The first time Ray and I went to Spain together was more than 30 years ago. We were in Marbella, way back before Marbella looked like the East coast of Florida—when you could see the beach from any point on the coast road. Now, you just see high-rises and cars. But the old town is still gorgeous. But I digress.
Ray spoke not a word of Spanish at the time, so he would frequently ask me “What’s the word for _____?” Our first evening at the Puente Romano, we were lounging in the courtyard with a cocktail of ron con limón, when the waiter delivered a little bowl of peanuts for us to munch on. “What’s the word for peanuts?” Ray asked me. I told him it was cacahuetes. “C’mon, stop messing with me—what’s the word–really?”
“Cacahuetes,” I answered. If English is your primary language, it’s a pretty giggle-worthy word. I managed to convince him that it was the actual name for peanuts, and I didn’t make it up in order to set up a comical dialogue between Ray and a server sometime in the future. (I have been known to do such things.)
After a few minutes, the same waiter passed by and dropped off a bowl of olives. “What’s the word for olives, hon?”
“Aceitunas.” I tried and failed to stifle a giggle.
“Okay, now I know you’re messing with me.”
To this day, we serve peanuts and olives with cocktails at our home. Being a sherry lover, I find nothing better with a cold glass of amontillado. (Well, maybe marcona almonds, but that’s a special treat.) For all these years, in our house, nobody says “nuts” or “olives.” They are always “cacahuetes and aceitunas.” Maybe it’s because the words still make us smile after all these years, but non-Spanish speakers always think we’re just making a joke.
One more recent “favorite word.” Jubilado. There are deep discounts to museums, shows, etc. for the jubilados. We love that the Latin root for “retired” translates as “to exult; to shout with joy.” Woo-hoo! I keep repeating that I’m not retired, but I like the idea of being jubilada.
Appropriately, this evening we will be howling with the wolves. Literally. More on this to follow. Owoooo!!!