Already 1/4 done?!

And just like that, Week 2 comes to a close! My life here is starting to settle down a bit, to become more of a routine—but at the same time, I still cannot believe I get to live in this beautiful place for two whole months.

My favorite of my three classes is my colloquial language and conversation class. We learn a lot of really valuable vocabulary and expressions—the kinds of things one can’t find on Google translate. The material has been more helpful than I could have ever imagined; every day my family says something that I only understand because of that course. There are certain slang words that are particularly interesting, one of which is leche. Literally, leche translates to “milk”, but they apply it in all sorts of different ways, both positive and negative, in the local dialect. For example, pegarle una leche means, more or less, “to hit someone”, while ¡Eres la leche! means “You’re the best!” Another intriguing term is hostias. This word translates to “hosts”, like the Body of Christ, but here it is used as a cuss word used to express shock or frustration.

Fortunately, I was able to ask my Spanish siblings and parents about their thoughts on these expressions. According to them, leche is very normal in this city and region, but nowhere else. All Alicantinos, men, women, adults and children alike, understand it and say it frequently. Hostias is different, however. In fact, one time my host dad said it at the dinner table while relating a story, but when I told him we had just learned that word in class, he blushed as my host mom shook her head. He was embarrassed that I had caught that word because, as my mom explained, he should not have said that in front of me and the other kids at the dinner table. Clearly, that word is more inappropriate. Instead, there is a similar word that many people, especially kids, use to stop themselves from saying hostias, which is ostras (the beginnings sound the same in the Spanish pronunciation).

These kinds of terms certainly can make understanding native speakers more difficult, but it also makes learning more interesting! Who knows, maybe soon I will feel bold enough to try using one myself.