Cotacachi / Ecuador Culture / Ecuadorian food

In Search of Deeper Meaning: Una Minucito

It’s 9:24 and Gary hasn’t had his breakfast.  I, however, have finished mine and am upstairs typing as I endeavor once again to discern what is to my gringo grey matter, the convoluted cultural meaning of life in Ecuador.

In this case, to translate the words, una minucito.  But first, a little background.

Last night Gary and I decided to have quinoa for breakfast.  This unusually unanimous decision was reached after I spent much of the day in bed with what seems to be a migraine headache.

I’ve been suffering from these prolonged headaches for some time but it wasn’t until I described them to a North American friend that I found out I may be suffering from migraines.

Pain behind the eyes?  Yes.  Nausea?  Yes.

My friend left me some of her magic little white migraine pills.  I’ve been saving two of them for a whopping big headache, which arrived yesterday.

Since I prefer natural medicines to pharmaceuticals, I delayed as long as possible, but finally succumbed around 3 p.m., popped the pills and felt the explosions in my cranium dissipate within ten minutes.

But now what?  I have no more pills.

Gary told me he’d heard that migraines are caused by a lack of magnesium and that a possible remedy was eating quinoa.  So I stirred up a pot of the Andean grains for desayuno, or breakfast, complete with raisins, panela (organic brown sugar), cinnamon and a little banana.

Well, not quite complete.  We’d been waiting for the milk lady to make a home delivery of milk since 8:30, the time she told Gary she’d come by.  It might be raw milk, but I’m not saying.  At 8:45 I began cooking the quinoa.

At 9:00 I covered the cereal and left it on the stove.  I made banana/maracuya (passion fruit) smoothies to assuage our hunger pains.

At 9:15 Gary called the milk lady, who cheerfully told him she was on her way and would be here in, “una minucito.”  We foolishly took that to mean in one minute or less.

Gary optimistically opened the front door in anticipation of her immediate arrival.  After three minutes, I’d had it.

Getting creative, or desperate, I poured some of my banana/maracuya smoothie into my quinoa and ate it.  Yummy, tangy good!

At 9:20 I heard Gary cursing downstairs.  By then I was upstairs beginning this blog, feeling satisfied with my breakfast.

Finally I heard a squeal of brakes, Gary’s ‘buenas dias,” and a friendly reply.  He had his milk and I have my blog.

I called out, “Enjoy your brunch, dear.”

But we still don’t really have a good translation of “una minucito.”

It must mean the same as a North American, “I’ll be there in a minute,” which means “right away but not necessarily in  one minute–sometime very soon.”

So for now, here’s my cultural translation of, “una minucito,” the charming diminuitive of “una minuto,” or “one minute.”  Incorporating cito into a word usually indicates a smaller version of the word.  For example, saying momentito instead of momento (moment).

It’s the tiny version of one minute, so we took it to mean even less than one minute.  We were wrong, again. . .

I now amend my understanding of the two words and believe that “una minucito” is a kind of mini-manana.  Since manana here means anything from later to never, “una minucito,” must mean literally, anything from “a smallish amount of time from right now,” all the way to, “somewhat less than eternity,” or “not quite never.”

It’s likely to take place sooner than manana but probably not in a minute or even two or three or five, as was our experience.

Gary is left eating his quinoa with milk and I’m left wondering what other unfathomable new Spanish words I’ll get to play with today.  I’ll bet more than one of them will drive me to distraction or to drink.  I better blend up some more banana/maracuya juice just in case!

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One Comment

  1. ROSANNA COOK says:

    very funny blog the correct words are ! un minutito not
    una minuto