sign as a driver can be painful.! Going over the topes at full speed will jolt you, your passengers, and your car.! Possibly giving you whiplash or making you throw up in the process.! Or you might decide at the last minute to brake urgently causing vomiting at best and a car crash at worst.!

courtesy of everythingplayadelcarmen.com

courtesy of everythingplayadelcarmen.com

Topes signs can be found showing only two bumps as in the photo at the top of ths post. Or they can be found with three bumps as in the photo directly above. I like to call this one the “Total Recalltopes sign because it reminds me of the scene where Arnold’s character meets the prostitute with three boobs.! Of course, no such exciting speed bump signs exist in Chicago. Please note the very serious, innocuous, and bland speed bump sign found in a typical Chicago neighborhood.! Yawn… Even Mexico’s signs are more exciting and colorful.!

courtesy of rachelleb.com

courtesy of rachelleb.com

what a difference a sign makes…

translation - pick up your dog's waste

translation – pick up your dog’s waste

When I lived in Mexico, the above sign was posted everywhere. But since I didn’t have a dog, I pretty much ignored the signage. Until one night, I was out drinking with two of my friends who were also my neighbors. On our walk home, we were laughing loudly and discussing the evening’s events when one of us noticed the picturesque quality of the curb your dog signage in our neighborhood.!

I took a picture there and then and posted it almost immediately on Facebook. My co-conspirators that evening even made the following comments because it had left such a lasting impression on us.!

My friend P.T.’s Facebook comment – “I mean, why does it have to be so graphic??”

My friend C.K.’s Facebook comment – “No shit!! Haha no pun intended”

And therein lies the question. Why did it have to be so graphic.? There are always so many interesting cultural differences between countries. But signs seem to take on an almost otherwordly dimension. I was reading one of my favorite expat bloggers today from Italy and she showcased a sign in Florence depicting a man and a woman peeing to indicate where the restrooms were located.! lol.. Wow.!

So I guess, a dog and his poop should not surprise me on a sign. But in comparison to the very mild and almost Mary Poppins’ signage from Chicago (see photo below), it was a little eye-opening to say the least. But at least we had a good laugh that evening. And now I would know exactly what to do about my dog and his poop if I had one in Mexico 🙂

courtesy of moongirlproductions.blogspot.com

courtesy of moongirlproductions.blogspot.com

arandano…sudando…valladolid

mango martinis

mango martinis

arandano…sudando…valladolid

arandano…sudando…valladolid

arandano…sudando…valladolid

translation:
cranberry…sweating…a city in the southeastern part of the Yucatán..!! What the what.!?!

I know, you are all thinking I have completely gone off the deep end. It’s possibly true. But that mantra above helped me remember where to stress the syllable (‘si-lə-bəl) rather than the syllable (si-‘lə-bəl) of those three very difficult (for me) to pronounce words. Well, of course, there was also lavanderia or laundromat.! I was always saying lavanderia with the stress on la. When the stress should have been on the der part.!

at La Sur

at La Sur

Luckily for me, putting the stress on the wrong syllable usually didn’t get me into too much trouble.! I don’t believe by changing the stress I incorrectly spouted obscene words.!! I’m sure I would remember that 🙂 jajaja.. But I did get corrected. A lot. No really, I mean a lot. And it didn’t help when I would study Spanish rules in my spare time (http://spanish.about.com) and it would tell me that “If a word without an accent mark ends in a vowel, n or s, the stress is on the penultimate (next to last) syllable.”

Who has time to remember that little tidbit in real life.!! When I’m talking to the grocer or the maintenance guy.! Um excuse me for a second while I reference my Spanish language rules.!! aargghhh.!! I finally realized the only way to get better was to practice. With everybody. Even when I annoyed them and they wanted me to go back to English.! jajaja

at La Azotea

at La Azotea

The above mantra happened one night during a concierge dine around in Playa del Carmen. I was with my fellow co-workers and we were going from restaurant to restaurant sampling the local food and drink.! Everyone was having a fantastic time. At some point in the evening, probably after too many beverages, one of my co-workers and good friends, K., came up with the following mantra to help me remember where the stresses were for each word.! We said it all night. And laughed all night. I’ve included photos from that evening’s festivities.!

You might wonder why these particular words were so important to me. Well arandano or cranberry is necessary to mix with vodka 🙂 As for sudando or sweating, I mean really. I was living close to the equator – it was pretty frickin’ hot.! And Valladolid is a city in the southeastern part of the Yucatán that I always wanted to visit. But never got around to seeing while I lived in Mexico.

at Clandestino

at Clandestino

Yesterday, I saw on facebook that my friend K., of above mantra fame, had gone to Valladolid with her boyfriend. She had posted beautiful pictures of her trip.! So I commented on her photo collage with the above mantra. She replied back “Jaja Rose…I do remember our spanish lessons..send you hugs.” Ahhh memories 🙂

Do you speak Spanglish?

Please check out this blog post from the Friendly Spanish Blog.!! This particular post resonates with me deeply because I’ve been doing it for years and I had no idea there was a name for it.!!! It’s called code switching and happens when a bilingual person switches between two languages in the same conversation.! Since Croatian is my first language, I have been doing this for years with other Croatian-Americans switching back and forth between Croatian and English. Sometimes I would switch because I was lazy and didn’t know the word. But oftentimes, I would switch because one language had a word or phrase that better expressed what I was trying to convey.

Strangely enough, I did this in Mexico too.!! Everytime, I learned a new word or phrase in Spanish, I would incorporate it into my daily existence mixed with English. Sometimes, people would make fun of me, but it turns out it’s the best way to learn a language and have it stick.!! While working in Mexico, I met a Mexican girl who spoke English and was dating a Serbian boy so she spoke Serbo-Croatian.!! Talk about code switching in three different languages.!!! I was in heaven 🙂 Enjoy the post.!!

Friendly Spanish Blog

The USA is frequently cited as the world’s great ‘melting pot’, having welcomed an unmatched diversity of immigrant communities over the last few centuries. The contemporary patterns of immigration are thoroughly dominated by the Hispanic or Latino communities, which constitute the fastest growing ethnic group in the states, steadily approaching 20% of the population. These groups are especially concentrated in Southern California, Florida, Texas, New Mexico, and major cities all over America. Within this huge community there is a complex range of nationalities, races and cultures. Mexicans make up 34.5 million alone, but Cubans, Puerto Ricans, Salvadorans, Dominicans and Guatemalans all count at least one million. Obviously, the key unifying factor here is the Spanish language, which not only exerts a powerful linguistic presence in its own right, but has also intermingled with English to create a fascinating and dynamic phenomenon: Spanglish.

Spanglish in action Spanglish in action. Source: languagetrainers.co.uk

One characteristic…

View original post 503 more words

if you liked it, then you shoulda put a ring on it…

courtesy of ijpr.org

courtesy of ijpr.org

Honestly, I don’t know how to begin this blog post. This particular post idea has been neatly collecting dust in my draft pile for over a year now. Everytime, I start to write my thoughts on the topic – I reshelve the post and pick up an easier topic. I think part of my reticence in writing the post deals with unanswered feelings and questions I have personally about the topic of marriage and psuedo-marriage. That in and of itself could be a whole another blog.!! But today I am going to get through this post – I promise. I apologize in advance for the muddiness of it all.

So, I should first mention that I have never been married. Which is quite an accomplishment considering my advanced years.!! lol…. I guess there was always a part of me that feared commitment. Or truthfully, feared a loss of autonomy. I crave freedom and independence the way other people crave coffee and doughnuts. Oh wait, I crave that too.!!  But you get the point.  Then, of course, there is the part of me that believes in romantic soulmate love. Which according to the latest reports is a recipe for disaster.! People who see relationships as journeys fare way better in relationships. So that’s strike one and two against me. Geesh, can’t a girl get a break.?!

courtesy of deviantart.com

courtesy of deviantart.com

But how does all this relate to Mexico.? Well for starters, culture shock. They say that when you move to a foreign country, at some point you experience an event or custom that sends you reeling. I assumed this was never going to happen to me in Mexico because I was so in love with the country.! Or if it did, it would involve some weird food group. Wrong.!! And the arena where I experienced my shock….drum roll please – marriage.! Or in this instance, psuedo-marriage. Of course, this might have something to do with the fact that I found out my first novio in Mexico (the bad one) had a “wife” or an “esposa“.

I used air quotes because they technically weren’t married…not by the church nor by the courts. Though funny enough, I recently heard they did get officially married. But, I digress, back to my story. In Mexico, it is customary to refer to the person you are living with as your esposo/esposa. So while my American friends, J. and C. live together and call themselves boyfriend and girlfriend. All of our Mexican friends refer to them as husband and wife. This naming rule also applies to the person who is the father or mother of your child even if you are not married or living together.! What the what.?!?

courtesy of deviantart.com

courtesy of deviantart.com

I have to admit this shocked me at first. There was a long period of time that whenever someone referred to their esposo/esposa, I would actually ask them if they were officially married. Somehow to me that seemed to make a difference.! Apparently, I needed to categorize the distinction in my head like some sort of marriage police. I often wondered why they just didn’t make the relationship official.! In hindsight, I feel like I was exceptionally rude. Like I said, I’m sure my earlier emotions were colored by the “esposa” revelation from bad novio number one. But still, I was raised better.

The irony is that when I returned back to the United States, I experienced reverse culture shock. Not so much through marriages, I have to admit that in my inner sanctum, friends and family typically get married after a certain length of time or break-up. But they always get married if there are children involved. My culture shock was directed at the greater society as a whole. I have never liked the terms babymama and babydaddy. I know they were created to give a symbolic importance to the person who is the father or mother of your child especially when you are not married. But just like my sister, who would throw things at her husband when he would jokingly call her that euphemism – I’m not fond of it.

courtesy of lace and lilies on facebook.com

courtesy of lace and lilies on facebook.com

And that’s when I had my epiphany about the Mexican custom of calling a significant other esposo/esposa. The title was meant to convey respect. End of story. You chose to live with this person and pay your bills together and eat your meals together – they deserved respect. You chose to make this person the father or mother of your child whether you live together or not – they deserved respect. The revelation hit me so hard – I was speechless for days. Believe me, it’s hard for me to be at a loss for words.

It was always about respect. I had missed the whole point while I was living in Mexico, I’m ashamed to admit. But I’m very pleased that I only showed up late rather than never understanding at all. In fact, I wish we had more of this type of respect here in the states. With that thought, I leave you with one of my least favorite Beyonce songs – “All the Single Ladies”. Every single one of my friends will tell you that I have continuously refused to sing this song or dance to it either. I have walked off dance floors believe you me.!! But I think it’s appropriate for today’s post because all Beyonce wants and the rest of us single ladies (single guys too) is respect. Hasn’t anyone listened to Aretha Franklin’s song.?!

I won’t surrender…

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I am missing someone today. I am missing love today. I am missing the ease of our union. I wonder if he is missing me too….

No Me Doy Por Vencido

Me quedo callado
Soy como un niño dormido
Que puede despertarse
Con apenas sólo un ruido
Cuando menos te lo esperas
Cuando menos lo imagino
Sé que un día no me aguanto y voy y te miro

Y te lo digo a los gritos
Y te ríes y me tomas por un loco atrevido
Pues no sabes cuanto tiempo en mis sueños has vivido
Ni sospechas cuando te nombré

Yo, yo no me doy por vencido
Yo quiero un mundo contigo
Juro que vale la pena esperar, y esperar y esperar un suspiro
Una señal del destino
No me canso, no me rindo, no me doy por vencido

Tengo una flor de bolsillo,
Marchita de buscar a una mujer que me quiera
Y reciba su perfume hasta traer la primavera
Y me enseñe lo que no aprendí de la vida
Que brilla más cada día,
Porque estoy tan sólo a un paso de ganarme la alegría
Porque el corazón levanta una tormenta enfurecida
Desde aquel momento en que te ví…

Yo, yo no me doy por vencido
Yo quiero un mundo contigo
Juro que vale la pena esperar, y esperar y esperar un suspiro
Una señal del destino
No me canso, no me rindo, no me doy por vencido

Este silencio esconde demasiadas palabras
No me detengo, pase lo que pase seguiré

Yo, yo no me doy por vencido
Yo quiero un mundo contigo
Juro que vale la pena esperar, y esperar y esperar un suspiro
Una señal del destino
No me canso, no me rindo, no me doy por vencido

Copyright:
Writer(s): Luis Fonsi, Claudia Brant
Copyright: Brantunes, Fonsi Music Publishing, Sony/ATV Discos Music Publishing LLC
Lyrics powered by http://www.musiXmatch.com

Taken from http://lyricstranslate.com/en/no-me-doy-por-vencido-i-dont-give.html#ixzz39q5WZEbO

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I Won’t Surrender

I remain silent
I’m like a sleeping child
That can wake up
With just a little noise
When you least expect it
When I least imagined
I know that one day I won’t hold myself back and I’ll go to see you

And I say it to you crying out
And you laugh and you take me for a daring lunatic
Though you don’t know how long you have lived in my dreams
Nor suspect when I named you

I, I won’t surrender
I want a world with you
I swear it’s worth waiting, and waiting, and waiting a sigh
For a sign from destiny
I don’t tire, I don’t give up, I won’t surrender

I have a flower in my pocket,
Faded from looking for a woman who would love me
Who would receive the flower’s perfume until spring comes
Who would teach me what I didn’t learn from life
That each new day is brighter
Because I’m only a step away from being happy
Because the heart raises a raging storm within
Since that one moment when I saw you

I, I won’t surrender
I want a world with you
I swear it’s worth waiting, and waiting, and waiting a sigh
For a sign from destiny
I don’t tire, I don’t give up, I won’t surrender

This silence hides too many words
I don’t stop, whatever happens I will go on

I, I won’t surrender
I want a world with you
I swear it’s worth waiting, and waiting, and waiting a sigh
For a sign from destiny
I don’t tire, I don’t give up, I won’t surrender

Taken from http://lyricstranslate.com/en/no-me-doy-por-vencido-i-wont-surrender.html#ixzz39q5sCb1e

no mames wey…

Hello lovely readers.!! I wanted to share this post from last September with all of you again. Besides the fact that it involves learning new swear words.! It includes a story about one of my best friends in playa – you know the scuba dive instructor 🙂 Enjoy.! See you tomorrow for a fresh post.!!

howdoyousaytacoinspanish

courtesy of tumblr.com courtesy of tumblr.com

**warning – swear word alert**

Why is it that swear words are usually the first words one learns in a foreign language.? Ok, so maybe you do learn how to say “how are you”, “where’s the bathroom”, etc. But really, the first words you learn are the bad words.! The ones that make genteel people shake their heads in disbelief. No need to elaborate here on the English ones, we all know those words. I am talking about Spanish swear words because even I was not immune to this learning curve when I moved to Mexico.

Prior to my relocation, I had taken a brief Spanish class on how to count, the days of the week, and certain pleasantries. However, those were all cast aside upon my arrival because all my friends (and my novio) thought it was funny to teach me swear words. I’m not…

View original post 730 more words

Paper, Stamps and Seals: The Mexican Obsession with Paperwork

At lunch today with my boss and a fellow co-worker, we were wondering how the work we do was completed prior to computers.?! Our boss who has been with the company for almost twenty years described cutting, and pasting, and wow.! We shook our heads disbelievingly. The crazy part of the story is that sort of stuff still happens in Mexico. Don’t get me wrong, Mexico is part of the 21st century with computer and cell phone use. But some things like mobile apps, paying bills online, and check deposits via your phone are completely out there. Some transactions are still done the old-fashioned way – in person and with paper.!! I thought Mexico: Live it, Love it does a fine post explaining this love affair or obsession.! Enjoy.!!

México: Live it, Love it

Although we live in a digital age, paper consumption is still at very high levels. This is evident for any person who lives in Mexico, where there seems to be an obsession, even love affair, with paper. Any kind of paper and paper products. Oh- and we cannot forget stamps and seals to go with paper. Of course, just like any society, Mexico publishes multitudes of newspapers, advertising brochures, government booklets, etc.  However, Mexico is on overload when it comes to paper and sometimes stamps/seals. Here are some observations regarding paper and paperwork in Mexico.

*A fideicomiso, or land trust held by a bank, can be up to 20 or more pages. Every single page has a notary seal and signature.

*Many notary offices still utilize huge books to handwrite entries for real estate transactions. These volumes of books are kept in the office “libraries”.

*Bank receipts, even for a simple…

View original post 408 more words

Fresh off the spool…hammock shopping in Mexico

One of my favorite pastimes in playa was to lounge around in a hamaca or hammock on the beach 🙂 Talk about relaxation.!! In the Yucatan, many residents also use hamacas to sleep instead of the traditional bed. !! I haven’t tried that yet, but it sounds like fun.! I’m reblogging a post on hammocks from gringowithagreenbag.com. You should check it out.! See you later…

Gringo With A Green Bag

I love seeing this portrait of a local Mayan woman putting the finishing touches on a beautiful hand-crafted hammock for me. I drove around Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula for several days looking for a traditional homemade “hamaca” that I could bring back to my parents. Not that it was on their wish list or anything, or that they would ever use it. All they ever ask for is either a magnet or some sea salt. But I once bought them a rug in Morocco that was most likely manufactured in Taiwan (it had to be, it was way too cheap), so I was aiming for a little redemption here. Besides, the origin of the hammock dates back over 1000 years and is credited to the Maya. If anyone knows how to weave a proper hammock, it’s these people. So, with a few inquiries to the locals, a kind villager directed me to…

View original post 601 more words

Dos Equis quince

courtesy of dosequis.com

courtesy of dosequis.com

Feliz el fin de semana.!! Happy weekend everyone.!! I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend as much as I did.! It was a much need respite after an ardous week. I thought last week was never going to end. But it did.! And I managed to sneak in the movie, “Lucy” for some much needed entertainment. The movie wasn’t fantastic, but it did have Scarlett Johansson kicking butt so that made up for it a little bit. I was also suprised with a lovely lunch on Saturday.!! Always love good surprises 🙂

This week’s Dos Equis’ commercial finds the Most Interesting Man in the World up to his usual antics. It’s been said that if he pats you on the back, it is resume worthy. No kidding.?! I need that kind of help for my resume.!! hahaha…. I hope everyone’s upcoming week is delightful.!! And stress-free.! Enjoy.!! Y salud.!!