Spanish word(s) I love: montón


un montón de postre!

Today’s word: montón

Montón means lots & lots, similar to mucho, but used to express extremity. I’ve heard it used in the following ways:

  • un montón de gente = tons of people
  • un montón de cosas que hacer = tons of things to do
  • un montón de tráfico = lots of traffic
  • un montón de tiempo = tons of time
  • un montón de ruido = lots of noise

My online dictionary tells me montón can also be used to mean the following:

  • ordinary, average … as in, un hombre del montón (“just an average guy”)
  • to stand out from the crowed … as in, salirse de montón
  • there were lots of potholes … as in, tenía baches a montones

Another fun fact: I don’t think it has any relation (can someone correct me if it does?), but there’s also a pueblo in Zaragoza, Spain called Montón. The best part? It only has around 150 inhabitants, not tons & tons.


5 signs I’m becoming Spanish

late-night meal

A fairly typical late-night meal of vino, tomate, queso y pesto.

Appearances may be deceiving, but I’m starting to believe that I’m becoming just a little bit Spanish day by day. The evidence:

1. These days my normal bedtime is around 2:30 am, and I wake up at 10:00 am. Dinnertime is 9:30 pm or later.

2. I’m peppering my sentences with words (and sounds) like vale and joder and buuuffff and oyyy.

3. I now prefer cafe cortado and cafe con leche to the large (watered-down) coffees in the states. Also, I have a special affinity for pimientos de Padrón and pan con tomate.

4. My students have discovered that I understand more Spanish than I’ve let on, and they’re talking to me (in Spanish) outside of class. (Though Antoni is quick to note that he will still consider me a guiri until I’ve lived here for a year.)

And the biggest indication of all …

5. I had a dream in Spanish last night! Holy. hell. That has never happened before.


Are you living abroad? When did you know you’d become part of your community and no longer an outsider?

Fuzzy brain, fumbling words

My friend Jessica wrote a post about making language mistakes & feeling embarrassed that is speaking to me in so many ways today. To be sure, Jess’ Spanish is leaps and bounds beyond mine, but it shows that we all hit a wall of frustration at certain points, no matter how advanced our language skills. We’re not native speakers, and we can’t change that.

I went to Istanbul for the weekend (I loved Istanbul and will write about it soon), and upon returning, it’s as if I’ve completely forgotten how to string together a sentence in Spanish.

This morning, I ran into the yoga instructor that teaches at the little studio next door to my apartment (the studio where I paid for a month of classes). I’ve decided not to renew for December because I’ll be traveling and having a visitor from the states and moving to a new apartment (yet again, more on that later). (And I didn’t really enjoy the style of yoga, but that’s beside the point.)

The instructor said she’d been wondering where I’ve been and asked if I’d be returning to take classes. I meant to say that I’ve been busy and out of town, but might consider it in January.

Instead, I completely fumbled.

I couldn’t get a sentence out. I couldn’t conjugate a verb. I basically spouted a few disconnected words, and she tried to fill in the rest, and I just nodded at what she was guessing, even though it had no bearing on the truth.

By the end of the conversation (if we can even call it that), it’d been determined that I’m leaving Barcelona next week because of money and I’m going back to my home in the states and ending my visit here.

Um, yeah. None of that is true.

I was just so flustered and frustrated that I couldn’t even attempt to get the conversation back on track.

She gave me dos besos and wished me a wonderful Christmas in the states and a good life!


Inevitably, I’m going to run into her next week – or next month (though I’m moving to a new apartment, it’s just around the corner) – and she’ll be perplexed why the stupid American girl who can’t speak a lick of Spanish is still wandering around the streets and not headed home.


A little preview of my 3-day trip to Istanbul …

spice market

blue mosque