Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Chencha-isms and Rocío

(Dear Lacey, I finally wrote another blog. Happy now? Love, Lyndsay)

Living with a 65 year old Spanish woman is definitely an experience. (I would have included my 45 year old brother in that statement, but he's rarely here, so he doesn't really count.) I'm not sure if its the age or the Spanish, but Chencha has her opinions, and is not afraid to impart her wisdom upon Chantel and me. Things I have learned thus far:

1. Eating shrimp will make you prettier.
2. Running as exercise will make your veins contract into balls.
3. Eating salad after the meal, rather than before, protects your stomach and your food. (From what, she didn't specify.)
4. If you want to not get fat, you should walk. Actually, you should dance. Dancing is the absolute best way to exercise.
5. There's always more space in your stomach for an orange.
6. Oranges also improve your appearance.
7. Olive oil is God's gift to this earth.

Needless to say, Chantel and I are soaking up these new truths without a hint of hesitation.

Last weekend, the other God's gift to the Earth came to visit: Chencha's granddaughter Rocío. In reality, Chencha has three grandchildren, Rocío and two boys, Ivan and Leo, but its clear who's the favorite. Rocío is a spunky 10 year old with a Cindy Crawford-esque mole on her left cheek who is not afraid to correct me every time I mispronounce the word "Euro." Which was a lot, considering on Saturday morning we went to the "mercadillo."

Literally translated, "mercadillo" means little market. In reality, its more like a gigantic flea market of possibly stolen goods. I say possibly because the origin of the multitude of shoes, bags, clothes, toys, and other general crap remains unknown. Looking past this sketchiness, the market was a very cool and slightly overwhelming experience. Imagine hundreds of spaniards, speaking and yelling in rapid Spanish, trying to get you to buy things that are "¡DE MODA Y CUALIDAD!" (fashionable and high quality) At one point, a man was trying to persuade me to buy a rather ugly dress for 15 euro (21 US dollars) by saying "You're an American, you're all rich!" I was pumped that I could actually understand him, and replied, "No, that's a myth" and walked away, secretly doing a victory dance for completing my first Spanish come-back with a local.

Rocío loved the market. Like I said, she's a ten year old, and as such, possesses some incredibly tacky taste. She is drawn to anything that is outrageously shiny, excessively furry, wildly metallic, overly embellished, or remotely associated with Hannah Montana. And even though I had to pretend I thought everything she showed me was 'muy guay' (very cool) with a lot of enthusiasm, she made me feel like less of an outsider, and more like family.

[Rocío and I trying on hats at the mercadillo.]

That night at dinner, Chencha and Rocío were arguing about food (Rocío is MUCH more comfortable refusing food from Chencha than Chantel and I, for obvious reasons), while Chantel and I sat awkwardly across from them and intently stared at our soups. After a heated debate with fervent spanish arm waving from both sides, Rocío looked at her grandma and asked in a small voice '¿Besito?' (little kiss?) And while I watched them hug and kiss on the cheek, I suddenly realized that Chencha is a grandma, just like mine. For all of the things that she says to us, and for all of the food that she makes us eat, in that moment, I wouldn't have been able to tell her apart from my either of my grandmas. She spoils Rocío, secretly gives her sweets, and wants the best for her, just like my family does for me. It can be hard living with her, its true, but at the end of the day, it doesn't matter that she's from a different culture. Things like family and love don't change with language; they can translate and be understood no matter where you go in the world. All I just needed a little trip from a 10 year old to remember that. Gracias, Rocío.

1 comment:

kalli11 said...

I absolutely loved the stated 'rules'. Isn't it funny how we're so convinced we're right about something until someone presents us with a completely foreign idea? I learned I would get sick if I didn't wear slippers, tea with lemon cures everything, bacon should be eaten raw, and that I shouldn't date boys until i'm at least 28. Interestingly enough, it's these quirks that make you fall in love with the country..