Latino culture, Travel

A to Z Challenge: Few K words in Spanish

How far is it? Photo by Daniel Levis Pelusi for

K is for Kilogramo and Kilómetro.

Not acquainted with the metric system nor thinking it had much importance proved that ignorance is not bliss.

I was in my twenties when I traveled to Mexico and had no idea that it was important to know what a kilómetro (km) or kilogramo (kg) meant.

Okay, I’d heard the word ‘kilos’ a lot but I really didn’t know what that meant physically or distance wise. On a trip to Mexico City, I found out.

“How far is Teotihuacan?”

“Cinco kilómetros.” (five kilometers).

My mind interpreted this as five miles but we arrived quickly at our destination. I later found a kilometer is .6 miles.

So I figured if a kilometer was about half a mile, a kilogram was half a pound.

At an outdoor market the next day I wanted some strawberries. My husband reminded me that Mexico used kilograms for weight and left to a store nearby.

So I asked the vendor:

“Un kilogramo de fresas, por favor.” One kilogram of strawberries, please.

See, I thought I was getting a half pound of strawberries.

A kilo is not a pound. Kelly Neil photo



Petrified with embarrassment, this pocha walked away with over two pounds of strawberries!

To complicate matters, the shortened version of kilogramo is kilo, which doesn’t mean 2.2 pounds but “loads of” as in:

“Me comé un helado con kilos de chocolate.”

“I ate ice cream with loads of chocolate.”

But, it’s okay to make that mistake.

Loads or un kilo of chocolate. Photo by Flavio Shibata for
Latino culture

A to Z Challenge: H is for Helados

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream. Photo by Mark Cruz for


Welcome back to this week’s A to Z Challenge. I’m listing words, in Spanish or Spanglish, alphabetically. Today’s letter is H.

H is for Helados which means Ice Cream.

This is one of the most misused words in my Spanish speaking vocabulary.

For all of my childhood and teen years, I used the word “nieve” for Ice Cream although I was corrected a few times by the ice cream man.

“Nieve is snow, helado is ice cream.”

ice cream truck, photo by Paul Trienekens for

Most of the time I asked for ice cream in English to avoid any embarrassment.

On a trip to Mexico, as a young adult, I slipped and asked the waiter at a restaurant for nieve.

The response:

“It doesn’t snow here.”

My experience with Mexico wasn’t as great as I thought it’d be. I thought a return to the motherland would bring me good experiences.

For the most part, the sites did bring me that connection, but the people who worked in the hotels, service, and tours let me know that I wasn’t really Mexican. Not that they said that out loud. It was an attitude.

For someone of Mexican heritage born in the U.S, I was often called pocha.

The word wasn’t a compliment but an indicator that I spoke limited or ‘lazy’ Spanish. I’ll save a story about the use of the word for the letter P.

Until then, enjoy an helado today because every day is an ice cream day. 🙂