name calling and first love falling

Date May 7, 2009

Nicknames are a big deal in Colombia.  It’s a cultural phenomenon that I don’t particularly understand, but I’ve learned to embrace it.

Husbands call their wives gorda and no one gets slapped and wives call their husbands viejo and no one’s ego is bruised.   Kids call each other by all sorts of monikers on the playground and the very thought of using someone’s full name is virtually unheard of around here, if not downright offensive.

Thus, we shorten names or change them altogether and life goes on in this Andes utopia of mine.

I live in this world now, too, and when Colombian friends call me anything other than mona I wonder what I’ve done to get them up in arms at me.  Did I say something wrong?  Did I miss a dinner date?  Did I fudge my Spanish again?

So, I understood completely yesterday when sweet Juan Camilo came into my room after recess.

He was evidently in quite a tizzy and his normal charming, gentle temperament had morphed into little-devil-child from Union county.  (No offense, Anna.)  I let the class get settled into some independent work and then took him outside for a cool down chat.

“What’s the deal, big guy?”

“Nada,” he answered me in his native and strictly prohibited Spanish.

Uh-oh.  This must be serious, I thought, because when kids use Spanish to explain something to me, it’s a BIG deal; it sure better be.

“Come on, Juanca.  Out with it.”

“Well… well…” he stuttered and stammered as he tried to gain some momentum.  “It’s that… it’s that,” and the rest rushed out in a flurry of fifth grade, unrequited flirting anxiety, “It’s that Maria doesn’t love me, Mees!  I mean, she doesn’t even call me Juanca anymore.  She calls me Juan Ca-MILO!”

Oh, the woes of fifth grade love.

6 Responses to “name calling and first love falling”

  1. deanna said:

    Oh how sweet that a fifth grade BOY would even care! It’s usually the girls that get upset! 🙂

  2. Lou said:

    how funny…..and serious

  3. Stephen said:

    Lexie gets mad when I call her Lexie. It’s really funny.

  4. dani said:

    I don’t remember knowing boys were even alive in 5th grade.

    How sweet that he would be so concerned about a girl at that age!

    I would probally feel the same way if Jason ever called me Dani. I’m either Sweetheart or Beautiful. I can count on one hand the number of times he has said Dani.

  5. Anya said:

    Chris only calls me Anya when I tick him off. And I would probably get offended if he started calling Anya. 🙂

  6. Connie Jaramillo said:

    I love this… I know I am going to miss your class and I am here reading your words so I do not miss you TOO MUCH… do not correct me. In this ocation it got to be too…