When we walk home from school, we almost always take a shortcut through the shopping mall across the street.
In the last week of November, they already had a Santa Claus in the mall, letting kids sit on his lap for photos. I thought it was weird to have Santa out when it wasn't even December yet.
Santa always waves to us. He even caught RJE being bad one day, as we walked past him. He just smiled. And RJE wasn't worried. When we got home, she pulled out the "Santa letter" she'd written at school that day to show us:
"Viejito Pascuero" means Santa Claus in Chile. And RJE writes, "Porque me he portado bien este año...," which is NOT true! "Because I've been good this year," she says. And she wants a stuffed dog, a notebook to use for painting, watercolors, socks, shampoo, a toothbrush, slippers, and a little pillow. Because she's been "good."
Last week was a "blister" week. We went on a long walk and I wore Mom's shoes. I had a splinter from a few days before, but when I got home, what was hurting was not the splinter. It was a GIANT blister, bigger than a marble, on the bottom and side of my big toe.
That is an awful place to have a blister because it rubs against the other toe. I had to walk in a very uncomfortable way because it hurt a lot.
Then the blister got fatter. It spread and filled with more and more liquid. Dad told me to wear sandals to school to let it dry out. I went to the nurse's office at school, and she put something on it and a bandage. She also told me NOT to pop it.
We were about to go to the "Clinica Alemana," to see a doctor, but I insisted that we wait and go the next day. So we got home and finally Dad decided to just pop the blister. "Home surgery," he said.
Dad put tons of alcohol on the toe and cleaned the blister with a cotton ball. I was closing my eyes, but I think what he did next was disinfect the needle with a flame and with alcohol, before pricking the blister with it (no photos because it's too gross!).
The next day, it felt much better, and I went to school in sandals with a bandage around it. Now, it is all dried up.
Next to our building, there is a dance, yoga, and aerobics center. They have a sign on the outside showing two dancers that says "Salsa y Merengue."
The other day, when we walked by it, RJE said, "What does salsa and merengue have to do with dancing? It's not a cooking class!"
She had learned that "salsa" in Spanish means "sauce" and "merengue" means "meringue," so she didn't understand why they were selling food at a dance school.
The end-of-year tests are done. English was the last one, two days ago.
All of RJE's tests were easy for her. Her teacher even said she aced the language test (grammar, writing, all of that).
Mine weren't such a piece of cake. The only one that was easy (other than English) was science. History lowered everyone's average. It was WAY too hard, and no one in all the 5th and 6th grades got 100%.
The Language test was okay, but still sort of hard for me. Math was easy for people who are good at math. On that test I got a 6.8 out of 7, which is pretty good.
Every year they have a telethon to raise funds for children with disabilities in Chile, and they show it on TV. Dad says that it's the same kind of thing they have in the United States, but I had never heard of it.
During the teletón, they asked the kids at school to bring old toys that they didn't need/want anymore, to sell them to the other students and raise money for the teletón.
RJE told her friends: "We don't have ANY toys to give away!" That is the same as saying: "My mean parents won't buy me any toys!" But it's true. Here, we have almost no toys. But in Virginia, we have plenty.
RJE has definitely "gone Chilean," as Mom says. She even talks with a Chilean accent.
The other day, we invited the family of one of my friends to dinner, and the mother was saying how she wouldn't guess that RJE wasn't from Chile because she speaks just like all her little friends.
Later, in the grown-up conversation, they started talking about which country speaks the best Spanish---Peru, Spain, Bolivia. They said that Chilean Spanish was one of the worst, spoken too fast and not very clearly. And it's true.
Here are some examples: Chileans don't pronounce the "d" sound at the end of words, and they pronounce the "z" like an "s".
My teacher says, "Cuando vayan a la universida, recuerden mis palabras." That means, "When you go to university, remember my words." But "university" is supposed to be "universidad," with a "d" at the end, and not "universida."
They also say, "La prueba de sociedá estuvo demasiado difícil." It means: "The social studies test was too difficult," and it should be "sociedad," not "sociedá."
The other day, I heard RJE tell one of her friends, "Dame la mitá de la galleta, porfa." VERY Chilean! "Give me half of the cookie, please." She even uses the Chilean slang "porfa," short for "por favor," and "mitá" instead of "mitad."
Every year, the school gives a medal to one student in each class who has the best grades and behavior. Every class has a goody-goody-two-shoes who gets the medal every year.
My friend won it this year, and she wore the medal around school all day.
Mom and Dad said that winning the medal and then wearing it around is the best way to earn animosity from the other students. I didn't know what that word meant. But when I found out (it means strong dislike), it is very true. The day my friend won the medal, some of the boys wouldn't let her play soccer with them.
Dad says that if the medal were like honor roll, where more than one student can get it, then it would be okay. But if only one student gets the medal, of course the others will make fun of her or not want to talk to her.
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The RatSoap™ Project is a work in progress, 2006-2007