Narratives
Festival de Dulces

Festival de Dulces

Today was the Festival de Dulces. The high school students celebrated by wearing jeans, blasting champeta, and selling goey mango, coconut, papaya and arequipe sweets. When I walked towards the school this afternoon, a bunch of kids yelled my name. “Sarah, a la orden,” one girl said, motioning towards the mango concoction on the table....
Monks Hitchhike and Nuns Use WhatsApp

Monks Hitchhike and Nuns Use WhatsApp

From the middle of the winding dirt road, we heard an engine roar in the distance. Bryan, the Canadian, and Sunnim, the Chinese monk from my Korean class, stopped in their tracks. “Was that the bus?” Bryan asked, with a wrinkle forming on his forehead. I sheepishly looked at Bryan, knowing it was my fault...
Living among the (domesticated) animals of La Boquilla

Living among the (domesticated) animals of La Boquilla

Along with the roosters, the birds wake me up every morning around 6:30 AM. When they begin to sing, I open my eyes to the soft morning glow sweeping through my bedroom window. They repeat the same short song for 20 or 30 minutes, their piercing chirps overpowering the steady hum of my fan. Then...
My Miró Breakfast

My Miró Breakfast

Today my breakfast looked like a Miró painting. There was a brown hot dog on the left side of the plate, two triangular pieces of Costeño cheese in the top center, and a fried ball of dough on the right. Food unintentionally inspired by 20th century art. I picked up the ball of fried dough...
Vulgarities

Vulgarities

“I’m not going to teach you those,” Jorge said. “But how can we know what the kids are saying if you don’t teach us?” I asked. We were in Spanish class, focusing on Costeño idioms, including the phrase decir vulgaridades. It didn’t take long to convince him; Jorge stood up, walked over to the whiteboard, and...
No light in the neighborhood

No light in the neighborhood

I walked to my house in complete darkness, like I was blindfolded, taking part in a Spanish class activity to practice giving directions. A la derecha, past the church. A la izquierda, at the next corner. Every few seconds a car passed by, and I momentarily noted the cracks in the sidewalk. Tipped-toeing with my arms out for...
"Mul" on the floor

“Mul” on the floor

Some days, the words escape my mouth effortlessly. My accent lessens and the rr’s slide off my tongue in rhythm, like gliding across the dance floor in someone’s arms. Reir. Crear. Venir. Cerrar. Yesterday, my head spun and the sounds got caught in my throat. Uncomfortable, embarrassed and frustrated—I wanted to kiss the sounds and...
Two stories from the grocery line

Two stories from the grocery line

1. I’m standing in line with two bananas in my hand. It’s Sunday and we’re going to the beach. I need to break a bill so I’ll have change for the bus. My bikini top peeks out of my tank top. I’m wearing sandals with rhinestones and I carry a pink and purple-printed backpack. I...

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