Year's End

At the end of the school year, every class had a field trip. Ours went to a club with a pool, a restaurant, a huge playground, and fields where we played soccer.

The pool was huge. Everyone in the class went swimming right away and stayed in the pool until lunch time except for two of us. I got out and played soccer with my friend because the day was cloudy and the water too cold.

At lunch, they served hamburgers with French fries. There was no other choice, so I decided not to complain, and ate the hamburger. They had already put mayo on the part that was not the meat (Chileans LOVE mayonnaise!), so I had to remove the lettuce and tomato soaked in mayo. It wasn't a good lunch.

Hours later, they called us for "onces," which is like tea time. I was thinking they would serve some cookies and milk, but no. They gave us a "completo" and a soda. A "completo" is a hot dog "with everything" (mayo, avocado, mustard, ketchup, and tomato chunks).

I had already eaten the hamburger, so this time I asked them to give me an "IN-completo," a word a friend and I made up so we could get the hot dog with everything EXCEPT the dog.


Since summer vacation already started, we wanted to treat ourselves to a movie, so we went to see "Bee Movie." But it was sold out when we got to the theater, and we had to pick something else.

The only other movie showing in English was "The Golden Compass." Dad said he'd just read about it and that it sounded like Harry Potter, so I was very keen on seeing it.

The Golden Compass is about a girl called Lyra who lives in a parallel world where people's souls walk next to them in the form of an animal.

The animals are called daemons, and there is a web site where you can answer a few questions and get your own daemon. Mine turned out to be a hare called Skaene, RJE's a butterfly called Philon, Dad's an ocelot called Kyana, and Mom's a Jackal called Alexius.

We really liked the movie. Even though it's fantasy, the animals and Lyra's world look very real in it.


There is a museum in Santiago called Museo Interactivo Mirador (MIM)that is very much like the Children's Museum of Richmond.

I spent a whole day with two friends there. It has tons of little experiments, like kicking a soccer ball and seeing how fast it went. We got to lie on a bed of nails...

...and play with a soft wall where you can push the surface on one side...

...and see a print of what you did on the other side:

The museum has games where you can try to recognize smells with your eyes closed. You can make a beach ball stay afloat by moving a tube that blows hot air under it. Or you can try to write on a piece of paper while looking at it only in a mirror.

But it's not all games. There were also "talleres" (workshops) you can go to and that are about one topic in particular.

We went to one about electricity, where the guide hooked us up to a ball that produces static electricity and made our hair stand on end, which meant we were "charged."

Then, when I touched the hand of someone who was not connected to the ball, there was a spark, like lightning, and a shock that was almost painful.

We also went to the "robotics" workshop, but it was very disappointing, more for little kids than sixth graders. Each one of us had to program a robot on the computer.

When that was done, we raced each others' robots trying not to knock down some plastic pieces that were on the path. I came in last place because my robot wasn't working very well.

At the "brains" workshop, we learned about reflexes, memory, and what part of the brain you use when you hear a sound, or when you read, or when you do some other activity.

To demonstrate reflexes, the guide said he was going to throw dirt at us, and when he immediately moved his hands as if to throw something, we all jumped because our brains were ready since he'd just told us.


My "abuelitos" (Chilean grandparents) arrived from Florida last week for a visit. We'll spend Christmas together and, best of all, we can now speak with them in Spanish.

My aunt and two uncles will also come for a family reunion and for my grandmother's birthday on Christmas Day.

One of my uncles lives in Tanzania, East Africa. He is a teacher there in an international school. His wife is from Vietnam, and they arrived yesterday with their two children.

I haven't seen my cousins yet because they went on a trip to the beach as soon as they got to Santiago. But I'll see them in two days. Dad told me that the boys speak English, Spanish, Vietnamese, and some Swahili!

We will all go south to Villarrica, the same place we visited last year, next to the smoking volcano, and stay for a few days in some cabins. It should be fun.


A typical holiday tradition in Chile is the "Pan de Pascua," which is a sweet bread with lots of fruits and nuts in it. There are piles of the loaves for sale at the entrance to every bakery and grocery store. But it's better homemade, so we've already baked several loaves with my grandmother.

RJE cut up the almonds, walnuts, figs, raisins, and currants. I helped mixing the flour and other ingredients. It is very hard to stir and takes a lot of work, but it's worth it.

Here's what a loaf looks like on the inside:

Pan de Pascua is really delicious.

You can find a recipe here.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Below is one more Anna Karenina post, and see you in 2008!

Anna Karenina #20


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The RatSoap™ Project is a work in progress, 2006-2007
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