We are still at school at 5.30. People are very friendly. For our afternoon class, we walked around the neighborhood, Bellavista. The teacher asked us questions like where is the school from here and where is Cerro St. Cristobal; he directed us to do things like turn right at the next corner. We entered shops and learned the names of different products and talked with the shopkeepers. Át the emporium, they had pate of ostrich and coffee made from quinoa and another of pinon nuts. We went to an artisans plaza and had a local specialty coffee (a cortado which is half coffee and half milk) while we talked about travel and life. Because it was our class, of course, we only spoke Spanish.
This morning we went to the local street market to learn the names of flowers, vegetables, fruits and different types of seafood. While we talked with one of the fruit vendors, Emilio, he offered us pieces of his fruit. The market was beside the river under some trees. Some local specialties included chirimoya and lucamá. They have a saying here that even the poor eat like the rich. I think it is true; the fruit was some of the freshest, largest and sweetest I have ever tasted–and the price was very reasonable. There is plenty of room for confusion. We know that Spanish for avocados is aguacate from our travels in Mexico. But here, they use an Aztec word, plata.
This morning we awoke and had breakfast with five other people staying at the house, the two proprietors, Boris and Lydia and three students. The students are from Florida, Japan and Iran. We are only allowed to speak in Spanish. Then we walked as a group to the a station where we jumped into cabs to the center of the city where we walked to the school. We visited with a travel agency where they only speak Spanish, paid for a reservation and received some information we had requested.
The student body is very diverse. We have conversed in Spanish with people from: Germany, Iran, Poland, Japan, Taiwan, the States, Brazil, and Australia. The method of teaching Spanish is similar to teaching a child to speak a language. We learn by being around our hosts (mama and papa) and listening to them speak with the older children (more advanced students). We learn in class by looking at photos of objects and listen to the teacher tell us about them. The teacher asks us what we did last night, how we are, etc. We have homework and typically work on it at 11 p.m.
Well, the day isn’t over….
People here are somewhat familiar with Thanksgiving, el dia de Acción de Gracias. A turkey is el pavo. However, Santiago is known for its seafood, so we plan to go to the Mercado for our Thanksgiving meal.