Simon Dice Toca Tu Nariz…Otra Vez

By Caroline M., CE Adviser in Chile

Today is my 23rd birthday. Yes, it’s my first birthday away from the States, but I have a feeling that I won’t be feeling any homesickness because of it. My host family has decided to throw me a party tomorrow with tacos because they know how much I love Mexican food. On top of that, I might be making a little trip to the Casino tonight; it’s a proven fact that people are 47% more lucky on their birthdays 🙂 . Plus the Casino here is super inexpensive by US standards; last time I went, I only took out about $10 in coins and only lost about $2 after 3 hours of gambling… and that’s with a significant amount of losing.

This past weekend I went to a town about 2 hours away from Iquique called Pica. Overall it was a very relaxing weekend, save the presence of an inquisitive 8 year old (the granddaughter of my co-teacher) who didn’t understand the concept of “speak slowly for the Gringa because her Spanish isn’t the best”. It was interesting to go on a road trip in the desert; sure, I know that deserts are supposed to be dry, but good grief – there was nothing but sand, hills, and more sand. Also, this desert (the Atacama Desert to be precise) is the driest in the world – there are some places that have no recorded rainfall in history. Seriously.

So far school has been going well. Last week we worked on learning parts of the body. Of course, no Parts of the Body lesson would be complete without singing “Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes” and a game of “Simon Says”. Over the course of the week, I probably sang that song over 100 times; it will be years before I can bring myself to sing it again. Also, Simon is permanently retired; he gave out more orders last week than an army drill sergeant and has nothing more to say. Every week I am teaching the kids a new slang word so that they can keep up with the American vernacular like pros. Last week our word was “Sweet!” and this week it was “Dude!” I definitely made sure that they understood the diversity of the word “dude”, as it can be used in anger, confusion, excitement, and utter sorrow. They also enjoyed my impression of Keanu Reeves from “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” as I demonstrated the theatrical application of the word “dude”. I’m still debating over what the slang word next week should be; if any of you have suggestions, let me know.

Ok, well I’m off to go do some shopping and other frivolous activities because it’s my birthday and I’m allowed. So, until next time, here’s my philosophical question of the day:

Is there another word for synonym?


P.S. – My host family changed Mateo’s sweater this week. As shocked as I was and as much as I miss the plaid, he’s looking quite dapper in his new tan sweater, especially because it is accented with doggie footprints and stripes.

**Update** Last night my family and I went to an aunt’s house because one of the cousins was having her birthday too. There was a huge (delicious) strawberry cake that they had made for her, and my family made sure that everyone knew it was my birthday too. After she blew out her candles, they added 1 more candled (because she turned 22) and lit them again. Amazingly, a room of about 20 Chileans started singing “Happy Birthday” to me in English. Absolutely delightful.

Also, I won $10 at the Casino… then I lost it all and had the best time doing it 🙂

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Flashback to our Fall API student's first days in Spain. Madrid orientation with our friends from api_granada, Salamanca guided tour, and lunch tapas (+first days of classes!)

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