Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Plain Vanilla Cast of Characters

My Dear Reader,

It's official: I now have a Schwager, or in other words, PetiteSoeur is now 100% married. The reception was incredibly stressful, but once it started, it turned out just fine. And since I that's all I really have to say about it, and since I just inducted a new member into my family, I though I would take the time to do something I should have done years ago: explain to you why I use words like Schwager and PetiteSoeur.

First of all, you need to know that I rarely ask people's permission to talk about them on this blog, and I therefore try to stay away from using real names in order to protect people's identities. Secondly, you must understand that my family is unusually versed in a multitude of languages. Spanish is the language of choice, but German, French, and Portuguese are also studied. Different people in my family study different languages, but six out of eight (or should I say, seven out of nine) have already picked one, two, or four. So it seemed to be fun that when I made up names for people in my family that I would try to reflect both how they were related to me while sharing their lingual background. In the desperate hopes that there are a few people who will read this who will not happen to be kin, I will explain a little bit about all of the people I'm always talking about:

Padre: My father, who learned French in high school, Spanish as an exchange student in Argentina, and Portuguese as a missionary to Portugal. The joke with his nick name, of course, is that in Spanish, you'd only actually use the term padre for a Catholic priest, and he used to work for a Catholic hospital.

Madre: My mother, who learned Spanish while she was a missionary in Argentina. Instead of teaching Spanish to their children, Madre and Padre used Spanish as their secret language when they didn't want us kids to know what they were saying. This inspired both HermanaMayor and me to learn Spanish in order to crack the code. I call her Madre in real life more than I call her Mom, but I'm the only one who does.

HermanaMayor: My older sister, who learned Spanish when she was a missionary to Spain. Yeah, we've got lots of missionaries in our family. It's funny to watch her speak Spanish to my parents, because she uses the Spaniard accent, which to the untrained ear sounds like a lisp.

[EDIT: HermanaMayor just got married, and I therefore name her husband Bil. Get it? Because he's my brother-in-law? It also works because he's an accountant. Bill, accountant, Bil--this is genius, I promise. He also is really good at Madden football.]

PetiteSouer: My little, now married, sister. She's been learning French all of her life, but only last semester did she put her skills to use by studying abroad in Paris. She likes to pretend that we all speak French, too, which can get pretty annoying when Padre isn't around to translate. She's currently in the process of learning German.

Schwager: PetiteSouer's husband, or in other words, my new brother-in-law. He's been learning German since high school, which has come in handy for PetiteSouer, since she has to learn German if she wants to fulfill her dream of getting a Ph. D. in Art History. Yes, they make you take German.

TwinOne: My oldest brother by a mere sixty seconds, who is graduating from high school this week. While he hasn't as yet decided to study a foreign language, odds are that he will once he becomes a missionary next year as planned. At that time, he will be renamed.

[Edit: Since TwinOne has embarked in a Spanish-speaking mission, and because I'm so very proud of him, he will now be known as PrimerGemelo. I'm pretty sure I got that right.]

ZweiteZweitung: The younger of my twin brothers, who has been studying German from the same high school teacher that Schwager learned from. ZweiteZweitung has also dabbled in Japanese, and since he's also planning on being a missionary, his name may change soon.

Youngest: My third brother, who is eleven years younger than I am and too young to have had any formal language training. He's going to be a missionary in about eight years or so, so we'll see where he ends up then.

I hope that clears a few things up. I'll see you next week, and in the mean time, I'm going to try very hard to resist the urge to open PetiteSouer and Schwager's wedding gifts while they're on their honeymoon.

Regards, best wishes, and clarity,

-Cecily Jane

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