How to Speak Like a Mexican: Media Naranja

Many of you may recall from your high school Spanish classes that the word naranja means orange!

But let’s take things a little further, shall we?

Media naranja literally means “half an orange” or “orange half”, but it’s also a common phrase used in reference to your significant other or your soulmate.

Example: Jorge es mi media naranja. = Jorge is my soulmate.

I’m not sure where this phrase came from, but I guess it’s to communicate the idea that two halves make a whole person… kind of a “you complete me” kind of thing. Plus everyone loves oranges, right?

 

How to Speak Like a Mexican: Bocado

As I watched my suegro eat some relleno negro for lunch one day, I pointed out that he was using his tortilla as a utensil. He would tear off a piece of tortilla, fold it into a U-shape, then push the relleno negro onto the tortilla with a spoon to create the perfect bite.

Using tortilla bits as utensils is popular throughout Mexico, but my suegro taught me that the Yucatan has a special word for this tradition: un bocado, literally meaning “a bite”, is the process of using your tortilla in place of a fork or spoon.

I’m not sure if the phrase is used the same way in other parts of Mexico, but I think it’s a great way to cut down on dishes.

Relleno negro before "el bocado"

Relleno negro with "el bocado"

How to Speak Like a Mexican: Consultar con la Almohada

In English, we have the popular saying “I’m going to sleep on it”, meaning that you’re going to wait until the next day to make a decision.

Mexico has a saying with the same sentiment, but it translates quite differently. Mexicans say, “Voy a consultar con la almohada”, which translates to, “I’m going to consult with my pillow.”

Cute phrase, right?

Suki "consultando con la almohada" ... in this case, my purses.

 

How to Speak Like a Mexican: Desvelado

The Spanish language has many words that don’t exist in English (and vice versa), and one of my favorites is desvelado.

The word desvelado comes from the verb desvelarse, meaning “to stay up late”. So desvelado (or desvelada, if you’re a lady), the adjective form, means something along the lines of “tired from staying up late”. Something we’ve all experienced, but there’s no exact word for it in English.

Here’s a version of one of my favorite songs, Desvelado, sung by Victor Garcia. The song is about a guy who is desvelado because he spends his nights wandering the streets, looking for a woman whose voice he heard on the radio.

Victor Garcia won second place several years ago on the show La Academia… kind of like the Mexican version of American Idol. He also looks a lot like my husband, Jorge. So that’s a plus. I chose this particular video because it has a lot of “Mexican” stuff in it like a cheesy set and cowboy gear, plus what Mexican song is complete without some whistles and yells? Love it!