Casa Colombiana, Leeds

This weekend, a friend from London came to visit = hello pig-out weekend, it’s been so long.

Yesterday for lunch, our stomachs and love for anything Spanish-related led us to Casa Colombiana. If you’re ever in Leeds and want your tapas authentic, with lots of cheese and reasonably-priced, this would be an obvious choice.

We had: croquetas de vegetales (vegetable croquettes), maduritos con queso (plaintain and cheese fritters), empanada de queso (Colombian style cheese pasty, can be dipped in sugar = revelation) and tortilla de papa con ensalada (homemade omelette with fresh salad). Needless to say, it went down a treat.

Today, I spent my Sunday afternoon as it should be spent: Sitting in a café catching up with an old friend and getting to know new ones. To top it off, there was pear and ricotta cake and pistachio cheesecake. My life sometimes does sound like it revolves around food…

As much as I’d like to say we covered everything under the sun, as language geeks, we mostly covered, well, just that. It was your typical Spanglish exchange: your ‘cómo se dice’ and ‘how do you say this’ peppered with stories of our struggles acquainting ourselves with our respective target languages and future travel plans. Although the highlight (and this reminded me how fascinating languages can be) is when we were introduced to the untranslatable.

It all started with Ohrwurm (earworm), a German word, which means a song that is stuck in your head. It could be that damn catchy Taylor Swift hit you find yourself humming along to or her next single you’re not entirely a fan of and yet still won’t go away…

Quickly moving onto Spanish… there is estrenar which means wearing or using something for the first time. The idea quickly resonated with me as we also have a term in Tagalog, binyagan, which in English would be ‘to christen’ something.

Then there’s friolero/a, a person (extra) susceptible to cold weather, those who get bundled up on a cold winter’s night constantly dreaming of tropical temperatures from early September right through to late February. Ie. me.

On the way home, I racked my brain for more words I learnt previously and will hopefully be passing onto my future students:

Hacer puente

I loved this concept when I was in Valencia and I really think it should also be embraced here in England for our well-being’s sake. It’s when you have time off either on a Thursday or Tuesday so you might as well have Friday or Monday off so everyone gets to enjoy a long weekend. The Spaniards know how to live.


To become so overwhelmed by things that you end up doing something daft/do something without thinking straight.


The hours you spend talking to one another after finishing a meal. Filipinos also relish in this and I, for one, am a huge sobremesa fan.


This, according to the internet, has a direct translation which is namesake although the English equivalent doesn’t really carry that friendly tone; when you find a tocayo, you’re not just purely stating the fact that you have similar names but you’re quite glad to have stumbled upon each other. Funnily enough, we adopted this in Tagalog, as we say, katokayo. It only took me 24 years to realise this…

El de la verguenza 

That last morsel of bread left on the plate that everyone chooses to ignore yet secretly eye up. It’s that elephant in the room, food-wise. In Tagalog, dyahe pieceDyahe (slang) is used to describe something which makes you feel ill at ease, self-conscious or embarrassed. Pretty fascinating, eh?

I’m sure there are many more, if you know of any other interesting ones, please do share.

On a related note, Buzzfeed also recently published this: 18 Brilliant Nordic Words We Desperate Need in English which I thought would be worth sharing if you enjoyed this read. Hygge and Fika are my new favourite go-to Nordic words.


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