When Americans think of Mexicans, one of the most prominent images that comes to mind is the Mariachi. There’s nothing wrong with that since the Mariachi does have positive connotations and reflects favorably on Mexicans. The Mariachi has become the epitome of Mexico even though Mariachis originated in the state of Jalisco. There are many more cultural facets to Mexico than just the Mariachis. As further proof, think of Hollywood movies that depict Mexicans. Okay, please try to block out Beverly Hills Chihuahua because it’s not representative of all Mexicans. I haven’t actually seen the entire movie, so I’m not qualified to comment on it. Okay, I did see the previews where they showed the Chihuahuas as advanced civilization similar to the Aztecs. When Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, and Martin Short made the movie The Three Amigos, they dressed like Mariachis. I once took my sons to Burger King and the toy in the Kid’s Meal was a Mariachi Sponge Bob. I often take Mariachi Sponge Bob to Spanish classes with me and the students love him so much I make I keep my eye on him so no one steals him from me.
Actually, that’s only the half of it. When I was in Celaya, Sometimes my cousin Ignacio caught himself in mid-word, “¡Chin … !“, when he saw children around, and not complete the final syllables of “-gado.” My father would start out, “Chi …” and then see brothers and me, and immediately change to the word, “¡Chihuahua!” You see Mexicans are famous for being the most notorious practitioners of swearing of all Spanish speakers in the world. And their favorite swear word has to be, “chingado.” Occasionally, when my father didn’t feel like referring to dogs or cheese with the word “chihuahua” would say, “chispas,” which merely means sparks. So if you hear someone who is frustrated by their present circumstances, and they shout, “¡Chispas!“, “¡Chihuahua!“, or “¡Chingado!“, behold (and beware), because you are most certainly in the presence of a Mexican.
The other day, my Spanish class asked me about the word “chingado” and I was brutally honest with them. I told them that it’s derived from an Aztec word. Since I had the interest of the entire class, I snuck in a Spanish class without them realizing it. I began with the infinitive chingar and I conjugated it for them: chingo, chingas, chinga, chingamos, chingáis, chingan. They were so enthralled by me lesson that they didn’t even complain that I had used the vosotros form of the verb, as they usually are scared of it. I even showed them how to use the past participle as an adjective: chingado gobierno, chingada migra, chingados rateros, chingadas cuentas. Once I had their interest, I was able to teach that day’s lesson easily. They paid attention the whole class. It was simply amazing!
Mi casa es su casa. Come into my home, por favor. So you tell me. Am I Mexican or not? I have books written in Spanish on my bookshelves. I have movies in Spanish without English subtitles! I have a wooden Aztec calendar that my friend bought for me when he went to Mexico. However, I have a regular calendar to find the current date. I have a votive candle with the image of La Virgen de Guadalupe. My mother always lit up one these when she prayed for someone or wanted something. I haven’t lit my candle yet, but I have it just in case of an emergency. Just in case there’s a blackout and I run out of tortillas at the same time. And I also have a Mexican flag hanging on the wall. Well, it’s actually a bandana that says “Made in China” in the corner. If you go to any Mexican home, you will find at least an Aztec Calendar, La Virgen de Guadalupe, and a Mexican flag.
Well, I really did it this time! I was trying to fix my website so it would be even better than before. I saw that there was an update for WordPress software, so I tried to upgrade. Unsuccessfully! I’m not sure exactly what I did, but I seem to have deleted everything that I wrote before. I couldn’t just leave well enough alone! There was nothing wrong with my blog, but still, I tried to improve it. I really remind myself of my father now. Yes, luckily I made a backup of everything. However, I can’t retrieve anything at the moment. I know that I’ll eventually figure it out. In the mean time, I’ll just continue writing new entries in my blog. Hasta pronto.
My uncle named one of his chihuahuas Chispirita. But none of the family children could pronounce Chispirita. All the children called him Cheese Pizza instead.
Translated to English, Chispirita is the English equivalent for a common name for a dog: Sparky. I have known of several dogs named Sparky in English, but this was the first Sparky I knew of in Spanish. Chispa means spark. Adding the diminutive “-ita” or “-irita” to “chisp-” makes the name Sparky or Chispirita, a term of endearment.
All the children in the family loved Chispirita, even though he was a moody chihuahua. When my twin sons were three years old, my uncle warned me that Chispirita would bite them. Although I warned my sons, they still petted Cheese Pizza, and of course, Cheese Pizza bit them. But my sons laughed as Cheese Pizza bit them and they told me to let Cheese Pizza bite my hand. When my uncle saw that Cheese Pizza was about to bite me, he came running over and said, “Watch it! Chispirita bites!” But, alas, Chispirita started chomping down on my fingers with his tiny mouth and I started laughing because my sons were right. Chispirita’s bite didn’t even hurt. Cheese Pizza’s bark was certainly worse than his bite. My uncle picked up Chispirita to put him in the house and told me, “I hope you learned your lesson!” I couldn’t believe the pain I experienced from laughing so hard with my sons!