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Do you solemnly swear?

6 May 2007

For better or worse. “LO”, aka Laura (a different Laura than “Laura Fern”, whose husband can’t get a visa to join her in the U.S.) is moving to Mexico City to be with her boyfriend, who was deported from the U.S.

She has started writing about the experience in the LO Times, focusing less on the bureaucratic bullshit that propels such a move, as on what’s really important when you have to change your residence, your country, your language:


Up to this point I’ve avoided most of the administrative, picky details that need to be taken care of in favor of learning more about my new home-to-be. In the spirit of getting myself mentally in the “Mexico City Zone,” I recently rented the movie El Callejón de los Milagros, starring a young Salma Hayek. I randomly picked this movie out at the video rental place because it takes place in Mexico City, and because it’s so amusing to say “callejón.” No really, though, I wanted something that would allow me to practice my Spanish comprehension and to see more of Mexico City at the same time, and this movie delivered.

I watched the movie without subtitles. Luckily, the dialect was chilango (or at least that’s what I picked up with my limited understanding of Spanish), which made the movie much easier for me to understand, as most of the Spanish I’ve heard in my life has been spoken by chilangos.

I understood all of the swear words, and I even picked up a few new phrases to add to my repertoire.

There was some kind of swear word theme going on, because then I read, “The Sons of La Malinche,” an excerpt from an essay, “The Labyrinth of Solitude,” by Octavio Paz. Anyways, I picked up some delightful curse phrases from that essay as well, which I promptly tried out on my fiancé. Apparently a gringa cursing in English is off-putting, while a gringa cursing in Spanish is hands-down charming.

My favorite? “Vete a la chingada.” I might need that in the next 14 days when I finally start tackling those picky but oh-so-important details.

Indespensible for would-be Mexican potty-mouths is Armando Jimenez’ Pícardia Mexicana. Of course, Jimenez being a good scholar, includes historical swear words (if you ever need a rude 18th century term) and those wonderfully allusive language of the Mexican street.

Solemnly swear? FUCK NO! Do it joyfully!

¡No mames, güey! Necesita la lana para los pinche coyotes… y la renta, el telephono, la luz…

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