Saturday, February 19, 2011

That's Not My Name!!

After reading this funny article, I got to thinking about my many Starbucks names...and really my name in general here in Mexico.  See, in Spanish and in Mexican culture, my name makes no sense.  Reading my name phonetically, Mexicans call me something like "Ah-ooh-tomb-n"with a puzzled look, if they even make the attempt at all.  My staff just call me "la jefa" (the boss), and leave it at that.  When I try to explain the meaning of my name, they get even more confused.  In Spanish-speaking cultures, people are only named names.  Maria, Juana, Jose, Jorge...they're all names with no additional meaning.  As a Spanish teacher once told Eric, "Autumn is her name?  No, that is illegal in Spain." 

In the States, Autumn is unique but not entirely uncommon.  There was another Autumn in my graduating class...I worked for an Autumn once ("Hi, I'd like to introduce you to Autumn and her assistant Autumn").  It's no Mary, but it's certainly no Moonbeam either.

In Mexico, people do not name their children Otoño (Spanish for Autumn).  So, this brings me back to my many Starbucks names.  I've thought about naming myself Maria for Starbucks purposes, but something tells me I wouldn't be able to pull it off.  It would imply a much higher level of Spanish and cultural understanding than I actually have.  I like it that Mexicans speak to me slowly and loudly...I really can understand the Spanish better that way.  So, this leaves me with 2 options when the barista asks for my name: Autumn or Otoño.  No matter which one I use, I get the same scared, horrified look, and it is never right on the cup.  That's right Señorita, I am a foreigner.  Can I please have my mocha now?

I used Otoño this day.  Look for more Starbucks names coming soon...

Guadalajara 2

For our second day in Guadalajara, we took the Turibus from Centro Historico out to Tlaquepaque, another section of the old town. It was filled with pretty typical squares, churches, arts and crafts shops, restaurants and tequilarias! Tequila comes from the city of Tequila in the state of Jalisco of which Guadalajara is the capital. After a bit of touring around, we stopped at El Parian for lunch. Allegedly, this is the world's biggest bar, and it's about the size of one city block with a big open courtyard in the middle. We had tortas ahogadas, which are a regional specialty sandwich of pulled pork on a french roll drenched in red chile sauce and are delicious!

Afterward we headed back to the house and went out to our faux-Valentine's day dinner at an awesome Italian restaurant. It was Superbowl Sunday and I couldn't believe how packed the bars were with football fans! Our morning news sports is typically filled with wrestling and soccer, so I was under the impression the most Mexicans didn't watch football.

 Nuestra Virgen de la Soledad
 Main square in Tlaquepaque
 El Parian - World's Biggest Bar?
 Luckily, no Moctezuma's Revenge for us after eating at Moctezuma Restaurant & Bar!
 Torta ahogada and margaritas!
 El Parian courtyard
That's a lot of cotton candy and balloons!


Autumn had a temporary assignment for the last 3 weeks in Guadalajara, so I went to visit her over a long weekend. Guadalajara is the second largest city in Mexico, but it kind of felt like a small town compared to Mexico City. I had an interesting time getting to Guadalajara. I somehow confused my departure time and left work with only ONE HOUR to get to the airport, through security, and on the flight. Traffic was horrible as usual, but I somehow made it exactly as they started boarding. I arrived at the airport in Guadalajara with cash in hand for a cab to her house, but was short by 15 pesos! I always forget how expensive cabs are outside of Mexico City, so I had to make a deal with the cab company to pay when we got to Autumn's place. Luckily she had money to pay! By the time we got settled in, it was dark, so we decided to order pizza. This is always an adventure what with the over the phone Spanish. We asked the guard for a recommendation, and he told us that the pizza was horrible and we wouldn't like it, but gave us the number anyway. We decided to take his recommendation and ordered from a tostada place instead, and they were delicious paired with walnut and pinenut paletas (handmade popsicles) from La Michoacana!

The next day, we spent the morning getting to know Autumn's temporary neighborhood...finding Starbucks for internet, grocery store for supplies, etc. then ventured out to the Centro Historico where we toured the churches, squares and just wandered around. We were going to get tickets for the Tequila Train, but the ticket office wasn't open on the weekend, so we had to settle for pizza and beer back at the house.

Welcome to Guadalajara!
Central Cathedral
Inside the cathedral...notice the MASONIC pyramid eye above the altar!
Lunch at La Fonda de San Miguel Arcangel
...and it only took us about 2 hours of searching to find!
Molcajete filled with delicious tortilla soup!
More church-going!
It was Mexican Constitution Day, hence the three day weekend!
Miguel Hidalgo with a disrespectful bird on his head
Palacio Gobierno...aka State of Jalisco Legislature Building
Mural of Miguel Hidalgo fightin' Nazis and the forces of evil with a flaming sword and a bible!
- by famous Mexican muralist Jose Clemente Orozco
Say Queso!
1000 piece TV puzzle from my mom kept Autumn busy for the week before I visited.
She put it together twice during her stay!
The only other Saturn in Mexico besides ours!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Bake Sale!

Well it's that time of year again. Time to raise some money...uhh for some charity or something...

What do we do? $1000 per plate dinner? No...
Charity auction? No...
Cheerleader car wash? Getting closer...

Eat that other spouses!

Thanks for Julie for the special Valentines Day sprinkles and hugs!