Do you know Flat Stanley? Stanley is the protagonist in this delightful book about a boy who is accidentally flattened (and unharmed), and then he’s able to mail himself all over the world. Teachers have been using Stanley to help teach geography and world citizenship for years. Students often make a paper version of themselves to be mailed somewhere and returned with information and pictures of their flat self’s adventures. I first encountered Stanley living in San Francisco and my flat nieces and nephews started arriving to be photographed in front of the Golden Gate Bridge and sea lions at Pier 39.
Last week, Flat Edda from Boise, ID, came to visit us in Talagante, Chile. Unlike San Francisco, Talagante does not have a lot of distinguishing landmarks, architecture, or animal life. It’s kind of a farm town. So I really had to think about what is interesting in Talagante, something that makes it different from Edda’s hometown. Then it occurred to me, something that we almost take for granted now, having lived here for six months.
We headed to the feria (street market).
The feria happens three times per week on Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday. Typically our kids do not love to attend the feria for a variety of reasons.
First, there are a few vendors with cheap plastic toys and knock-off Disney coloring books, and we never buy them those things.
Second, the streets are almost exclusively filled with adults, especially at the weekday markets. Since our kids are still small, they are often unseen and get bumped into a little bit because people are looking at items for sale at the stands, not looking down where they walk.
Third, it can turn into a good bit of walking for their little legs, so Krissy or I inevitably carry Caleb for a decent chunk of the time.
This time when the kids and I went to the feria they had a welcome distraction. They were to be Flat Edda’s tour guides. They helped me choose most of our photo locations.
The result was a good learning experience for my kids. They took more notice of the sights and sounds around them. Maybe they realized that this is a pretty unique part of our experience living in Chile.
And since Flat Edda was such a great guest, we took her to the park, too.