Vacation Shoes – Part Dos/ Deux

Have you missed me?

Well, I’ve been super busy working out and learning how to make bread from the wheat grain and adding carbonation to water and giving all of my attention and mommy love to kids who have been sick since last November.  Oh, and then Sheepdog and I went back to Mexico.  (To read about last year’s trip CLICK HERE )

Earmuffs, kids.  Consider yourselves warned.

Ahhhhh, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.  Say it with me with the accent… “MAY-He-Co.”

That magical land where all I do is sleep and sunbathe and drink and read books.  And that He ‘n and She ‘n thing with my sexy husband.  Maybe that’s how I lost five pounds on vacation.  It’s definitely how I got a nice suntan and lost the bags under my eyes and wiped the scowl off my face.

When we left Atlanta last week, Sheepdog had a full beard.  He hadn’t grown a beard since Kid A was a little bitty, so the mountain man thing was kind of a first for the kids… and most of them HATED it.  And I mean started every sentence with, “So you’re going to shave that nasty beard and…”  But I loved it, so it stayed (Sheepdog’s no dummy, folks).  But then it got itchy and too warm for a Baja vacation, so I told him he could lose it, but only if he would take it off in stages.  And…  It…  Was…  Awesome.

"Me gusta tu barba" - Kesha (when she's in Cabo)

“Me gusta tu barba” – Kesha (when she’s in Cabo)

I found it surprisingly/ disturbingly sexy even though I burst out laughing every time I looked at him (as did my sister and my mom).  My brother-in-law and most of the staff at the resort thought it was spectacular beyond words (the male staff was envious because a new corporate policy prohibited them from having any kind of facial hair… “Nos sentimos como señoras,” they lamented).  Then my dad said something on the golf course about not really liking it because he didn’t want his daughter having sex with a Mexican porn star.  So Sheepdog shaved the very next day (again, Sheepdog is no dummy, folks).

Adiós, bigote.

Now, you may be presuming that I am well versed in the Spanish language, but you would be wrong.  I am, in fact, a bit heavy-handed with the Google Translate today.  Having resolved to learn conversational Spanish after last year’s trip, Sheepdog set us up with a program called Pimsleur, which stresses active participation instead of rote memorization.  All I needed to do was take thirty minutes each day to listen and repeat, without interruption.

It didn’t happen.

I tried, but thirty minutes is an excruciatingly long time to be still and focused when you have a gazillion other distractions and things to do before the kids get home from school.  My lessons would go something like this…

Voices from my iPod: “This is Unit One of Pimsleur’s Spanish I.  Listen to this Spanish conversation:
Perdóne, señorita.  ¿Entiende Inglés?
No, señor. No entiendo.
Hablo español un poco.
¿Es usted un norteamericano?
Sí, señorita.
In the next few minutes, you will learn not only to understand this conversation, but to take part in it yourself.”
 
Me: (to no one in particular, especially since I am alone in my car) “Eh.  But I do want a margarita and some guacamole.  I wonder what shows recorded last night.  ‘Norteamericano’ is a funny word.  ‘Norteamericano.  Norteamericano.  Norteamericano.’  I wish I could take a nap right now.” (turns off iPod) 

Oh, how I wish I took Spanish when I was still in school.  Instead I learned Latin and French, which (fortunately?) stuck with me.  Now, every time I go to places where they speak a foreign language, even though I have toiled (see above) over my adult Spanish lessons so that I may converse on the most basic of levels, it is the language d’amour that sneaks out of my mouth when I’m not paying attention.

The maids in Cabo would come to the house every day.  I wanted to say hello and genuinely thank them for doing the menial tasks that I, too, am familiar with most days at home (also to relatively little applause), but I’m not touching said chores with a ten-foot pole during my glorious week of vacation.  I also wanted to grab my swimsuit and get poolside.

Me: “Hola, señorita. Gracias (internal dialogue: for washing my towels and changing the sheets on my sex bed).  Pardonnez-moi (more internal dialogue: while I lay out in the sunshine and drink a Pacifico with a lime.  Oops, did I just speak French?).  Adiós.”

I meant to say “excuse me” in Spanish (“perdón”).  Ironically, my French slip was a bit Freudian, as “pardonnez-moi” actually means “forgive me.”

Yes, please forgive me for being an idiot but also for having an awesome time in MAY-He-Co.  Especially whilst you have to do all of the crappy jobs.  Gracias, merci, and gracias again.

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Along with the facial hair props that heavily influenced our husband and wife activities in Mexico, I brought some awesome shoes to the party.  Sheepdog liked them very much.

Zapatos de las vacaciones, perro pastor aprobado.

Zapatos de las vacaciones, Perro pastor aprobado.  Note the rainy Atlanta backdrop.  Trust me… they looked even better in the Mexican sunshine.

Good thing too because, all too quickly, our week was up and our vacation over and we were on a plane back to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and the rain, rain, rain that has turned Atlanta into Seattle-East.  We thanked Grandma and Grandpa with genuine passion for playing Headbandz and minding the store for a whole week and we hugged the kids with genuine passion too because we truly missed them.

Then Kid D threw up in the dugout during baseball practice, less than twenty-four hours after our return.  And Kid C was sick with chest/ sinus congestion and we were dealing with snot and kid puke and diarrhea.

Welcome home.  Welcome back to life with five kids.  Bienvenido a casa and bienvenue à la vie avec cinq enfants.

Sheepdog, we’ll always have Cabo.

As my friend, Fat Bastard, says… only fifty-and-one-half weeks and 1,695 miles to go…

Wish me luck for tomorrow…

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I decided to be nice and add a translation for today’s bilingual (trilingual?) post.  You’re welcome…

Dos/ Deux = Two in Spanish/ French
Me gusta tu barba = I like your beard
Nos sentimos como señoras = We feel like women
Adiós, bigote = Goodbye, mustache
Zapatos de las vacaciones, Perro pastor aprobado = Vacation shoes, Sheepdog approved

My Kids Have a Splan

In our school district the kids don’t study a world language until middle school.  So as you enter the sixth grade you are faced with the question… French, Spanish, or Chinese?

Which language is spoken by the greatest number of people?  There are just under seven billion people in the world.  350 million of us speak English as our first language (that’s only about 5 percent).  Almost 500 million people speak Spanish, which works out to be just under 7 percent.  Barely 2 and a half percent of the world’s inhabitants speak French.  And a whopping 14 percent speak Mandarin Chinese.  But that’s on the world scale, and I’m a little more concerned with what they are speaking in my neck of the woods… on MARTA or at the DMV.  Winner = Spanish.

Which language is easier to learn?  Mandarin has something like 60,000 characters and at least one-and-a-half more tones than the 80’s group Tony! Toni! Toné! (“If the rhythm feels good, Baby, Baby let me hear you say, ‘Uh… uh, Baby!'”), yet their grammar is fairly simple.  And while both French and Spanish both use alphabets similar to the English one, French has all sorts of silent letters and multiple rules with plenty of exceptions and compound verbs and two-part negation.  But French has fewer verb tenses and moods overall than Spanish.  Winner = NOT Chinese

Which language is going to help them more getting into, during and after college?  I read an interesting article on that topic recently that basically said that you should learn Spanish first, and then go on to learn Chinese if you are so inclined.  That is because the language that will be essential for Americans and has far more day-to-day applications is Spanish.  But I feel like people who know Chinese are total smarty-pants and overachievers (the “creme de la creme” if you will, and that’s the only mention of French in this paragraph because knowing French isn’t going to help anyone get into college or do squat in the future) so colleges probably think that too.  Apparently, China is quickly becoming an economic superpower and learning Mandarin could assist you in employment and cultural exchange opportunities now and even more in the future.  Winner = Chinese (by prestige alone)

Which language is the coolest to learn and know?  With over 30 countries in the world who use Spanish as their native language, knowing Spanish can give you amazing travel prospects.  Just ask my dad (El chair es brokenado.  Te fix-o, por favor?).  Knowing Chinese can help you when you are hanging out in… China… and that’s about it.  French is a sexy language and it has some cool phrases (concierge, a la mode, hors d’oeuvres, Grand Prix, en pointe, and Allez!) that can help you in hotels/ restaurants, at Formula One events, ballet class, or while you are watching the Tour de France, but their application can be extremely limited.  Winner, winner, pollo dinner = Spanish

All things considered, learning Spanish seems to be the most practical choice for my kids.  And they seem to be pretty good at it.  I heard the oldest two speaking to one another en español the other day.  Then they were reminding Kid C that she had to take Spanish as well when she goes on to sixth grade next year.  It made me really proud.  Then I started getting paranoid that they could be planning and plotting all sorts of things and I would be none the wiser.  Then the girls all giggled because apparently that has been their Splan (Spanish Plan) all along.

And then I got proud again because that really is genius.

Guess what I want for my birthday?

Souhaitez moi bonne chance pour demain… (I took French in high school and college)

Mauris harumd cras… (and I took Latin)

Wish me luck for tomorrow…