From the Mouths of Spaniards

READER DISCRETION ADVISED: foul language below. Not suitable for children.

I began learning Spanish 20 years ago and spent 4 months in Spain, but somehow I never learned of the propensity Spaniards have for using foul language. I remember realizing that they used joder a little more often then their South American counterparts, including the free use of it on primetime TV (something you’d get a hefty fine for in the US). However, I didn’t realize the extent of the expletives.
Until…I moved in with a Spaniard. I’ve known my boyfriend for 8 years, so I knew of *his* love of expletives, but I didn’t know it was a cultural norm. We began watching episodes of Los Hombres de Paco, an 8-season TV series from Spain about a police station in Madrid: part comedy, part drama. That was when I began to realize it was more than just my boyfriend’s personality. Even the Commissioner likes to put things in his “santísimos cojones” (my favorite part). We have even watched several Spanish movies and they are all the same…puta madre, joder, me cago en _____ anytime, anywhere, with just about anyone. As an American it is quite amusing to listen to. They are very creative! Here is a list of some. I know what they mean, but I don’t think expletives ever translate well, so I’ll give you the literal translation of some words in parenthesis, but you’ll have to extract the full meaning for yourself:

-de puta madre (puta = whore, prostitute, hooker)

-me cago en Dios (cagarse = to shit)
Also seen in …me cago en la leche
…me cago en tu puta madre…they like to shit on things.

-la virgen puta (this one cracks me up! How is that even possible?! Haha)

Then, of course there are the usuals that some of you may have heard before – coño, mierda, hijo de puta, etc.

It has been a fun cultural learning experience and I now find myself easily inserting these foul phrases into my daily conversations in Spanish. Who’d of thought?

Have you heard any creative expletives in Spanish you’d like to share? If so, please leave them in the comments and say which country they hail from. What do you think of this cultural trait in Spain. Love to hear from you!

The Commissioner of Hombres de Paco played by Juan Diego. Here’s some of his best!
http://youtu.be/qUPKhQc8PqE

Happy travels!

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Love at My Age

Love at my age is a mixed bag of emotions. You reach in to grab a handful and never know if you will come out with fear or joy.

By the time you reach your 30s, most of us have had our share of relationships of every category – puppy love, first love, flings, true love, friends with benefits, one night stands, cohabitation, engagements or even marriages. No matter if these relationships brought you smile or tears they still affect you in some way and the accumulation of all of that gets brought with you into a new relationship and into the arms of the poor sap who has to deal with it all.

So it is with these emotions, for better or worse, that I have entered into my current relationship. I am insanely in love and much happier than I have been in a very long time. I couldn’t ask for more. I am even more fortunate that he and I have been close friends for 7 years. The fact that he knows me so well and vice versa has made it that much easier to deal with these past emotions because we have been present in each other’s lives during most of the big relationships. There is great comfort in knowing that he loves me in spite of all of that chaos from the past.

However despite how much I trust him and how mutual our love is, those “Cinderella scars” (see one of the first posts on this blog) still resurface and stab What Ifs into my mind…What if he’s like the others? What if he cheats on me? What if he leaves me? What if he lies? It is a constant struggle to remind myself that HE IS NOT THEM. He actually helped me get over them over the years. The key is to focus on all of the good things he does for me everyday that reminds me of his love for me.

On the other end of this emotional scale is the joy. I cannot express how glad I am that I didn’t get married sooner because at my age I have gained a greater amount of confidence. I know what I want and what I won’t accept. I’m more tolerant, more patient and more rational. I think before I act or speak (I don’t know about you but I certainly didn’t have that skill in my early 20s). Handling a serious relationship at this level of maturity is less stressful. I appreciate him and what he brings to the relationship more now because I am more secure with who I am and what I can bring to the relationship.

Perhaps it’s because he’s my best friend or perhaps it’s because we are both older and more mature, but I feel an intense amount of satisfaction and a deeper connection with him than any of the others in the past because I’m finally ready for this…

A Complicated Conundrum

I remember sitting in the guidance counselor’s office of my high school pouring through a very large book of scholarships for college. Yes, a BOOK, those things we had to use to look up info prior to the internet. I was not having much success finding any for my skill set. I wasn’t a star athlete, I wasn’t a minority (with the exception of being left handed), I wasn’t part of some group like the Daughters of the Amer. Revolution. I had a GPA well over 3.0 but that wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t rich but I wasn’t financially needy by their standards either.

I suddenly came to the disheartening realization that despite feeling smart, confident and unique, on paper I appeared merely average. I didn’t win any scholarships despite my research (hence all the student loans) and that disheartening feeling I felt…I’m just now realizing that it is still lingering with me.

With the numerous job paths I’ve wanted to go on – writer, flight attendant, English teacher (in a better job and different country), etc – I always felt like I had exactly what it took to be good at the job, but didn’t think that others would see what I have to offer because on paper, I am merely average. I excel in interviews, I just need them to notice my resume to get face time.

This applies to my love life as well I’m sure. The guys I have been and am now interested in, I don’t know how to make them see how amazing I can be or how much I can offer them in life. I see it, but do they?

I suppose this is how I ended up as a Spanish speaking, salsa dancing, blonde American living in Korea. I became obsessed with being different. Following a path of normalcy is not an option for me. I love that my life is no longer average, I am just surprised that this desire to be different stemmed from a scholarship search.

This is my complicated conundrum. I have the confidence a woman in her 30s should have, I just don’t know how to make others see it on first impression.

7 years

Dear …,

It’s been 7 years this month since you left.  7 years.  I know you intended to come back and it’s not your fault that you couldn’t, but I still can’t help but feel a tinge of bitterness that you left me in the first place.  You left me there, without you.  I try not to be angry with you about that because you were doing what was right, but sometimes it creeps up on me and I wish I could turn back time and beg you to stay.

I remember that night.  The last time I saw you.  We sat in my car and I couldn’t stop crying.  I’ve never been good with goodbyes, but that was the hardest one I’ve had to endure.  The plan was for you to come back after a month, but I think my intuition just knew it wouldn’t happen.  So there we sat, in the parking lot, you refusing to leave until I stopped crying and me not able to stop until you had gone.  Even now just thinking about losing you still brings tears to my eyes and an aching pain to my heart.    After you left, I wasn’t the same.  I couldn’t find a lasting happiness.  I even tried moving across the country to avoid being reminded of the future we planned to have.  I found no lasting happiness there either.

And what if you had stayed?  If I or your family had been able to convince you to stay?  We probably would have been married within two years.  We’d have sweetly argued over my desire to stay in the city and your desire to live next to your family.  Did you know that my time with you was the only time I ever wanted children?  I had imagined our house constantly filled with music and language and art and love.  But you didn’t stay.

The last 7 years have been long.  A long winding road filled with both potholes and breathtaking views.  I have seen and experienced many things that have made me the woman I am today.  I suppose I was meant to experience these things, just as you were meant to go on to become the man that you are.  We have both changed immensely, so much so that we may not even be compatible anymore.  If you were to ask me to marry you today, I doubt that I would say yes because we would need time to get reacquainted.  But…that doesn’t mean that I don’t wonder some days whether we are still meant to be together.  Or if perhaps this time apart was only to make us stronger and more prepared for when we are both ready to try again.  Or maybe it is an experience we are supposed to learn from and let go.  If anything, I have learned what  a real love should look like and have vowed to not settle for anything less.

Despite the fact that so many years have passed, there are still times when I miss your voice so much that it hurts.  I miss your laugh.  I miss your passion for life and your creativity.  I miss hearing about your dreams and sharing music with you.  I miss your family and your culture.  I miss who we could have been.  No one has ever loved me the way you did.

I just thought you should know.

 

The Greenness of the Grass

I live a life that many envy.

No one depends on me. I have no mortgage, and within the next few months no credit card debt. There is nothing and no one truly holding me back from my dreams nor my spontaneous traveling desires. I live in an exotic country. I date who I want, when I want. I am free to eat peanut butter from the jar for breakfast should the mood strike. I enjoy the freedom of making my own decisions such as which social events to attend and how to spend my money…without compromise. My apartment is quiet or loud, messy or clean – based entirely on MY whims.

I am in my 30s. I am single. I am free. I am enjoying life. I am finding my own happiness.

But…

there do come some days, just a mere few, when I feel like the many characters in American movies. The ones who are insanely busy, living in a fabulous apartment in the city, smiling about how great life is…until they stop being busy. Then the sense of loneliness overwhelms them and they wonder if those on the other side may have it right after all. Maybe the human desire for love and stability is stronger than the desire to be free after all. Just maybe.

The holidays of course bring this feeling about with a much greater force. Not to mention these characters are portrayed in seemingly 75% of all holiday movies. The end scene showing them running, not walking, to the other side of the fence wherein lies the pretty wife, 2 kids, white fence and 2 car garage.

Now mind you, I only have very few of these days. The rest of the time, this Gemini is thoroughly enjoying her freedom from cages of any kind. So I do not want to put out the idea that I am longing to settle down anytime soon. I have too much traveling yet to do to make up for my 20s lost in cubicle-land and it may prove difficult to find a potential husband willing and able to go along for the rides. Not to mention that the men I meet lately have a rather skewed view of what constitutes a committed relationship, so I have little faith in finding one worth risking my happiness for – but that is definitely a blog for a different day.

What I would like to point out though is that despite the lovely greenness of the grass on my side of the fence, there are days when the grass begins to lose its bold green and wilts just a touch, due to not having a rock to shade it from the elements.

And on those days feel free look away and appreciate the loveliness of the grass on your side and smile at whatever life you may have hand-picked for yourself.

Childfree and Fickle as Can Be

Love Love Love

Image by Gregory Jordan via Flickr

Many of my nearest and dearest are aware of the fact that I do not see motherhood being a part of my future.  Perhaps maybe adopting an older child way down the line or becoming a study abroad host mother someday, but not necessarily having my own from start to finish.  There are several reasons why I do not have a desire to have children, which I’m sure at some point I will list for you, but we’ll save that for another day.

I hear about more and more couples these days deciding to be childfree, so what  makes me different from them?

I’m still single.

Some may think that being single would make it easier for me since the decision is mine and mine alone and there is no compromising or pressure or uncertainty from any other party.  However,  uncertainty wiggles its way into another area instead – dating.  Given that not having children is not yet the majority opinion in society, finding a man who also does not want to have children may limit my dating pool significantly.  But knowing which men in the dating pool to eliminate may be a bit complicated.  And, truth be told, a bit scary.

It becomes complicated because you don’t want to get attached to a man who shares different ideas about the future; however, it might be a little blunt to start the first date, pre-dinner convo with “by the way, I don’t want kids.”  Online dating does un-complicate the process slightly by giving you a checkbox to click if childfree is your preference, but it still doesn’t help you decipher the dating fate of the hot guy you randomly meet in the produce section.  Nor does it help with the slew of men who simply don’t know yet if they will want children in the future.  That could lead to a messy break up 3 years later when you are co-habitating and he gets the fatherhood itch.

It becomes scary in that some men seem to be afraid of a woman who says she doesn’t want children as if she is plagued with a disease or too different from the norm to be marriage material.  What if stating this decision of mine too soon drives off an amazing man?  Then a couple years later, in my true fickle fashion, I decide maybe I do want kids and I have lost that opportunity with Mr. Perfect.  I don’t call this blog FickleFolly for nothing.  I am very fickle and it is the personality trait that I struggle with the most (look forward to a blog post on that someday too).  Right now I do not see myself having children, even when I imagine myself married and a bit more settled someday…yeah, it does not appeal to me at all; however, I can’t say never because I know that feelings and times change and who knows how I’ll feel in 5 or 10 years…or even how I’ll feel next time I’m in love.  I know many of you will think ‘well, if you lose that guy, then he just wasn’t meant to be,’ but I want you to think about someone in your life who is a great match for you.  Someone who complements you, who makes you feel loved and special, who has seen you at your worst and still loves you in spite of it.  Now imagine if you had missed your opportunity to be with that person for whatever reason.  It’s a little hard to chalk it up to ‘it just wasn’t meant to be’ right?

I have someone like that.  Someone who I have strong feelings for even though we are not together at the moment (long story).  I don’t know if we ever will be together on a long-term basis, but the romantic in me likes to imagine the possibility.  And to be honest, I am scared to bring up the subject of kids with him because I don’t want to hear him profess a strong desire to have a house full of them when I would prefer quiet nights, just the two of us, seeing the world and enjoying the freedom.  And if that is the case, I don’t want him to end up with someone else and then I later decide I do indeed want children after all.  So I stand in the land of the unknown, wanting to ask, but afraid of the answer.  Can you see all of these thoughts circling round in my head?  It’s quite dizzying I assure you.

Needless to say, uncertainty has certainly weaved its way into my single life in full force.  Dating is tedious enough without adding a life changing decision to the mix.  I’m predicting that many of you will tell me to just go with the flow and let things happen as they will, and you are probably right, but that, my friends, is easier said than done.