Writing

There is this boy at my school.
There is this eleven year old boy named Elias.
There is this boy with an eleven year old voice and an eleven year old body, but he has the rage and the force of a 19 year old man.
Every day that a fight breaks out, Elias gets his punch or kick in.
He has no fear, no respect, and the teachers fear he has no future.
Last week, after he accused me of tattling on him, he hit me in the face.

Juan is the younger brother of the sisters that own a sliver of my
heart. He is four, maybe five, and he has the biggest, curliest,
bounciest hair. His hair reaches below his shoulders, and if you saw
him from behind, you may mistake him for a girl.
Juan is crazy. It is like part of him does not want his personality
to be at odds with his wild mop. Or maybe it stems from being the kid
brother of 3 dominating sisters. Or maybe he is just so happy he does
not have the strength to hold it all in. I don't know, but he makes

I have this memory from when I was a kid living in Laguna Hills.
I remember standing in a circle of kids and we were eating raisins,
the purple kind, although now I prefer the green raisins.
Someone, and I think it was me, bit into a raisin and subsequently bit
into a maggot. Imagine being a kid and discovering that maggots can
live inside raisins, just waiting to either get big enough to escape
the raisin, or to be crushed by a child's molars before reaching that
point. After that happened, we cracked open more raisins and

There is a multitude of dogs, but they are well fed, well loved, and
on leash (most of the time).
There are bakeries on every corner, and I can get a danish or a
medialuna as early as 6:00 a.m.
I am meeting new people every hour, for the flow never subsides, and I
am part of that flow.
I see the same newspaper guy and the same vendors on my walks and it
is comforting to say a knowing "Buen Dia".
Buenos Aires reminds me of New York, of course, and though I am not
the first to make the comparison, it still means a lot to me.

Last week one of the boys was picked for a three day trip to Mar del
Plata. Every year, one child is picked from each government run
school to go on a holiday with all expenses paid. Sandra, the new
principal, told me that 11 year old Gonzaló was chosen to be our
center's lucky kid. He will ride in a bus with approximately 120
other poor kids and he will be taken a few hours' south for a beach
weekend. This is the first time Gonzaló, like many others chosen, has
ever been outside of his city, let alone on a vacation. He is

If you see a parked car with a plastic jug casually placed on the roof, this means the car is for sale.
Do not flush any toilet paper down the toilet. For that matter, try not to flush anything down the toilet at all.
Buying ice cream by the kilogram is awesome.
Eating four empanadas in one sitting is no big deal.
Like father, like daughter.

I live in a suburb of the capital federal of Buenos Aires, called Lomas de Zamora.
This is a factory town, and a couple of blocks away are two large factories that produce cookies and carbonated water bottles, respectively. In fact, for my first week I kept smelling this aroma, like fresh waffles, on my morning walk and I could not figure it out. I would walk with my nose in the ear, like a Beagle, trying to ascertain the origin of the enticing smell. After asking around, we were directed to the alfajor factory. Case closed, cookies in hand.

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