As we’ve mentioned in previous posts, this whole integration thing can be tricky. However, I’ve discovered the perfect way to transform in the eyes of the locals from random gringo to puro pinolero in the span of a few words: dichos. Each language is full of dichos (sayings) or slang, and these of course vary by region, too. Pacific Northwest readers, did you know that the word “spendy” is unique to our corner of the world? That blew my mind when Emily moved to Portland and pointed it out to me.
Point being, using idioms, slang, and sayings is a great way to fit in and seem more like a local. However, they can be especially tricky in a new language, as they often have figurative meaning and therefore don’t always translate well. That is why we’re starting a monthly publication called Dicho Doce (Sayings on the Twelfth – sounds better in Spanish, right?), where we’ll share one of the many Nica dichos that we’ve come to use and love. To start it off, I’ll share three sayings that are perfect when you are on your way out the door after sharing delicious meal at someone’s house, or at the end of a party.
Barriga llena, corazón contento – full belly, happy heart.
Indio comido, puesto al camino – The Indian that’s eaten is on their way. Basically the same as our “eat and run“, but without the negative connotation. Eating the last of the food seems to be the unofficial end to most parties here, and so guests will usually say this as they are leaving. This dicho is closely related to:
Indio sentado, espera otro bocado – The seated Indian awaits another bite. In a way this means “if I stay around here I’m just gonna be waiting for more food!” In both of these examples “Indian” refers to the Nicaraguans, as they are a predominantly mestizo people.
I used these last Friday when we went to an end-of-the-year BBQ with teachers from one of our schools. After sharing the dichos with the host on the way out the door she shared excitedly to Emily:
“¡Él ya ha aprendido bastante aquí en Nicaragua!” (He’s already learned a ton here in Nicaragua!)
Why thank you, Marisol, indeed I have 🙂