You know you’re in Latin America when you start telling people smile “whisky” instead of “cheese.”

…And you know you’re in Mexico when you start peppering your phrases with “¡órale!” “¡que onda!” “¡que padre!” “¡eso!” and “es una lata.” And when you don’t know what to say, you can always respond with “, ¿verdad?” which is the equivalent of our right, uh-huh.

For some reason these filler-words in daily conversation are never taught in class and yet they comprise an embarrassing percentage of what I say to people here to show that I’m engaged in the conversation. Unlike other Spanishes, in Mexico, you have to add –le to a lot of verbs. Like ¡Córrale! ¡Ándale! You know what’s awesome? –‘Híjole!

There’s various attempts to make me feel comfortable at home too, because as soon as I told them I was Chinese-American, (and surely this is proof of China’s threatening global influence) several people have said with the most well-intentioned smiles: arigato, konichiwa, saiyonara, and responded hai! to my questions.

…Anyway. Since I was accidentally padlocked inside this place during the morning, I spent most of my time poring through a few books written, published and made by Taller Leñateros. I *loved* poring through the colorful pop-ups and illustrations of Bolom Chon, which in Tzotzil is a title of one of the most famous Mayan songs. Inside there were pages of poetry for children. And from now on photostreams will be available on Flikr. More on this next time.

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