Spanish Idioms, #14: Quién no Arriesga, No Gana

Quién no arriesga, no gana.

Literally, this translates to “who doesn’t risk, doesn’t gain.” This is pretty self explanatory, but it is more commonly said as “No pain, no gain” in English. When I was looking up other possibilities, I also came across the phrase “Nothing ventured, nothing gained” which might be an older expression for the same idea (or perhaps it is more common to say in other parts of the world). Of course, all of these phrases mean pretty much the same thing – that you have to go out of your comfort zone sometimes to get to the next best thing.

I can really relate to this right now because I’m in the process of making some very difficult decisions about my life next year. As a current English teacher in Barcelona, I have the option of returning to California and working or going to school, continuing with my current school another year, trying another school in a different part of Spain, or trying a different school in another part of the world (South America? Asia? The possibilities are endless!). It is proving really difficult for me to decide. Part of me thinks it would be great to stay here another year, and another part of me keeps whispering “quien no arriesga, no gana…”

Some examples:

“No sé si vale la pena, ¿qué pasa si no funciona?”

“Deberías probar, porque quien no arriesga, no gana.

“I don’t know if it is worth it, what happens if it doesn’t work?”

You should try, because nothing ventured, nothing gained.”

(Durante ejercicio) “No puedo seguir! Duele demasiado, estoy agotado.

“Quien no arriesga, no gana! Vamos!”

(While exercising) “I can’t continue! It hurts too much, I’m exhausted!”

“No pain, no gain! Let’s go!”

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Spanish Idioms, #5: Media naranja

In class one day, we were working on making personal goals and objectives in English. After about 5 minutes, two girls called me over and asked me what “Media naranja” meant in English. Confused, I replied “Err… half orange…?” and wondered how the hell that had anything to do with their goals.

“Media naranja.”

Their usual English teacher, also a good friend of mine, overheard this exchange and started laughing. She explained that ‘media naranja’ is actually the Spanish way of saying soul matebetter half, or other half. I almost melted, I loved the expression immediately! It’s such a cute way of saying it. But why an orange?!

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However, after discussing it with another Catalan friend of mine, she told me she absolutely hated it. She says it implies that we’re not complete until we have a partner in our lives, but really, we should be whole on our own. I hadn’t thought about it like that, but she makes a very valid point. If you come into a relationship hoping that the other person will fill what’s missing in your life, I doubt that relationship will last very long.

Regardless, I think this is such a cute idiom ❤