Footnote: America and the Spanish-English Divide

When all is said and done I’m going to have around 800 footnotes in my dissertation. I love footnotes. It appeases the loyal, “leave-no-man-behind” streak in my personality. Since I’m dealing with Chilean subject matter my bibliography is nearly exclusively in Spanish. I’ve already spent half of my research/writing time translating so I made an executive decision to leave a few words in their natural state—travesía, obra—because the English translations just aren’t up to snuff. All of which I explain in my ~800 footnotes. Continue reading

Microbus Art

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One of the best things about living in Chile this side of 2007 is that the yellow buses are gone. When I first lived in Santiago in 2005 I avoided this mode of transport: not only were there no formal bus stops, but the buses rarely stopped. Also, people called them micros. Not autobús as I had obediently learned sometime in high school; you could fill tomes with Spanish I thought people spoke. But I digress. This is an important anecdote because in Chile a city bus is called a microbús, abbreviated simply to micro in commuter-speak. Somewhere in this abbreviation this critical terms jumps gender and becomes “la micro,” which to my institutional Spanish sounds like cats screeching every time I hear it. All of this is mingled into my loathing of the yellow micros and all the commuters with nostalgia for the old system are sentimental loons. Continue reading

Learn Spanish with German


No, I wrote that right. Learn Spanish with Germán. He’s my new favorite viral video-maker and his Chilean Spanish is surprisingly clear yet slang-heavy which will serve you well the next time you come to Chile and realize barely anyone speaks English. Come to think of it barely anyone speaks the Spanish you learned in high school. Chilean-speak is so unique they call it castellano here, which is a subtle way of reminding you that whatever Spanish you thought you knew is useless in this part of the Southern Cone. But Germán will help since his gestures are better than subtitles, enjoy! Bonus: Germán does English, too.

Mom’s Music

For the past month I’ve had to do without the services of my usual chef. Luckily my first chef, my mom, is in town and willing to cook lunch for me or at least delegate it to one of my aunts. All I have to do is drive 20 minutes to the campo where my grandmother lives to be served. Second on this list of first world problems is the fact that my parent’s vehicle doesn’t have an i-Pod jack. So when hunger forces me out of my research cocoon I scan the local radio. Continue reading