Julito picked us up after our second day of Spanish school to take us to our new host family. As soon as we got in our cab he spun around and started talking a-mile-a-minute. He excitedly mumbles a colloquial spanish and if he wasn’t inclined to repeat himself three or four times, I’m not sure we could communicate. It took a few tries to get that he works for the host family. Memo, papá, owns a stall in the market where he works every day of the week. Lucila, mamá, is a lawyer, but we haven`t seen her go to work besides to sell her homemade sweets out of the front door. Maria Auxiliadora, who is named after her elementary school where she attends the second grade, walks around the house all day clutching her 5-week-old puppy.

The house chain of command is clear. When Memo is hungry or thirsty he says so and Lucila serves him. When Lucila needs something done, she calls for Julito. Maria Auxiliadora gets what she wants from whoever’s closest.

Whenever Lucila has something to tell us she prefers that Julito relay the message:
“Julito tell them they can eat these mangos after lunch”
“Yeah, yeah, okay, okay, okay.” Julito then waits and, as if he has just thought of the perfect translation, begins- “Lucila says you can eat these mangos after lunch. Mahn-Go, Maahhhn-Goo, mangos. The mangos are sweet and delicious. Nicaraguan mangos, you can eat them after lunch. Sweet mangos. Mahn-Go. Maaahhhhn-Gooo Duul-Sayy. Mangos.”

At one point I thought Julito had started to call me Mango, but then it sounded like Marlo. Maybe Marlo’s a local term for “buddy”, I thought. Then Julito said Marlo Brandon and it clicked that Marlo is an attempt at Marlon Brando. Close enough.

The family is very sweet. Lucila is a great cook and, to our delight, serves fried plantanes with every meal. Sometimes in the afternoon we pull chairs out to the back patio to watch the personal zoo. They have a green parakeet, two talking green parrots (who can say mango), a big red macaw, a tucan and two whitefaced monkeys. Very entertaining if a little noisey.

Tomorrow we will rise with Memo at 5am to see how the market starts its day…..