Latino culture

A to Z Challenge Just Became More Challenging: W and X

Today I’m listing two words in Spanish that beginning with W and X.

Why?

There are no native words in Mexican Spanish that begin with the letter W.

I wonder if that’s the case in other languages?

Most W words are English based, like “WiFi,” meaning wireless networks.

In a sentence, you’d hear someone say “Hay wifi?” translation, “Is there wifi?

Wifi symbol, photo by rawpixel.com for unsplash.com

 

There are plenty of words that begin with X but most are proper nouns, Mayan or Nahuatl words. Such as:

Xavier, which is a male name,

or the infamous Xolo, short for Xoloitzcuintli (pronounced show-loh-eets-KWENT-lee) a pre-Columbian dog dating back 3,500 years.

The Xolo is featured in paintings by Frida Kahlo, whose husband Diego Rivera had as pets. The breed has been AKC registered since the late 1800’s.

Cute but not fluffy:

The Xoloitzcuintli

So, today’s challenge was short and sweet, like Wifi and Xolo.

See you Saturday and thanks for visiting.

Latino culture

A to Z Challenge: V is for Viva

Two words today, in our continuation of Spanish words, both with the letter V:
Long Live LIfe! photo by davidson luna, unsplash.com

 

Viva can mean “Long live…” or be a cheer like “Hurrah!”

You can use the words together:

¡Viva la Vida!

A good phrase to remember when you feel full of joy.

Family, Latino culture

A to Z Challenge: U is for Uvas

A canopy of grape vines, photo by Igor Ovsyannykov, unsplash.com

The Spanish word uvas means grapes.

When I think of grapes many memories come to mind.

My mother’s family were migrant workers; her father a foreman. They followed the crops from Pomona, California to Fresno and all the little towns in between in the great California Central Valley.

Picking fruit, nuts, and citrus in 90-degree weather was the norm for Mom, her brothers, and sisters. They spent a childhood in migrant camps, traveling from town to town in a loaded down jalopy like the Joad family in the book, Grapes of Wrath.

One of her first memories is playing under a sunshade of green grape vines where the earth felt cool. At four years old, she cared for her baby sister as their mother worked up and down the vineyard rows clipping clusters of grapes.

When I think of uvas, I remember Cesar Chavez’ boycott which began in 1965. Although Mom no longer worked in the vineyards she honored the boycott and made sure everyone in the family did so too.

In 1970 the United Farm Workers union won their first contract and we could eat grapes again, but that was shortlived. Growers broke the union contracts three years later and signed sweetheart deals with the Teamsters Union.

In 1973, the family boycotted grapes again. I remember the bumper stickers, NO UVAS, and the boycott against Gallo Vineyards.

That boycott of grapes lasted until 1977. I was in college by then; carrying No Uvas, No Grapes signs in front of Safeway stores in Santa Barbara and my hometown of Oxnard.

College students and workers in Philadelphia boycotting grapes, 1976. Getty images

This tiny fruit, the uva, carries a huge weight of memories.

Thanks for reading.

Family, Latino culture

A to Z Challenge: S and T are for Sábanas y Toallas

photo by Igor Ovsyannykov for unsplash.com

This is the last week of the A to Z challenge, which presented me with (you know the answer)-

challenges.

I’ve never blogged every day; at the most twice a week and lately twice a month. This endeavor tested my commitment and discipline which were good things.

Every once and a while test yourself, commit to something new, dare yourself to try what you haven’t tried before.

Now on to the letter S and T.

The words that begin with the letters S and T which I’m most familiar with are sábanas and toallas.

These words mean bedsheets and towels.

During my childhood we were poor. Living in the housing projects poor, state government food poor, no dryer poor. We hung clothes on the rope clothesline in our asphalt backyard.

My job was to hang the sábanas and the toallas. They were the large items and with a little struggle, I could throw them on the clothesline.

The smell of bleach and detergent hovered in the air around me as I made my way down the lines.

Mom came behind me, taking wood clothespins out of her blue gingham apron pocket, and pinned the sheets and towels.

Old fashioned wood clothespins. Photo by Nong Vang for unsplash.com

I’d sit on the porch watching the white sábanas and colorful toallas sway in the breeze, feeling important because I helped my mom. I wondered when I’d grow tall enough to hang and pin the clothes myself.

By the time I turned nine, I could reach the clothesline. Hanging wet blouses, heavy jeans, and the families underwear (except Mom’s, who hung them in the shower during the night) was no longer a desire but a chore.

At that point, my daydreams switched to Mom buying a clothes dryer.