Kids’ Field Note

Title:  Growing Up in Medellin: Meet Esteban
City: Medellin
Country: Colombia
Date: April 7, 2013, 6:00 PM

Abstract: Have you ever thought about what it would be like to grow up in a different country? All over the world are kids just like you! This week, I interviewed Esteban, an eleven year old boy in Medellin. We talked about everything from his studies at school to his favorite food and TV shows. How much do you have in common with Esteban? Let’s find out!

Introduction: Although you might not believe it, you’re probably not so different from the kids in Colombia! When I met Esteban, an eleven year old who lives in Medellin, I was surprised to learn that he enjoys many of the same things that kids enjoy in New York. Esteban is the cousin of a friend I have at the university.  He was excited to answer some of the questions I had about his life in Colombia. Although I translated the responses from English to Spanish, I was careful to make sure the translations are accurate! How is Esteban’s daily routine similar or different to yours? Do you think you could be friends with Esteban? I know I could!

What is your house like?

My house is big and really pretty. There are three floors. I live on the first floor with my parents and my dog. My grandmother lives on the second floor. My aunt and my cousin, Estefania, live on the third floor. Because we all live in the same house, I see my family members all the time. The best person to visit is my grandmother. She has a cupboard that looks like a storefront! It’s full of every kind cookie and cracker that you can imagine. She buys about six packs of cookies at a time so that she always has something to give to her visitors. Every time I visit her, I get to eat something delicious!

What do you eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner?

For breakfast I eat cereal like Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes. I also eat pasteles. Pasteles are like pies filled with chicken or meat.  I eat hot dogs for breakfast, too! Once in a blue moon, we eat a typical American breakfast with bacon and eggs.  Last week,  we made an American breakfast and it was delicious.

For lunch, I eat rice, beans, meat and pork. In Medellin, that plate is called a bandeja paisa. For dinner, I eat hamburgers or salchipapas! Salchipapas are hot dogs and French fries mixed together. Sometimes, I eat the same thing for lunch and dinner.

What chores do you have at home?

Estefania, my cousin, laughs because she thinks I don’t have chores! But I do have some chores. I make my bed every day. Sometimes I go outside to water the plants with my dad. Once, I washed the washing machine. Can you imagine that task?

What jobs do your parents have?

My mother works in a clothing company. She helps make blue jeans. My father works in the same company as a security guard.

What time does school start, and what time do you go home?

Some kids go to school in the mornings and other kids go in the afternoon. I go to school in the morning. Classes start at 7:30 and end at 12:15.

How do you get to school? Are you allowed to go to school by yourself?

I get there well-dressed and ready to study! But if you’re asking about the mode of transportation I use to get to school,  I walk! My school is really close by. It’s only a block away. Since it’s so close, I’m allowed to go by myself.

What do you eat for lunch, and where do you eat? What is your favorite food?

I always eat lunch at home because class ends in the afternoon. Like I mentioned before, I usually eat rice, beans, and pork for lunch, but my favorite food is salchipapas! Salchipapas are slices of hot dog served with French fries. I add lots of pink sauce to my salchipapas to make it especially delicious. Pink sauce is what we call mayonnaise and ketchup mixed together! It’s my favorite!

What language do you speak at school? How do you say “Hello”? in your language?

I speak Spanish! I speak English in English class. In Spanish, “Hola” is “Hello”, but I think you already know that!

What are some common kids’ names at your school?

Bryan, Andres, Felipe and Mateo are common names for boys. Sara, Manuela, Andrea, Jessica and Angie are common names for girls.

What subjects do you study in school, and which one is your favorite?

I study Math, English, Philosophy, Geometry, Spanish, Physical Education, Social Sciences and Natural Sciences.

I do really well in  Math! I’m in the highest rank in my class. I think Math would have to be my favorite.

What is your homework like?

Homework is pretty easy. The hardest things we have to do in school are presentations! During presentations, you have to pick a theme and talk about it.  We don’t have to do a lot of presentations but they are always a lot of work.

What do you like to do after school? Do you have a favorite sport or game?

After school, I do my homework. I watch television too. I take a nap sometimes when I’m tired. My favorite thing to do at home is play with my dog. My favorite game is hide and seek, but that’s a hard game to play with a Chihuahua!

My favorite sport is swimming. I swim every Sunday at 9:00 at the university where Estefania studies. Right now, I’m in level three, which is pretty high.

On Sundays, I also work at the church. I’m an altar boy. Every Sunday I am there from 4:00 until 6:00. I like helping at church. Everyone is very friendly.

Who is your favorite famous person?

My favorite actress is Miranda Cosgrove. She’s on Nickelodeon and stars in a  show called iCarly. She’s great!

What kinds of music do you listen to?
I hardly listen to music. I don’t have a favorite kind of music. Is that weird?

What would you like to be when you grow up?

When I grow up I want to be a train conductor in Medellin’s subway system! I want to work in Medellin because I love my city.

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?

I want to go to London! It looks really pretty from what I’ve seen in pictures.

What do you know or think about the United States?

I think the United States is a really great place. I think it has helped Colombia grow a lot, especially through the free trade agreement. Do you know anything about this agreement between our two countries? It may be interesting for you to research. I’d like to go to the United States one day. The cities look really clean and nice.

What questions do you have for kids in the United States?

I think that the houses in the United States are beautiful. I would want to know what they do to keep their houses so pretty. What do they do to maintain the house? What do they do when they go home? I’d also want to know what their schools are like.

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