Monday, September 17, 2007

Viva Chile!

It's celebration time in Chile! Tomorrow is their Independence Day, September 18th, or Dieciocho, as it's said in Spanish. And there are festivities left and right! They take their celebration very seriously (I was told that you can be heavily fined for not flying a Chilean flag during this holiday!!).
On Friday we had the program at school, and it involved a salute to Chile, the US, and all the other countries represented at our school (Cuba, Bolivia, Canada, Mexico, Korea, China, and Indonesia). Then all the grades performed traditional folk songs from all over the country, including some traditional folk dances, which are much like line dances. Then we had a lunch of traditional Chilean food--empanadas (cheese or meat in a pocket of dough, fried), anticuchos (shishkabobs, basically), and mote con huesillos (a dessert drink that consists of a dried peach resoaked in water to make a juice with barley in the bottom...interesting, huh?). Then there were games, like relay races and tug-of-war, along with the ever so popular kite flying. They really love kites down here. I'm going to include some pictures from Friday.

Here's the Pre-K and Kindergarten class with their teacher, all in traditional clothes.

Here are two girls in traditional clothes on the "stage" where the program was held.

Cute, aren't they? They were so nervous!

Part of the Chilean dance that the little kids did. Involves a lot of running in place and running in general, all in time with the music.

Here's some churangos, an instrument used in all of the high school songs.

I do have a video from that day, but it will take me awhile to edit it and post it. But keep an eye out for it!

Yesterday I went to a fonda, which is much like a fair. There were rides, and games, and stands with food all over the place, much like you'd find at an American fair. Only the rides had different names (most of them) and the food was all Chilean. It was delicious! There was a mini-zoo, and a rodeo. We didn't stay for the rodeo though, so I'm hoping to be able to go see that on Wednesday. I've heard it's very different than an American rodeo. I'm sure I'll have more pictures to show!!
It was a fun day yesterday, filled with Chilean culture, Chilean friends, and was almost entirely in Spanish! None of the Americans went with me, so I was on my own, and honestly, that's when I learn the most. One of my Chilean friends knows a little English so she helps me out a little, but mostly it's in Spanish. I'm making progress (I was even able to crack a few jokes yesterday!), it's just very slow. But everyone is very encouraging and understanding, so I don't mind sounding like an idiot! :o)

Today was a mellow day, consisting of sleeping in, doing some grading, and going grocery shopping. Here's the thing about grocery shopping in Chile in September...especially the day before their holiday. There are people who walk around the store in traditional Chilean clothes, with instruments, singing folk songs. And then every once in awhile they'll start the national Chilean dance (the cueca) in the aisles! And people gather around and watch, clapping along, and eventually a few even join in with the dancers! The culture is amazing! I love it here!
Tomorrow is the fair at our church, so I'm sure I'll have more to tell in the not to distant future!!

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