Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Eye See Two Gringos

Nothing like solving the mystery of this 1984 photo, almost thirty years later,

Summer term of college for Steve Nay and I, Fresno Pacific. We elected for term living and studying in Guadalajara, Mexico. Our delightful host family of five women spoke absolutely no English...

..except for three words:

"Eye see two."


That's right, they used to make us assume a crazy position like the one in this top photo, while they would say,
"Eye (pointing to their eyes), See (pointing outwards from their eyes), Two (holding up two fingers and pointing at us)."

They would laugh hysterically and take pictures of us.
We continued to pose, loving the attention. And we knew there was some inside joke, but they just wouldn't explain. We got part of the pun, but were still baffled..especially why we had to pose like grinning fools.

Occasionally over the years, I would tell a Spanish speaker the story, but the puzzle never came together until last year.

Jonathan Villalobos is a local pastor who hails from Guadalajara. (I love this guy, he was the instigator behind a really cool Kingdom project...click this) I asked him for insight, thinking it might be a Jalisco idiom or colloquialism.

I was right.

He thought for a minute, and finally said something like,
"Oh, I get it! I have heard a version of this saying in Mexico; it is bilingual pun, with double meaning:

'Eye' is 'Ay,' 'See' is 'si,' "two" is tú"

Thus: "Ay, si tu.."

Translated, "Oh my goodness, if YOU.."

As in "Man, if you (can amount to anything, anyone can!)"

"If YOU two can make it, I guess anyone can!"

"So, it also works as 'I see two gringos naive enough to pose for photos like this.'"

Then good Pastor Jonathan laughed that same Jalisco laugh that my Mexican familia aimed us twenty six years ago. Ay!

The saying is used to good-naturedly roast and toast someone, particularly gringos.

And you know, the two of us have turned out pretty well. If we can make it....anyone can.

I'll be tagging Steve (and out teacher pictured with

the kids) Leslie Mark in these pics on Facebook..

with a note, "Ay, si tú..."

Bonus photo: We LOVED our Mexican mom's cooking, but after a few weeks we just couldn't always finish our breakfast beans. But one does not say no to a gracious Mexican mom. So when she would go into the kitchen, we would scoop the beans from our plate into a bag and into our backpacks. And let me tell you, this dog, whose house we passed every day on the walk to school, waited expectantly for us every week day, saying: "Ay, I see two gringos who bring me breakfast every day.":

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