Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Craziness that is Pilar

My host mom is nuts. Pure nuts, and I love it. Her name is Pilar, in her 60's (but dresses and acts like she's in her mid 30's), and hilarious. When I first met her, I thought she spoke so quickly that I would never be able to understand her, but after a couple days of her rapid-fire accented Spanish, I'm now able to understand about 70% of what she says. Last week my biggest fear on this trip was not getting mugged, getting stranded somewhere without means of communication, or even getting physically attacked--no. My biggest fear was the idea of being alone in a room with Pilar without being able to understand anything she said, and not being able to talk to her at all without Luisa there to help. Though I still have problems saying what I want to say, I no longer fear being alone with her, which is a relief. For the most part Pilar talks nonstop whenever we're in a room with her, so I usually have nothing to fear.

Just over the past week, Luisa and I have had hilarious conversations with Pilar. Here are a list of what we've talked about so far:
  • One of Pilar's favorite snacks are sugared peanuts. To practice our Spanish, Luisa and I asked Pilar if the word for "peanuts" in Spain was the same as the one we were taught in school, which is "cacahuates". As we tried to get the word down, Pilar tried to say "peanuts" in English to better improve her pronunciation, except for the word she pronounced sounded less like "peanuts", and more like a certain part of the male anatomy. Which she kept repeating until she satisfactorily said "peanuts". It took a couple minutes.
  • On one of my trips home from Madrid, I saw I curious drawing that had been penned onto one of the train's seats (F**k the Juraos), and I took a picture of it. Now, I understand what the first word means, but not the last, so Luisa suggested that we ask Pilar what it meant, being the savvy lady that she is. Although I had covered up the part of the picture that had the "F" word in it, she moved my hands away so that she could better see the last word, therefore revealing the first word. She didn't know what the last word meant, even after she pronounced the whole phrase out loud. Four times. But she realized she didn't pronounce the "F" word correctly the first or second time, and so kept saying it over and over again until she got it right. And she knew what that word meant, because after finally pronouncing it correctly, she launched into a conversation about how to say it in Spain Spanish, and how it's different from Argentinian Spanish. So now I know how to say the "F" word 3 different ways.
  • During every meal we watch Spanish tv, mainly shows that are like "Entertainment Tonight", or other celebrity/world gossip programs. At several times during the program, Pilar will comment on who's ugly, handsome, beautiful, etc., which set us up for our conversation about who we find attractive. While Luisa likes "blanquitos" (white boys) with dark hair and light eyes, Pilar and I go in for the kill. We go for the "morenos" (dark haired men) with a little bit of grey at their temples, or what you'd call silver foxes. As Pilar was describing her attractive man, she had to fan herself down and put her hand on her heart and feigned fainting. Pilar and I share the same sentiments.
  • The other night, Pilar had the tv set on a singing competition show similar to "American Idol". All throughout dinner Luisa and I were entranced by the singers, and so after finishing dinner we decided to keep watching the program--we had become so enthralled with the Spanish natives singing perfectly in English. One of the contestants, Jefferson, was 19 or so, yet sang and spoke as if he still hadn't gone through puberty. We all couldn't believe that he sounded just like a girl, but Pilar could. She had the perfect explanation for it: Jefferson was not a boy, but a girl. Luisa tried to argue that he was a boy (and possibly swung the other way, if you know what I mean) but Pilar stuck to her opinion that he was a girl. I'm inclined to agree with her.
  • In Spanish, there are different verb tenses that you have to conjugate depending on who you're addressing. There are 2 forms that you can use when addressing a singular person, the Usted form, and the Tú form. The Usted form is a more formal form that you'd usually use when addressing someone you don't know, or are meeting for the first time, while the Tú form is used with good friends, and someone you know well. Knowing this, Luisa has used the Usted form a couple times when she's addressed Pilar (though most of the time on accident), and every time she has, Pilar has gotten upset and corrected her: "No! The Tú form! I'm Tú!" Pilar hasn't been hurt when Luisa messes up, but it's hilarious to see her reprimand Luisa for her slip. This may or may not be where my fear of being left alone with Pilar stems from...
  • For the past couple of days Luisa and I had intended to get a picture with and of Pilar, but kept forgetting. However, tonight we were finally able to get a picture with her, but not until we heard an earful of excuses. "No! Not tonight!" "I'm not dressed! Tomorrow, we'll do it tomorrow!" "My house isn't clean, later!" After Luisa and I stood strong and insisted that she looked beautiful, and that our parents really wanted to see what she looked like, she finally gave in. But we had to go into her salon to take them because it was presentable. And then we had to stand by her beautiful plants, because they deserved being photographed. With each picture, Pilar struck a different pose that would emphasize her beauty (or so she told us). It was definitely a sight to behold:
Me (halfway ready for bed) and Pilar

Laughing hysterically at what Pilar says and does. Right now it happens to be about how she should pose.

All I can say about Pilar is that it's been a riot living with her for the past week, and I can't wait to see what the next 3 months will bring. Possibly mayhem. Probably.

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