Tucked into my hotel room again after a delightful day in two schools–Cumberland Christian Academy in Austell and Whitefield Academy in Vinings. It was school picture day at Cumberland, and the children looked adorable! What fun!

Michael, who is not only checking my elevator accuracy, but is also proving himself to be an excellent editor, asked if “Te quiero” means “I love you” or “I want you”–an important distinction if one’s Mexican character is speaking to her mother. So I left my hotel room (in my stocking feet) and padded down to housekeeping, where I could hear several women speaking in Spanish.

So I walk into the room and say that I’m working on a book, and gee, “Habla espanol?” Two of the maids nod. So I say, “If you want to say I love you, mama, es te quiero Mama or te llamo Mama o que?”

They give me blank looks, but a couple of other ladies see them and come to my assistance. I realize that none of them speak English. So I say something about a book, and one of them says, “el libro?” and I jump on that and say, “Si es para mi libro. Es te quiero Mama or te llamo Mama? Como dice que?”

I, of course, have no idea if what I’m saying is the right thing–having spoken very little Spanish since the tenth grade. So one of the girls tells me to go to the office, which, after having gone there (still in my stocking feet), I realize is the wrong thing to do. The office people will have no idea what I’m talking about.

So I run to my room, grab my laptop, and run into two of the women in the hallway. I point to the screen. “Este es mi libro. Isabel dice que Adios, Mama. Te quiero, mama, vaya con Dios.” I look at them. “Es bueno?”

And they nod at me. So I can only hope that they understood.

So–if you speak Spanish (well), can you confirm that a girl speaking to her mother would say “Te quiero?”

Later, at dinner, I realized what I must have sounded like. A mad woman in socks running around saying, Book, I want you mama, I name you Mama, I love you mama?”

I’m sure they will run when they see me coming tomorrow morning.



  1. Betsy

    I am not fluent but I have had three years of Spanish in school. Te quiero as I have understood it means I want you as to hint to get intimate with another person. For example two friends of mine who are part Hispanic I say to them Te llamo. I would think of saying to my husband if I had one Te Quiero.

  2. Kelli Standish

    Roaring with laughter! Honestly, Angie, this is hysterical.

    Have you considered writing humor?

    As for your question, here’s a great place to ask it:


    Select the Spanish-English sub-forum. They should be able to help you there.

    Cheering you on:)

  3. Angela

    Thanks, Kelli! I found it, and I found my answer!

    In Mexico (apparently it differs by country), “queiro” is used for family and friends while “amo” is reserved for romantic love.

    Ta da! Now, if only I can remember that . . .


  4. Ruth

    Thanks for the hysterical story, Angie!! I took two years of Spanish in high school and after that I believe 99.9% of it was immediately deleted from my brain…so I can sort of sympathize. 🙂

  5. Anonymous

    I don’t mean to confuse you…but…:) my friend who is Mexican says she says “te llamo” when telling her mama she loves her.


  6. Suzanne

    Thanks for the laugh! That is too funny, I am glad I’m not the only one who does stuff like that. I drive my kids to school every morning while still in my jammies! I pray each day that I don’t get in a wreck or get pulled over….LOL

  7. Gina

    My husband (last name Hernandez – fluent speaker of the language of love) said Te quiero is appropriate for either.


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