What does snow have to do with telenovelas?

This afternoon, while writing a comment on Monica’s blog, I underwent a brain zap.

You know, when blood rushes to your head, you start to feel lightheaded, and zap!

You go back in time.

It happened rather suddenly.

One minute I was telling Monica how I also wanted to be a Girl Scout and suddenly, my brain zap revealed that this never happened thanks to something called “telenovelas.”

Growing up, telenovelas, or soap operas in Spanish, were big in our house.

They started in the early afternoon and lasted until the early evening hours.

During this time, no one was allowed to speak.

Silence was pivotal if any of the spectators were to understand the complicated lives of the protagonists.

One telenovela after another, my mother sat glued to the television, quieting anyone who dared to speak with a sharp, “Shh!”

Nana, in the meantime, carried on in the kitchen, mumbling what a waste of time it was to watch fictional accounts of people’s problems.

“Hija,” she would say, “don’t you have enough problems of your own that you have to become an audience to these people’s crisis and drama?”

“Mama,” my mother would reply, “My problems hardly resemble anything as interesting and intriguing as the ones these characters have.”

And she wasn’t kidding.

During commercials, everyone was treated to a blow-by-blow description of Marianita, one of the few living virgins, who was in love with Padre Juan, the priest, who was in love with Sarita, the Venezuelan expat, who was married to Pablo, the blind welder.

Even worse, my mother didn’t think listening to her scream, “Marianita, keep your virginity until you’re married!” was enough.

She turned every situation in the telenovela into a teaching moment.

Hence, we were reminded of the importance of not engaging in premarital sex, coveting our neighbor’s wealth, and more importantly, of not falling in love with the village priest.

Not that we lived in a village.
But to hear my mother speak, anyone would think my sisters and I had a hidden agenda for attending catechism.

Furthermore, my mother did not discriminate.

Everyone was invited into our home.

Characters from Venezuela, Mexico, Spain, Argentina, Puerto Rico; they all made their way into our living room and quickly became part of the family.

We dined with them, studied in spite of them, and relied on their troubles to lessen our own.

Maria, Pedrito, Alberto, Adela, Victoria, Claudio, and Miguelito.

They were like extended family, with the exception that we only saw our “real” relatives once a year, and we saw our telenovela relatives three and four times a day.

To this day, I’m convinced telenovelas are one of the reasons I moved out.

The competition was too fierce and frankly, I didn’t have the physical or mental energy to battle the likes of Marianita and Juan.

As far as I was concerned, these people were in a league of their own and they’d lured my mother to the dark side.

However, in all fairness, I have to admit that it was thanks to Marianita, that I learned how to feign being sick, how to faint at will, and how to bat my eyelashes in that special “come hither” manner.

Marianita is also the reason I probably won’t make it through the pearly gates of heaven.

Taking the Daughter to Sunday school one morning, I met Father Salvador, a real priest, who was so handsome, I was “forced” to incur in impure thoughts.

Marianita had been my role model and the way I saw it, if she could fall in love with a priest, I could damn well wonder what Father Salvador hid beneath his tunic.

Yes, telenovelas.
The downfall of propriety as I knew it.

And all thanks to my mother and her addiction.

To this day, my mother still invests a great part of her day watching the newer Spanish soap operas.

Yet, she tells me they’re not the same.

The characters are too superficial and lack passion.

Luckily, the story line is still the same.

Nowadays, she’s able to witness how Pilar, who’s originally from Brazil but moved to Argentina to get to know her dying father, is secretly in love with her dentist, Marco, who’s really her brother, the son her mother gave up for adoption when she was fifteen, who’s secretly using his dental practice to launder money for the mob, who’ve threatened to kill him if he doesn’t do what they say.

So what does snow have to do with telenovelas?


I just wanted to share shots of today’s snow day with all of you!


Have you ever watched a telenovela or soap opera?


58 thoughts on “What does snow have to do with telenovelas?

  1. I want what RoxyLee is wearing, in human size. How glam is that? I only watched a soap (or two) once, when I was laid off from a job and looking for another. I was immediately hooked and sucked into their world. They did not want me to leave when I became gainfully employed, but I callously left them for money.

    What’s funny is that I was off one day several years later and it is as if they were in a time warp – still dealing with the same problems and drama. The only difference was that a different actor was playing the main hero character and that was just… wrong. Then a few years later, the original character came back and they discovered the current actor was a… *gasp*… fraud! SO FUNNY!

    Loved this post – it was such a precious look into your family life.

    1. Nan, don’t you hate it when they switch characters on tv series and the like? Argh! It’s never the same. Roxy’s little coat, I think, is ultra chic! She loves her animal print almost as much as I do! hee hee! I had to chuckle at your mention of how the characters were of the soap opera where still in the same time warp. I felt the same way watching telenovelas with my mom. I remember thinking, does anyone ever die? ha! Thanks for joining me, lady! :)

  2. Roxy looks so cute in her sweater! I hope you both stay warm and cozy.
    I watched Days of Our Lives in high school because my friends did. My dad liked to peek in on us as we watched together in our family room and he would predict what dastardly thing the villain was going to do that day. He never watched the show, but he was always right. :)

    1. Shary, it must’ve been funny to see your dad popping in to announce his predictions! What fun! My father hated soap operas with a passion. He would tell my mom, “If I had known this is what we were buying a tv for, I would never have gotten it!” ha! Poor dad. Roxy is circling the room, just preening, after I read your comment to her! hee hee! :)

  3. OMG! I puffy heart telenovelas, which are much different from soap operas, as you know. Gurl, don’t get me started about the novelas. I have the best memories of my first novela. Once I discovered telenovelas, I stopped watching the soaps. The little Spanish I know, I learned from the novelas. Oh! I think I would have had fun watching them with your mom. LOL! I don’t watch them much any more but I’ve now graduated to Brazilian novelas. They are my faves. I picked up the little Portuguese I know from them. Who said novelas are a waste of time? And I love your snow pics, especially Roxy in her snow outfit. She would be really good in the novelas. I can see her playing a star role. Seriously. I’d watch her novela, fer sure,if she were in it. ;-) Since I’m on a roll talking about novelas, I’ve decided that I should have a novela based on me. It would be called, “Paz Bonita”. What do you think? Can you imagine what would go on in my novela? ROFLOL! Now I need a theme song…

    1. Paz, I think “Paz Bonita” would quickly become one of my mom’s favorite telenovelas! And what a great title you’ve chosen! I think we could write some fantastic scenes with beautiful Latin men alongside of you to do those intense and passionate scenes! hee hee! Roxy would be thrilled to be part of the cast! I love how you picked up language skills watching telenovelas! :)

  4. Thank you, my dear, dear Bella for the joy you always pump into my heart. I treasure you as I do a ray of sunlight that tickles my funny bone and warms my soul. Of course I know why you wrote of telenovelas on such a cold and beautiful snowy day. To warm yourself up from the inside out of course, my friend. I love you, you know. Te quiero mucho…:)

    1. Brynne, you sweetheart, I had to write about something that made me belly laugh as I typed so as to warm me on this cold, winter day. It’s freezing in this house and on nights like tonight, where the wind is howling, the snow continues to slowly drop, this tiny space heater of mine just isn’t cutting it! That said, wonderful comments like yours also seem to surround me in the warmth of the kindness of your words. Muchas gracias! Te quiero mucho, amiga! :)

  5. Bella, Thanks for the shout out! I so love you, my dear. You are a peach.

    I love soaps, but both of mine were recently cancelled. In 2010, I wrote a post about how I one day planned to retire in Llanview (One Life to Live). Then last spring ABC announced cancellation of All My Children and OLTL, so I wrote another post, called Ratings Killed my Soaps. The links are below.


    Roxy looks so cute in her winter coat. What a princess! I love your snowy photos! :)

    1. Monica, I remember your posts on One Life to Live coming to an end. I couldn’t believe Dorian was still alive! You are welcome for the shout out. Thank you for inspiring this post with your wonderful post on the Girl Scouts! Isn’t it funny how sometimes we get from point A to point B? Love you back, amiga! :) And Roxy loves you too!

    2. Oh, of course! I do remember talking about Dorian. Thanks for the reminder. Hope you saw that my friend, Nacho Mama gave this post a listing on her blog, along with your adorable photo of Roxy. Check it out! bit. ly/rKnkoF

    3. Monica, I am over the moon that Nacho Mama gave this post a listing on her blog! I clicked on the link you provided and saw her tweet about her Paper Li! Thank you to you and Sara for tweeting this post! You ladies rock, always! Roxy’s on her way to becoming a little super star. Don’t you think? :)

  6. –Bella, what state do you live in? It is Beautiful there…& of course, Roxy is the Super Star Again ),

    ****I wonder what Father Salvador hid beneath his tunic*****

    You are a very naughty girl.

    I Likey. Xxxx Kissssssssssssssssssss

    1. Ellen, I think I’ll write a blog post where I allow readers to “guess” where I am; like a poll or something. That should be fun! What do you think?

    2. Kim, I live in Europe. I love it here since beautiful scenery abounds. Roxy takes a bow at your sweet words and if she could talk, I’m sure she’d say, “Kim, you’re the fairest of them all!” hee hee! It’s good to be a little naught, right? I know you agree! It’s the spice of life, my friend! Kisses! :)

  7. I was addicted to General Hospital from the beginnings of the Luke and Laura saga, through their marriage, and Laura’s disappearance, and their eventual reunion.
    I also had a penchant for As the World Turns during the Julianne Moore era, when she played a dual role.
    Now, the only soap opera – if you can call it that – I enjoy is PBS’s Downton Abbey.

    1. Ellen, I remember the Luke and Laura saga! My mother watched General Hospital as well and claimed she did it to learn English. Ha! I’ve heard good things about Downtown Abbey. I’m going to have to look into watching an episode! :)

  8. Loved this peek into your childhood/teen living room with its extended family of telenovela “realtives” (oops! meant to type relatives but “realitives” seems fitting). Fun to see your neighbourhood and the snow pix, but especially your dog’s winter ensemble.

    1. Louciao, “realitives” seems extremely fitting! hee hee! You should have seen us, sitting round the tv, books in hand, toys, trying to do anything but watch the dreaded thing. This because my mother wanted to watch the telenovela but still watch what we were up to. Oh dear. I remember those times! I’m delighted you enjoyed the glimpse into the neighborhood and that you like Roxy’s winter gear. She loves wearing her new coat! :)

  9. Bella,

    “The downfall of propriety” LMAO.

    I am desperately jealous of the telenova’s. Why? Because my world has not been right since they canceled All My Children. 41 years!!!! Damn NBC lol. I watched them with my great grandmother who died when I was 12 and pretty consistently for the last 12 years. I felt like my family died, ok well not that bad but close. They became a part of my extended, dysfunctional, if I were a White girl family. Sigh. Ok, I exaggerate but just a little.

    I loved this post. It helps me to know that I am not the only looney who lived, died and agonized for people I would never meet. If nothing else, they taught me what NOT to be.

    Have pity on your mother lol. It could be worst, it is after all on broadcast crack ;)

    I am also distraught that you have snow sniff sniff lol. Stay warm and toasty!

    1. Coco, like I was telling Ellen, my mom watched General Hospital and All My Children, claiming that it helped her learn English. She never did like “As the World Turns,” for some reason. I can’t believe that soap went on for 41 years! OMG, that’s almost a lifetime of watching the lives of fictional characters. You had me LMAO at your comment of, “They became a part of my extended, dysfunctional, if I were a White girl family.” bwhahaha! Oh my goodness, Coco! I’m in good company if this post reminded you of what it was like to live through the saga of strangers. ha! I’ll admit I went the route of, “What would Marianita do in this situation?” hee hee! I’m trying desperately to stay warm and toasty in this freezing weather but I’m afraid the little space heater’s not cutting it! Pray for me! hee hee! :)

  10. OOOH the snow is gorgeous! Right now, we’re experiencing some 40+ (even 50+) degree (F) weather… It’s kinda crazy, but I like it. As to telenovelas… oh my. Growing up, those were ALWAYS on the telly in my house. They were translated to Filipino from Spanish, of course, and everyone just loved them. Except me. I guess I was just too preoccupied with other things (like boys) but I’ve had my share of telenovelas, yes. especially those that starred Thalia.

    1. Laura, the ones starring Thalia were my mother’s favorite! But of course those came after I had moved out, which is ironic since I love her acting! I can see your loved ones gathering round the telly watching dubbed telenovelas! Oh my goodness, I’m sure your family resembled mine! hee hee! I’m glad to hear that you had better things with which to occupy yourself! Good for you! :)

  11. I think we all watched Dynasty when I was little, but it was twice a week or something, and I don’t remember anyone actually being addicted to it (I’m quite certain plenty of people were addicted to it, just not anyone I knew).

    It was during the nineties, if I remember correctly, that our television started broadcasting telenovelas; was it Cassandra that was the first? While I was quite capable of watching Beverly Hills and really loved My So-Called Life, I wasn’t able to sit through more than a couple of minutes of a telenovela. Many people, though, really loved them, and were (and still are) quite addicted to them — it’s forbidden to phone them during that time.

    Lately, the Spanish soap operas were mostly replaced by the Turkish ones. I have no idea what those are like, since I don’t watch television anymore.

    1. Ivana, I’m not a television fan either. The shows I do like to watch, I catch on iTunes on my computer. I loved watching tv growing up but at this stage in my life, it seems like a colossal waste of time. Maybe that will change as I get older! I remember Dynasty! I was never a fan but our neighbor would watch it and tell us about it even though no one liked it. What a pain! :)

  12. Your snow pictures are gorgeous, as is Roxy’s leopard-and-boa coat! Yes, my mom, too, watches soap operas, and the story lines sound much like you described. Lots of drama, lots of eavesdropping, lots of people who (for the life of them) can’t and won’t make the “right” decisions, ha! I must confess I watched “Dallas” when I was younger, too — those ladies with their fancy clothes, jewelry and BIG hair!!

    1. Dallas! I never watched it but I remember catching snatches of it whenever it was on and we turned the channels. I can’t believe there are women that still sport those hair dos! hee hee! I’m thrilled you like the photos! Roxy looks mighty fine in her animal print and faux fur trimmed coat! The Daughter bought it for her as an early Christmas present. I love it and wish I fit in it! :)

  13. Ha! Morality through the telenovela! I was always curious about those shows, but at my house they were strictly forbidden. Ah, just think of all the fun I was missing…

    Love the snow pictures! Pretty!

    1. Hi Emily! I think you may have missed out on the fun of being able to recount all you went through now, but you sure didn’t miss out on the dreary conundrum of having to sit through them! hee hee! In other words, I think it’s safe to say you’re one of the lucky ones! I’m delighted you like the snow photos! Thank you for your kind words, lady! :)

  14. Loved the snow shots, especially the one with Roxy sticking her head through the grates. Made me go ‘Awwww … what’d you find there, Sweetie?’

    My mom adores soaps from Taiwan. You’re right: different characters (though the same bunch of actors and actresses) with similar plots.

    Oh, hey, there are few pretty good (and good-looking) actors I like who were in American soaps: Larry Hagman & Jensen Ackles (I think). :)

    1. Claudine, Roxy, the ever curious girl that she is, always peers over stuff. I seriously hang on tight to her leash sometimes for fear she’ll flop in! hee hee! I’ve never seen a soap from Taiwan! I would imagine, that yes, it is the same story line. And you’re right–one of the few perks of the telenovelas are the handsome leading men. They always reminded me of the covers of Harlequin novels. Remember those? I’m so happy you liked the photos! Thank you! :)

  15. Bella, I love the funny picture you paint of your nana grumbling in the kitchen while your mom was glued to the TV! And the fact that you invited all those people into your house every day while you rarely saw your own relatives. Crazy! :) I see in one of the comments above that you don’t watch TV. Like you, I’ve cut it out of my life. It saps too much time and energy! I’d rather create my own drama.

    1. Jann, I’m with you, lady! Why waste valuable time we can’t spare to be glued to the boob tube? Indeed, lets create our own drama! hee hee! Something tells me you and I would make excellent characters in a story! You with your flair for all things Italian and me, well, me being me! What fun! Nana went ballistic when my mom started her third telenovela in one day. I can almost hear her: “Then you say your husband’s coming home and your work is not done. Or that your legs are swollen. How wouldn’t they be when you’ve been sitting there for three hours!” Oh Jann, it was crazy! But also, so entertaining! :)

  16. I love your snowy pictures!!! I always thought telenovelas were funny. Probably because they are super over dramatized, and I have absolutely no idea what they are saying. I just loved the overly dramatic men in them, and the feisty women.

    1. Kirstin Marie, I was just telling Claudine how the dashing men were one of the few perks of telenovelas! Handsome men with deep voices, exotic looks, and by the looks of it, the best kissers the world has created! hee hee! The women could cry at the drop of a hat, ride horses, and plot formidable revenges. Sigh. I almost miss them! :)

  17. Soap operas can rule your life. My mother started watching them when she and Daddy moved into town from the ranch. Something about ‘time on her hands’ . . .
    My good friend, Heather, watched them assiduously. She got so caught up in their frictional (a little friction in the fiction) lives that, when her husby came home from work, she’d tie into him with a vengeance. He was totally bewildered by her behaviour, and couldn’t figure out why she was mad at him when he had only just walked through the door. They finally realized that it was the depressing soaps she was watching. She shut off the TV and the two of them have gotten along famously ever since! 35 years and counting! Thank you for this post! And for the lovely snow pictures and the ever-stylish Roxie!

    1. Diane, I had to chuckle at your mom and Heather’s predicament. Thank goodness for Heather’s brilliant action of turning off the telly! Every marriage deserves the chance to succeed without the interference of soap operas. I’m delighted you liked the post and the photos! Wonderful comments like yours and the rest of the readers fuel me to continue going out with my camera, braving the elements, and doing whatever I have to do to capture a shot! Thank you, lady! :)

  18. I love RoxyLee’s assemble! I want some leopard print ;)

    It’s funny that you mention the telenovas because at my house everyone would stop what they were doing to watch General Hospital. It was my first love for many years. I wish I could still find time to indulge in a little Sonny and Jason…

    1. Belle, isn’t the leopard print cute? And it fits her so well! Like I’ve mentioned to the other ladies, my mom watched two American soaps: General Hospital and All My Children. I was thankful we were in school for those. Sadly, come vacation time we were made to watch those two. Grief. :)

  19. LMAO!!!!! I know the feeling! This Puerto Rican had her share of novelas and till this day I can’t call my mom during Novela Time….sadly there are days she watches from morning till 11pm!!! I told her novelas are rapidly killing her brain cells and when Alzheimer’s kicks in she’ll be sorry…


    1. Eve, I’m laughing my ass off reading your comment on how you can’t call your mother during the novela! Same here! The other day I called my mom and she said, “Can you call me back? I’m watching the novela.” Are you kidding me? But I knew better than to insist since she won’t hear a word I say. Puerto Rican novelas were at the top of my mom’s list. We even kidded her about having “Ofelia Dacosta” moments! bwhahaha! Now there was an actress! When she died, we were all in mourning. Trust me. I’m so happy to have tickled your funny bone! :)

  20. Yep, I’ve found myself wrapped up heavily in telenovellas. I should be ashamed but I’m not. Maybe this subconsciously taught me to tell a tale or two. I can so relate to your family members talking to them. Tuning in faithfully, we feel as if we know these people. We engage in every part of their lives on that TV set with the exception of seeing them sit on the toilet. Oh girl, it’s a deep relationship we have. :-)

    I’ve browsed them in Spanish too. Couldn’t understand a word but they cut up on that tele set, like in America. Drama is universal. :-)

    1. Totsy, drama is indeed universal! My mother would hug you and welcome you into our home with open arms and a steaming cup of coffee! And carbs. More than likely in the form of pastries. hee hee! :)

    1. Niceartlife, hello and welcome! I occasionally will enjoy a tv series like Alcatraz. Isn’t it fantastic? Thankfully, my soap opera days are long over. I’m not a fan of the Latte Macchiato but the Significant Other enjoys it from time to time. :)

  21. I used to watch about 10 to 15 minutes of novelas (that’s all I could stomach) with my mami back in the late 80’s just to laughed and point to her the insane plot and the horrible acting that was going on. My mami would tell me: “si no te gustan no las mires y dejame tranquila”!
    But I couldn’t her but to get in her room and sit with her on her bed and just laughed or giggled when watching the over the top acting, the screaming (yes, instead of firm talking they would scream), the crazy clothes and hair, the mixture of unbalanced family members and of course the always white and European looking cast. Which used to really bother me because they used not have any “mestizo”, “triguenos”,”mulatos” or “negros” in their cast and I would argued with my mom how must of the population of the country was of mix race yet they were not represented in the novelas unless they were portraiting slaves.

    1. Ay Ofelia, I can so relate with you! My madre would tell me the same thing when I would mock the ridiculous story lines or the incredible plots. Sadly, when my sisters and I were younger, we didn’t have much say in the matter. Thank goodness we were otherwise occupied playing or studying. However, now that I think of it, the cast was predominantly white in Puerto Rican novelas. If there was a darker skinned actor, he or she was usually a maid or servant! Oh my goodness! :)

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