Brian and I are in the middle of celebrating the Chilean Independence Day, also known as “Dieciocho.”  It is the 18th of September and has different customs than our 4th of July.  One of the customs is dancing.  I bought a dancing dress for the occasion because it seemed to represent a unique part of the culture.  The most popular dance here in the city is called the “Cuaca.”  Please forgive me if I spelt it wrong…..I have NO idea how to spell it.  As you can see in the picture, it is a GREAT twirling dress…..what fun! 
One of he traditional Chilean drinks consist of barley on the bottom, peach juice, and then a whole, peeled peach in the beverage.  In the picture, you can see that most of this person’s peach juice is gone, but if you look carefully, you can see the peach and the barley still remain.  We tried this at a picnic that was celebrating Dieciocho.

This is another Chilean treat called an “’empanada.”  On the inside of the bread there is meat, onions, a boiled egg, and an olive.  Neither Brian nor I care for the olive, but it is easy to pick it out.  It still has its pit, so that is part of our distaste of it.  Thankfully, we were forewarned before our first bite to beware of the olive and pit, so it was a non issue.  There are also other fillings for the empanada, but this one is the most popular.
As one of the picnic activities, there was a kite making contest. 
Kites are a HUGE part of the Dieciocho celebration.  The kites had 3 competitions. 1—who made their kite the fastest; 2--whose looked the best; 3—whose flew the best.  It was a treat to watch and be a part of it!  In the last picture, the boy is holding a HUGE reel of fishing line for his kite.  These kites are wonderful flyers when in the right hands.  Brian and I have seen kites fly far beyond what you see in the photo, but the reel is the key!
Here is a picture of the covered cancha, where our Dieciocho celebration took place for the school.  Brian was a crucial player in the decorating committee and as you can see, it turned out GREAT!!!  It took an entire school day and lots of folks working together to get this put together.  It also was EXTREMELY cold the day that they were working on it.  Way to go SCA for your teamwork!
The children in each grade had to dress up according to the dance that they were presenting. Here is a photo of the elementary all singing together.  As you can see, they ALL look very festive.  It was a delight to watch and be a part of!   Although I have a bias opinion, my Kindergarteners did the BEST!!!!
 Here are some of the Jr./Sr. High performers, they are also in their traditional attire.
To conclude the program, SCA took time to thank the native Chilean employees that help the school run successfully.  The men on the left side are our team of guards who keep the school safe.  The two gals are the Spanish instructor (Tia Lorena) and one of the cleaning ladies.  The man with the microphone is our school administrator, Rob Hagerty.    He presented flowers to the gals and other gifts to the men.  It was QUITE the celebration!!!!