Ayer en un curso de barismo

Un alumno se equivocó con la leche

Mi esposo, con acento costeño,

Miró a la taza y declaró, “Es un embalatte.”

Embalar means to mess up.

A guy trying to make a machiatto got the milk wrong and ended up with a faltte, a faulty latte.

Embalar could also mean to shoot (based on my logic that bala=bullets).

You messed something up big time if they come after you with firearms.

In English, we order how many shots of espresso we want at a coffee shop. So if you end up with too few shots, it’s because the barista messed it up, “lo embalatte”.

Embalar also means to speed up, as in accelerate a vehicle.

So if you have too many shots of espresso in your coffee and wind up running around like a high-octane powered jet in a tiny office cubicle, you too may be “embalado”.

Embalar also means to wrap something up, like a package.

In this sense, the word makes me think more of “embalm” than “birthday!”

When I hear a Colombian woman complaining about some complicated work situation she got herself into, like screwing up an order, and whining “estoy tan embalada”, I know she means definition A. These are stunningly beautiful women, thanks often to a surgeon’s knife. All I see are plastic-stuffed girls, shrink-wrapped in cellophane, a pretty little package. Yes, you are soooo “embalada”.


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