Un oso rojo

“A Red Bear” the title of this film is simple enough.


IMDB summarizes it as, “Bear (the main character) has never gotten over the separation from his wife and daughter after having been convicted for armed robbery and homicide and sent to prison. Now he is out, to finally get his cut of the money and reunite with his family, or at least avenge the damage done.”  And this synopsis is not wrong, but this movie entails so much more than a man full of vengeance, it is an exposition of daily life in Argentina.

I first saw this movie in a cultural film class while studying in Argentina.  And I loved it!  It shows the basic elements of Argentinian life.  The story focuses on el Oso, the main character who tries to recover his family life after going to prison for a bank robbery.  After being released, his objective is to get his cut from the botched job from ‘mob’ boss, Turco, and return to his wife and daughter.  However, when he shows up at his home he sees that his wife has a new man in his life (one who can’t find a job and spends his days at the horse races).  Concerned for this wife and daughter’s welfare, he demands money from Turco, only to discover he must help with another robbery to receive his cut.  Only this time, after the job his cohorts have been instructed to kill him.  El Oso however, turns the tables, saves his life and his money, gives the money to his family and leaves, realizing he can’t be around without putting them in danger.

All that being said, the basic elements of Argentinian life are profoundly noticeable–i.e. the daughter Alicia offering mate to her father, the school students dutifully and enthusiastically singing their national anthem (all dressed in white overcoats), the liter bottles of beer and simplicity of the corner bar (Turco’s ‘hang-out’).  It’s a beautiful demonstration of a struggle against corruption and the desire of a father to return to a simple life with his family.

Anyway, as you may guess, I love this movie!  Watching it the other day made we want to go back to Argentina very badly!  So, if you’re interested, I hope you take a look and maybe you can learn a thing or two about the Argentinian culture!

Oh el verano…puedo verte….

Here in the South the summer is fast approaching and I have absolutely no complaints about that!

Right now I have the windows open–the birdies are chirping, the sun is shinning, and the pollen has made my car look like a fuzzy green giant.  Spring is definitely my favorite season and even though our winter was very mild, I find myself with an acute case of Spring Fever!!  I am eagerly anticipating Easter and a trip to the beach, which means I can see summer right around the corner!

So…as a little friendly reminder, before you make all your summer plans, consider learning something new….

Need an example??  Start taking some Spanish lessons!  They are good for your brain, can keep your child entertained, and give you a new and useful skill.

Please do me an awesome favor and think about it!

Remember, tomorrow is the first day of Spring (La primavera) and the Summer (El verano) will be here soon!

Learning about learning…

It is true that every person learns or acquires information differently.

For example, say there is a room full of students who must learn the location and capitals of certain countries for a geography test.  Billy knows that he can just study the map for about 30 minutes or so and then know the location and capital of each country.  Sarah knows that in addition to studying the map, she will have to write down the name of each country and its capital in order to memorize all the information.  And then there’s Sam, and he knows the only way he’ll remember the map, countries, and capitals is if he traces the map, writes in the names of the countries, and places the capital in the correct spot.

Each of the three students mentioned above has a different learning style.  Billy is a visual learner, he can look at something and absorb the information.  Sarah learns by reading and writing and Sam is a hands-on learner (or tactile learner), having to trace the map multiple times.

Although a person may learn using one method over the other, most people learn best with a combination of these methods, reading, writing, seeing, listening, and do an activity.  And maybe that’s why lately I’ve decided to take a fun “combination” approach to my lessons.

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve made it a point to find an interesting current events article for each student.  I’ve tried to find subjects that I think may interest my students and we both read the article together.  I think that seeing the written Spanish, speaking it, and learning about a different or interesting subject has much more appeal that a standard textbook.  (Not to say that textbooks are bad, not at all, but sometimes it’s nice to take a break from the norm).

The exciting news is each student really enjoyed this exercise, and seeing words in a different context  helped them to realize they do understand Spanish and can figure out really what is being said!

The Food I can’t live without…


  • Peanut Butter Scare

    I don’t know if I have five foods I couldn’t live without, but I can think of two. Peanut Butter and Apples. Yes, I know what it probably wouldn’t be on the top of everyone’s list, but if you think about it I think that these two foods make pretty good sense.
    First, peanut butter is a great source of protein–that’s why it was created more or less. Second, apples are a great source of fiber. Third, both of these are very yummy and particularly awesome together.
    When I was studying in Argentina, finding peanut butter was a hard thing to do. Most Argentinians think that peanut butter is disgusting and would never think of eating it. The woman I lived with, (she was amazing) trekked all through downtown Cordoba to find peanut butter for me (this was after my Mom sent me one of those giant jars of JIF that you use primarily for baking).
    When Rosita did find peanut butter, she brought some home and then said to me…”What do you do with it?” I think that my mouth almost hit the floor and I said something like, “What can’t you do with it? Then I explained that with peanut butter the possibilities were endless…”PB & J, PB and toast, PB and chocolate, PB and apples, PB and celery, PB and bananas….” I felt like Bubba from Forrest Gump listing all the things you could do with shrimp.
    After my long explanation Rosita started to soak it all in and even began to partake of the peanut-buttery-goodness. It was nice to share a little bit of my foodie culture with someone who made amazing food. And, I learned that it was very hard for me to live without my PB!