Hello, hello, and hello! It is SO good to finally be back! In today's episode, I'll give you a quick life update as to why I've been gone for so long, then we'll discuss pet vocabulary in Spanish, and then finalize this long-overdue episode with our final Cultural Tip on Ecuador with three unique customs and traditions!
I'm sorry I've been a bit AWOL these past few months. The good news is, I don't have anything scary or life-threatening. The sad news is, we did have a death in the family, and that was hard. We're doing ok, but we really miss our loved one. But to bring some more cheer to this episode, that's not the only reason I've been gone. After all, you may have seen my social media updates about not feeling too good. I'm so pleased to finally be able to share the news with you, my awesome listeners - drumroll please! - I'm pregnant!! My husband and I are so excited! The first trimester can be a bit brutal in general, and for me, I had constant nausea and extreme tiredness, especially in the afternoons and evenings (in other words, the times that I normally have free for writing and/or recording my podcast episodes!). But since I am finally out of the first trimester, I am thankfully starting to feel human once more and really hope I can start podcasting again! And with life starting to gain some sense of normalcy, I'm hoping to be a lot more regular with the podcasts. But if I do miss an episode here or there, please know it's probably pregnancy-related, so please give me a little grace. ;)
Speaking of that, we're going to let the baby's gender be a surprise, so until we meet him/her at delivery, we're calling our child Little Grace, or Little G. We lost our last child in a miscarriage last year (if you have ever gone through this loss, I am so sorry. It is awful.), and we believe that Little G is God's gracious gift to us as we heal. Hence, the name: Little Grace. :) Now, Little G is due during my annual podcasting break in 2023, so as we get closer to the end of the year, I'll talk through my thoughts on my maternity leave from podcasting and what I hope the future holds!
So, with all of that being said, on to the main part of our episode!
I decided that the first episode back should be a little bit lighter (although I am hoping to catch up on missed episodes, but I really can't guarantee anything at this point). So today we are going to cover some key vocab when talking about our favorite furry family members: our pets!
Types of Pets/Las Mascotas!
Let's first cover some of the more common - and not so common - pets!
Un Jerbo/Un Gerbo
*Yes, some people do keep these as pets! According to WordReference.com, in Argentina, they also call a tarantula una araña pollito, or a little chicken spider! That's a little odd, and kind of hilarious! :D
**The gender of the word is important here. El chinchilla refers to the animal, whereas la chinchilla refers to the animal's fur.
***Can you guess what una ferretería is? Hint: it's not a ferret. It's a hardware store!
Food and Toys
How about their food or basic toys? For this section, I'm only going to focus on dogs and cats (I just don't know enough about the other animals, sorry!).
La Comida/el Alimento para Perros
La Comida/el Alimento para Gatos
Una Pelota de Tenis
La Comida Húmeda*
Cat Toy Rod/Wand
Una Caña de Juguete para Gatos
Un Juguete Ratón
La Comida Casera
Una Cucha/Una Caseta****
Cat Tree (with its implied scratching post)
Un Árbol Rascador para Gatos
*My understanding is that you might also hear it as "comida de lata", since it used to always come in a can.
**Other options I have heard of are "comida de pienso", "comida de bolsa" (since it comes in a bag), and "comida a granel". But the most common name, from what I found, is "pienso".
***There is a growing movement to make food - and treats! - for your pets at home. Have I tried it? No. But if you have, please let me know how it went!
****Cucha is used more in Latin America.
And that is all for today's main episode! Please let me know if you've heard of other terms for these items or if you have tips on Spanish vocabulary for even more pet-related things!
Remember, learning a language is a lifelong journey.
¡Aprovéchalo, Disfrútalo y Compártelo!
Cultural Tip: Ecuador
Ecuador has a lot of cool and unique traditions, but today we'll focus on three really interesting ones!
1. El Nuevo Año (December 31st-January 1st)
While most countries celebrate the New Year in some form or fashion, Ecuador definitely has a unique spin to it! To prepare for the New Year, families will make an effigy - or buy one from the many vendors set up for just this event - called manigotes. It can be in the shape of a political figure, a celebrity, a cartoon character, etc. Basically, whatever or whomever you want! Then on December 31st, people will gather around and light bonfires. Then around midnight, they toss the representation of el Año Viejo into the fire to represent leaving behind the old year and the bad things that happened to make way for a happy and prosperous new year!
The second part of this holiday celebration are the many Viudas de Año Nuevo, or Widows of the Old Year. Supposedly, or rather allegedly, these widows are related to the manigotes, or los Años Nuevos that are burned. But I have heard that it might also have started due to the Spanish introducing yellow fever to the area and causing an epidemic. However it originated, the viudas are actually young men dressed up as women who go to the streets, block traffic, and ask for money from passing cars. From some of the videos I watched, it looks like the viudas are either funny or vulgar. But afterwards, they pool their money to have a New Year's Eve party.
If you'd like to see an informative video of the holiday - in Spanish - then check out this YouTube video.
2. Interesting Superstitions and Sayings
Every culture has unique superstitions or funny things they'll say, and Ecuador does not disappoint! For example, after a woman gives birth, there is a superstition that she has to eat only chicken soup - perhaps for even two weeks! Or the belief that, when eating with a group of friends, whoever eats the last piece from the group serving dish will get married within the year! And while Ecuadorians do associate the color black with death, just as we do here in the USA, they also associate it with the color purple! Which sounds odd to me, since in Biblical tradition, purple is the color of royalty.
But what about some fun sayings? If you yawn, someone might ask if you are hungry instead of sleepy ("¿Tienes hambre?). And if it is raining, they might ask you ¿Por qué lloras?, or "Why are you crying?" I might start asking my little girl this when it rains, just to see if I can get a laugh out of her. :)
3. Bolon de Verde
As usual, I couldn't resist including something about food! I really want to try this delicious looking dish. It's a classic breakfast dish, even a national dish, that looks like a fried ball of dough. But - surprise! - it's actually green plantains fried and mashed into a dough, stuffed with cheese or pork, then fried in a ball shape! Bolon is slang for large ball, so this dish's name is Green Large Balls.
If you want to try the recipe out, check out the one on Laylita's Recipes, a food blog by an Ecuadorian that I just discovered (and yes, subscribed to!). You can even read it in Spanish, if you want to further improve your español! And if you want a glimpse of other Ecuadorian dishes, check out Rainforest Cruises' post on them here.
© 2022 by Language Answers, LLC
Intro and Closing Music by Master_Service from Fiverr
"Ecuador: queman el "año viejo" para recibir al Nuevo Año" uploaded to YouTube by teleSUR tv on December 28, 2018
"Ecuadorian Superstitions and Traditions" by Life in Ecuador
"7 Unique Traditions in Ecuador" by Allie D'Almo for Big 7 Travel, posted in 2022
"10 of our most important Ecuador traditions" by Sandra for Wanderbus Ecuador on January 30, 2020
"8 Holiday Traditions to Embrace in Ecuador" by Betsy Maria D. for Ecua Traveling
"Bolon de verde or Ecuadorian green plantain dumplings" by Layla Pujol for Laylita's Recipes Blog
Same Recipe, but in Spanish
"Ecuadorian Food: 11 Traditional Dishes You Must Try" by Rainforest Cruises, posted on June 8, 2021