Today is "Día del Niño," which means Child's Day---just like Mother's Day and Father's Day.
In Chile, they seem to copy many things from the United States. For example, when Dad was a boy, they didn't have Halloween or Valentine's Day here. Now they do. But Child's Day?
I don't know where Día del Niño came from. Maybe it started in Chile, or it was copied from some other country. Many countries celebrate it.
In Chile, it's a day when little kids expect tons of gifts, as if it were a birthday. In the stores, they even have a “Día del Niño” cake for parents to buy for their children. RJE says that kids in her class talked about Día del Niño all week as if it were Christmas.
Going to the "San Cristobal Hill" is always a fun outing.
Last week, we decided to visit it again.
We didn't feel like walking up the hill, so we took the mini cable cars. Dad joked that they could fit up to fifty people in them, but they only fit a maximum of four.
You don't get to pick which car to ride in. We got an orange one with scratched windows.
When it started, it swayed a lot, and RJE and I screamed.
You get a beautiful view of Santiago from up there.
On the way to Cerro San Cristobal, we walked beside the Mapocho River where there is a sculpture garden. Here are some photos:
To me, most of the sculptures don't resemble anything, except these that look like ice-cream cones dropped on the ground by a giant:
Or this giant asparagus "plant" made out of metal:
Flowers are already blooming everywhere here, even though we are still in early winter (like being at the end of January in Virginia).
Many of the flowers that normally bloom in the spring at home are blooming right now in Santiago. There are flower beds everywhere, with irises and daffodils. Here are a couple of trees in bloom (the white flowers smell like honey):
On top of San Cristobal, next to the statue of the Virgin Mary, they have a corner with candle holders, burning candles, and plaques and notes on the walls.
This is where people give thanks for answered prayers, miracles, or a “favor concedido,” (wish granted).
Some people give thanks by lighting candles and dropping coins in a box. Others leave their notes or plaques on the walls.
RJE has finally found a game that doesn't bother the rest of the family: playing maid.
A lot of people have maids here. When I go over to a friend's house after school, there usually is a maid waiting with a snack on the table. The maid leaves when a parent comes home from work, which is often around eight o'clock.
Before that, the maid makes lunch, a snack (they call it "onces" here), gets the kids to do homework, to take a shower, and get ready for the next day---everything that a mother or father would do if they were home.
When RJE plays maid, she gets into her smock and sets the table.
She "takes care" of me as if I were a kindergartener. She sweeps and vacuums.
She's a great maid!
I've played maid, too, but as a cook. Lately, I've made sautéed zucchini, onions, and mushrooms. Also, potato-broccoli soup, and chocolate-chip cookies. All this was after we saw the movie “Ratatouille,” which made me want to be a chef.
I have a friend who is from Spain and, every two years, goes there for a month during winter vacation in July to visit all her relatives and friends.
This year, I was one of the only ones in Chile who kept in touch with her during her month in Spain. We even talked on the phone twice.
During the two weeks she was not at school, everyone missed her, including the boys because she helps them a lot with class work.
She brought a ton of gifts back from her trip---sweets for the whole class, a little something for each teacher, and something special for each of her best friends.
She gave me a hat that says “Spain” on it, a dolphin necklace that I wear almost every day, a book translated from French into English, a key chain from Rome (she also went to Italy), and three rocks: one from Barcelona (Spain), one from Rome (Italy), and one from Madrid, the capital of Spain.
I came up with the idea to bring us rocks because it reminded me of my friend in Virginia who collects rocks from different places. Now I have my own collection, including those I got in Argentina and all the other places we have visited.
After so many gifts, all I gave my friend in return was a piece of paper with class notes and the tests she had missed when she was gone.
I finally received the last Harry Potter book! It came this week from my grandparents in Maryland, and it took 10 days to get here.
I started reading it right away and am already on page 314. It is one of my favorite Harry Potter books so far, together with the third volume (the one about the prisoner of Azkaban).
Everyone I've talked to about this last book says that Harry dies in it, but I don't think he is going to.
Anna Karenina #17
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The RatSoap™ Project is a work in progress, 2006-2007