Published: April 8th 2012April 4th 2012
I got to participate a little more today - calling roll and doing a short activity with the song L-O-V-E. I don't know how I'm going to learn all of the students' names (there are like 300), but I'll do my best! The activity seemed quite successful as the kids really got into it and of course, they enjoyed me singing to them. I had a great time watching them at the end of class and between classes. They're all a buzz! For one class, they left the room and 3 or 4 were playing their guitars before they got out the door. Then another class, having talked about "extraordinary" during the singing activity called out to me "Miss! You're extraordinary!" Made my day :)
The lounge serves as every teacher's desk (I know - just imagine the amount of stuff in that room!) because no one keeps their own classroom. The teachers move from room to room. Each time they switch, they grab a different class' attendance book from a shelf in the lounge. I had a great time interacting with several of the teachers in the faculty lounge. So many are very eager to speak to me even
though I can barely speak back and my comprehension is so-so. I spent a good bit of time today in there visiting with a group of male teachers. There's one man, Cristian, who is some kind of manager. He's always trying to catch english phrases, and he seems to like music a lot. The first day I met him, he was trying to find "today I don't feel like doing anything..." by Bruno Mars on youtube. Come to find out, he was a DJ at one time. He learned to speak English in song titles. I said something about walking and he burst out, "I'm walking on sunshine!" and then "que es sunshine?" It's additionally adorable his very strong chilean/spanish accent. They seem to be quite the group of jokesters. I laugh with them sometimes, but I do regret I don't catch most of the jokes.
However, an evening with prima Natalia and family makes me feel quite good all over again. Us three took cena (dinner) at Natalia's house along with her son (10) and guagua (baby). We briefly met her husband on his way out to class. Cena was of course something simple: bread, meat, cheese, tomatoes, mashed avocados, and tea. We had some great conversations to build my vocabulary and practice my speaking skills and of course, we had a good time while doing it. I explained that I didn't understand aqui, aca, alli, alla and they helped me to figure it out. Apparently aqui and aca are equal because soon after the conversation, Francisca and Maria Gloria said one of each at the same time, referring to the same thing! In every conversation about language with people here, I am always told, "Muchos Chilenismos" to which I say yes yes, I know... and it's certainly true. Words here have multiple meanings and the vocab I learned in school or in Mexico is not always helpful. "Que chulo/a" isn't the same everywhere apparently. Everyone wants to teach the Chilenismos to me. The pages of my notebook continue to fill up!
I thought I was doing well learning these chilenismos, but they continue to get me into trouble. At Natalia's place I learned the phrase "jugar a la pelota" which means to play soccer. The following day at school, after I announced my plans to form a choir to one class. Sayuri asked one young man to sing for the class, knowing he had a good voice. He proceeded to sing (beautifully I must add) and afterwards, the students chanted "empelota!" Wondering how this could have anything to do with soccer, I repeated it. The class got a kick out of it. Curious, I asked Sayuri, "doesn't pelota mean to play soccer?" Indeed jugar a la pelota does mean that. However, empelota is something more like "take it all off!" That's one way to start off with a class!