Lo Que Pica el Gallo

Hablando de lo que pica el gallo…formando un arroz con mango.

Calabaza, calabaza…

En esta locura de mi casa, it’s hard to get much work or studying done. If you think your Cuban house is loud, pay me a visit someday, you’ll see where I’m coming from. Granted, it’s no calle ocho Caretta. After all, the majority of us residing in it are first generation Americans, but the eccentricity (and loudness, if that’s even a word) of our Cuban heritage does not go unnoticed.

I’m sure some of you can relate to the following:

There’s something frying over the stove top and the stench of it will linger on in the threads of my clothes until their next wash. Papi is speaking loudly over the phone. A call to Cuba and although he knows the lines work properly (they’re from his company and they’ve been tested often) he still finds the need to raise his voice a few notches past his normal, already loud volume. I think knowing the distance apart from the person on the other side of the receiver has something to do with the volume in which we speak, although distance is nearly irrelevant over the phone.

In the kitchen, Mom is simultaneously cooking 3 different meals because the youngest of my siblings is un poco malcriado and a picky eater, my father is tired of eating pechuga de pollo as we have been laying off la grasa for sometime now and the rest of us are trying to shed the inevitable pounds we gained over the years from simply being Cuban. Somewhere between preparing the rice cooker, friendo los platanitos and seasoning the chicken, she grabs el palo de trapear y le da un pason a la cocina while she yells “No entran en la cocina! Esta mojado el piso.” The Mistolin is unsuccessful at hiding the stench of el bistec that’s sitting over the stove. Of course, the minute she puts the mop down one of her children walks into the kitchen, usually accompanied by one of the many friends from la pandilla, leaving dirty shoe prints in front of the fridge and later, a collection of dirty dishes in the sink. This sends my mom on another yelling spree, ending in “Haga me el favor, sal de la cocina cacho de cabron!”

In one of the bedrooms, the boys are sprawled out over the bed with XBox (sometimes Wii) controllers in their hands, arguing over which of them is better and why. It seems that with them, everything is a competition and there is always something to prove. From the computer speakers, hip hop music spills into whatever free space of sound may have remained. One of the friends at the computer switches between songs while they discuss who of these music artist is a better rapper, stirring another argument over 7 or 8 young men. Dad, who got off the phone with Cuba moments earlier is now on the line with a potential client and is enraged by the noise coming from down the hall. He puts the phone on hold and from the dining room yells out to the boys in the room, all the while my mother yelling at him, telling him the boys obviously can’t hear him.

7 cats roam around the house, encaramandose en lo que no deben, zipping by our grumpy chihuahua and waking him as they do so. He growls and barks proving that even the tiniest of us living in the house can be loud too. Someone yells at the cats, people walk in and out of the house as they wish (sometimes my house resembles La Carreta more than I care to acknowledge) and the door stays unlocked until the late hours of the night, the early hours of the morning.

So how do I get any studying done at home? I don’t. How does anyone go to sleep early enough to get some rest for work the next morning? They don’t. But in cases when embracing the loud chatter of my household or blocking out the noise of all the extra people in my house doesn’t work, I turn to the simple solution of kicking half the noise out.

“Calabaza, calabaza. Cada uno pa’ su casa.”

Who knew pumpkins could be so helpful?

About Lyanis

I'm always a little skeptical about filling out an "About Me" section. I'm supposed to tell you about who I am, when really, as wordy as I tend to be, no one can really get to know someone from a box confined to a certain number of characters. You see, I'm a bit complicated. I don't like to admit it, partially because I like the simple things in life but truth is, we're all complicated and none of us come with instructions on how to decode one another. So in the mean time, to better understand me for me, I'll give you the basics: I'm a hometown Miami girl born to Cuban parents. I'm the only girl of 4 children still living at home with mom and dad while I work and study in hopes that one day, all this writing pays off and...well... literally pays off. I'm working on getting my Bachelor's degree in English with a minor in Communications. I tried reaching for my roots and focusing in on Spanish, pero que 'va, I like Cuban Spanish and Spanglish way better than the Spanish the teach in college. Both my parents have instilled the importance of family and togetherness in me and my siblings. For that, I'm thankful. Although at times my house resembles una casa de locos, it is that very essence that makes me a little bit more of who I am, and provides me with the material I write about here. I have big dreams for myself as well as for Lo Que Pica El Gallo. This is just the beginning of a long journey and I sure do hope you stick around to see where it takes us.

9 comments on “Calabaza, calabaza…

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Calabaza, calabaza… « Lo Que Pica el Gallo -- Topsy.com

  2. Isis Mendez
    August 4, 2010

    Wonderful writing,ff there was ever a better way of describing your househould, I haven’t read it yet. I can close my eyes and see it. I love it!

  3. Lourdes Alonso
    August 4, 2010

    It was very enjoyable to have a look at my crazy home through your eyes. Yo se que somos de madre, but wow what memories to look back upon when you all have a home and families of your own!

    August 5, 2010

    LOL… Lourdes, speaking on behalf of Latinos in general, true hispanics move out on their own with their families, but those houses are more for “back up” purposes than anything, because they will most likely spend most of their time at your house regardless. 🙂

    I remember Lyanis telling me how “bad” her house was for studying and I said “Can’t be that bad”. Then I went over… my first time being over for homework purposes… and realized it was 2:30am, we were finishing our project falling asleep, but the house was WIDE AWAKE! I love it.

    Write a blog about being the only girl!

    • Lyanis
      August 5, 2010

      Joanna you are one of the few who have had the opportunity to see exactly what I was talking about here. Sure, everyone else can relate, but no one else has tried to do homework at my house. Well, except for Juanito who would actually leave his peaceful home because he said it was too quiet to concentrate. lol.

      the post about being the only girl is in the works.

  5. lolalauren
    August 5, 2010

    LOL I laughed when you talked about your little man, he might be small but he packs a punch! lol your house is exciting! lol my mom says the same thing when cleaning the floor there might be a bit more vulgarity though… que class de cubanos somos

  6. iliu
    August 9, 2010

    Ly i def. wanna read the only girl post lmao i can especially relate

  7. Carrie @ Tiki Tiki Blog!
    August 15, 2010

    As someone who grew up in the Cuban crazy of Miami and moved away — only to spend a lifetime telling and writing stories about said crazy — I have to say, you capture it beautifully.

    Your blog is a delight and, can I just say that I enjoy it even more because I read it from afar in Tennessee?

    Mucho gusto, ladies. Keep up the good work.

    • Lyanis
      August 15, 2010


      When Lo Que Pica el Gallo was just an idea in my head that I shared with my co-writer/worker Lauren, I did some browsing on cuban-american sites and blogs online and came across tiki tiki blog. I have to say, I feel so honored that you have come across ours now. Thanks for the wonderful comment. I can only hope that Lo Que Pica el Gallo flourishes to something as lively and entertaining as tiki tiki.

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This entry was posted on August 4, 2010 by in Cuban habits, Dichos and tagged , , , , , , , , , .

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