Chileans take their Independence Day seriously. They start planning for it a month ahead. Parties include singing, dancing, flying kites, drinking, and lots of eating.

Our classroom is covered with Chilean flags, flower dresses, and red, white, and blue streamers.

At the military academy, the band has been practicing the national anthem and other marching music for the parades on the 18th of September, Chile's Independence Day. We have seen and heard them walking around the academy playing their instruments.

This year, the holiday falls on Tuesday, and everyone gets Wednesday off, too. The government declared Monday ALSO a holiday---so it will be a FIVE-DAY weekend! They call this "making a sandwich," and Saturday and Wednesday are the slices of bread, and the three days in between are the cheese, ham, and butter. Every year, they have many sandwiches in Chile.

At school, we are learning folkloric dances for the big day. RJE even bought a flower dress for her presentation, with a white apron. I borrowed a flower skirt for my dance. I'll write more about the dances and post photos after they take place next week.

The Chilean army started the celebrations last week with two races (5 kilometers and 10 kilometers long) for soldiers and anyone else who wanted to run them. Mom signed up to run the ten-kilometer race.

She ran with 7,000 people who signed up for both races, most of them were men and women soldiers (wearing yellow t-shirts in the photo below).

After a blast from a cannon announced the start of the race, all the runners left the military academy grounds, and were followed by this ambulance (in case anyone got hurt during the race):

The finish line was at the stadium inside the military academy. Mom arrived fifth or sixth of the women runners on the 10K race, but the first three women beat her by several minutes, so she did not get a medal.

When the winners got their prices, the band played more happy music.

To get a better idea of what it felt like to be there, play this movie:



At school, when one kid buys something or starts doing something, almost everyone starts doing the same thing. A few weeks ago, a boy brought a cool yo-yo to school. Now, almost everyone in the class has one that is exactly the same brand.

I wanted one, too, so we bought two butterfly-shaped yo-yos, one for RJE and one for me. This is what mine looks like:

So far, I've learned a few tricks, like "walking the dog," "around the world," and "rock the cradle."

If you want to learn more about yo-yo's, click here.

Here's a funny video of someone doing the "around the world" trick on yoyostore.com.


Write back to the rats at

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




Next Previous Oldest