Title: Once Upon a Time in Mexico
Author: Tristan Nichols
From: San Diego
Blogging since: June 2012
From the blog’s “About” entry: “Tristan is an award-winning multi-media journalist from England. Up until June 2012 he spent 13 years as a news reporter and defense correspondent for The Herald newspaper in Plymouth.... He left the UK in June 2012 after meeting and falling in love with the beautiful Jacky — a Mexican girl he had been in email correspondence with for seven years after they met on MySpace. Tristan quit his life in the UK to relocate to Tijuana in Mexico to learn Spanish and be a boyfriend to Jacky. She’s now his fiancée and he’s recently landed a job as a TV anchorman on U-T TV in San Diego. Lucky git.”
Post Title: An Idiot Abroad
Post Date: June 20, 2012
OKAY, so “Tengo mucho calor” means, “I am so hot.” Or roughly defined, it means, “I have much heat.” This is what I meant and what I SHOULD have said — in Spanish — to Jacky’s mum while sitting round the dinner table after having spent the day in the sun.
What I actually said was, “Estoy muy caliente.” Which, to my utter horror, I’ve just been told, means, “I am so HORNY.”
Up until that point, I thought my grasp of the Spanish language had been holding pretty well. I’m now physically cringing, pondering the notion that I may well have said this phrase more than once or twice to more than one or two people. The neighbor? The neighbor’s young son? The old lady in the shop? Jacky’s sister?! Dear god. Potentially everyone I’ve met in the last week may well now have me down as some sort of English sex pest. Thankfully, Jacky’s dad didn’t hear me, and her mum simply laughed, realizing I didn’t mean to say what I said!
Adapting to life in a country where English is not the primary language is tough. Our actions — as English — are also very different from what is considered to be the “norm” for most other nations. When we English see the sun, we seem to like nothing more than to take off as many clothes as possible — as quickly as possible — lay down, and roast ourselves alive.
Don’t get me wrong, I get it. We’re starved of the sun in the UK, so when the sun does shine, why not make the most of it? “The BBC says the sun’s out for like 15 minutes in North Cornwall tomorrow...let’s go to Polzeath, hammer a wind break into the sand and get a tan!” Gotta love the English.
Of course, over here, it’s different. I’ve been here for a week and I haven’t seen one spot of rain. Just sunshine. “It’s going to rain in a few minutes...” I said to Jacky’s dad a few days ago as I gazed up at a huge black cloud. “No, no, no,” he replied. Sure enough, by the time you could say “cagoule” the sun had burnt off the cloud and it was once again brilliantly sunny.
Yesterday, I made a few curtains twitch by sitting outside the front of the house in the sun with my top off. A guy walked past looking surprised.
“Esta MUY calor,” (It’s very hot) he said.
“Si! Me gusta!” (Yes, I like it) I replied.
“POR QUE?” (WHY?) he asked.
“Um... Soy Ingles!” (I’m English!) I said proudly.
Cue laughter and a shake of the head.
When the sun shines here, everyone scurries inside into the shade. But somehow, watching a movie inside, knowing it’s like 25 degrees and simply divine outside, just doesn’t feel right. Besides, I want a tan. I don’t want to be known as the “pale English boy” (or sex pest) living up the road.
In a way, I like being the odd one out over here. I can’t say it enough... “I have a Latin girlfriend.”
But Jacks seems to be equally proud to say she has an “English novio.”
Anyhow, the search for the holy kettle!!! You know, after six days I found one! It was tucked away in a House of Fraser–style department store over here wedged in between lemon squeezers and electric whisks. I guess they just didn’t know what it was and gave it its home there.
[Post edited for length]