Got a Seven!
I turned in my first homework last week, and when the teacher gave it back to me, it had a big, red "7" on it! That was the grade I got.
But I was not worried about it because I knew that seven was actually the highest grade. In Chile, grades go from 0 to 7 (I think you need a 4 to pass).
The 7 I got was in a class called Tecnología (Technology), and the homework was about identifying "service businesses" (supermarkets, banks, post offices, etc.) near the school.
At school, kids are allowed to go almost everywhere without their teacher, and we are not required to form a line. Also, many of the older students, as soon as they get out of school at 4 p.m., start smoking RIGHT OUTSIDE the school's gate! Older kids also talk on their cell phones during recess.
When a teacher comes in our classroom, everyone must stand up and say, "Buenos días, tía (or tío)" plus the teacher's first name. "Tía" means aunt, and "Tío" uncle. Dad says that when he was little, children always called adults who were friends of the family aunt or uncle ("Uncle George," for example, even if the man was not a real uncle).
But Dad never heard of children calling school teachers this way. It was always "Miss" or "Mr.," plus the teacher's last name. So it seems strange to him that we have to call our teachers "Uncle" or "Aunt."
RJE's teacher, for example, is "Tía Gina." VERY strange. RJE can't imagine her NES classmates calling their teacher "Auntie Sheila" or "Auntie Monnie."
Talking about calling people names, the first day of school, when my teacher asked me to say my name, he said I was pronouncing the last name INCORRECTLY! And then he taught me how to say it "the right way."
Another funny thing about names is how people call each other here. Dad says it doesn't have anything to do with Spanish, and that it's something they do only in Chile, and it goes like this:
When a group of friends is talking about another friend who is NOT there, they don't just say her name. They add the word "la" (the) in front of the name.
So if they are talking about a friend called Mary, for example, they say "La Mary" (the Mary), as in "The Mary and I will go bowling tomorrow." It takes time to get used to this strange way of saying people's names.
And talking about bowling, I was invited to my first birthday party in Chile last week, at a bowling alley. It was in a very large mall, with lots of loud music, teenagers, and junk food.
It was my first time bowling, too, and it was a lot of fun. They added my name to a list, and it showed up on a TV screen above the lane we were using (we were ten girl classmates).
The good thing about bowling is that it's not like a competition. We were just chatting and having a good time. I was not expecting to be very good at the game, but when it was my turn, I hit most of the pins, and I even scored a 58 overall.
The alley was really high-tech because, as soon as the ball hit the pins, the score would automatically appear on the screen.
Next to us, there was a group of loud Germans having a real game of bowling (they were taking the competition very seriously). And they were good, swinging the ball super fast behind them, and then letting it go on the lane in front of them at high speed.
I just found out today that I'll get to go bowling again next weekend. Another birthday party---in the same place.
Write back to the rats at
The RatSoap™ Project is a work in progress, 2006-2007