>My neighborhood

>I like being an English teacher because it makes me think about different things, and I’m not just talking about grammar and lexis here. A lot of the English books, as corny as they may be, have interesting articles about things I never knew about before. Also, certain lesson plans get me to think about my life because I always have to give examples, and heck, it’s easier to give personal examples than an example about Dick or Jane.

So one thing I’ve been thinking a lot about recently is my neighborhood. I’m talking about my Chilean neighborhood, that is, because the U.S. neighborhood that I grew up in consisted of my house, lots of fields, two barns, a horse, some cows, my grandparent’s house, some more fields, a few more barns, more cows, forest…you get the idea.

But anyway, back to my Chilean neighborhood. I like it. It’s technically in Providencia, but it’s not the Providencia you think of when you hear the word Providencia (which is around the Pedro de Valdivia/Los Leones area, I think). I literally live two blocks north of Ñuñoa and maybe 15 blocks east of Santiago Centro. Even though it’s residential, there are lots of cute cafés, bars and restaurants nearby. And if you’re into mini-markets, there are a TON. Eat your mini-market heart out.

Yes, I have to take a micro to Metro Salvador (or walk 8 blocks to Santa Isabel), but I like taking micros. And, I LOVE the area around Metro Salvador. So even though it’s probably not technically part of my “neighborhood”, it’s still a place I see every day.

Why do I love it? Because it’s the perfect example of the informal economy in Santiago. On any given day you can buy: jewlery, ice cream, Halls (the cough drops, not members of my family!), clothes, locos bañados en chocolate (what the heck are these? some sort of seafood in chocolate? I’m too afraid to ask the guy…), tunas (fruit, not fish), and of course parche-curitas and tissues. If you aren’t into buying anything like that, you could get your Tarot read, or your name written on a piece of rice. You could arrange for English lessons from El Rincon Inglés for only $2.990/ hour (I would like to ask the owner how he makes any money and manages to pay his teachers) or get your body fat measured (for free!).

And if it starts to rain, plucky entrepreneurs will magically emerge from the sidewalks to sell you an umbrella for only $1.000 pesos.

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