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Showing posts from September, 2009

I love journalism part 3,495

Hehe. I just sent off the final draft of an article that will appear in my campus newspaper soon--the first of a series I'm writing about studying abroad here in Central America--along with some photos I took, including this adorable photo of my hermanita, Niñita.

I'm all excited now... so even though I should be writing up a report on Haggai (Hageo en español), I'm not sure I'll get to that tonight... :P

Rindercella! Rindercella!

So, homework for the weekend is to write out a fairy tale in Spanish. We get to choose from one of four, including Cinderella; and I was talking about our assignment with some of the girls, when I found out they'd never heard the story of Rindercella!

So I looked on the Internet today and--lo and behold--there was a version very similar to the one my mom told me years ago!

It's so much fun to tell these things... and there are more spoonerist-fairy-tales (otherwise known as tairy fales) all over the place!

Journaling and Exams (in Spanish)

Today I considered the possibility of switching over to writing in Spanish when I journal. I'm feeling like I know enough of Spanish--both the grammar and the vocabulary--that I could begin to do a decent job in that language. Maybe next month.

I had an oral exam today for my class in conversation. This is the teacher that does really hard exams, and tells us to study everything in order to prepare for these exams. The exams are always oral, also--not a written word to them. (It is the class on "conversation," after all.) So I was... nervous, to say the least, and felt like telling her right off "Sé que voy a morir ahora." But I didn't; instead I smiled, said I was "muy bien" (in response to "¿Cómo estás?"), and gave it my best shot. I answered all the cultural-sayings questions quite well, remembered stuff about our literature-reading fairly well, was able to give an opinion about the Spanish-language movie we watched, and managed to use…

La Vida es Bella (the movie)

So, I've never seen "Life is Beautiful." Apparently it's an Italian film that got pretty popular recently. We watched it the last two days in our class about conversation. A few observations:

1. Having never seen the movie, I had no idea what it was about, so I had to just roll with it. I'm not used to that... usually I at least read the back of the movie case to get a general idea of the plot. I'm a framework kind of person--I like to have at least some idea of the big picture, in order to fit in the parts correctly. Watching a movie without knowing anything of the plot is... curious.

2. Watching a movie in Spanish is a whole 'nother story. For one thing, the Spanish is fast fast fast, and for another there aren't any subtitles, and for a third the words don't even match up with what the actors are really saying (since it was in Italian originally), so you really do have to rely solely on what you think you hear. And since I'm not quite that fl…

A trip to the supermarket to buy newspapers

An assignment for class tomorrow is to read and analyze three different newspapers here. In order to do that, I kinda had to actually buy three different newspapers here.

And to do that, I had to go to the supermercado. My mamá told me it would be better to go as soon as possible, since if we waited till my papá got home, there probably wouldn't be any newspapers left! So, my hermanito and I walked over to the supermarket just to buy those.

I ended up buying the newspaper my host parents read and two other newspapers. Those were the perfect choices, as I found out; I ended up with one paper that's popular with lower-to-middle-class folks, another among the middle-to-upper-classes, and a third (the one with the best website, I believe) that's big with the upper class.

The funniest thing was that my nine-year-old hermanito wanted to read them with me when we got back.

Facebook update, etc.

Seems like anytime an article on one of my favorite websites comes up talking about Facebook, I gravitate towards it. This time it was a blog post, informing me that FB has upwards of 300 million users (and finally turned a profit).

I could guess that most of the newer users are the moms of the old users who heard about what their kids were doing... but I won't. I could guess that some of the newer users are kids in middle school whose friends talked them into doing it... but I won't.

What I will guess is that FB will be superseded by something yet unheard of. Or maybe something that's around now, like.... oh, maybe video-game consoles?

Volunteering with kids (your Sunday night update)

Whew. Second (I think...) week of classes done, one day of volunteering under my belt, a cold come and almost gone, and a day spent sightseeing and taking photographs! That, in a nutshell, was my week. I just wrote up an update on Facebook, as usual, and put in a LOT of photographs because... well, because I happened to take 160 of them yesterday on our sightseeing trip. :)

So yeah, the sightseeing yesterday was the highlight of my trip. However, if I hadn't been so miserable the day of volunteering (the day my cold started... after I left home... so I didn't have any medicine or kleenex with me), I would have enjoyed volunteering a lot too. I got to work with little baby kids (2 years old and under) at a day center for kids in difficult family situations. In between sniffles (of my own), I picked up kids, played with kids, wiped kids' noses, and generally wondered if it wouldn't be better for the kids if I could just go home (I couldn't really).

A few minutes after …

Big old field trip (and post #400!)

Wow! What a day I had. I can't even begin to tell all of it... basically what I did was just take pictures, posted them on Facebook, and put on some captions there.

We took a field trip all over an area of the country I'm in today. We visited three Catholic churches. Early on in the field trip, at the first (and biggest) church, we had to ask locals what was so important about this church and what its history was.

We asked one of the security guards there, and since the assignment was to ask two people, we went over and asked the gift shop clerks too. An older man behind us in line took a liking to us and talked to us a little bit after we had our questions answered by the clerks.

To begin, he introduced himself to our group and... asked me if I was the teacher! I'm not sure how to take that. I'm assuming it was in recognition of superior Spanish pronunciation or some sort of confidence in having asked the first two questions? (I'm just guessing here!) Considering I&#…

And the other side of the coin

A couple days ago, my mamá was on the phone a lot. I came home after classes and she was on the phone for half an hour longer.

Once she got off, she explained that was a family member, and that her husband's grandfather was dying. It is best now, she said, because he's been suffering a lot, and he's getting up there in years. Cancer was taking its toll....

Today, my mamá said he was just a few hours away from death. My papá went to his grandfather's place today, instead of to his workplace. They had been preparing for this point, of course; my mamá said this part had started in January; but still.

My mamá told me about her grandparents, too, a little. She is close with them--they live nearby, and all--and she said she wishes they could live forever, but she knows that everyone has a time to die.

My hermanito told me today, multiple times, that he was sad. He will miss his great-grandfather.

Wow, it's been... 8 years?

The funny thing about living in Central America is that I'm away from all the U.S. hoopla over holidays, days of importance, etc. So I barely realized Monday was Labor Day (only on Sunday night, late, when I was writing stuff in my planner which has U.S. holidays). And only just now did I realize that today is September 11th. Saying "once de setiembre" (the date in Spanish) really does make a difference; it doesn't have the same memory attached to the words. It's curious.

Umm.... (Spanish idioms)

Can't think of anything again. Except that I've lost twice at a local version of Monopoly and I'm not very good at it.

Some of the sayings down here are downright hilarious. I'm having my Central American parents explain three to me every night, out of a list of thirty-five that I have from my teacher. A few of the most interesting....

"When frogs grow hair"

"Longer (taller) than a milkman's whistle"

"He who doesn't cry doesn't suck (get fed, like a baby)"

"The monkey, though dressed in silk, is still a monkey"

"Flies don't enter a closed mouth"

I think the one about the frogs has to be my favorite. :P

Sunday night update

It seems that Sunday night is usually a good night for writing something lengthy for my blog (and doing some other stuff, too).

Anyhow. This week I've been really busy, or rather busier than before. Classes started this week, of course, so I've had homework. That involved asking my Central American dad about lots of peculiar sayings that are used here (like "when frogs grow hair," which is along the lines of "when pigs fly"). And going over present-tense verbs umpteen times in grammar class (kinda boring). And reading three chapters in an apparently rather famous book called "Pantalones largos." And writing a nine-minute speech in Spanish. Yeah! I was sooo proud of myself when I finished that thing! And all that was only for two of my classes.

The third class, touching upon the culture and civilization of my host country, meets only on Fridays and is a pretty interactive, field-trip-based class. Which means it's awesome! We went downtown thi…

Spanish profusion

The funny thing about being here, in Central America, is that Spanish and its related thoughts fill my life like nothing else has before.

When I wake up, I'm greeted by "¿Cómo amaneció?" and hear Spanish music on the radio. I play with my little hermanita and speak Spanish to her, though she is only sixteen months. (¿Ádonde vas? ¿Qué estas haciendo?) Then I talk to my mamá about random stuff (Amish people, today... no joke) and she doesn't speak any English, so of course all my conversation is in Spanish. I read my Bible in Spanish. I do my homework in Spanish. I hear telenovelas in Spanish (they're on in the afternoons and my mamá likes to have them on while she cleans or whatnot). About the only two things I don't do in Spanish are read my Chesterton book (during down time at home) and do stuff on the Internet.

So, it's really weird to get online and see that there's a world outside Spanish language study. That the news, journalism, Christianit…