I Don’t Know What To Say, The Monkey Won’t Do

Our friend Miguel, from Sevilla, (click here if you don’t know him) was in town this week and we had the pleasure of spending some time together. He arrived with gifts for Christmas, among which was a box filled with traditional pastries. The nuns at the convents bake these delicious pastries for Christmas every year.

You may have noticed that I said there “was” a box. Well, there still is a box; it’s just no longer filled with pastries. It’s a mystery what happened to them. San Geraldo only had one (really and truly).


I have a problem with the Spanish word for nuns. It’s easy to say, but I seem to have a mental block. I remember telling Miguel a while back about a “nona” in our neighborhood. Miguel’s eyebrows went a little crooked. He had no idea what I was talking about. So, I clarified with “una hermana de la iglesia” (a sister of the church).

Miguel laughed and said, “Monja.” (which sounds a bit like MOAN-ha)

So, here I am two years later telling Miguel how much I always love the Christmas goodies baked by the “monas.”

And there again went Miguel’s eyebrows.

I speak (somewhat) Castilian Spanish, which is the standard for much of the country.

— In Castilian Spanish, “mono” is monkey.

In Catalonia (northeastern Spain), Catalan Spanish is common and the co-official language of the region.

— In Catalan Spanish, “mona” is monkey.

No offense intended to the monjas. I’m so pleased Miguel finds me entertaining.

I then learned from Miguel all about “mona de pascua” (Easter cake), adorned with whole eggs. (Click here if you’re interested in learning more about that tradition. Once there, click on the words “See the full transcript.”)


Speaking of Eggs
Our visiting neighbors, Jean and Ray, bought a dozen eggs in the supermarket the other day. Jean wanted to cook up a traditional English breakfast to include bacon and fried eggs. She cracked the first egg over the bowl this morning. To her shock, it was hard-boiled.

So, Jean grabbed another egg. But it was also hard-boiled. It wasn’t until she tried the sixth egg that she realized the entire carton was filled with hard-boiled eggs. (I would have been more surprised if that hadn’t been the case.)

Anyway, it’s something we noticed while living in Sevilla (but San Geraldo has since forgotten). You can buy cartons of pre-boiled eggs in the supermarket. Now that’s my idea of cooking. (Too bad you still have to remove the shells.)

And back to the monkey…

Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

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