Browsing Category culture

Basic Spanish Phrases You Need to Know Before Traveling to Latin America

Unlike the US, in India, we do not have Spanish or a foreign language course at our school, especially in the small town that I studied in. I grew up studying Hindi, English, and Sanskrit. I took a foreign language course in French during college, but a few classes and a French certificate was the farthest my foreign language aptitude extended to. 

 When I landed in Chile, I couldn’t speak any Spanish. I started living with a Chilean host mother who woke up with the motivation of teaching me Spanish so that we could communicate and thus began my struggle with the language that soon turned into eternal love. 

Without trying to be melodramatic, I promise that if you learn Spanish while traveling in Latin America, you would also fall in love with this language; for Spanish is a passionate dialect and have phrases and words for almost every emotion. Some of the feelings that can be described eloquently in Spanish are strangled by the lack of words in the other languages that I know.

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When Spanish Hit Me – My Heartfelt Tale of Learning Spanish in South America

I went to Chile in July 2016 to teach English in a state school. All my friends, family, relatives, acquaintances, and social connections asked what made me go to Chile; I said I didn’t think much. They asked me if I could speak Spanish; I replied that I would learn Spanish in South America.

My family concluded that going to Chile was an immature escape as at the end I would be alone and financially unstable. I was sucked down into the whirlpool of emotional hurdles that my family stirred in my career and personal life while being assertive that they cared.

I was fired. I had just ended a two-year live-in relationship which I believed would turn into the long-lasting love of my life. The Titanic sank. I was going to be twenty-nine soon. Friends were getting married. Babies were being born. I did not know anyone in Chile. I did not speak Spanish.

Before I left, an uneasy feeling of forgetting something lingered. Like the one that makes you shuffle through your pockets every time you walk out of your home. I understood later that I was scared: of being alone, of unknowns, and of not knowing Spanish.

I did not know then that in a couple of months I would be able to speak the language fluently.

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A Memoir on Chile Independence Day – Or As The Chileans Call It, Fiestas Patrias.

Today is the independence day of Chile, which is also called Fiestas Patrias or dieciocho, the 18th. Having celebrated this grand day in its mother country, I promise you that the one week of celebrations preceding the independence day and on the day itself are unmatchable. And why shouldn’t they be?

On this date in 1820, Chile overthrew Spain and freed herself from 300-year-long captivity.

Chileans are thrilled around their independence day and celebrate it with honesty, love, and passion. Children, students, adults, grandparents all dress up, decorate, cook, visit their families, talk, celebrate, drink, host barbeques, dance, sing, and act.

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My Love and Hate Relationship With the Colorful India – A Story and Memory Postcards

As I move onto a new journey that takes me outside India for a couple of months (watch out for a more detailed post on Monday), I couldn’t help but reminisce about the places that I have lived in and visited in the last one year I have been in India.

India — a country with distinct religions from the ancient Hindu to the declining Zoroastrianism, with a myriad of languages and dialects from Konkani to Jarawa, with a plethora of geographies from fathomless deserts to treacherous glaciers, with a vast network from modern sea links to old hanging bridges, with a wide assortment of food from homely dal roti to mouth-watering, overnight-cooked chicken biryanis, with a range of commutes from rusted Hero bicycles, serene camels, and obedient bullock carts to fancy Rolls Royces, from peaceful Tamil marriages that are held for two hours during daylight to exciting Punjabi wedding functions sprawled over many days in luxurious hotels spread across India; we have it all.

This large and miscellaneous congregation of people — that India is — sometimes makes me proud, but sometimes the restrictions of this collectivist society suffocate me.

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Indian Marriage Conundrum – How I Hold My Ground as an Unmarried 30–Year–Old Woman.

My mother called me thrice at 8 in the night. Editing an article, I thought something had happened and picked up the third call. And then after some small talk about my writing and if I was ever going to take up a job, she said she wanted to talk about something.

As a thirty-year-old unmarried woman in India, I recognize this something, like dogs can sense tsunamis, for at least five years now. This something — without any exception — is marriage.

To humor her, I asked what did she want to talk about. She said she always worried about me and often cried because she cannot do anything else. That she didn’t know what my life plans were. That nothing made sense. That I must have been lonely. Didn’t I like having a family? Was there anybody? That why couldn’t we — mother and daughter —share everything with each other.

These sentences stumbled out of her mouth as she choked.

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An Open Letter From a Privileged Indian Woman to India and The World

International Women’s day was ten days ago. I wanted to post this letter but decided that I did not have to wait for women’s day to say what I want to say. Why I didn’t write this letter before is a question that I don’t have an answer to.

In the world of Putin and the Turkey president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan who said that women, above all, are mothers and they smile even amidst the chaos that their day put them up with and they are victims of their economic independence and Chinese malls offering discounts to good looking women after their faces have been scanned — I write an open letter to homo sapiens.

My letter is not-independent of geography, age, or culture. We fool ourselves when we say we are unbiased and independent of our circumstances and surroundings.

Shall we begin?

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25 Tips for Learning a Foreign Language

 

Learning a language is a popular bucket list item.

Do you know why?

I would start by telling you that if you know a foreign language, you can travel to that foreign land and even work there and construct your life there. If you learn French, you can go to South America, Mexico, Spain, France, and even parts of Switzerland.

You would say that even if I don’t know a language, I can visit any country. So, taking you to the larger picture.

Language is the brain of its culture. It integrates us with its people, their thoughts and beliefs, their religion and festivals, their literature and movies, their jokes, and routine lives.

It makes us understand who they are.

After landing in Chile — the land of notoriously bad Spanish — I had started conversing in Spanish in a couple of weeks. I continued feeling like a foreigner, but as I began to understand more Spanish, I got integrated into the lives of the people around me.

Once you know more than one language, your ability to learn another language is even higher; you are aware of more sounds, twists, and turns of the tongue, alphabets, words, and ideas. But most importantly, you develop the ability to switch your thoughts into a different language as soon as someone starts speaking it. You can process more languages at the same time.

Hell, Homo Sapiens could coordinate and overpower the entire world of animal species, in their habitat, with the power of language and myths and stories.

Got enough reasons to learn a foreign language?

Also Read: Why Do I Travel and Live a Nomadic Life

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Our Sedated Attention: Is Social Media the Drug?

The intent of social media was faster communication, information and opinion sharing, and to connect with people. Soon, social media took over, adding its own nuisances to the ones it had to fix, generating more need for social media — the worst vicious cycle.

Soon is basically 1997 to 2006 — from the world of Six Degrees, a social networking site to Facebook, which needs no description.

Facebook and Twitter bombed the internet in 2006. We have stayed on a data plan, since then.

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I Was One of the Few Women in Computer Science.

Whose shoes shall I wear to mull over James Damore’s memo?

By now you would know who James Damore is? An ex-Google employee who got fired as he tried to explain why there are so few women in Computer Science.

Should I be a class topper who outperformed all boy students in mathematics and physics throughout school, the only female software engineer in a batch of sixty-nine boys, a writer who wants to bring balance into the world, a data-driven individual, a laid-off former employee of a well-known finance giant, a feminist in denial face, a woman who wants to be called intelligent rather than beautiful, an observer who has seen passionate women outperform men specifically in computer science and engineering or someone who acknowledges and accepts the differences between men and women?

None of the above.

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