Sunday, April 10, 2011


Reading is a part of my life. It's importance changes regularly, usually dependent on the amount of homework I have, but the entire Niewold family have always been big readers. So, naturally, I have continued that here.

I brought two books in English and one in Spanish: Twighlight and Catch-22 in English, and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azcaban in Spanish (thanks Libby!). I finished Twighlight in a day, am slowly getting through Catch-22 (it's complicated!) and Harry Potter ends up being about a chapter a week, because I have to look up so many words.

However, when I went to the Rodeo (yes, my camera battery died, so I don't have pictures) I met my friend Belen's 10 year old sister Rosario, and we really hit it off. Much to my surprise, the following Monday Belen shows up to school with a little bag full of beginning spanish chapter books! Rosario had put together a collection for me. How cute is that?

These books have big print, about 60 pages, and the occasional picture. On the back, they say "Desde 8 AƱos", or 8 years and up. And they are just perfect for me! I usually only have to look up a word a page or so and I can follow the plot. They're short enough to keep my attention. I'm so glad Rosario was nice enough to let me borrow them--it's a great activity for Spanish and History classes, since I feel like I'm learning while reading Spanish, but it's something to do in the two classes where I understand nothing.

Reading at school
So far, I've read two: "Siri and Mateo", a story of two youngsters who turn into a cat and a dog respectively when adults aren't looking, and "De carta en carta", about a grandfather and his grandson that are in a fight so they write letters to eachother instead of talking, but they don't know how to read and write so they enlist the help of a writer to write the letters. I haven't finished that one yet. I'll let you know how it ends... suspenseful, huh?

Vocab list for Siri and Mateo
For every book I read (for Harry Potter it's every chapter I read) I make a list of all the new vocab words in a notebook. I bet I remember about a tenth of the words I look up, but looking back on the pages of vocab words makes me realize that I am, in fact, improving my spanish, and it's something to show for reading these books.

For all those potential exchange students out there: I'd really reccomend reading in the new language, however basic it has to be, and keep track of all the words you're looking up. It's a really rewarding activity, and I feel like every time I'm exposed to another word in Spanish I'm more likely to remember it. Once I look up a word and remember the meaning, that's when I can start to understand it in conversation, and after that is when I can start to use it.

What else? I'm doing really well overall. Paula and I are enjoying attending the local gym and my pants are starting to fit less snugly, thank goodness. We went to Aerobics (Baile Entretenido in Spanish--direct translation is "Entertaining Dance") and it was ridiculously fun and ridiculous. My English is continuing to fail me, especially my spelling, so sorry for any typos. I'm still awaiting my package from my family, but I know it's out there somewhere in the world.

Well, off to do English homework, of all things (I have to do the definitions in Spanish), catch up on my journaling, and probably watch some MTV (in English) or Discovery Kids (in Spanish). It's cloudy for the second time since I've been here which makes it start to feel like winter. I hear Madison is having a great day weather-wise. Oh well. I'm in Chile!


PS: I just checked the specifications on the camera battery charger, and it turns out I just need an adaptor, not a transformer! It was great news, since adaptors are a lot cheaper and easier to find. I should have some non-ipod pictures soon, which is good!

1 comment:

  1. Do you think I could have your vocab lists when you return home?
    I'm dying to know how "De carta en carta" ends. Finish it soon.
    (I like to comment faithfully so you know I'm reading your blog!)