a wandering woman writes

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


I've made a startling discovery.

I'm not getting enough kisses.

I'm talking e-mail kisses, for those of you who have yet to have the pleasure of exchanging business (or any other) e-mails in Spanish. E-mail kisses and hugs (abrazos) and assorted terms of endearment (guapa, cariño...)

And I mean it. I've definitely noticed my WEEQ (Work Email Emotion Quotient) slipping. Drastically.

Which has taught me a Spanish-inspired lesson I probably should have learned years ago:

You have to give kisses to get kisses.

When I first started working in Spain, I was flooded with besos. Besitos, abrazos fuertes, besazos, besotes (we are just varying the size of the besos here, I believe), the works. I remember asking the IT guys for a new mouse during my first week on the job and getting back a response with more affection than anything I'd received in roughly 30 years dating Anglo Saxon males. I've had long term relationships with less overt affection. Honestly.

ME: I'm afraid my mouse has died. Any chance of a new one?
INFORMÁTICO: Sure thing, guapa. Be right there. Un abrazo.

I only wanted a mouse! And look! I got a hug! If that doesn't brighten your day nothing will. And he called me guapa!

I first noticed the change in tone yesterday. I was busy trading emails with a business contact in London. We were exchanging emotionally charged "best regards" or something similarly expressive (although I think by the end of the day he did send round a hearty "Cheers!") Meanwhile, I was also copied in on a slew of internal e-mails, and sat dreamy eyed reading my Spanish colleagues' notes to each other, remembering how they used to write to me:

Ahhh, the warm openings:

Cariño, guapa, guapetón, Hola maja...

The dull business middles:

"I strongly disagree with the direction this is..."
"Will each team please note its assigned fridge cleaning days?"
"If you'll kindly refer to the attached spreadsheet, sales by country by.."

But Oh! What warm, wonderful closings:

Besos, Un abrazo fuerte, besitos, un besote, un besazo, maja

I decided all my safe Anglo Saxon "Saludos" have had a chilling effect.

Today, a newly affectionate e-mailer is born.

Bueno, guapos. Its time to head off to work.
I've got besos to mail.

Un besazo,


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  • you´ve hit it right on the nose! i love the besitos, abrazos, guapas (and in catalan, petonets) as well, although i am still far too american and not yet prepared to dole them out in force. props to you though!

    By Blogger nikkicee, at 2:16 PM  

  • hahahahaha i just found your site from googling "besos y abrazos fuertes"....this post is hilarious.

    i'm an "auxiliar de conversación" with a semi-new ESL program through the ministerio de educación y ciencias...from new orleans...and every time some random waitress calls me guapa i just feel all bright and happy.

    adding you to my blogroll...yay americans in spain.

    un saludo...
    --ann in granada

    By Anonymous ann, at 11:45 PM  

  • Hey Ann! Welcome!! Yes, guapa thrills me, but I get giggliest at "hija", how i love to be called "hija" at 44....Mi niña pleases, as well. :) Beats the hell out of "m'am" or my given name.

    Forgive the late response, been wandering like a lunatic of late. Will pop by to find your blog and see what you're up to in Granada!

    By Blogger wandering-woman, at 12:51 PM  

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