Saturday, May 14, 2011

All-American Amanda

Living here, I have learned the things that spring to most people's minds when they hear I am American.  New York City, California, cowboys, famous movies, McDonald's, football, Barack, the Simpsons, etc.  Here, these things are All-American.  However, I have also stumbled upon some not-so-American things that people here take to be so.  From bikini waxes, to clothes to food, the Spanish have a little distorted view of all things American, or English, and I will gladly tell you about them, because it gives me a good chuckle.

La Americana...a shirt.  If someone where to ask you what is an American shirt, what would you imagine?  A shirt with stars & stripes that makes its way out of the closet on the 4th of July?  Maybe a t-shirt that says I love NY.  Well, if you say americana here, it just means a dress shirt.  Yea, that's it.  No frills or thrills, just a regular dress shirt that every person in every office buildng wears.  A long-sleeved button-up shirt.  Same goes for chaqueta americana (American jacket), which is just a suit jacket that you would of course normally wear with a camisa americana (American shirt).  So, do I wear my namesake clothes everyday you might wonder?  No, I sure don't, but if one day, I walk out into the street with an American shirt AND jacket, I hope someone puts two and two together and realize that I am a true American sporting a true American outfit!

El Inglés...known differently to us.  These two words you see together often, but not only in language schools or to say what language a film is going to be shown in, no no, these you see at the estetician or waxing place.  That is because, to wax el inglés  here, is to wax your bikini line!  Whereas we throw around the phrase a Brazilian bikini wax to mean a full wax, the Spanish go into an estetician and say they want an English wax and ta-da they come out bikini ready!

Salsa Olé about it!  To us, salsa is a Mexican food side dish that is oh-so delicious, but in Spanish, salsa just means sauce, which is pretty general.  So, salsa americana isn't a Rosarita's jar of salsa, but instead a sauce that goes with the American lobster.  That's right, we also have our own special lobster.  In the 1870's, a French chef had used up most of the ingredients in his restaurant kitchen, when some friends stopped by for dinner.  Not knowing what to make them, he minced the next-day's lobsters and braised them in some olive oil. Then he roasted the lobster and placed it atop some tomatoes, garlic and onions and to finish off the invented recipe, cooked it on high heat with some white wine before he served it to his hungry Frenchmen friends.  They loved it and from then on, the mixture gained fame as la salsa americana although besides the lobster it really has nothing to do with us whatsoever.  Eh, who cares, it's tasty!

El Beso Americano...not like French kissing.  When you think of an American kiss, the most obvious one that springs to mind is the famous Alfred Eisenstaedt shot of the sailor in liplock with a woman on V-J Day in Times Square.  While he was a German photographer, this man-embracing the woman, woman-arched back style of kiss is considered 'American' here.  But while I am American, every kiss I have isn't exactly like it.  I guess that comes with the American-Basque kissing style mix haha.

Besos and/or besos americanos...I just don't know what to give you!

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