Guatever Episode 5: Frijoles vs. Habichuelas


[“Volví” by Aventura and Bad Bunny]

Maria and Nathalie: Hi! Welcome to “Guatever”.

Maria: A year later!

Natalia: I am Natalia Camino.

Maria: And I am Maria Caamaño.

Natalia: And we’re back.

Maria: Yes, after a year.

Natalia: This will be our reintroduction …

Maria: Name change!

Natalia: Change your name! Rename! Season two.

Maria: Yeah, we’re back. So life update. Uh …

Natalia: We’ve changed a lot since an episode was last released.

Maria: Yeah. And I mean, me and Nat have been through COVID. We lived together again, but this time it was like a prison?

Natalia: For the background… So last year Maria and I were in a dorm together, but because of COVID that’s where we slept…

Maria: We had breakfast. We had lessons. We had lunch … everything.

Natalia: We had dance lessons there. Keep in mind that it is in the same containment. And we saw a total of two other people during that whole six month period.

Maria: I’m still not sure how, 1) we found some discussion points.

Natalia: We always found things to talk about. For six months.

Maria: I don’t know how.

Natalia: Nothing was happening in our lives.

Maria: Literally nothing. Nothing. Also, I don’t know how Nat and I remained friends. Really a miracle because I don’t think anybody could go through it and love, not drive themselves crazy.

Natalia: It can be seen in the increase in divorce rates during the pandemic.

Maria: I-What?

Nathalie: Didn’t you know that?

Maria: Yes!

Natalia: But we didn’t get a divorce.

Maria: Okay.

Natalia: We haven’t broken up. But yes, Maria and I haven’t broken up. We are still roommates. We are still friends.

Maria: Yes, a lot. So, kind of like the beginning, or kind of like our re-introduction, we wanted to do a special edition episode for Latinx Heritage Month.

Nathalie: Yeah. In case you didn’t know, Hispanic Heritage Month begins September 15. And this date is significant because it is the independence of many Latin American countries, including Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Then, on the 16th, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence day.

Marie: Yes.

Natalia: And I made Maria watch El Grito with me.

Marie: Yes.

Natalia: The day before the 16th.

Maria: Yeah, because we wanted to participate in Latinx Heritage Month, me and Natalia were talking about it. And in the nature of how our podcast started out, whenever she and I start talking about something continuously, we just decide to turn on the microphone and start talking. So…

Natalia: It’s an ongoing debate.

Maria: Yeah, it’s been going on since the first year. We had fights. We threatened each other with physical fights for that. Do you remember that?

Natalia: Uh, Maria brings this up when we meet other Latinos, and she says, “I have to ask. ”

Maria: Yeah.

Natalia: It’s for scientific research.

Maria: So the big question today is: is it frijoles Where habichuelas?

Natalia: Both translate to “beans” in English.

Maria: Oh yeah.

Natalia: For our non-Spanish speakers.

Marie: Yes.

Natalia: We’re talking about the word for beans.

Marie: Yes. I feel like the beans are like the … I guess if you were to say the “latino food” that all countries share. I feel like it must be beans, right?

Natalia: It’s rice and beans.

Marie: Yes.

Natalia: Both great.

Maria: I love it. So much. So much. I miss it so much.

Natalia: You just need to learn how to cook it.

Marie: STOP!

Natalia: They sell beans here. And rice!

Maria: I know! But I suck at cooking.

Nathalie: I know. You learn, however.

Maria: But basically …

Natalia: Maria wanted to introduce this debate and have us debate it on air, per se. Is this the correct term?

Marie: Yes.

Nathalie: Okay.

Maria: It’s not because of that. This is because I don’t think there is anything more Latinx than Latinos fighting that any country is right. Alright, so the countries that say habichuelas are Spanish-speaking countries in the Caribbean, like Cuba, Puerto Rico, and – where I’m from – the Dominican Republic. So yes, so South America and Central America mainly call it …

Nathalie and Maria: frijoles.

Nathalie: But yeah …

Maria: I’m outnumbered here, but I have a valid point.

Nathalie: Okay. No, I think you … For the background. In one of our rare first year episodes …

Maria: Natalia was … It’s a sad and tragic story. Natalia was about to leave for Spring Break in the Dominican Republic with me. I think like …

Natalia: Literally a week!

Maria: Literally a week before COVID shuts everything down. So we were all excited. Natalia had learned the lingo … she was practicing her slang! Then…

Natalia: Because there is a lot of Dominican slang.

Maria: Yeah. And then like the week that COVID had [our plans] closed she told me she wouldn’t come which was obviously a great idea. But at the moment, we didn’t know how long COVID was going to last …

Nathalie: Yeah.

Maria: So like, we both started to cry. It was very sad. Corn…

Natalia: I ended up going though!

Marie: Yes. Since then it was as if we had planned it, then Nat came over this summer and finally got it.

Nathalie: Yes. But the way it fits into the habichuelas versus frijoles The argument is that I was like ordering food and at one point I was like, “Oh, yeah. And could I have some frijoles? “And the person just looked at me.

Marie: Silence.

Nathalie: Silence. It’s like the embodiment of the eye mouth eye emoji.

Marie: Yes.

Natalia: And then I was like, “Oh, perdon. Habichuelas. ” [Translation: “Sorry. Beans.”]

Maria: For more context, me and Nat feel the need to constantly debate things because we were both MUN kids.

Natalia: I was the model UN president.

Maria: I was vice-president.

Natalia: Miss Harry Potter Club President too.

Marie: I was the president of the Harry Potter Club in college.

Nathalie: What is it? Are you the number one person for Harry Potter trivia?

Maria: Yes, I like having reached the first person in the Harry Potter category in the Dominican Republic on QuizUp. I don’t know if you remember this app?

Nathalie: Yes.

Maria: I don’t know. I feel like – obviously I’m not the defending champion right now. But I reached it! I was number one for quite a while.

Natalia: What do you mean by a good amount of time?

Maria: I don’t know, maybe for a month? I do not remember ! But that remains one of my accomplishments. If I could put it on my resume, I would. CV: President of Harry Potter, eighth year.

Natalia: And then under the awards and, like, the honors …

Maria: Number one!

Natalia: Out of … national champion!

Maria: No, but yes. So because Nat and I are MUN kids, we ended up talking about it and said ‘let’s have a debate’. It’s quick because obviously neither of us is going to win.

Natalia: Would you like to start?

Marie: Yes. Yes. I would like to start. My argument for habichuelas is that, first of all, I think it sounds prettier. Of them…

Nathalie: I don’t agree.

Maria: I- It’s a you thing. It’s a you opinion.

Natalia: Okay, well, since it was the Spaniards who invented Spanish. They call it frijoles. The correct word is frijoles.

Maria: I don’t know! If you see us on campus, let us know what you think.

Natalia: We’ll keep track. We will keep track.

Marie: Yes. Okay, Latin American slang just doesn’t make sense.

Natalia: No. Now for a more controversial take.

Maria: Honestly, everyone in Latin America has a different word for straw.

Natalia: Yes, like every country and sometimes even different regions of the country.

Maria: Yeah, it’s like the hardest, I think.

Natalia: But no one really knows the origins of any of them.

Maria: Mine is the strangest. We are the furthest removed from everyone. You go there first, because mine is the most controversial one.

Natalia: So in Mexico, or at least in the region where I grew up, it’s called cooking.

Maria: In DR, it’s called calimets. Which, honestly, I’ll never understand where it came from. Because all Latin American countries have like sorbet, cooking, pajita – things like that. But like us, it’s fair calimets.

Natalia: None of them make sense.

Maria: I don’t know why it sounds so good in my brain.

Nathalie: No, cooking sounds right.

Maria: Here’s the thing. Meals sounds like poo to me.

Natalia: But it fits the article. That’s the right word for a straw.

Maria: I don’t agree. I will say a lot of people are calling … I think sorbet is the one who – to my ears – I’m like, he’s not who I’m saying, but he’s who I’m like, “that makes sense. As sorbet because you getter through. [Translation: “because you sip through it.”]

Natalia: Oh, I guess that makes a little more sense.

Maria: This one makes sense. But then like, uh …

Nathalie: But also! Not bound – well, bound – but straw in English doesn’t make sense either. Like, is that supposed to look like a [straw]?

Maria: I don’t know.

Nathalie: Hmm.

Maria: This one is also weird.

Natalia: Question all reality.

Maria: Not us going into the etymology!

Natalia: Economics degree where? But yes, that’s it.

Mary: East all that?

Natalia: No, there are a lot more words we can get into.

Maria: Yes, but …

Natalia: Tell us in the comments which word you want us to discuss next. But yeah, that was our introductory episode.

Maria: Clearly …

Natalia: We lost it a bit.

Maria: A little. But we will resume our regular programming. We have new episodes coming soon. We really wanted to do something for Latinx Heritage Month.

Natalia: Lighter.

Marie: Yes. And something that too, like Nat and I always talk about music, but not everyone listens to Latin music. Not all Latinos listen to Latin music, so we wanted to do something that was generally right for the Latinx community here.

Nathalie: Yeah. Be on the lookout for episodes. Or not. But thanks for listening.

Maria: Yes! We appreciate the people who listen to it.

Natalia: We appreciate it.

Maria: So thank you very much for listening to this episode of Guatever!

Natalia: It’s Natalia Camino.

Maria: And Maria Caamaño. For NBN Audio.

[“Volví,” by Aventura and Bad Bunny]

[This episode was recorded during Latinx Heritage Month back in the month of October.]

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