It occurred to Krissy that today is August 18th. In exactly one month, we’ll be celebrating el Dieciocho (the 18th), the Fiesta Patrias, the celebration of Chile declaring its independence from Spain. Pretty much equivalent to the U.S. 4th of July.
When I lived in Chile previously, I moved there in mid-August, so I was fairly new when the Dieciocho came around. Some new acquaintances invited me to go out with them to the local fair. We played fooseball (taca-taca) and other games, then went to the chicha garden. Think beer garden, but with this fermented grape concoction that comes out each September. Wow, what a cultural indoctrination into my new circle of friends! Imagine coming to the U.S. and visiting a Moonshine Garden at a Fourth of July fair. You’d probably take a sip, grit your teeth, smile, and raise your glass to your companions indicating, “Mmmmm, delicious!” so as not to offend their celebratory drink. At least that’s what I did on my first Dieciocho with my first drink of chicha.
All this makes me wonder what kinds of cultural experiences my kids will remember thirteen years after their lives in Chile. Will it be food or language or celebrations? I hope it also includes friends and teachers, family visits and volunteering. Right now, ten days before we leave the U.S., I’m very hopeful that their lasting impressions will make them better people.