Misheard Lyrics (Spanish)

A few weeks ago I posted about some of the misheard lyrics I’ve heard in Chinese. I also speak Spanish, so here are my best/worst examples of misheard Spanish lyrics.

‘Juan caramelo’

Me and my friend used to sing this in secondary school, as there was a cute language assistant at school called Juan. We thought the song said ‘Juan caramelo‘ (caramel Juan), but how wrong were we?! The song is actually ‘Guantanemera’ and it’s areally big Cuban song that is written about a girl from the city of Guantanemo, it’s been covered by lots of artists and this is one of my favourite versions.

‘El taxi’ ~ Osmnani Garcia ft Pitbull

If you’ve ever been with me at a Spanish party when this song comes on, you’ll know how much I love it! I thought the lyrics were yo yo yo me paré el taxi, yo yo yo yo yo me paré el taxi, (it was me, me me me who stopped the taxi…something to be proud of right?) but it’s actually cho cho chofer pare el taxi, cho cho cho cho chofer pare el taxi (driver driver diver, stop the taxi). And it’s not only me, there are loads of Spanish articles online about locals making this mistake too.

‘La polla amarilla’ ~ Chico Trujillo

Truly the best band I’ve ever seen live, this Chilean band is really great. Their song La Pollera Amarillla is inspired by Alexis Sanchez, pollera being the Chilean word for a shirt (the [wonder child] in the yellow [football] shirt). But I heard it as ‘la polla amarilla’, which if you know Spanish will be very funny – literal translation = the yellow hen, real life translation = the yellow p*nis.

Have you made any of these mistakes?

My rEading List

I used the capitals like that for a reason! I recently met someone who kept an electronic reading list, using Excel. He had a huge list of books and highlighted them according to whether he’d read them, was reading them or if they were yet to read. I really liked this idea of keeping a reading list, as I’m always getting book recommendations, but never seem to keep them all in one place – some of them are on my Amazon wish list, but seeing the prices sometimes makes me shed a tear.

So I used my friend’s method of keeping a rEading list (or a E-reading list), but have modified it slightly according to my own preferences. I use the spreadsheet to write down the

  • name of the book
  • author
  • language
  • genre
  • what country it’s set in

Firstly, I have three main sheets: Read, Bookshelf and Wish List.

books 1

The ‘Read’ sheet lists the books I’ve read, and I added two extra columns to show when I finished reading it and my star rating, out of 5.

The ‘Bookshelf’ is a list of the books I have on my bookshelf, I also added an extra column to remind myself if the copy I have is paperback, hardback or Kindle. This way, I won’t go searching in my room for a book that I’ve downloaded.

Then there’s my ‘Wishlist’, a list of all the books people have recommended to me, or ones that I’ve read reviews of. If I like an author, I may also add some of their other works to my wishlist, which is definitely the case with Anchee Min and Michael Palin.

Now I feel that my reading list is very organised, and I have everything all in one place. When I buy or receive a new book (last week the university gave international students lots of free books), I can enter it into my mini database and keep a record of all I’ve read.

Currently, I have read four books this year (excluding text books), I have 53 books on my bookshelf and 70 books on my wishlist*. I doubt I will get through all of them any time soon, but it’s nice having them there.

It’s also useful for when friends ask for recommendations, have you ever finished a book last year let’s say, then forgotten how much you liked it and if you would recommend it? This way helps me to remember if it was good or not. What historical fictions have I read recently? I can check that too, very quickly. Finally, if anyone asks me for an idea for a birthday/xmas gift, by the time December comes, I’ll have lots of suggestions for people.

books 2

Are any of these books on your wishlist too?

*The books in my bookshelf and on my wishlist are different, if it’s on my wishlist it means I don’t have a copy

For links to other posts about books and reading, check out the link below, this post was part of a Link-Up hosted by Jenna, a fellow member of the InfluenceHer Collective.

Summer Handbag Essentials (UK Edition)

As summer finally makes its way to the UK (yay!), it’s time for me to start packing my handbag a bit differently. Here is a low down of the essential items I keep in my handbag on a summer’s day in the UK, where weather is unpredictable. I’m quite a low maintenance chick, so this list includes practical items to help combat the weather, rather than products that other women choose to take.

  • Bottled water
    I usually carry water with me regardless, but I make sure to take plenty when the weather’s warm to keep hydrated.
  • Wet wipes
    There’s nothing nice about sweating it out on a bus, so having a little pack of wet wipes is good for wiping your forehead, palms or other places.
  • Fan
    Another great item for keeping cool when the temperature gets high.

    Chinese fan with dragons
    Chinese fan with dragons
  • Sunglasses
    Eye protection is always good for bright days.
  • Imperishable snacks
    Raisins, apples and granola bars survive the heat without going mushy or melted.
  • Scrunchie
    If I’m wearing my hair down, I’ll have a hair band on standby to tie up the ‘mop’.
  • Umbrella
    Because rain is always a possibility!
  • Light jacket/scarf
    As with above, the weather can get cooler so take a jacket/cardi just in case

If you’re wondering how all these items fit into a handbag, there is no simple explanation as to how…they just do!

Read other great posts about summer woes, tips and tricks from my fellow bloggers:
6100 Main
AMtoPM
Fairyburger
In the loop
Lipstick and Brunch
Native Texan Livin’
New Key Beauty
Rosiemay
Southern Soul
Suite 6Ten
The Pace

this post and those above were organised by:

Beauty and the Pitch

Learning Mandarin

As I prepare for my last Chinese exam at university, I want to share this post with you, from Learn Mandarin Now, the website collected the views (including mine) of bloggers, teachers and natives to find the most effective ways people have of learning Mandarin.

The top 10 methods

Out of the top ten methods mentioned above, I’ve used half of them and I don’t really have much time to experiment with the other five online learning tools mentioned above before my exam on Wednesday.

If you want to check out the full list of recommendations and other bloggers who are learning Chinese click here, there are categories of the best books, dictionaries, apps and video/news websites to use. I definitely agree that Pleco has been the most useful and I will use the flashcards to test my character knowledge over the next few days, with my favourite Chinese shows 《非诚勿扰》 and 《爸爸去哪儿?》 on in the background!

Top 5 Things Which Would Improve Life in the UK

There are some things that I’ve seen abroad that I think have been genius inventions. I’ve waited for them to arrive in the UK but they haven’t as yet. So here is a list of my top 5 things as seen abroad that should be introduced to the UK!

1. Coat hooks under tables in pubs/bars

As seen in: Spain

In the UK, normally, anyone who would dare to feel underneath a table may find hard bits of chewing gum stuck to the bottom that have been there for possibly decades. But in Spain, if you put your hand under the table, you will find conveniently placed hooks so that you can hang up your coat and/or bag right besides you, without having to use an extra chair or put it on the floor. I think this stems from the old Spanish belief that “if you put your bag on the floor, it gives thieves permission to take your money”. Also, who wants to be putting their bag on the floor or carrying it the whole night? If pubs and bars were to put little hooks under the table or at the bar, I’d love it.

Coat hook under the table

2. Baskets with wheels

As seen in: Spain

Do you ever sometimes go to the supermarket for just a few bits, bread and milk for example? If you do, you’ll probably get a basket rather than have to find a pound coin for a trolley. And then when you’re walking from the dairy to the bread section (conveniently placed far away from each other), you get distracted by the offers and your basket starts to become heavier. In the UK, you have to heave that heavy metal basket around the supermarket until you get all your items. What about in Spain? In all of the supermarkets, the baskets are plastic for a start which makes things lighter in the first place, they’re also deeper and have two sets of handles. A short one if you want to carry your shopping and also a long one so if you’re struggling (or just like wheeling around a little basket) you can put the basket on the floor and wheel it behind you.

They even come in different colours!

3. Boiling hot water dispensers

As seen in: China

In China, you can’t drink the tap water, but in dormitories, universities, on trains and other places, there would be boiling water dispensers so you could fill up your flask and sip on hot water. You just open the tap and hot water comes out, it’s great. You can use this hot water for whatever you like, adding to tea leaves, a pot noodle, cleaning cutlery etc. And best of all it was free in most places. Now when I go to a water dispenser at uni and can only choose between cold and ice cold water, I’m disappointed.

Because who has time to find a kettle and wait for it to boil?

4. Available parking space lights

As seen in: Spain

There are many underground car parks in mainland Spanish cities. They’re dark, narrow and it’s hard to find a space to park. But some genius invented these special lights. Above each of the car park bays, there is a sensor with a light. If there is nothing below the sensor, the light shows green so as you are driving around the car park, you can look for a green light and you know there’s a free space. When you park your car under the sensor, it changes to red to let people know that somebody has already parked there.

I think these are great

5. Taxi driver app

As seen in: China

Taxis work differently in most countries, but I liked the Chinese system (at least the Qingdao one). From my understanding, each driver was on his own, unaffiliated with any type of taxi firm. If you couldn’t find a taxi, locals had an app where they as a customer wrote down where they are going from and to. The taxi drivers also used this app and through GPS it linked them up to a customer nearby. Using this app also saved the customer the 10p petrol charge added to all journeys. In Coventry at least, there must be over five different taxi companies and when I’ve finished work at the nightclub at 5 or 6am, no taxi companies have answered their phones to me, leaving me a little stranded. If there was an app to connect me to closeby taxi drivers, it would cut down waiting time and mean I wouldn’t have to walk to the nearest taxi rank in the early morning.

My knowledge of Chinese road names was never good enough for me to take full advantage of it.

Are there any things you’ve seen abroad that you wish were in the UK? Leave a comment below!

My Chinese Bucket List – the things I did and didn’t do

As China is so far away and such a different country, I had a mental bucket list of things I wanted to do whilst I was here, this is the first time it’s been properly documented.

The things I did (in the order I remember them)

  • See the panda bears in Sichuan province
  • Buy plenty of tacky panda merchandise – I’ve got two panda t-shirts, a passport holder and a luggage tag, not too outrageous
    Panda love
  • Take an overnight sleeper train

Window with a view

  • Climb the Great Wall

长城

  • Go to KTV
  • Eat chicken feet
  • Go for a swim in the Yellow Sea
    人山人海
  • Buy a cheongsam (it doesn’t fit but I still bought one)
  • Go to visit the Chinese countryside
    农村
  • Use chopsticks at least once a day
  • Visit Coventry’s Chinese sister city Jinan
    Jinan
  • Climb a couple of mountains
    Emei Mountain

  • Drink Chinese tea
    Tea pots and cups

  • Watch Chinese TV
  • See Chinese city lights at night
    Shanghai

The things I didn’t do (or haven’t done yet?)

  • Swim in the famous water cube pool where Phelps won eight golds
    Water Cube
  • Take a boat trip on the Yangtse/Yellow river
  • See a Chinese movie in the cinema with no English subtitles
  • Study a martial art or calligraphy
  • See the sunrise
  • Watch a regional Chinese opera

To be continued/updated….I’m sure there are things I’ve forgotten.

*Next stop Thailand.

多吃点儿 - Eat a little more

I’ve met some really nice Chinese friends here at Qingdao University and several of them have invited me to their family homes for dinner. As having a foreigner around for dinner is a special occasion, normally 饺子, Chinese dumplings, are made. Everybody is expected to sit down on one of the tiny stools and lend a hand wrapping them up. Making dumplings Homemade Chinese dumplings are probably one of my favourite Chinese foods and I’m keeping note of the best ones I’ve had so far:

1. Allen’s Grandmother’s in 济南

2. Color’s Grandmother’s in 农村

3. Jim’s Mother’s in 青岛* pictured above.

Despite how much I love wrapping dumplings and eating them there’s one thing I don’t like about going to my Chinese friends house to eat….the eating part. Why? Because everybody encourages me to eat, eat, eat. When eating in China there are a mixture of dishes and plates in the middle of the table and everybody has their own chopsticks to take what they like. Because there are no individual plates of food it’s hard to see how much each person has eaten. So they tell me to eat more. I’ve discovered that the elder the person the more they will encourage me to eat. I respect grandparents very much so always feel obliged to eat when they point at the roast duck bowl. Here are some things I’ve noticed about eating at a Chinese family’s home:

  • I have to do some stretches before and after to prepare my back for sitting down on that stool
  • Leona, if you want to eat something from the other side of the table make sure you’ll be able to carry it back across the table to your mouth without dropping it
  • Eat slowly! Eating dinner can take up to an hour so eating slowly and chewing a lot is better for digestion
  • If I tell them that we don’t eat 西红柿鸡蛋, tomatoes and eggs, (or any other dish that’s on the table) in England, they will tell me to eat more of it
  • Some dishes will be cold and not just the salad. There seems to be also a one-wok policy in China so each dish comes out of the kitchen one at a time
  • You drink the soup from the bowl, if everybody used spoons there would be so much more washing up to be done!
  • If you’re asked to toast always try to clink your glass lower than the other person to show that they have a higher status than you – but the Chinese may put their glass lower which makes things awkward
  • Only say yes to drinking beer if you really want it. Even though the glass is small it’s expected to be downed and refilled whenever anybody says 喝酒 or 干杯 (drink up or cheers)
  • If you propose a 干杯 – cheers, you’re asking everybody to down their drink so maybe wait until your glass is nearly empty
  • Bones, shells and other uneaten bits of food are to be placed/spat out onto the table, it’s fine
  • It seems the only acceptable thing to eat with your hands is chicken feet
  • It’s a noisy affair with often three conversations happening at once and people talking with their mouths full
  • The pattern seems to be that whilst making the 饺子 we will all talk together and the pace of the conversation is slow so I can understand but when it’s time to eat, everybody talks fast and I’m not expected to contribute, even if they are talking about me
  • If you give a grandparent eye contact they will point at something and not stop pointing until you eat it
  • Chinese people play things down a lot, so be prepared to hear comments like “I don’t know why you’ve come here, this is the worst kitchen in China” or “we’re the low of the low” despite their home being lovely and the food delicious!
  • You can relax after eating dinner, there won’t be pudding but there may be dumpling soup.

Things I Will and Won’t Miss About Spain

I am no longer living in Spain (boo!). After almost two weeks back in the UK, here is a list of things I’ll miss about Spain/Canary Islands (excluding the obvious – friends, weather and food!).

  • Working out on the beach – crossfit and ultimate frisbee
  • Coffees with condensed milk – barraquito, leche leche

    Me with the most expensive barraquito on the island
    Me with the most expensive barraquito on the island
  • How the butcher at the meat counter in the supermarket chops up your meat how you like it
  • English fails (Ana Botella) and the memes that come with it

    Relaxing cup
    Relaxing cup for everyone in Plaza Mayor
  • Tapas – nothing like some patatas bravas and tortilla
  • Saying hello to your friends as you pass them on the street
  • Tinto de verano!!!
  • Saints days
  • Cruise ship days spent laughing with/at tourists

    Tourists with a map
    Tourists with a map
  • Ice cream parlours
  • Eating outside on the terrace
  • Keeping a list of the local crazies

    Reggae Man
    Reggae Man
  • The billboards that say the time, date and temperature
  • Son las 5….las 4 en Canarias

  • When Espanish Estudents add an E to the Estart of some words
  • Can you repeat your name again?

  • Playing the “Guess where I’m from” game
  • Races!

    Arriving to the finish line!
    Arriving to the finish line!
  • Teaching my lovely students
  • Being known as La Inglesa Nativa “The English Native”
  • Seeing the sea everyday

    Oh I do like to be beside the seaside
    Oh I do like to be beside the seaside
  • Being part of a (winning) team

    Aldake Champions!
    Aldake Champions!
  • Parties that don’t start until 12am
  • Street markets and yummy sugar cane juice

    Street market
    Street market
  • The way people say Mcflurrrrrrrrrrrrrry
  • Supermarket baskets that have wheels on the bottom
  • How everybody uses whatsapp over texts (and the double tick meaning I know they’ve seen my message)
  • Having the beach to myself

    All alone
    All alone
  • The bluntness of Spanish people – “Well he is a lot chubbier now than he was last year”
  • Shots of honey rum in mini beer jugs

    Arriba, abajo, pal centro, pa dentro!
    Arriba, abajo, pal centro, pa dentro!
  • Prince Alberts for pudding 😉

Things I won’t miss about Spain:

  • Euros – the coins for 10, 20 and 50 cents are all too similar in colour and shape
  • Steep streets and all the steps

    An example of one of the hills
    An example of one of the hills
  • Running up these steps (several times) during training

    200 steps
    200 steps
  • Tiled floors at home (give me a carpet any day!)
  • The customer service provided in shops and restaurants
  • Boring afternoons

    Not a happy bunny
    Not a happy bunny
  • The lack of 24 hour supermarkets
  • Giving kisses when you see people… it can end badly (eg cheek-butting, almost kissing someone on the lips, also what are you meant to do with your hands whilst giving kisses?)
  • Bad timekeeping – ahora and ahorita are totally different
  • Strikes

    People getting in my way
    People getting in my way
  • The way that even when the green man is on, cars are on orange and can still use the road
  • Hours spent searching the supermarkets for home comforts such as…
  • The BREAD – why can’t you buy seeded loaves?
  • Getting bitten by bugs
  • Pointless graffiti

    What is this trying to achieve?
    What is this trying to achieve?

When people take pictures of you feeling fatigued after a race

So attractive
So attractive

That’s all I can think of for now guys, thanks for reading. What do you like and dislike about Spain? Leave me a comment!

You know you’re not in England when…

I’ve been living in Spain for almost a week now and there are some giveaways that I’m simply not in England anymore. Here is a list of the first 30 that came to my mind.

As an English person, you know you’re not in England when:

  • the air con in the car is set to 18 degrees and it feels refreshing
  • a box of PG tips is expensive
  • each block of flats has its own swimming pool
  • 80% of the roads are one way
  • you have to wear suncream everyday
  • not one room in your house is carpeted
  • all the shops close at 2pm for a siesta
  • nothing is open on a Sunday (except the Chinese shops and 24 hour Mcdonalds)
  • people eat outside without wearing jackets
  • Mcdonalds serves beer
  • there is no vegetarian option on the menu and if there is, it still has ham in it
  • nobody knows what a pound is
  • everyday the sky is blue
  • you wear flip flops inside the house instead of slippers
  • you can be certain the bus driver will give change
  • they show traditional cartoons on tv – I’m talking about Powerpuff Girls, The Smurfs and Dexters Lab
  • iPlayer doesn’t work
  • it hasn’t rained in a while
  • 6pm is snack time, not dinner time
  • you drink UHT milk because it’s nicer than fresh milk
  • there isn’t a 9pm watershed for tv – swearing and violence can be shown at any time of the day
  • there has been no talk of the Royal Baby whatsoever
  • you put olive oil on your sandwiches instead of butter
  • finding a decent loaf of granary bread is impossible
  • fruit and vegetables come in many crazy shapes and sizes
  • you can’t remember the last time you wore trousers was
  • your windows have blackout shutters on them to keep the sun out
  • you are wary of drinking the tap water
  • the city centre is a system of blocks and plazas (squares)
  • mid-journey, the bus driver goes for an expresso (leaving the engine running for 5 minutes).Image