Thursday, May 6, 2010

Donde Esta Pablo?

In high school I took three years of Spanish. I got good grades in my Español classes and that may or may not have anything to do with the fact that I sat next to "A" student, Paul "Pablo" Hagen, every year. I'm not saying I cheated, I just liked to "double check" my answers on occasion. I'm thorough like that.

Without Pablo at my side, my fluency in Spanish has deteriorated to counting to 100 and being able to ask for directions to the library. I understand more than I speak and by "understand" I mean I can sort of figure out every third word if you are speaking v-e-r-y slowly and every third word is "casa."

After a recent trip to the party store to purchase a piñata for Bob's birthday party, I was alarmed to find that the mainstream Star Wars piñatas offered were small (the size of a human head) and over-priced ($39.99). I made calls to a few local piñata stores that I found online. The script for each call was the same:

Them: Hello Piñata Junction. Can I help you?


Hello Piñata World. Can I help you?


Hello Las Piñatas. Can I help you?

Me: Hi, yeah. I'm looking for a Star Wars piñata?

Them: Hold on. Jaime?! Donde esta las piñatas de Star Wars?!


Hold on. Norma?! Donde esta las piñatas de Star Wars?!


Hold on. Jesus?! Donde esta las piñatas de Star Wars?!

After a few moments the person would return to the phone and tell me that they did not have any but they could make me one by Thursday or Thursday or Wednesday. I then drove to a small Mexican party store not too far from home and see if they had any in stock. The tiny store was packed with piñatas. A Mexican grandma sat behind the counter eating take-out Thai food, watching a tele-novella on a small TV.

Her: Hola!

Me: Hola! Donde esta las piñatas de Star Wars?

I smiled, impressing myself with my amazing accent. La Grandma then launched into a long involved answer in Spanish. I nodded uncomprehendingly, smiled again and handed her the contents of my wallet.

I will pick up my Star Wars piñata in two days and it will be made quickly by her husband who is named Diego and likes football at the house.


I will pick up my Star Wars piñata in eighteen days and it will be the size of a four footballs house footballs.


I will pick up my football piñata in four days and a Go Diego bouncy house will be delivered at eighteen hundred hours.

Muchas gracias para nada, Paul Hagen.


  1. I'm hoping whatever you get it comes with a bouncy house. You earned it.

  2. That's hysterical. I am WAY impressed that you got that much out of it. With my two (barely passed) years of Spanish, I might have been able to ask grandma where the bathroom was, over and over and over. My bladder would burst long before I understood that it was down the hall to the left.

  3. too funny and you can count to 100! Wow ! Can't wait for a follow up on pinata!Have a happy Mother's Day!

  4. You will never forget how to ask for a Star Wars pinata in Spanish again.
    I love that you now have a pinata guy.

  5. OMG. I can't wait to see what comes. Absolutely hilarious. You are so damn funny. I'm sure Bob will love it no matter what it is!

  6. The beautiful thing about living in Texas is that all my knowledge of the Spanish language is food/drink-related. I'm pretty sure the only phrase I've ever really needed is "Donde esta las enchiladas y las margaritas?"

  7. Oh my gosh. That was hysterical.

    I loved it.

    Perfect reading. You can say so much in minimum words.

    I love it. Knowing spanish, it's even funnier.

    True story: lots gets lost in translation.

    This was excellent. Thank you!

    And have a wonderful Mother's Day.

    Pinata pictures, please? Have to see what they come up with.

  8. I learned how to tell the Spanish gardeners in our apartment complex that they needed to water the plants. I got it off iGoogle's home page, which has a translator search on it.

    When they showed up I was embarrassed because they were Asian. The pool guy is Spanish.

  9. I laughed so hard when I first read this this morning, and again when I re-read it right now. You know how to tell a story. Can't wait for the photos of tomorrow's destruction I mean celebration.

  10. Oh my goodness, this sounds exactly like my entire existence living in Montreal, only with the Francais. Tres difficile.

    I must see pics of this pinata. Or the football something. Or the Diego bouncy house... in any case, it will be awesome.

    You're hilarious. I loved this story, girl. Hee!!

  11. I love lost in translation stories! So what ever happened?