Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Ten (Chilean) Commandments

Hey all,

Those of you who have studied spanish know that there are 7 or 8 ways to conjugate verbs depending on who is speaking, who they are talking about and the tense they are using. Mandatos (commands) have remained to be a challenge for me as a) there are different rules for a positive or negative command and b) I'm very uncomfortable ordering people around. Coming from a culture where we say "could you please..." or "if you wouldn't mind/if it's not too much trouble" before asking for something, it seems rather abrasive and rude to say Damelo (Give me that).

Yet here it's part of the everyday dialect and adding polite phrases before a command seems excessive, especially when nobody really cares if you use them or not. Well, at times, I wish someone would ask me if I wanted juice before ordering me to drink it (Bebelo!) but I have to accept that it's a cultural norm here and that it's ok to say no. (I need to work on this skill otherwise my stomach is going to kill me before the six months are up).

Anyways, below is a list of daily mandatos which I hear, receive and, despite my discomfort, have begun to incorporate into my vocabulary.

1. Come (Eat!) Something I hear way too often in my house and continues to bother me. I will eat when my body needs food thank you and one portion is enough, I don't need three. I'm no Joey Chestnut (although I certainly felt like him during the bicentenario...sooo many hotdogs)

2. Ven (Come!) Don't know about the rest of you, but I immediately associate this with calling a dog.

3. Pasame (Pass me the...!) Almost always used during meal times, however, ironically, it is usually followed by por favor (please) and a nice smile.

4. Fijate (Focus! Pay attention!) Often used by my professor in my south american history class. It definitely snaps me to attention and keeps me focused on the topic at hand.

5. Toma (Drink! and almost always associated with alcohol) Something I'll probably hear way too much when I turn 21 in less than 2 weeks...

6. Pruebalo (Try it!) Last week during lunch, we had salad with what can only be described as an appalling piece of meat on top. It was some sort of cold cut which was pink with spots in the middle and a prominent layer of fat laced around it. When I asked the name and origen of this mystery meat, my family just said "Pruebalo" and then later joked that the meat was from the day's freshest roadkill. I didn't laugh. It could have been true.

7. Espera (Wait!) One of the few ways to get people to listen to me, especially in a group. But after using it, I always feel empowered...perhaps commands aren't so bad after all??

8. Mira (Look!) similar use to Espera

9. Oye (Hey!) Often times a filler or transition word, still getting used to using this word although, I'll admit, when I'm frustrated or tired, Hey! just flies out of my mouth. Oops!

10. Cuidate (Be Careful!) Although it can be used as a warning, it's also a normal, if not nice thing to say when bidding people goodbye. At first, I wanted to respond with "Thanks but I'm a responsible adult and can take care of myself and don't make idiotic decisions" now I just gracias, igual! (thanks, you too) and carry on with my day.

I'll admit, at times I'm rather bothered by being ordered around in this manner. I feel like people are treating me like a child just when I've begun to feel more adult than ever. But I keep telling myself that I have to accept 2 things: a) mandatos are part of the language and culture and b) people my age are not considered adults here as they all still live with their parents rather than moving out at the age of 18. My belief in myself and my capabilities as a grown up will have to suffice.

Shout-out goes to all my Chi Omega ladies. Hope the classic goes well today and tons of money has been raised for the Make A Wish foundation!



1 comment:

  1. No mucho toma on su cumpleanos por favor!!!
    Looking forward to celebrating with you back here!!

    Tia Mary