C is for Comida en La Misión – Madrid.

Last Saturday while I was still in Madrid, I went to La Misión for lunch.

This restaurant is part of the group of restaurants (I don’t want to say “chain” because it might give you the wrong impression) which includes El Recuerdo and El Olvido (translated as The Memory and The Ommission, though olvido has a much more poetic connotation than its English counterpart). http://www.lamision.es/mision.htm

This is the second time I visit this restaurant and I can really recommend it for a special occasion. It’s not cheap, but the food is of fantastic quality and not overpriced at all. The wine is also decently priced and the desserts, at 2.75 EURO, are a delicious bargain!

My main reason for writing about this place however, is the little piece of text that accompanies the bill. I was so impressed by it that I just had to tell you about it. I don’t want to publish it on the net as the restaurant might not want it to be of public domain, but I have “booed” about it through the Audioboo platform. I’ve recorded it in Spanish and then attempted a simultaneous translation of it.

Here is the link, for your pleasure. Enjoy!

Link to Podcast about Gratitude and La Misión.

F is for Feliz Navidad

It’s difficult not to be caught up in the Christmas spirit, as it’s everywhere, for better or for worse.

So here is a short audio piece, which I’ve recorded through Audioboo, where I show you how to say “Merry Christmas”, “Happy New Year”, “Happy Christmas Eve” and where I talk a little bit about the “roscón de reyes”.

So, have a feliz nochebuena, a feliz navidad and a feliz año nuevo.


P is for Problema, not Problemo.

I am currently writing the chapter ‘O is for Olé’ and thought I’d share this bit, which addresses why “sin problema” has become “no problemo”.

In Spanish, most words carry with them the feminine or masculine gender. For example, a house (“la casa”) is feminine while the sky (“el cielo”) is  masculine. These two are classic examples of words that, ending in “a” are feminine while words ending in “o” are masculine.

However, sometimes this is not the case.

The exception to the rule (and there are lots of exceptions to the rule in Spain) can be illustrated precisely by the word “problema”. Although ending in an “a”, this is a masculine word: “el problema”, “un problema”, “los problemas”. So, you can see how “problema” has become “problemo” in the mouths of non-native Spanish speakers.

Weeping for the CH and LL.

Having been abroad for so long, I didn’t know that the letters CH and LL had been removed as letters from the Spanish alphabet.

They have been banished from the Royal Academy for being just “dígrafos” that is, a sign representing a sound.

So, in order to be faithful to the Spanish alphabet, I have removed the chapter CH is for Chocolate con Churros (will include them in one of the chapters related to food) and have renamed Ll is for Lluvia (rain), P is for Paraguas (umbrella).

Nunca te acostarás sin saber una cosa más.

(You learn something new every day or, literally, you won’t go to bed without knowing one more thing.)


For those of you who speak Spanish, below is what the Real Academia Española had to say in 2010 and here is the link.

  1. Exclusión de los dígrafos ch y ll del abecedario

      Se excluyen definitivamente del abecedario los signos ch y ll, ya que, en realidad, no son letras, sino dígrafos, esto es, conjuntos de dos letras o grafemas que representan un solo fonema. El abecedario del español queda así reducido a las veintisiete letras siguientes: a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, i, j, k, l, m, n, ñ, o, p, q, r, s, t, u, v, w, x, y, z.

      El español se asimila con ello al resto de las lenguas de escritura alfabética, en las que solo se consideran letras del abecedario los signos simples, aunque en todas ellas existen combinaciones de grafemas para representar algunos de sus fonemas.

      La eliminación de los dígrafos ch y ll del inventario de letras del abecedario no supone, en modo alguno, que desaparezcan del sistema gráfico del español. Estos signos dobles seguirán utilizándose como hasta ahora en la escritura de las palabras españolas: el dígrafo ch en representación del fonema /ch/ (chico [chíko]) y el dígrafo ll en representación del fonema /ll/ o, para hablantes yeístas, del fonema /y/ (calle [kálle, káye]). La novedad consiste, simplemente, en que dejan de contarse entre las letras del abecedario.

      Al tratarse de combinaciones de dos letras, las palabras que comienzan por estos dígrafos o que los contienen no se alfabetizan aparte, sino en los lugares que les corresponden dentro de la c y de la l, respectivamente. La decisión de adoptar el orden alfabético latino universal se tomó en el X Congreso de la Asociación de Academias de la Lengua Española, celebrado en 1994, y viene aplicándose desde entonces en todas las obras académicas.