Under the Chilean Moon

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Flag of Chile  , Maule,
Sunday, August 9, 2009

First, I must start by saying that in my last Blog I made an ERROR. I said that I watch a telenovela (soap opera) Cuenta Comigo (Count on Me), and at the bottom of the title it reads Te Quiero A Morir (I Want You To Die).  It would appear that the phrase Te Quiero in Spanish means I Love You and the rough translations of Te Quiero A Morir means I love you so much it is Killing Me.  I was in the teacher's lounge talking to, Pilar and told her how that I watch the show and the title Count On Me; I Want You To Die, makes no sense. Understanding the confusion in the translation, she laughs and tells the other teachers.  They laugh and shake their heads seeing how I could make the mistake.  Saying Chilenos are very dramatic with their phrases sometimes.  It is the new catch phase at work now; if a teacher does something wrong they will say "Te Quiero A Morir" and hold up their hand as if they have a dagger and stab the air.  Then everyone starts to laugh (me the most). 

This week was really slow and I will ready for the weekend.  Not that I had a lot planned but I was needed 2 days to recover.  I am still a little BUS LAGGED from all my travels in the south of Chile.  By the time Friday, August 7th, rolled around I was POOPED!  The semester has changed and my classes have been rearranged a little.  Friday used to be one of my short days but now it is my longest day.  At the start of the day it was business as usual, but at the end of the day it got LOONEY!!

I admit I was quite lazy this week I did not make different lessons for each grade level.  I usually have a different plan for the younger children, for example I will show a movie for the older kids because their comprehension is better, and for the younger kids I will show a slide show of photos with vocabulary words.  This week I made a slide show (About Hobbies) and used it for all the grades.  I did change some of the pictures and the vocabulary for the younger kids.  One slide would have a vocabulary word and then the next slides would have a picture of the hobby.  For example I would have the word Skateboarding and then the next 2 slides had pictures of Tony Hawk on the Skateboard.  Then I would ask a question like, “Do you like skateboarding, have you ever skateboarded before, and do you know who the man is in the picture?”  The photos were mostly of famous people in one of the pictures.  Surprisingly they knew most of the famous people (some were American and others were Latin), However in the Photo for Golfing everyone thought Tiger Woods was Barrack Obama.  

With the vocabulary words we played Bingo, Charades, Hang Man, and the Guessing Game.  All games utilized Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Memory.  Of course the prize was candy.  The kids seem to like it and I was ENJOYING it as well; until my last class, the 5th Graders.   There are 45 of them so I had to take half of them at a time.  The first group was so rowdy that I had to send them back to class early.  I understand that it was Friday and they were ready to go home but so was I and I was paying attention!  I told them 5 times to pay attention and I was not about to fight for attention so they were sent back to class.  “OH Sorry Tia (aunt) we will pay attention.  We want to learn, we will be quiet.” They pleaded.  I thought, “Some people don’t believe Fat Meat is Greasy (Old southern saying).”  I did not care about the sweet pleading faces they had to GO!  I even walked them back to class personally. 

I warned the second group if they did not pay attention they would be sent back.  They were very good and everyone participated.  At the end of the slide show was the Guessing Game where they had to guess what the next picture would be and say the word in English.  If they said the word correctly and guessed the correct photo they would win candy.  It was like being on Wall Street; hands rose yelling out the names of different photos, and the room exploded with high pitched sound of prepubescent clamor.  They kept moving closer and closer to me, as if getting closer would ensure a correct answer.  I had to push them back like a Lion Tamer (I wish I had a whip) and threatened to stop the game if they got out of their seats.  There was one girl, Natalia, which said Golfing for every photo. I guess she figured that if she kept her answer she would at least get one piece of candy.  After a few tries her friends, that had been changing there answers and had not received a piece of candy yet, found the method to her madness and calling out Golfing as well.  When the picture of Tiger Woods came on the screen a Deafening YAAAAAAAYYYYYYY, could have raised the roof.  They were jumping up and down, and I could not help but jump up and down with them and join in the Celebration (I may have screamed louder than them).  They went back to class bragging to the other students that Tia Nakia gave them candy from the USA, for being good and the played a really fun game.  I am sure next week the other class will listen more.  I like it when Peer Pressure works to my ADVANTAGE.

After school, Marcela, Eliana, and I walked to a little restaurant and waited for Raul.  He did not feel like cooking so we were eating out on this day.  The place was small but nice and I told them about my day.  The 5th grade is usually my best class but today they were out of control.  I said, “They say when the Moon is Full, it makes people KRAZY, there must be a FULL MOON TONIGHT!!!”  Eiliana said, “We have same phrase here in Chile, but for us every night is a Full Moon.”  Then she laughed as if that was the funniest thing she had ever said.  Her laugh is quite infectious and soon we were all laughing.  The Dinner was great and I huge sandwich and a few fries, and they had plate of fries topped in shaved beef and covered in cheese (that was good as well).  After an hour of talking and eating it was time to go home.  As we walk to the car I look up and to find the Moon was indeed full.  I tell my friends to look in the sky and they just cracked up laughing.  Ride to the house and my stomach is a full as the moon and I am ready to drift off to sleep.  However Sleep would find me later for the next 2 hours we sat in the Living Room and watched Mission Impossible 2, in SPANISH. I had never seen this one before and was astonished to find that I understood most of what was being said.  For the rest I just assumed what was going on from the action.  The words I didn’t understand I would ask Eliana (mostly she was drooling over Tom Cruise).  It was a good movie and a great learning experience.

On Saturday, August 8th, I was supposed to go with some students to Chillan for the afternoon.  They never showed up to the house so I think they were waiting for me to call them but I did not have any of their numbers.  We will reschedule next week.  If I would have known what was going to happen next I would have gotten on a bus to anywhere.  After a huge vegetarian Lunch of rice with peas and carrots, mashed potatoes, and a large salad of beets, avocado, celery, cabbage, cauliflower, and tomatoes I was ready to watch TV.  Eliana’s aunt Ana Clara came over to get some of the chickens.  She is so sweet and usually brings over something good to eat, on this day she bought the softest loaves of bread I have had since I have been to Chile (melted in my mouth).  Now when she said she was going to get the chickens I assumed she was going to take them to her house, NOOOOOOOO!!!  She meant she was going to KILL THEM in the BACK YARD.  I am so glad I had a Veggie Lunch. 

The journalist in me could not help but run to my room and get my camera to document the moment.  This sweet 62 year old lady went CHARLES MANSON on me, as if killing was not a problem for her.  She even laughed and made jokes.  I did not have the stomach for it so every time she killed a bird I ran to my room.  I like country living but killing animals in NOT MY THANG!!  If I married a farmer I would be the skinniest farmer’s wife in Chile if I had to kill anything with a heartbeat.  Other Family members came over and just laughed at me for making such a big fuss over the FOOD!  The saddest moments were when Ana Clara (Clarita) took 5 under developed eggs out of one of the chickens (in different stages of development) she had just killed. When they Killed Karen, one of Eliana’s hens, it was kind of sad.  I had held her moments before and then she was gone. The other moment was when Clarita told me to touch one of the dead hens.  The feathers were so soft and a vibrant burnt orange and her body was still warm and at that moment I was sad for her as if I had known her all my life.  Such is life, in a second it could all be over; time will not stand still for any of us.  The world will continue to spin on its axis, and people will continue to laugh and smile, while warm blood is in your dying body.  I know this is a little too deep over a dead chicken but I hate to think about death.  Most people think that Living is forever until death creeps in their life and the reality of mortality stares us in the eyes without blinking.  Don’t get me wrong I will never stop eating meat (Chicken and I have too much HISTORY.  A long Delicious history) but it just made me think. 

Good thing it was Raul’s nephew’s birthday and I was in need of a pick-me-up.  We arrive at the house and it was full of people and lots of hugs and kisses. Jano (pronounced Hah-no), the birthday boy, is one of my little friends and he comes over the house from time to time to practice English.  On this day he will be turning 15.  It is always fun to go to a family gathering.  My favorite part of the night was when Jano’s dad gave a toast to his beautiful son.  Then he tells of how proud he is to be Jano’s father and he prays to be around for many more Happy Birthdays.  There was more but I could not understand it.  Glasses rise to a boisterous SALUD!!

There are a few new kids at the party and they are very slow to warm up to me.  After a while they think I a funny and start to ask me about the USA and, Carolina the quietist one, even start teaching me words in Spanish.  It was really fun and there was a lot of food and 2 birthday cakes. They had pork and chicken but out of respect for Karen I passed on the Chicken. After seeing death, the perfect end to a long day was to celebrate one more year of life.

Well that is all I have for today.  I hope this blog finds you well and remember my friends, life is a gift, unwrap it and enjoy it as if every day were your Birthday.

NOTE:  My next Blog will include movies of the Birthday Party,  The Defeathering the Chickens (don't worry I don't show any chickens actually getting killed) and some other things.  So I hope you are prepared to laugh a little.

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nakiaford on

Re: slow but exciting
Yeah It is crazy around here but I maintain. Hope you are doing well. Talk to you soon.

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