Tuesday, 14 June 2011

You sold the cow for beans?

Big brother lives outside our window.  When we first arrived at this apartment ten weeks ago, we noticed a CCTV pointing mournfully to the ground.  I assumed that either it was broken or ant crime was a problem here.  The latter theory was debunked when I saw some ants helping an old lady across the street.
Last week some technicians were working on the camera and now it whizzes around scanning the area about the ascensor.  At the bottom of the steps there is a hostel and the camera on its roof is now patrolling the streets.  Perhaps my focus (you’ll have to pardon the pun) has been changed but I have noticed more CCTV cameras around the city.  Either Valpo is serious about safe streets or there is a new reality TV show we don’t know about.

* * * 

We’ve received emails asking if the volcanic ash has caused any problems for us.  The answer is, not directly.  The volcano was about 1000km south of Valparaíso and so far we haven’t noticed any repercussions.

Our greatest resource for learning Spanish has been Indiana’s homework.  Understanding the words doesn’t always mean we understand the task.  Indiana also has a habit of speaking first and verifying sources later.   And I tend to believe whatever comes out of her mouth, “You have to find 200 things starting with the letter “j” by tomorrow?”
Last night’s homework consisted of having to bring in a seed from a bean or a lentil.  This is where the blog gets interactive.  If you have a lentil or bean seed in your house - at this very minute, press the letter [B] once.  If you do not have a lentil or bean seed in your house, do not press the letter [B].

The results are in:

You can watch that screen all day – that number isn’t going to change.  Even in Australia, where we had an established life, we didn’t have lentil or bean seeds in our house.  I don’t even know if a lentil has been inside our house much less happen to have dropped a seed during its visit. 
Why do you need a lentil or bean seed?
Insert shoulder shrug here.
How many do you need?
Reinsert shoulder shrug here.
Perhaps you’re growing it.
At this point, Indiana’s shoulders usually remain up to save time.

Never fear, there is a fruit stall that sets up about halfway between here and the school.  I sprout my plan of leaving five minutes early with Indiana and… What’s that?
“Can you take both the girls up?  I don't feel too well,” says Talluah.  At this point it should be mentioned that Indy and Truce start at different times and when it comes to walking to school, Pangea moved faster than Truce does.  We normally walk them up separately.
We have to leave now then.
“But we haven’t brushed our teeth yet,” chime the girls.
Here’s a Tic-Tac, let’s go.

I stutter out my pronunciation of poroto (bean) to the man at the fruit market.  He disappears inside his house and comes out a minute later and says, “Hay no.”  Undeterred he looks to the ground.  Of course.  The ground.  After spending the last four months telling the kids not to pick anything off the ground we all begin searching through the cobblestones for a poroto seed.  Pumpkin seeds, carrot tufts, something bluish green but no bean seeds.  I thanked the man for his time and continued to school.
Indiana has a well-rehearsed line to tell her teacher that we are but simple travellers from another land and didn’t bring certain items with us.  This speech now includes bean seeds.
I hope tomorrow her homework consists of algebra, that’s a bit simpler.

1 comment:

  1. Hola-Just ran across your blog and read it from beginning to current, absolutely enjoyed it. I lived in Valpo as a child before my parents immigrated to the States. Now I am back, living in the south with my wife. We have a small organic farm, live in a yurt with our animals. I hope to continue to read your updates, have fun and enjoy your stay in Chile.