El Clásico Soccer Rivalry – Medellín versus Nacional

Soccer is the world’s most popular sport, and it is good to see that the popularity of soccer has grown substantially in the U.S. over the last 20 years. Major League Soccer (MLS) now has 20 teams, and 4 more teams will be added by 2020 … and incredibly, most of these teams play in their own soccer-specific stadiums.

People in Spanish-speaking countries are mad about soccer, or fútbol as it is known here. I often see groups of kids playing spontaneous games of soccer in the street or anywhere they can find space, and weekly adult leagues are very popular.

There are more than a few classic rivalry games in professional soccer, such as Barcelona versus Real Madrid in Spain, and Boca Juniors versus River Plate in Argentina. In Colombia the most prominent rivalry game is known as “El Clásico” and it is a fierce battle between Atlético Nacional and Deportivo Independiente Medellín (DIM), two teams that share the same stadium here in Medellín. Even the team colors are part of this rivalry, for this game is also known as the Reds (Medellín) versus the Greens (Nacional).

Tomorrow March 20th at 3:15 PM is the next installment of El Clásico, and I am fortunate to have a ticket because the game (as usual) is sold-out. It should be a raucous affair.

But who should I root for?

I am just a visitor here for a few months, and if the game was Medellín versus the capital Bogotá, it would be easy to choose because I would root for the local team. But with both teams based in Medellín and sharing the same stadium, how do I choose? Or should I choose?

Neutrality is not an easy option … just ask the people of New York where both the New York Jets and the New York Giants share MetLife Stadium, which strangely enough is not in New York but in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Do the fine people of New Jersey even want New Yorkers rooting for their teams on Jersey soil?

One of my adult English students told me that virtually everyone in Marinilla supports the Green Team Atlético Nacional, so in order to bond with my students I went ahead and bought a white and Green Nacional t-shirt for me and a Green ball cap for my lovely wife. The next day I told my class about my purchases thinking that everyone would be excited, and to my disappointment I discovered that more than a few students as well as my best friend here are fans of the Red Team Medellín. I felt a bit snookered by my student who convinced me to go Green, however I don’t fault him because I am sure that he only sees Green.

Should I let the Universe decide who I root for? I actually bought my ticket from a scalper because when I arrived at the stadium I discovered that the game was sold-out, and the scalper had strategically placed himself within sight of the ticket office. As I walked away I noticed that the scalper was gesturing for me to come to him … I knew immediately what he was selling, and since I was disappointed not to have a ticket, I thought that I would at least listen to his prices.

I knew enough about the stadium to know that the “orient” (or East) section was in semi-neutral ground between the fanatical opposite ends of the stadium, however the scalper’s starting price for a ticket in this section was probably 3 times the already high face value so I did not even bother to negotiate for this ticket. At the time I did not know which fans sat in the North part of the stadium and which fans sat in the South, and I don’t think there is a West section because I think the fan sections wrap around toward the middle where during this game the Colombian National Police have dozens of officers stationed to form a barrier between the respective fan sections. So, I began my negotiation with the scalper for a ticket in Norte General, the North section of the stadium where there are no assigned seats and probably bedlam regardless of which set of fans sits there.

The scalper kept looking warily at the ticket office as he pulled the “stash” of tickets from his pocket, and I can’t deny that I felt a little surge of excitement as we began to do a little deal. Another gentleman even moved in close to watch the deal unfold. We went back and forth on the negotiations, and at least 4 times I tried to end the discussion and walk away. Each time he would re-start the conversation with a new lower price … on hindsight, I probably could have kept walking away until I got the ticket for near face-value. But I knew the game we were playing, and my attempts to walk away were just my ploy to drive down the price a little. We started at 50,000 pesos and finally settled on 36,000 pesos (about $12 USD), which was a little less than double the face value of 22,000 pesos. (FYI, I’ve been told that the average taxi driver in Medellín makes about 80,000 pesos a day, which is about double the minimum wage here in Colombia).

With ticket in hand I still did not know with which fans I would be sitting … and later I discovered that the Green Nacional fans are known as Los Del Sur, or “Those of the South” part of the stadium, and thus I would be sitting with the Red “Rexixtenxia Norte” Medellín fans. I have no idea what “rexixtenxia” means because it is not a Spanish word, but my hunch is that it comes from “resistencia” which means resistance.

Thus, tomorrow I will be sitting with the Red North Resistance … and I probably should not wear my Green Nacional t-shirt. That’s a bummer too because I really like this shirt – on the front the Spanish is translated as, “I am Green, I am Happy.” So, it looks like I’ll have to buy a Red Medellín shirt as well. What do you get when you mix Green and Red?

Posted in #Spanish

English School Director

I came to Colombia intending to establish an English program here, however I was not planning to become an English School Director. My idea was to teach some classes and hopefully find a few volunteers to co-teach with me. However, when about 80 people of various English levels expressed interest in taking English classes, I quickly realized that I had to divide up the students into various groups. I also learned that most of the people around here do shift work in the surrounding factories, and for many people that shift changes every month; as a result, I had to create both morning and late afternoon classes. And though I enjoy teaching English, I did not really want to be teaching 4-5 hours every day, so I was forced to recruit teachers to help.

The staffing part of this project has been the biggest challenge. I have been posting almost every week on various online sites, such as meetup.com, expat.com, facebook expat groups, etc., seeking volunteer teachers. I have also sent messages to the universities and private English schools nearby and in Medellin seeking teachers. There are very few native English speakers here in Marinilla or nearby Rionegro, so Medellin is where I have been able to find help … however, Medellin is 1.5 hours away by bus, so to entice people to come here I have offered to pay their round-trip bus transportation. I have had teachers come for a few weeks only to leave on vacation or go back to their home country for a spell. Some people have told me that they are coming to teach on a specific night, but when they don’t show up it forces me to scramble to cover the classes. I have resorted to recruiting Spanish speakers who have something of an intermediate level of English, and then I try to persuade them to give teaching English a try since it is a good way to strengthen their own understanding of English. (Which is actually true, so don’t you go thinking that I am feeding people a bunch of BS down here). And when I do convince someone to give teaching a shot, they generally have no clue how to teach nor do they have any materials, so I have to both coach them and provide materials for them to use. There are no adult English resources in the library facility where we are teaching English (only children’s books), so I have been going to the local public high school and using their library to copy chapters out of books and workbooks. Most of these materials are very youth-oriented, so I have to hunt for sections that don’t talk about teen dating, video games, and the best flavored popsicles. The papelería across the street (stationery store/copy center/gift shop) knows me so well that they drop what they are doing when they see me coming because they know I’ll have a mound of documents to copy, and they often give me a piece of chocolate with my copies. Everyone who is taking classes knows who I am, and when they get concerned about their teacher, or about whether they will have a teacher for a given class, they come to me and ask me what am I going to do about it. Many times someone has been outside my class waiting for the class to end, and sometimes before I have time to erase the board they approach me to ask whether they can join the class … and even though there was an official registration process at the beginning of the term that was organized by the office of Tourism and Culture and that is supposedly closed to new registrants, I take a few minutes to discern the English level of everyone who approaches me before I assign them to an English class (which also requires making more copies so that the new student can participate).

On top of that, I have my own intermediate level classes to teach. I should probably put “intermediate” in quotes, because the reality is that my students range from a few who are true intermediate to those who are not absolute beginners. Those with very little or no English are put into our morning or afternoon beginner English class, and occasionally some will find that class too basic and ask to join my class. Also, several of my students decided that they were overwhelmed in my class, and with a pitiful and defeated look on their face have told me that they need or want to drop back to the beginner class. I have worked very hard to motivate and encourage my students, and to set high expectations for them. I have told them on several occasions about the time and effort required to get to the next level in their English, but the reality is that only about 20% of them are putting in the effort required to learn as quickly as I think they can learn. (Pareto’s famous 80/20 rule at work again). But even if the majority of my students are in class just to have something fun or different to do while hoping to learn a little English, almost without exception I have had no behavioral problems with any of my students, which is why I made clear at the very beginning that I only teach adults and that no teenagers or children are permitted in the classes. (If some “youngins” do sneak in, they either come with their parents or behave themselves knowing that they’ll get the boot if they don’t behave). I had one student about 3 weeks ago that was a bit obnoxious and thought that the class was designed solely for him, but fortunately he got offended when I started to ignore him and he did not return. One other challenging student is a 30-something woman that I let join the class in the last few weeks, but almost immediately she started looking for fault in my handouts or in what I said to the class; evidently, she is a fanatical guardian of the Latino culture, and I think that she assumes that I am a self-righteous American who has come to impose American culture and language on Latinos … but fortunately, my students have come to my defense, and she has not been back in the last few days. (I think I warmed her heart and assuaged her concerns when I told her that the demand for illegal drugs in America is the real problem, not the supply). All in all, our students are learning English, they are very appreciative of these free English classes, and they are a joy to teach.

Posted in #EFL, #ESL, #teachESL, #TEFL, #TESOL

4 Requirements for Learning English as an Adult

On Monday, February 8th, we started the English program here in Marinilla, Colombia. About 70 people gathered in the local theater to hear my presentation of the program.

I started by telling the audience that after 4 years of high school French and 1 year of college French, I could speak very little French. Moreover, within a year I forgot everything that I had learned because I never used the language. As a result, I spent the next 30 years believing that I couldn’t learn a second language, although I always wished that I could … meanwhile, I continued to envy and admire people who could speak more than one language.

Then I told my audience of adults that everything changed when I started learning Spanish at the age of 48, and this caught their attention because almost everyone appeared to be younger than 48. I explained that since I learned a second language later in life, that they could too. Moreover, I told them that I have been teaching English for several years, and that I specialize in teaching English to adult native speakers of Spanish. Everyone seemed excited.

Then I explained the following 4 requirements for learning English as an adult:

  • MAKE MISTAKES – You have to be willing to make mistakes. This is very important to the process, and you cannot learn how to speak English without making many mistakes.
  • BELIEVE – You have to believe that you can speak English. But even more than believing that you “can” speak English, you have to believe that you already speak English. Tell everyone, “I speak English.” Visualize yourself speaking English … at some point you’ll stop translating everything in your head and start thinking in English.
  • INVEST TIME – For the next 3 months, you have to spend 2-3 hours every day studying and practicing English. If you don’t have that much time, you have to make time … and to do that, you may have to sacrifice something else in your life (e.g. television, sleep, etc.).
  • WORK – During your 2-3 hours of daily English studies, you have to work. If your mind is not tired after three hours of studies, you are not working.

The first two requirements were well received … the second two requirements, not so much. So I explained to them that I am not a magician that can magically teach them English, and I also told them that there is no magic pill for learning any language. If there were a magic pill, I would take it. As a result, if you want to learn a second language you must be willing to put in the time and effort it takes … coupled of course with belief in yourself and the willingness to make a lot of mistakes.

Fellow volunteer teachers who I have recruited to help me include sixty-something Bob from the U.S. who has been travelling the world for 10 years … Cameron from Holland, and fresh out of high school … Colombian native Emilson, a young guy who is eager to show his fellow Colombians that they can do it … and new recruit, Santiago, another young Colombian who can show the way. Currently we have 4 classes every day Monday through Friday, consisting of both a beginner and intermediate class from 8:00 to 9:00 AM and from 6:00 to 7:00 PM. I am teaching all the “intermediate” students, and the other teachers are teaming up to teach the beginners. Currently we are averaging about 80 students a day, evenly spit between the morning and evening classes. Often several students will linger long after class talking with each other and wanting to learn more, which means that we have to ask them to leave because other groups want to use the rooms and/or the facility is closing.

By the way, since I assumed that most of the people who were at the municipal theater on opening night knew little or no English, I decided to speak in Spanish and without using notes for virtually the entire 40-minute presentation. You, too, can learn to speak another language.

Posted in #EFL, #ESL, #learnenglish, #teachenglish, #teachESL, #TEFL

Marinilla

One month in Medellin convinced me that I needed to pick one neighborhood in the big city to live and spend most of my time. Medellin felt much bigger than I anticipated, and all the people and traffic and noise made it difficult at times to enjoy the city. Also, my efforts to establish a community English program did not materialize. Meanwhile, I had the good fortune of being offered the opportunity to visit Marinilla, a town that is about 1.5 hours from Medellin by bus.

I liked Marinilla instantly. It is a town that is filled with generations of hard-working and friendly campesinos, or country folk, who take pride in their community. People move away, but inevitably come back. Most of the people in Marinilla are Catholic, and the town is fairly conservative … however, there is a thriving artistic community that also gives the town a progressive feel. It is about the same size as our town of Prescott, so it is big enough to have some conveniences that I enjoy without being too big.

So it was that as I walked in Marinilla that first day, I kept saying to myself that I could live here. I returned about 3 days later to explore more fully that idea, and on that second day I meandered into the courtyard that houses the local library, the Office of Tourism and Culture, and what is called the Casa de Cultura (i.e. House of Culture). As I stood in the courtyard, I said out loud “I think I’m going to be teaching English here.” Call it a mystical experience or whatever you want, but I just had this sense that this was the place where I would establish the English program that I had planned for Colombia. In the first office I walked into I met Francisco, who is the resident artist and whose paintings are beautiful, and I explained to him that I would like to offer free English classes to the community. His eyes got big when I said that, and the next thing I know he is introducing me to the Director of Tourism and Culture, and the next thing I know is that we have about 60 adult students who have expressed interest in starting English classes next week. I’ve also met the city’s Educational Director as well as the newly elected Mayor of Marinilla, and I have people stopping me in the streets to ask me if I am that English teacher that they’ve heard about, or to tell me about when they tried to learn English, or to tell me about someone they know who is learning English, etc.

I don’t want to speak too soon, but it looks like this little English project that God put on my heart might be a success. And when Francisco expressed concern about the program growing bigger than he or I imagined or could possibly handle, I contacted a few online expat groups to seek volunteer English teachers, and it looks like there are 4 people who are going to commute here from Medellin to help out. I sure hope they show up. You’ll hear more about this English project in future blog posts, but before I end for today I would like to tell you the amazing story of how I found my apartment here in Marinilla.

In contrast to Medellin where there are for-rent signs everywhere, I have never seen one for-rent sign in all of Marinilla. Everywhere I went for a week or more, people would tell me how difficult it is to find an apartment for rent in Marinilla. As a result, I contemplated looking for an apartment in the nearby town of Rionegro which is a much bigger town … however, I did not feel at peace inside about that. So, the night before I would make the 1.5 hour trek from Medellin to the Marinilla/Rionegro region yet again, it became clear to me that since I would be teaching English in Marinilla, I wanted to live in Marinilla … even if it meant living in a hotel. So I abandoned my plan to go to Rionegro that day, and went to Marinilla instead.

When I landed in Marinilla I decided to try a different approach, and this time I went to the other side of town away from where most of the apartments are located. I had not walked very far from the bus stop, and I was standing in front of one large apartment building looking up at it when some guy walked by, but when I asked him if he knew about available apartments, he said that he did not live in Marinilla … but nonetheless, he pointed to a little tienda a block away and said that they seem to know a lot about the town. So I went to the tienda, and when I asked the owner if she knew of available apartments, she flat out said “no.” However, at that very moment she was giving change to a customer who looked at me and said, “Are you looking for an apartment?”

This is where it gets amazing. So Jose walked me to his apartment which is 2 blocks from the central park, took me inside and showed me his studio apartment … he just happened to be moving out that day, and all his stuff was packed and in the middle of the kitchen. So then he asked me if I needed anything to furnish the place, and I said of course because I have nothing. So he told me he would sell me his stove and gas canister as well as his bed, and he told me the price and I of course said “Okay!”. However, at that point we had not even spoken to the landlord … so he asked me if I knew someone local who could vouch for me, because if not I would be out of luck since all business in town is done by connections. So I told him no, but that the AirBnB lady in Medellin where I am staying would vouch for me. So Jose told me not to worry because he would vouch for me, and he cautioned me not to tell the landlord that we just met on the street 20 minutes ago. So then he had to run some errands, and he told me to meet him in the park at a specific time. When he returned he said that the landlord was now home and that I needed to be prepared to pay both him 420,000 pesos for the bed and stove, and to pay the landlord the first month’s rent in CASH. He also said that we needed to hurry because the landlord was waiting for us. At that point the thought flashed across my mental screen that me, the naive gringo, was about to give away about $230 USD in cash to perfect strangers. So Jose walked with me to the ATM, and I had to make two 600,000 peso credit card cash advances (since there is a per transaction limit), and then we stopped at a tienda to ask for blank receipts that both Jose and the landlord could use to give me a receipt for my payment, and then we walked back to the apartment with my wallet bulging with pesos. We met the landlord, and Jose explained that I was a friend … Carlos the landlord looked like a very successful and wealthy 40 something old guy, and seemed like a real nice person. Carlos handwrote a receipt for me and I gave him 350,000 pesos in cash, then Jose handed me the keys in front of the landlord. I told Carlos how much I appreciate the opportunity to live there, and that I hoped he would study English with me (to which he smiled and replied, “We’ll see), and then Jose and I walked up to the apartment. I paid Jose 420,000 pesos in cash, and then he left to go get his friend who has a car. Twenty minutes later Jose returned with his friend in a little beat-up Toyota or something, and I helped him load his stuff in the car and he was gone. I had left Medellin at 7:30 in the morning, and by 2:00 PM I was alone in my empty apartment two blocks from central park AND ON THE SAME STREET AS THE LIBRARY WHERE I WILL BE TEACHING ENGLISH!!!!! And get this — the monthly rent is 350,000 pesos … about $105 USD. Simply amazing … and I feel truly blessed by all of it.

Posted in #teachenglish

Whacky Medellin

Perhaps “whacky” is too strong a word to describe some of the differences that I have observed between Medellin and the culture that I usually experience, and no doubt there are many things that North Americans do that appear whacky to Paisas, but at least the title of this blog post is kind of catchy. (People in this region of Colombia are known as “Paisas,” which is a culture that has a Spanish background, and is traditionally Catholic, entrepreneurial, hard-working, and famously hospitable). In any case, here is the whacky in Medellin:

DRIVER ONLY WELCOME. In larger parking garages, only the driver can enter … everyone else has to exit the vehicle at the entrance.

NO SITTING AT METRO STOP. There are very few seats at metro subway stations, and if you sit on the floor while waiting for a train, a nice policeman will tell you to stand up. I learned that firsthand … and the young man was kind enough to help me up when I extended my hand.

BATHROOMS. I could write entire books about this. As in much of Latin America, the bathrooms here are tiny … and most are not a bathroom, but a stall. I you are sitting on the toilet, you must sit up straight if you don’t want your head resting on the stall door. If you want to stand and pee, you’ll have to carefully slide to the left, or slide to the right of the toilet to execute that peeing maneuver because if you’re standing in front of the toilet your butt will be holding open the door. One day I went to a door marked “Hombres” and found only a urinal inside … I guess that men aren’t permitted to poop there. (I did not check what was behind the “Mujeres” door). Lastly, on several occasions I have peed into an open air urinal that is on the wall on the sidewalk or even in restaurants … but at least there are dividers on each side of the urinal so that those who are eating nearby don’t have to see everything.

SIDEWALKS. I’ve written about this on previous trips – don’t bring your U.S. expectations of sidewalk manners to Latin America because you will go crazy if you do. For example, if two people are standing in the middle of the sidewalk and see you walking toward them, they won’t budge … your job is to walk around them, including into the busy street at times. If someone walking beside you is an inch in front of you, they will cross right in front of you to make their turn instead of hesitating a moment to let you pass by before making their turn. I started writing this post at a local library, and on my way into the library a maintenance man was sitting on a bench taking a break with a rake extended in front of him blocking the sidewalk … and the rake did not move, but I did. Speaking of sidewalks, if you get distracted sight-seeing while walking there are any number of things on, above, below, and near the sidewalk that can put a world of hurt on you … such as crevices, rebar jutting out, tree limbs, utility boxes with no lid (to see how your toes or entire foot will mingle with all the electrical wires down there), poop that has been deposited, and who knows what else is down there … and since I am taller than 99% of the people here, my noggin can meet any number of tree branches, food cart awnings, ceilings, etc. To avoid a trip to the pharmacy for bandages, I’m always looking up and down, up and down, up and down …

PHARMACIES. They are very different here. Everything is behind the counter … if you want aspirin, antacids, cough syrup, vitamin C, and many things that you’ll find on the shelves in U.S. grocery stores, they will be dispensed by a pharmacist here. Moreover, you don’t buy whole bottles … if you only want to buy a sleeve of 10 ibuprofen pills, you can do that. I was offered 3 sore-throat lozenges, and opted for 6 instead. So you walk up to the pharmacist (or whoever it is that dispenses the goods from behind the counter) and you tell them your symptoms, and they will show you the medicines that they think you should take (some of which probably require a doctors prescription in the U.S.). Sometimes you can figure out what medicine you are taking (such as acetaminophen that is spelled similarly in Spanish), but other times you have no idea so you just have to trust the prescriber and go with it.

CROSSWALKS. While we’re talking about sidewalks and medical supplies, we may as well talk about crosswalks. What looks like a crosswalk here (with painted white lines on the roadway) is not actually a safe place, and if you assume that traffic will slow or stop for you while you are in the “crosswalk,” your family will be receiving a call from the local morgue. You have to look left, right, up, down, behind you, and then left and right again quickly before darting across any street here. If the light turns green a block away from where you are strolling across a quiet non-busy street, suddenly cars and trucks and busses and motorcycles will slam on the gas, dart off the line, and shoot out of the blocks to see who can hit you or narrowly miss you first. One maddening thing about Medellin (and probably all of Colombia) is that the plethora of motorcycles are permitted to ride in-between the vehicles that are in the traffic lanes. You can be going 50 MPH down the road, or navigating a 3-lane traffic circle, with motorcycles on each side of your vehicle that seem to be only inches away. And these motorcyclists and scooter drivers have no fear … they will take on cars, trucks, busses, anything, in order to cut in front and get ahead in traffic.

SCOOTER TOUR. Last week I made an appointment to see some apartments that are offered by an apartment rental agency, and a 18-year-old kid on a scooter showed up to give me the tour. He handed me what looked like a little kid toy plastic helmet to wear, complete with the severely scratched plastic eyeball shield that flapped up and down in the wind while obscuring my view. Thank God there was a metal bar behind my butt that I could hold on to for dear life while we zipped and darted and careened through town. After we looked at that first dumpy apartment, I really didn’t want to ride any longer nor see another apartment … but I thought, “what the hell … the worst that could happen is that I lose a limb, be paralyzed, or get killed” … so I went for it. After we looked at that second dumpy apartment, I thanked the young man for his time and told him that I would be walking back to town.

CHILDREN AND THE STREET. They evidently start teaching in kids in utero how to stay out of the street here. Many times I have seen children as young as 4 years old or younger meandering next to a busy street while vehicle traffic is buzzing by; meanwhile, parents are standing nearby seemingly unconcerned while they are checking text messages on their phone, looking for the next bus, ordering food at a street vendor, talking with a friend, whatever. Sometimes I will watch the scene in amazement, but other times I simply cannot watch. Fortunately, the kids seem to know just how far they can go, as if there was some invisible fence that would give them a jolt right at the line that separates the sidewalk from the street. Speaking of the street, when cars are stopped at a traffic light you will often see jugglers and other street performers putting on a show in front of the stopped vehicles in order to earn a few coins … likewise, windshield cleaners will clean your windshield without asking your permission while you are stopped at the traffic light (hoping you will give them money) … and any number of vendors will get on your bus to sell you their products, preach the gospel, promote a social service project, or play an instrument for you in order to earn some money.

FULL-SERVICE GAS PUMPS. Remember those? I suppose that somewhere in the U.S. there are still a few of those around, but no doubt you pay more to have someone pump your gas. I contrast, I have never seen a self-service gas pump here. When you pull into the gas station there is an attendant at literally every pump … you tell them how much gas you want, and after you have paid they will pump your gas.

PASSPORT. Unlike other Latin American countries where I was able to carry a copy of my passport, here you will have to show your actual passport to get into many places and/or make credit card purchases. Every university campus that I have visited here is secured at every entrance with gates and security guards who will check your passport (and sometimes take your picture) before you can enter the campus. Banks, municipal offices, libraries, casinos, high-end retailers of jewelry, appliances, etc., and many other places have armed security guards. Nonetheless, one thing nice about Colombia (in contrast to other countries such as Ecuador, Peru, Guatemala, etc.) is that the security guards here are not standing around with a scowl on their face and packing what looks like a sawed-off shotgun hanging from their neck while their trigger finger is twitching … the security guards here look quite normal.

COFFEE. Sadly, in what is viewed as the Coffee Capital of the World, I suspect that almost all of the best coffee is exported (as is the case in Guatemala). The only place you’ll find the good stuff here is at very expensive coffee houses that cater to tourists. Everywhere else, when you ask for a cup of coffee you’ll receive a 6-ounce cup of coffee that is half milk. If you want black coffee, you have to specify “tinto” which literally means “tinted” in Spanish. At many of the little snack shops and small restaurants that line the streets, your cup of coffee will be served in a tiny plastic cup which seems not much larger than a cough syrup dispenser. Fortunately, your shot of coffee will only cost about 30 cents … and it comes with 3 packs of sugar.

Posted in #Catholic, #Latino