Sunday, September 25, 2011

And the Countdown Begins

Tomorrow marks the start of term three.

There are 80 more days until the last day of school. Thankfully that includes the weekends.

Eight days after the last day of school I leave for the US and can ignore my alarm clock for two whole months.

And somewhere between now and then there are four glorious holidays. (Holidays = no work.)

Okay, this might seem like I don't like my job or I don't like living here in Chile. And that couldn't be more wrong. Teaching is a very demanding job and I'm very much looking forward to sleeping in for two months. And of course, visiting friends and family in the States.

Friday, September 23, 2011

El Dieciocho

September 18th is the Chilean Independence Day, or more commonly referred to as the Dieciocho. It is the start of a two day holiday celebration known here as Fiestas Patrias. 

But before I begin my post about how I celebrated the 18th here in Chile, I have much more important news to report. The 18th will hold an even more special place in my heart because it is the day that my niece Charley was born. Charley is now tied with her big sister Ella as being the cutest nieces in the world. So congrats to my oldest brother Eric and his wife Penn for creating yet another adorable child.

I get to hold her in just 4 short months!

Okay, back to Chile. The most common way to celebrate the Dieciocho is by attending a fonda. A fonda is similar to a county fair, but with no rides or deep-fried Twinkies. Vendors set up stalls selling various types of Chilean cuisine. Copious amounts of alcohol are consumed including pisco and chicha, a fermented wine based drink. In the larger fondas you can find dancing and rodeos. 

All of this information I collected from my two main sources of Chilean culture: Wikipedia and my mom. I didn’t actually attend a fonda this year. Instead, my friends and I went walking through an area of Santiago called Patio Bellavista, an outdoor area comprised of numerous bars, shops and restaurants. We settled on a bar serving the third most popular type of Chilean food: sushi. (First and second on the list are empanadas and barbecued meat, or asado as it is referred to here.)

Worth noting is that I did drink Chilean beer that night. The bar was serving Kuntsmann beer, brewed in the south of Chile. I just ordered it because the name made me giggle immensely.

To end, here are some photos I took from the roof of my friend’s apartment building overlooking downtown Santiago.

View from 21 floors up

Gabriel and Seba

Me and Ale

View from the other side

Thursday, September 22, 2011


This is a post about sandwiches.

Ham is one of the most popular foods here in Chile. In fact, it is so popular that if you go to a Subway restaurant you can get a ham sandwich for one luca. (Luca is slang...similar in meaning to a buck.) Now this one luca sandwich comes with ham (obviously) and an assortment of other free toppings (cheese, vegetables, sauces).

If you go to those same Subways selling ham sandwiches for a luca (about $2) you can also buy a vegetarian sandwich. You know, the ones that don't have any meat on them. So one might assume that a vegetarian sandwich would be cheaper than the ham sandwich seeing how it has no ham on it. Wrong. A vegetarian sandwich actually costs more than twice the price of a ham sandwich (over $4).

So I am paying an extra luca to Subway for them to NOT put ham on my sandwich.

I know what you're thinking, order the ham sandwich and then take the ham off. Well, this vegetarian prefers her vegetables to not be tainted by pork products thank you very much.

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Even Google has gotten into the spirit of the holiday. 

Today is Chile's Independence Day.
Heading out for the day...more to come!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Year One

No, this isn't about the Jack Black movie.

On Thursday/Friday I celebrated my first year of living in South America. Why Thursday and Friday? Well I left home on September 8th, 2010 but did not arrive until the 9th. I'm that far away from home. 

I thought I'd celebrate with a cake. So I made this:

Veggie Tales!

No wait. That cake wasn't for me. I found it on Google. 

I celebrated my one year in South America by having 29 parent teacher conferences. Sounds fun, right? 

Sept. 2nd

About a week ago Chile suffered a devastating blow. A plane crashed while trying to land on Juan Fernandez Island. All 21 people on board died. Among those who died was Felipe Camiroaga, an incredibly famous TV personality, well loved by most Chileans. Also on board the plane was the father of a second grade student from my school.

Camiroaga worked on a morning news program called Buenos Días a Todos (Goodmorning Everyone). He was traveling to the island with his crew to report on the reconstruction on the island following the earthquake and tsunami that hit last year.

Felipe Camiroaga

A makeshift memorial has been set up outside the TV studio where Camiroaga worked.


Thursday was the last day of the second term. The students left at 1:00 and then we had parent-teacher conferences for two days. But I'll get to that part later. Anyway on that last day my kids watched Rio. In case you haven't seen it, Rio is about birds with a few humans thrown in for fun. The main human character is a girl named Linda, who my students decided was my animated doppleganger. Once she came on screen they started saying that she was Miss Maggie (that's me). Of course my immediate response was that my glasses are nowhere near as big as hers. They quickly pointed out that we both wear a clip in our hair, so of course we're identical. It's hard to argue with that kind of logic. 

Anyway, here's Linda (and Blu). 

Okay, on to the parent-teacher conferences. The only thing I wanted to mention about those was that this term I did not use a translator. That's right. I did them by myself. In Spanish. Feel free to be in awe of my mad skills.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Empanada Party

On Friday we had a school-wide celebration for the upcoming Chilean Independence Day. Students in all grades performed traditional Chilean dances. 

After the assembly students continued the celebration with an empanada party. It's not really called an empanada party. I just made that up. 

One of the parents brought in two types of empanadas, cheese and pino. In case you're not familiar with empanadas they are similar in design to a small calzone. Some are fried and others are baked. The cheese ones are well, filled with cheese. And the pino ones are filled with beef, onions, black olives, raisins and hard boiled eggs. Yum. (That sentiment should be read with excessive amounts of sarcasm.)

Anyway, here are some pictures from the assembly. Students in fifth grade were assigned the national dance of Chile called Cueca. Those who participated spent about one month learning the dance. 

national anthem and raising of the flag

This was one of my favorite performances. This student danced alone, almost in a salute to the flag. 

These were probably the youngest dancers.

super huge "awww" moment

traditional dance from Northern Chile

These older students performed a traditional dance from Isla de Pascua 
(or Easter Island for you non-Chileans). 

Here's a video of the beginning of the dance. 

And now on to my 5th graders!

Dancing the Cueca

Here's a video of them dancing the Cueca. My kids are the ones dancing in the background.

After my students performed, some teachers came down to join them in the national dance. 

Some of my students couldn't focus on the dance because they noticed this little boy sitting across the field....recognize him?

It's Kenny!