Tuesday, February 28, 2006

¿comó se llama?

i’ve already talked about how my name is disappointing to everyone here because it’s not accompanied by four other names. so i’ve compiled a list of things that people have decided to call me at one point or another during my time here – since “laura” just isn’t cool, or informative enough:

laurita: i think it’s so cute how in the spanish language you can add “ita/o” to ANY word and it becomes “little ______.” seriously, isn’t that the cutest thing ever?? most everyone outside of the school calls me this. i love it!!!

señorita laura/laurita: rolando, the guy in charge of the peace corps ag4/ee group LOVES to call me this whenever i talk to him. apparantly there is this famous latin american song called “señorita laura” and rolando always sings the first couple of lines when he sees me. also, the kids at the school have adopted this name for me, as opposed to “seña,” which is what all the other teachers are called. they are all married, except for bessy who’s divorced, which is why they get the title “seña” and i get “señorita.”

niña laura: a couple of the kids call me this at the school. i think “niña” is appropriate for anyone who is not married and is over the age of 20.

claudia: ?????? the woman who runs the tienda at the top of the hill above the school calls me this. the first time she said it i thought i didn’t hear her right. after that i was thinking – does she really think my name is claudia? now, i think it’s too late to mention to her that it’s not my name, so i just smile and remind myself that i really don’t care because she’s giving me mangos and watermelon and i’m happy, whether she thinks my name is claudia or laura. the funny thing is, i think there is another person that i remember calling me this too. i just can’t remember who.

lauri: only one person calls me this and it’s rosita the person who cleans the hostal. she’s friendly, but not very talkative, and she’s pretty formal about stuff. so it’s kind of funny that she’s kind of adopted this nickname for me.

gordita: this means “fat,” but with the “ita” at the end, it means “little fat person?” “person who’s a little fat?” ?????? not sure. i really don’t know how this label gets used in such a weird way because i’ve heard people describe other people as gordita that aren’t even gordita – but it´s definitely not as offensive as it would be in the united states. normally i wouldn’t disagree with this description of me, but there was this one time when i was living in molineros that mama viviana wanted me to go with her and ana’s brother eduardo to the cemetary for day of the dead. so i go over to mama viviana’s house and proceed to try and cram myself into eduardo’s pickup truck, which is the size of a friggin’ clown car. i tried to say i would sit in the back, but mama viviana was adamant that i stuff myself into the front seat between her and eduardo. and of course there’s this giant stick shift right where i’m trying to put my legs. so eduardo’s trying to shift into reverse, my legs are all up in mama viviana’s face and finally eduardo mutters “gordita” in a joking way. and i’m thinking – i’m not one to disagree with you, but for christ sakes, your pickup was made for hobbits! WTF???

chola: more people have called me this than gordita and it means “sturdy” or “strong.” i’d have to agree with this more, i think. because in all honesty, while i’m bigger than most women here, and some men, it’s more because i’m taller. i definitely don’t have the salvadoran gut going on....which i’ve had many an opportunity to see, since one of the habits of a LOT of people here is to lift up their shirts just over their stomachs and proceed to rub their stomachs like you would the buddha’s. i’ve even caught myself doing this, minus the lifting up of my shirt, after eating a particularly good meal. i’m going to come back to the states and be so weird.....as if i wasn’t weird before i left.

delgada: ok, so this means “skinny” or “thin.” how someone could call me gordita one day, and then call me delgada the next is beyond me. but i think it has something to do with the fact that things are really black and white here. you’re either fat or you’re skinny. the weather’s either hot or cold. you’re either happy or you’re sad. a place is either far or close. there’s no in-between, no normal, no average. i’ve never heard someone say “the weather’s perfect today.” it’s either “hace calor!” or “hace frio!” nobody’s in-between happy and sad/mad. i think i’m healthy looking, on the “gordita” side. but i don’t even think there’s a word to describe normal....other than “normal.” so that’s why i was saying that “chola” seems to be a more appropriate description of me.

anciana: this word means ¨old woman.¨ this is a joke between antonio and me...he calls me “anciana” and i call him “anciano” because we are both in our 30’s – he’s 34, i’m 33. we’ll be hiking sometimes and i can tell when he is tired because he’ll stop and act like he is trying to tell me all about the plants and he’ll be like “this plant is called ______.” and he’ll do that like every 5 minutes. and i just hike slow. i’m not in a race to get to the top of a cerro, not that i COULD hurry even if i wanted to. anyway, it’s just really funny. actually, though, i got hooked up with a cool site here because all the teachers at my school are around the same age as me, and antonio is a year older than me, and a lot of people that i’ve made friends with are all about the same age. so i guess we’re all ancianos.

laura ann de cuerpo de paz: i don’t know why, but every time antonio gives me something work-related, he puts this on the envelope and on the piece of paper that has information on it. ???? he gave me a christmas card back in december that had this on the envelope and then inside the card itself. people here are so official, but “laura ann de cuerpo de paz” just looks funny. i saved it though because i’m sure in 10 years when i need a laugh, i can get out all the stuff that says that and smile.

hermosa/guapa/bonita/linda: as much as it might sound like a good thing to be called “beautiful,” really it’s just embarrassing. most of the time when people say this to me, they are talking about me to someone else, IN FRONT OF ME. they’ll say things like “oh, her eyes are the color of the sky!” or “her hair is beautiful.” things like that. and it’s just totally uncomfortable. because i just think that they think anyone who doesn’t have black/brown hair and brown eyes is beautiful just because its different from what they see every single day. what they don’t understand is that we see them as beautiful too! i’ll tell girls in the school that their hair is pretty and they’ll be like “what are you talking about?” and i understand their feeling, because that’s my reaction too when people say that to me. but the difference is, i see more people that look like them than they see of people that look like me. anyway, anna and i were talking about this and anna says it’s because we are different, or the exotic. wooooaaaahhhh....hold on there. exotic??? the my name should never, ever be linked with the word exotic. when i think exotic i think of people from the south pacific.....places like tahiti, or fiji, or from some other faraway place like bali, or the maldives, or india. not some girl from farm-town usa. in fact, i think i’m going to add the word exotic to my list of most-hated words.

gringa/gringita: surprisingly, not many people use this word. i probably use it more than any salvadoran does. although, elba’s youngest kid, rigo, calls me this when his mom asks him what my name is. it’s really funny. and plus he’s only 2 years old. so whatever.

here are some more pictures!!

adios for now!

this is elba´s husband, pedro, at his birthday party on february 25th. the girl to the right of pedro is elba´s (and pedro´s) daughter paola. (side note...at this birthday party i ate iguana for the first time. iguana tastes like chicken [doesn´t everything]. remembering how i had to pick up the green, slimy, scaly leg and eat off of it is just gross.)

this is in juayua on sunday...it was an awesome day and there was a soccer tournament going on in the stadium there. the volcanoes in the back are from right to left - izalco, cerro verde and santa ana.

another photo of the soccer game...my favorite player, numero diez bit the dust big time.

the market scene in juayua, with the ¨church of the black jesus¨ in the background

me at the laguna in ahuachapan

me with three more school kids

kids at the school

street scene in salcoatitlan (a town between apaneca and juayua)

another street scene in salcoatitlan

this was at another birthday party i went to a couple months ago....this girl has like 6 brothers and sisters!!

the mother of the girl in the previous picture, with her youngest child. this woman is going to help me plant strawberries at the school!