July 7, 2010 - Posted by Erin in Culture, Spain

A few blogs back I introduced you all to a funny little saying in Spanish about being in the middle of nowhere – where Jesus lost his keys. In English we seem to have only one way, at least that I can recall, to say such a thing, and it is indeed that we are “in the middle of nowhere.” In Spain, however, there seem to be countless ways to express this idea, and each one of them is nothing short of absolutely entertaining and imaginative.

Apparently Christ was rather forgetful when he was off in distant lands given the slew of ways to express his middle-of-nowhere-ness. Jesus wasn’t just losing his keys out yonder in the countryside, but according to one Spanish saying he’s also gone and lost his lighter!?? Yes, “we are where Christ lost his lighter.” Really, it makes no sense to me, but somehow the idea of Jesus hunting for his missing lighter is pretty much beyond hilarious. And Jesus said to his disciples, “hath any of you seenith my lighter or keys?”

In addition to losing things in far off places, I guess Jesus also had time to reject the temptation of the devil three times, according to the saying “where Christ gave the three voices.” Now I’m a bit lost on this one, but evidentally it represents some famous part of the bible that I am not familiar with (as opposed to all the parts that I’m super familiar with…). Long story short, Jesus spent a lot of time in distant places.

Another particularly descriptive one is “where the wind turns around.” There’s something about this saying that seems so poetic and perfectly discriptive to me. I can’t really imagine where the wind would turn around, but I assume it would be in some far off land without a soul in sight. I think it’s fair to say that this might be their most sensible version of communicating how remote a place could be.

This last one is a little (or a lot) vulgar, which is not at all uncommon in the Castilian language. So for this one, Grandma, you can turn off your computer now, or risk thinking me a very crass and un-ladylike granddaughter.

First, a little background. In English when you are really mad or angry at someone you (certainly not me, ha!) can say “go bleep yourself in the bleep.” Well, in Spanish they say something to the affect of “go get bleeped in the bleep.” Soooo, there’s this lovely saying that basically goes “we are where you get bleeped in the bleep.” And seriously, this is an entirely normal thing to say! I do appreciate the creativity and, well, specificity of this reference, but I don’t know, there’s something more pleasant and heartwarming about Christ and the wind….wouldn’t you agree?

When all is said and done, I just hope that Jesus wasn’t around looking for his lighter and keys while people were out there getting bleeped in the bleep. How awkward.


13 Responses to “Where the wind turns around”

  1. Sabrina Says:

    Good one! In German you could also say that you are “in the Pampa”. Imagine my surprise when I found out that there is a town in Texas called Pampa 🙂 And guess what! That city/town/village is really in the middle of nowhere.

  2. Erin Says:

    So does Pampa have a meaning then in German? I’m feeling very jealous that all these other languages have so many descriptive options – with the US being so big, I’m fairly certain that we have more “middle of nowhere” than Germany or Spain!

  3. Sabrina Says:

    There are some South American lowlands called Pampa (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pampa), but growing up in Germany it was always just a saying to me… something you said when you were going to the countryside in the middle of nowhere.

    And I think you’re right, there is more “middle of nowhere” in the US – especially in and aorund Texas. Everytime we want to go anywhere it’s hours and hours in every direction of nothing-ness. Totally Pampa-like 🙂

  4. Erin Says:

    This somehow just jogged my memory – I just remembered a couple of ways to say “in the middle of nowhere” – “in the boonies” or “boondocks.” And then there’s also “BFE.” These somehow don’t seem so interesting to me.

  5. Heather GG Says:

    I was going to add a comment about BFE, because that’s where I lived in Texas. Right out there in the BFE Boonies. You’re right that they are not very creative – but I do wonder why Egypt?

  6. Tito Says:

    Hi Erin, great post indeed 😉

    I can recall a few more Spanish expressions for “in the middle of nowhere” with Jesus. Apparently he spent most of his life loosing things… “donde Jesucristo perdió su alpargata” (Where Jesus lost his espadrille), “donde dios perdió el gorro” (where god lost his hat), we also say “estamos en casa dios” (We are in god house), or even “estamos donde dios no estuvo” (where god didn’t go)… well, I’ve also heard “donde dios dió las tres voces y palmó” (where god gave the three voices and died)… as you can see, the sky is the limit !

    Apart from those biblical ones I also remember a few more ways to express the annoyance of something being very far away: “En el quinto pino/culo/coño” (in the fifth pine/ass/cunt); “En el culo del mundo” (in the world’s ass), “a tomar por saco”, etc, etc, etc….

    In Spain anywhere is in the boonies… we are so lazy you know !!!! ;))

  7. Erin Says:

    Me parto!!!! Hilarious Tito. I knew there had to be more good ones out there. I just don’t understand how half the sayings somehow have to do with Jesus, and the other half with asses. Fijate! @Heather – I decided to do a google search on BFE, apparently it may have derrived from the term “bum f#$!” which also means in the middle of know where!??! I sure have expanded my English and Spanish voculabularly writing this post….just not sure if it’s for the better!

  8. Heather GG Says:

    BFE is short for Bum F$&$ Egypt, I didn’t write it out before because I didn’t want to offend. I think it was really common to say in the 80s. 😉 When I lived in Kuwait, we used to say Bum F$*$*$ America, since Egypt was so close.

  9. Sabrina Says:

    Haha! You guys just made my day at work a little better. I actually had to look up BFE because I’ve never heard it before 🙂 As usual, I went to my go-to dictionary, the Urban Dictionary (http://www.urbandictionary.com), and their description & example made actually laugh out loud.

    Why Egypt? I love to go there for vacation, but except for the Red Sea, there is a lot of “nowhere-ness” there. Maybe that’s why?!

  10. Status Viatoris Says:

    Ha ha ha! This made me laugh! I was going to say, but Tito got there first, don’t forget my personal favourite en el quinto c**o! My Argentine friends all use en la Pampa. The French, however seem to use ‘au milieu de nulle part’ like us, boring. And I still have heard the expression in Italian, will get back to you on that one!

  11. How the Spanish Say “The Middle of Nowhere” « Aliens in This World Says:

    […] (and whose proprietress is off on her honeymoon, so congratulations to her and her husband!), a very fun post on all the different ways that the Spanish say that they’re out in the middle of […]

  12. Maureen Says:

    Re: “we are in God’s house”, it’s very common in certain parts of America to call certain other, more rural parts “God’s country”. That sort of place is usually full of churches and/or beautiful farmland and wilderness, so it’s reasonably polite to say someone lives up in God’s country.

  13. Erin Says:

    Good ones Maureen! I hadn’t thought of those, probably because California just isn’t one of those “certain parts of America,” so they were never commonly used.

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