It was RJE's turn for a birthday last week. She asked for more things than I did, including a marker board, a bride Barbie, a jump rope, "wheelies" (shoes with wheels on the bottom), and a yo-yo.

When Mom went to buy the Barbie, she got the one that looked most like a bride, and the salesman told Mom that she looked just like the Barbie.

The doll has tons of makeup on, though, and her hair is so yellow, it looks almost white. She looks nothing like Mom.

Besides, it's not a real Barbie but a "Chilean" Barbie, made in China, and so cheap that one of her legs fell off two hours after RJE opened her gift.

Because of the gifts, there has been lots of noise in the apartment lately. When you press the jewel on the "Chilean" Barbie's chest, it sings an awful song.

The jump rope also has a button that RJE presses when she jumps rope to make it sound like she's on a stage. RJE is always singing the songs, and it gets on everyone's nerves. It's a good thing she didn't get the "wheelies" or she would be singing AND rolling.

A good gift was the marker board.

RJE uses it to play teacher. Dad says that she must be learning Spanish, finally, because she's been playing teacher in Spanish, telling her imaginary students, "Ahora tú, al pizarrón. Cinco más cuatro..."

From a family friend, RJE got three books. When I was smaller, I liked the books by Roald Dahl, Beverly Cleary, and of course J. K. Rowling, who I still like.

The books RJE got for her birthday were three by Roald Dahl: "James and the Giant Peach," "The BFG," and "Danny, the Champion of the World." I loved them all when I read them.

RJE has already started "James and the Giant Peach," which is the easiest to read. The others we are going to read aloud together.


We went to see the movie "Ratatouille" last week---a treat the day before RJE's birthday. There was one problem, though. It was dubbed in Spanish. But I understood most of it, and it was hilarious. Dad said that the animation was great. RJE and I found the animation like any other movie.

Next we are going to see Harry Potter, which they do have in the original English, with subtitles. I wouldn't want to see the movie with voices that are not the same as the actors I already know.


In the last few weeks of the first semester of school, we had many quizzes and projects. Our science project was to create an electric circuit.

At first, I thought I'd make a model of our school with an electric bell. And when you pressed a button, the bell would ring.

We looked for a bell that would work with regular batteries but couldn't find one. So my second idea was to make a Harry Potter arm holding a wand that would light up at the tip.

Dad didn't like that idea (probably because it had to do with Harry Potter!) He thought that a potato battery would be fun, but we tried it and it didn't work (we only had one potato and it should be at least three to light a small lightbulb). There wasn't enough time to get more potatoes.

Finally, on the day before the science project was due, "we" came up with a great idea (Dad thought of it, really). It was a wallet that we called a "Pobretera."

In Spanish, "pobre" means poor, and "billetera" means wallet. So the "Pobretera" is a made-up word for an empty wallet. This is what it looks like:

Inside, we put a circuit made out of a mini-lightbulb, a watch battery, and "cables" made out of folded-up aluminum foil.

This is how the Pobretera works: Without having to open the wallet, you can squeeze it. If the light goes on, it means you are broke and have no money!

If the light does NOT go on, it means you have at least one bill inside.

The bill is in between one of the battery's contacts and the rest of the circuit, so it breaks the circuit and the light doesn't go on.

But if there is no bill, then the circuit closes when you squeeze the Pobretera (which makes the battery make contact) and the light goes on, and you are poor.

When I presented the Pobretera at school, the teacher wouldn't stop laughing. She liked it, and I got a 7 for the project.


At the school in Virginia, there's a spelling bee every year. I've gotten in twice but never won. Spanish is so easy to spell, they don't have spelling bees here. Still, many kids make tons of spelling mistakes, switching s's and c's, v's and b's, and forgetting h's.

They make the most mistakes with v's and b's because, in Spanish, there is no difference in the way you say the two letters.

When they write "ella estuvo" (past tense for "she was") they may spell it "ella estubo," and it sounds the same way.

The same happens with "yo hice" ("I did") and "yo hise."

And the "h" is the most difficult one for me because it is mute. So "hola" and "ola" are said the same way, and you don't know which words have the "h" until you read it somewhere.

And now, winter vacation. Today is the first day of our two weeks off.


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The RatSoap™ Project is a work in progress, 2006-2007
Copyright © 2006-2007 by Sun on Earth Books




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