I have compiled a list of experiences I had had with my parents-- mostly my Mom. These experiences are of me growing up with parents that only speak Spanish. I am sure I share many of these experiences with other kids that have grown up with only Spanish-speaking parents. These experiences are the following:
1. You had to be their translator.
Growing up, I would always go with my Mom to city hall or other places to translate for her. I also had to this with my Dad when he would make me go work with him.
“Mijo, dile que venimos a renovar las placas del carro.”
“My Mom says she wants to renovate her car plates.”
2. You have to read their mail and inform them of what it says.
My parents always brought me their mail and had me translate it for them loudly. They would sometimes just leave the envelopes on the table and I would already know to open them and read their mail.
3. Your parent and teacher conferences took twice as long.
Parent and teacher conferences were always very interesting simply because they consisted of me repeating everything the teacher said in Spanish. While all my teachers never had any issues with me, my younger brother always had complaints from teachers. I remember having to translate my younger brother’s parent and teacher conferences. My brother knew I could’ve sugar-coated the complaints, but I didn’t. I think that is why he would look at me angrily as I accurately translated his teacher’s complaints. The gif above is a close representation of how my brother's teachers reacted when my mom came to talk to them. Lets just say that his teachers were not very fond of him.
4. You never talk English in front of them, unless you want to be put on blast.
My parents had this rule in place that English should not be spoken at home simply because we speak it a lot in school. As an effort to preserve our roots, they made sure we spoke Spanish at home. They also found it disrespectful to speak English in front of them because they felt that you shouldn’t speak a language unknown to them; they claimed that it is disregarding that they don’t know how to speak English and that it may seem as if we are talking bad about them. If they caught us speaking English it was followed by a comment that goes like :
“Ay, ya te crees muy gringo, pero tienes el nopal en la frente."
*I added this gif because I honestly thought it was funny and didn't have anywhere else to add it to.*
5. They got you hooked on telenovelas and other Spanish TV Shows.
This gif is like 110% accurate on how dramatic telenovelas are. I grew up watching corny telenovelas with my mom. I especially enjoyed Caso Cerrado and Rubi. Now that I look back, all these telenovelas had the same story timeline. The long lost daughter of a rich guy is discovered after the rich guy dies, and the rich guy’s wife (the long lost daughter’s step-mother) doesn’t like the thought of having the long lost daughter in the picture. Eventually, events unfold to a happily ever after for the long lost daughter-- super corny.
6. They hate going to the movies.
My brothers and I would get very happy every time my parents took us to the movies. The reason being that my parents tried to find excuses to not take me and my brothers to the movies. At times they made exceptions, but it just resulted in them going to the movies and sleeping throughout the whole movie. And if they actually paid attention to the movie we would have to be explaining the movie to them.
7. You always had to watch movies that were translated to Spanish.
During family movie nights, the movies we watched were either translated in audio or subtitles to Spanish.My parents were not lenient with this rule because they wanted to be able to understand what was going on in the movie. So, our movie nights usually consisted of mostly Spanish cinema.
8. You had to write your own excused absence notes for school.
I literally had a template on my computer that I printed out every time I was absent from school. I only changed the date on it and had my Mom sign it. One of my high school teachers finally caught onto what I was doing, but she was cool with it. And yes, my excused notes were as bad as Homer's excused notes.
9. You have to add another language to your phone keyboard to be able to text them.
While this may seem simple, it is a struggle texting your parents and friends at the same time because I start typing my text just to realize my phone autocorrected everything to English or Spanish. It is so frustrating every time this happens.
10. It’s hard to translate a joke from English to Spanish.
It is really hard to tell my parents a joke in Spanish that is originally in English. They never find it to be funny. Like never.
11. They get mad when you try to correct their pronunciation.
I find it amusing how my parents have their own unique pronunciation of objects. I have adapted the way they pronounce things or embraced their pronunciation, including the way they pronounce Stanford to be Estanfor. When I try to correct them they usually get annoyed of me because I can't help but giggle sometimes at the way they pronounce things or confuse them. I don't do it to make fun of them, but it is hard sometimes to contain myself especially when they are adamant that their pronunciation is correct. For instance, my Mom constantly says I graduated from George Washington High School, but in actuality I graduated from George Westinghouse College Prep. Till this day, she still thinks I graduated from George Washington High School. Here is a compiled list of mispronounced words by parents.
12. You not only get to be roasted in English by your friends, but your parents get to roast you in Spanish.
My Mom would especially roast me when I behaved bad or didn’t do my chores. It went something like:
“Baboso, porque hiciste eso?”
“Quieres que te de unas nalgadas?”
“Vas a ver cuando lleguemos a la casa!”
“Me las vas a pagar.”
“Quieres andar de callejero pero no te sabes limpiar la cola.”
"Mas mejor ponte a estudiar burro."
"Aver quien te limpia tus calzones."
"Ay que estas muy aburrido pusiste en tu Face, mas mejor ponte a lavar los trastes cabron."
"Pinche huevon ponte aser algo."