¡CHALE, HOMESKILLET! (pronounced chaw-le…with the short e sound) The title alone makes me grin because I use this term A LOT, but usually only in my head. The phrase means something like, “HECK NO, DUDE!” Most people who would use the term chale would also follow it with homes. That’s the proper chicano way to say it…but I like homeskillet because it suits me better. I’m from Albuquerque, NM so around family and friends there I can talk in Spanish slang, but in my day to day life here in Las Vegas I just don’t think I’ll get anything but blank stares of confusion here in suburbia. I am Hispanic. Full blooded and TOTALLY embarrassed that I only speak Spanglish at best. I’ve always blamed my parents for not teaching me the language, but at some point I have to take responsibility for never learning it of my own accord. However, I am looking in to Rosetta Stone….but like a lot of things in my life I worry I’ll start it and never finish just like that other “Learn Spanish Quickly” CD collection I bought about 6 years ago when our daughter was just an infant. She never gave me 10 seconds to pee much less learn Spanish. Who knew babies were sOOooo needy?!? Well those went in to the pile of books at a garage sale and I ended up getting 1/7th of my money back. Not too shabby I’d say! Better than getting suckered by a swindler who talked me in to giving him both strollers for half the price of one. The thought of that still bugs me. My inability to negotiate is a problem and not sure I’ll ever conquer that one in this lifetime. I’ll just chalk that one up to a loss like so many other things.
I married a whitey and therefore my kids are now halfers (new term I just made up…you’re free to use it) however they look NOTHING like my side of the family as much as my grandma will say my son is a spitting image of my dad. She’s funny. Yes, they have some of my traits like my son has my eyes which I DO get from my dad, my daughter has my lips and possibly cuticles (??), but no one would ever put them together with my side of the family…which is why I think it would be totally bad-ass for them to learn Spanish. Not by me of course since all I know is basic vocabulary, some slang and if conjugating a verb was something that could save mine and my family’s lives from torture we’d all be totally screwed. However, I do want us to learn it by immersing ourselves in a Spanish speaking community in a gorgeous town outside of Madrid and come out fluent. My tall, blondish haired, light skinned halfers would spout off Spanish at parties when no one was expecting it and I would relish in all the envy. I can see it now…but as of this moment they know ‘panza’ which is slang for belly, sí, chale, espérate and beso along with a few other vocabulary words and phrases I learned throughout my 4 years of Spanish classes and lifetime of hearing my grandparents speak. Although, they ARE fluent (I say this with the utmost embarrassment) in my made up Spanish language. An example would be andalubioso maxamillioso, meaning ‘hurry up’ (real word simply being ‘andale’). Or chipolorrancito, my screwy made up word for ‘just a little bit’ even though I do know it’s ‘poquito’. I tell you I am doing more damage to this whole possibility of them being bilingual every day because one day they are going to use one of my falsities with a fluent speaker and quickly learn that their mom was full of shit. “Sí, chipolorrancito salsa por favor.” ¿Um…QUE?!?
I come from a very proud Hispanic family and will always stay true to my heritage por vida! (Wow, I’m impressing myself!) My dad is the proudest of anyone and when I first brought Tom to meet my dad, he referred to him the whole time as Tomás. He said it jokingly, but if you know my dad you know that there was some underlying hope behind it all that maybe when we got married Tom might actually change his last name to MY Spanish maiden name Gallegos that my dad was ever so proud of and pronounces it with such power that you can’t help but stand a little taller afterward. Since he had no sons he needed a miraculous son-in-law to carry on the family name, which Tom of course did not (go figure, dad) and when I took his strong German one I went through a bit of an identity crisis as if that was all that was keeping me connected to my heritage and even 10 years later I still think my name sounds a little silly. What’s funny is my husband, having grown up in Tucson and mostly dating Latinas, is brown on the inside of that big, German exterior. Unfortunately because of that I used to feel like even more of an imposter considering his ex was bilingual. Bitch. I bet she doesn’t even know how to pronounce congoloranchismo. That’s another one with no real translation. I just use it whenever I feel like saying something meaningful. Chew on that one you bilingual (actually, I think she might be trilingual) nitwit who is now working in the FBI or CIA or some other totally awesome job. But I bet she secretly wishes she could be a stay at home mom JUST LIKE ME. Hey, my degree is in Criminal Justice so I could do what she’s doing (like I had dreamed of for years) IF I wanted to, but I’d rather stay at home and not have a clue what I’m going to do in a year and a half when my son starts school. I’ve considered substituting at the elementary school, which I think takes a close second to the FBI on my list of dream jobs.
I’m obviously not a writer. I mostly blame the fact that I was too advanced in high school (I promise this is a true story…I used to be smart) that while taking my English class my senior year I also got credit for both Eng 101 AND 102 bc it was a “college” level class. I call bullshit on that one. In no way, shape or form did I write endless amounts of papers and learn all of the grammatical terms like my friends did in college. Hell, if I Googled “grammar” I bet I have never heard half of those terms. I thought at the time I was lucky, but like everything else the wisdom that comes with age tells me that I should have just taken college courses IN COLLEGE!! Because of that, I am now shitty at writing even after a college degree. I’m 32 and can’t write sentences without run-ons and everything else (again, no clue) that might tick off an obnoxious grammar expert. If you are that person, this is my disclaimer to you: Don’t bother leaving a rude comment bc it won’t make a difference since I have absolutely no desire to learn the correct way to form a sentence or paragraph and all of that nonsense. However, I enjoy talking and so this will be my words as I would say them in person. I use a lot of dot dot dots, commas where they probably shouldn’t go, parenthesis, the word ‘dude’ and yes I will use the occasional (or not so occasional) “bad word” when I see fit…but just know that I’m also whispering when I use one. In fact, when I typed “shitty at writing” my voice went down a couple of notches out of respect for you. You’re welcome for that.
So there it is. My background in a super quick nutshell. I have so much more to share and once I feel more comfortable blogging I’m sure in no time I’ll be sharing things I will probably regret. So now it’s time to talk about how wonderful life is along with how shitty it can be…and everything in between. ¡Orale!