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Interview with Virgilio J. Briones

Interviewee: 
Briones, Virgilio J.
Interviewer: 
Valladares, Betty
Date of Interview: 
2002-12-07
Identifier: 
LGBR0235
Subjects: 
Relationships with people and places; Childhood adventures
Abstract: 
Virgilio Briones talks about growing up in Equador and his family.
Collection: 
Charlotte Narrative and Conversation Collection
Collection Description: 
Betty Valladares interviewed Charlotte, NC residents to collect various stories for a class project at UNC Charlotte.
Transcript:
BV (Betty Valladares): OK, Virgilio, your name.
VB (Virgilio Briones): Uh, Virgilio Briones.
BV: Your birthday.
VB: My date of birth is May 3, of 1982.
BV: Uh, your age.
VB: My age, I am 20 years old.
BV: And, where were you born?
VB: Uh, I was born in the city of Puerto Viejo, Ecuador.
BV: [Cough] Uh, other countries where you have lived?
VB: Hmmm, not for too long, no, I have not lived in other countries, only here.
BV: How long have you been in the United States?
VB: One year.
BV: What about in Charlotte?
VB: One year, but I have been here before, for five months.
BV: Uh-huh.
VB: Two times before this one, for five months. Yes.
BV: Uh-huh. Your native language?
VB: Spanish.
BV: Do you speak any other languages?
VB: English.
BV: Uh, level of education?
VB: Uh, level of education, school, high school, uh, I studied international law in my country for one year-.
BV: Uh-huh.
VB: -And, now, and, if, three semesters of English.
BV: Uh-huh. Then, your profession? Student?
VB: Student.
BV: \\ [Laughs] For now. \\
VB: \\ [Laughs] For now, yes.\\ Student for now.
BV: ( ) You were telling me that when you were little. \\ ( ) \\
VB: \\ Oh, yes, yes, yes. \\ About what I was asked for, that is, stories about myself, something. I believe I have always had that on, on my mind and, and it has made me grow up. Like I don't know, like some kind of strength because, when I was little I always had, I always had that freedom. For example, my mother is the youngest of se-, seven sisters.
BV: Uh-huh.
VB: And all of them-, almost the same age, everyone, no one, none of them worked, always-, and they always lived together, always together and because they were all of the same age. They all got married at about the same age and, they had children of the same age.
BV: Uh-huh.
VB: That is li-, that is, that I had eight cousins, or, they always had two of the same age, they were about 16 or 12 cousins of the same age, and, because they were all so close to each other, they were-, we always were together, during trips, on vacations. And we were on vacation at the same time, we all finished school in the same grade, everything, was almost always the same. We would always go places together, all of us. Also, they, my sis-, my aunts and my mother, always together, they all gathered money to build. They built a house in front of the sea, for everybody. It was like a hotel, for each family. Uh, they also bou-, bought a farm to have-, for all of the family, everything was for the family, and each family had its own space. Do you understand me?
BV: Uh-huh.
VB: And always-, and, once a year, at least, we got to travel to-, or, we spent one or two months of vacation time all together. And, for example, what I always remember the most is that we always went to other places and everything, but, my greatest memories in this, er-, in that, at the beach and the house, that is, a farm, where we stayed at, because we had-, imagine, eight, nine, 10 cousins and friends, like brothers and we all made friends who were our age, and we had all that place to ourselves. Do you understand me?
BV: Yes.
VB: And, if we went to the beach, we only went inside the house to eat something. We would spend the rest of the time on the shore and we did whatever we felt like doing, we went fishing, we wrestled, fought, walked, rode motorcycles, that is, everything. Do you understand me? It was like, I don't know, everything was so beautiful, the memories. However, we also had problems and fights, the punishments, and everything. \\ [Laughs] \\
BV: \\ [Laughs] \\
VB: It was very funny. The, the fights were between the, the, the boys and the, and the girls, there was always that, like an argument about who was stronger and who was the weakest and, among all those people, there was always a mix of, different emotions. One is the one who always talks the most, another one is the one who talks the least, another one is the one who argues the most, another one is the one who doesn't fight, the other is the most intelligent one, another one is the, the ugliest one-.
BV: [Laughs]
VB: -Another one is the chubbiest, another is the thinnest. Do you understand me? It was like, it was always like-, and that's how we grew up together, and now we are like brothers, equal. We are-, for example, for me, all of them are my best friends and I have many friends everywhere because of the relationship we used to have.
BV: Uh-huh.
VB: And we did-, I remember that. Oh. We, we gathered-, we built houses, we built houses when we were children.
BV: Uh-huh.
VB: All of us, because everything was a-, a beach, the beach was everything, our farm and such, we had everything, all of it for ourselves, and, and we fought and everything.
BV: How many girls and how many boys?
VB: Say that again?
BV: How many girls and how many boys?
VB: We were like, six boys and, like seven girls. Yes.
BV: And the husbands were there too?
VB: Say that again?
BV: \\ Your uncles? \\
VB: \\ No, no \\ they were always, the were always working, they only went there on the weekends only, always, uh, it was, it was only women, and-.
BV: Uh-huh.
VB: -And they all, and they went their way, always enjoying and going out with us ( ), but they also were demanding and we respected them and everything.
BV: Do you remember a, a fight, a specific fight or something, a moment when-, for example, my, my best friend and I used to fight all, all the time, but, uh, one of the, of the, of the fights I always remember was that I went to her house to visit her, she lived three houses away from my house-.
VB: I see.
BV: -And, and, uh, we were, we were pretending to be cooking-.
VB: I see.
BV: -And I had fixed some pasta and I told her, "Try it," and she says, "Yuck. It's awful." \\ [Laughs] \\
VB: \\ [Laughs] \\
BV: \\ [Laughs] And-. [Laughs] \\
VB: \\ [Laughs] \\
BV: -And we fought [Laughs] And I ran to my house and she came with me and then she tells me, "Betty, let's play," and I told her, "OK." \\ [Laughs] \\
VB: \\ [Laughs] \\
BV: Silly fights, right? \\ [Laughs] \\
VB: \\ [Laughs] \\ Of course.
BV: [Laughs] Do you remember any?
VB: Yes, uh, I remember many. Uh, one was about-, oh. One of them was always with a, a, another-, my cousin Javier, he was always-, he was almost my age, almost my age, my other cousins are much older, a year older, but it was-, and with him it was our-, we were all like brothers and all of us together and they were my-, and we always argued, and once we fought because [laughs] he was passing underneath the-, and I was, I was, I was one floor above him, and I [laughs] dropped a, [laughs] a watermelon, I think it fell on his face. \\ [Laughs] \\
BV: \\ [Laughs] \\
VB: \\ [Laughs] There was not-, of course. \\
BV: \\ Good aiming. [Laughs] \\
VB: \\ Good aiming [laughs] with the same trust and all that. \\
BV: \\ [Laughs] \\
VB: We came back and that was the biggest fight of all, I remember we gave each other b-.
BV: \\ [Laughs] \\
VB: \\ -Black eyes and everything-. \\
BV: \\ [Laughs] \\
VB: -And, yes, and we got punished.
BV: \\ [Laughs] \\
VB: \\ [Laughs] \\ Every-, that's what they say because, it was the biggest one-. \\ [Laughs] \\
BV: \\ [Laughs] \\
VB: -Because of how mad [laughs], I don't know \\ my cousin [laughs] was really mad at me. [Laughs] \\
BV: \\ [Laughs] \\
VB: \\ [Laughs] \\
BV: \\ [Laughs] \\
VB: And, uh, yes, and another one. Oh. Also, my, my older cousin, Estefan, his name is Estefan, he was older than me, he always tried to dominate over others, and, you know how it is at that age, "You are the youngest, you have to do this \\ you have to." \\
BV: \\ [Laughs] \\
VB: And he always tried to dominate, and, and, I don't know, he always, he messed up with me, until one day I got tired of him and, and nobody expected that I would, that I would fight against him, and so I did, and I defeated him and everything.
BV: [Laughs]
VB: And, and at that time, I became the leader.
BV: \\ [Laughs] \\
VB: \\ That was-. [Laughs] \\
BV: \\ [Laughs] \\
VB: \\ [Laughs] \\ That, he wouldn't dare again.
BV: [Laughs]
VB: We always were, I don't know, and always-, we were always like that, open, we never were-. I tell you, we were open in the sense that we had this ability to communicate with each other, we were intelligent, we knew a lot of people, we made friends, we built-, I tell you, we built toys and invented games, we invented them ourselves.
BV: Do you remember a specific one?
VB: Yes, like, we built-, like equipment and everything. We built, uh, like some types of weapons of, of, like-, they were not really weapons, but, I don't know, like some of rubbers and lids of the soda bottles, you know, the kinds of sodas we have \\ in our countries, to battle among ourselves, well-. \\
BV: \\ [Laughs] \\
VB: \\ And we built, we built, the \\ the-, like forts, and everything.
BV: Oh. ( )
VB: Yes, it was, imagine, those were two months, all of us living together, sleeping and waking up together-.
BV: Uh-huh.
VB: ( ) We spent, laughing, uh, there was, there were also times when we did not, we did not have anything to do and, I don't know, we invented things like, like doing bad things to others. [Laughs]
BV: Uh-huh. \\ [Laughs] \\
VB: \\ We would do mean things, we scared people. \\ Yes, because, we, even though we had television and all that, nothing would entertain us.
BV: Uh-huh.
VB: And there were times when we would stay inside a room playing, and playing video games and all that. But-. \\ [Laughs] \\
BV: \\ And do you remember \\ something bad that you did?
VB: Uh, bad things, we, we went to other houses and we broke the pipes off [laughs] the houses [laughs] and water would, \\ would come out a lot-. \\
BV: \\ [Laughs] \\
VB: \\ -Everywhere and. [Laughs] \\
BV: [Laughs] Did you all ever get caught?
VB: [Laughs] Yes, we were caught sometimes.
BV: And what happened next?
VB: We were, we were taken to our houses, to our parents, and everything. There was also a time when-, in those houses, you know, beach houses have water tanks and everything to-.
BV: Uh-huh.
VB: -And, sometimes we threw things inside the water tanks to- [laughs], things like, staining things so that water would change its color.
BV: \\ [Laughs] \\
VB: \\ [Laughs] \\ We were severely punished. \\[Laughs] \\
BV: \\ [Laughs] \\
VB: We were also punished.
BV: Which-, what was the punishment?
VB: The punishment was that we always were taken to a room, and we were told that we would not come out of it, most of the times they pulled, us here.
BV: \\ [Laughs] \\
VB: \\ "Bo-, come here, come here." \\ [Laughs] \\
BV: [Laughs]
VB: \\ And we went, "No." \\
BV: \\ [Laughs] \\
VB: \\ [Laughs] \\ And yes, we wouldn't come out for a whole day. [Laughs] Imagine seeing all of your friends playing outside and you staying \\ inside-. \\
BV: \\ Inside. \\
VB: -Doing nothing, because we would watch television a lot or play video games, but we were not interested in doing that, that was for-, the video games and the television were, were things to relax.
BV: Uh-huh.
VB: To watch if-, for example, we used to get out of the house around six or five in the morning, we woke up.
BV: Uh-huh.
VB: Until-, we slept in the afternoon and then got out at night again, and, always, in those places there were those games, mechanical games like, like merry-go-round and things like that.
BV: Uh-huh.
VB: And, uh, we went out at night, came back home to eat, and we ate. We all were like a, a-, all together, like a gang and-. Oh. There was also a time [laughs], because there were those carrousels, one morning we woke up-, we were seven, eight, nine years old, we wo-, we took [laughs] some screwdrivers to that place. \\ [Laughs] \\
BV: \\ [Laughs] \\
VB: And we torn the carrousel. [Laughs]
BV: \\ [Laughs] \\
VB: \\ [Laughs] We tore it apart. \\
BV: \\ [Laughs] \\
VB: Do you know what kind I'm talking about? The ones that go around with the little horses? \\ [Laughs] \\
BV: \\ Uh-huh. [Laughs] \\
VB: \\ We tore apart-. [Laughs] \\
BV: \\ [Laughs] \\
VB: \\ -The horses. \\
BV: [Laughs]
VB: The horses and, things-. Next day, when everybody rode them, they fell off. [Laughs]
BV: \\ [Laughs] \\
VB: \\ And yes \\ things like that, that occurred to us because we didn't have anything to do. You see?
BV: Uh-huh.
VB: We didn't have anything to do.
BV: Uh-huh. [Laughs]
VB: We would spend the mornings swimming at the beach, and we were fed up with those motorcycles, we got fed up with riding motorcycles. Oh. Once we, we-, what is it? We, we became friends with some, some fishermen and such, and we, we got in some, some boats, and we went sailing very far away.
BV: Uh-huh.
VB: [Laughs] When we came back [laughs] everyone-, our mothers were waiting for us \\ on the shore, with a belt on their hands. [Laughs] \\
BV: \\ [Laughs] \\
VB: \\ And such. [Laughs] \\
BV: \\ [Laughs] \\
VB: And, and there the-, and everybody went, "No." We would tell the fishermen, "Turn around, go back, go away." \\ [Laughs] \\
BV: \\ [Laughs] \\
VB: \\ [Laughs] We did not want to reach the-, the shore-. \\
BV: \\ [Laughs] \\
VB: -The shore because they were waiting for us, they already knew that we were not lost, and that we had gone for a ride.
BV: \\ [Laughs] \\
VB: \\ [Laughs] \\ Yes, all that. That always-, that happened at the beach, and, and at the farm, it was the same thing, but, it was another, another environment, there were horses and, uh, things like that. We also got lost, we did crazy things, it was always-. Our-, it was about doing a, a, crazy things, things out of the, out of the ordinary and such. Do you understand me?
BV: Uh-huh.
VB: Always ( ) [laughs] and, we would invent games, games about-, we had some kind of a, a creative activity, a-, our creativity would flow, the ( ), and we created, we created cars, everything, but it was about making changes, to come up with different things, there was always a mixture of-, everyone contributed to this creation with their knowledge, with his own imagination.
BV: Uh-huh.
VB: And that's what it was [laughs] down there. [Laughs] Yes, and that-, and that's why I tell you, all that has helped me to have nice memories of my childhood, and, and to feel the confidence and strength that I have now.
BV: Uh-huh.
VB: I know what I want, I know what I have and I can differentiate good from bad. I can know. Do you understand me? Many times one thinks that, that one has lived-, that time and those things are meaningless, but they help you go on for the rest of your life.
BV: Uh-huh.
VB: And such, and also the close relationship between my mother and her sisters.
BV: Uh-huh. What happened when you came back home from vacation?
VB: When you came back home from vacation, it was different because you had to mix, uh, at school, with other children, with your classmates, it was a different thing, but on weekends we would be together again.
BV: Uh-huh.
VB: Yes.
BV: Did you ever get to see each other during the week?
VB: Say that again?
BV: Did you ever get to see each other during the week?
VB: Som-, som-, uh, sometimes, because we were not-, we all went to different schools.
BV: Oh.
VB: We were not together in the same school because if they knew that-, if we stayed together at school it would be, uh-.
BV: \\ [Laughs] \\
VB: \\ [Laughs] \\
BV: \\ [Laughs] \\
VB: \\ [Laughs] \\ Of course, everything was in, in different schools, we were all in different schools, because, it was also-, there would be chaos \\ at school. [Laughs] \\
BV: \\ [Laughs] \\
VB: \\ [Laughs] \\
BV: \\ Too much. [Laughs] \\
VB: \\ Of course. \\
BV: \\ [Laughs] \\
VB: \\ Too much. \\ Imagine, we would feel all that power that \\ that-. \\
BV: \\ [Laughs] \\
VB: -We had, always laughing and everything. [Laughs]
BV: Do you miss that group?
VB: Uh?
BV: Do you miss \\ that group? \\
VB: \\ Yes \\ I miss that-, very much, the group, because even when we grew up, right, we would still stick together.
BV: Uh-huh.
VB: When a-, even living outside of-, living in different, in different cities, when the weekend came, we would call up and say, "You know what? We will go there this week, we will gather down there." Uh, "I am thinking of going to-, I am thinking somewhere. Let's buy things and go somewhere."
BV: Uh-huh.
VB: We would gather again, you see?
BV: Uh-huh.
VB: And-, once we deci-, once we went, we all went to-, we went to Bolivia, all of us, together, right. ( ) I don't know, now I really miss that, that's the only thing I miss about Ecuador. Because I am-, I get used-, I always get used to all places, because I am, I am, what is it? I don't know, like, I get along with everybody. If a person does not get along with me is because, I don't know, that person is a bad person because I get along with everybody. It is the same thing with places where I live in, for example, if-, I am living here and I am already used to this, everything is fine to me, I don't find the negative things, I always see the positive things, the good side of it. But that's the only thing I miss because-, I have many friends here, persons but, I miss that close relationship that I had with my friends who were like my brothers, and the-, when you say, "This, this-," like, "Tonight I don't want to sleep at home. I will go to my cousin's, my aunt's. I will sleep there." I'd go there and it was like being at home. Do you understand me?
BV: Uh-huh.
VB: It's the same-, if I need, you know, "Uncle, I need this," they'd give me money, if I want or need a car, I would get it and go around, anytime I want. Do you understand me?
BV: Uh-huh.
VB: That's, that's, that's the only thing that, that I miss. Well, and that love that, that one feels, that the other person is giving you and that you can-.
BV: Uh-huh.
VB: -Yes. And the-, then, no, then you are, I am used to this, to the-.
BV: Are you going back?
VB: Hmm, not to live, I don't think so because I have a better future here.
BV: Uh-huh.
VB: Not to live. Yes, maybe, for a while, but not, not now.
BV: Uh-huh.
VB: I think that for now I have a lot to live for in here. Now, I think I will go back in the summer.
BV: Uh-huh.
VB: Yes. Yes. And such, and I don't know what else.
BV: [Laughs] And your plans for the future?
VB: My plans for the future? Uh, my plans for this year is-, for this year, for the future, for this year-, it would be to finish this semester at school and work for a while ( ), for, for many things I thought of doing and, then, study next semester and go to Ecuador in the summer and spend two-, three weeks there and also go to the coast of Spain-.
BV: Hmmm.
VB: -To the Mediterranean area, to travel around Spain.
BV: Are you going with your cousins?
VB: Yes, with one of them and, and with a friend, to go there, to, to, to live.
BV: Uh-huh.
VB: We will go there to work because I know a place down there where I have been before. I have some friends who own bars and everything.
BV: Uh-huh.
VB: And work at the bars to, to work, to live and everything.
BV: For this summer?
VB: For this summer, yes. And then we'll go back to school.
BV: Uh-huh.
VB: Those are my plans, my goals. ( )
BV: Uh-huh.
VB: Oh. And we'll also go to Venezuela.
BV: \\ [Laughs] \\
VB: \\ Of course, no, my trips-, I thought of-. \\
BV: [Laughs]
VB: -Uh, of course, Ecuador, Venezuela, and from Venezuela to Spain.
BV: Uh-huh.
VB: And from Spain to the United States.
BV: To visit your girlfriend.
VB: Yes.
BV: [Laughs]
VB: And also because she told me that down there you can live with little money. [Laughs]
BV: Yes.
VB: With, she says that with $1,000, with $500, you can have a nice time in there.
BV: Uh-huh.
VB: That's why I'm going. It's worth it.
BV: Uh-huh.
VB: You cannot do that now in Ecuador.
BV: Uh-huh.
VB: Because in Ecuador the currency is worth the same as the dollar.
BV: Uh-huh.
VB: It is the same.
BV: \\ Oh. I didn't know that. \\
VB: \\ Yes, everything is dollar based. \\ Everything costs the same like it does here. You see? What you'd spend here, you'd spend it down there.
BV: Uh-huh.
VB: Yes, it's not like-.
BV: I didn't know that.
VB: -It's not like in those countries where dollars are worth more than their currency-.
BV: Uh-huh.
VB: -In Ecuador, that's not the case anymore.
BV: How long has it been that Ecuador changed the-?
VB: Two years now.
BV: Oh.
VB: Two years.
BV: And that was an economic measure, I guess.
VB: Of course, it was an economic measure, due to the inflation and-.
BV: Uh-huh.
VB: -The instability of the currency. One day it was very low, the next day it was very high. Now it is very high.
BV: Uh-huh.
VB: And that scared the investors away.
BV: Uh-huh.
VB: Everyone would hide their money. ( )
BV: Uh-huh.
VB: Because no one knew how the future would be.
BV: Do you remember any books that, that you read when you were little? \\ Children's books? \\
VB: \\ I don't-. \\
BV: \\ -That someone read to you? \\
VB: About, stories?
BV: Something that, something that someone read to you, sometime or something that you read ( )?
VB: Hmm. A story, what? \\ [Laughs] \\
BV: \\ [Laughs] \\
VB: [Laughs] The stories I read when I was a child were always those, those about the rabbit and, and, and the turtle.
BV: Uh-huh. \\ [Laughs] \\
VB: \\ That particular race. All of them. \\
BV: \\ [Laughs] \\
VB: Uh, I also had them on a tape because I listened to them and I also watched them-.
BV: Uh-huh.
VB: -And such.
BV: Do you remember what the story is about? [Laughs]
VB: Yeah, something about a turtle, and there was going to be a race between a turtle and a rabbit. [Laughs] And the rabbit would-, always turned the turtle down, it, it would underestimate the turtle because it was slower and everything. And the race began [laughs] and it went, "And the race is on." [Laughs] \\ Do you understand? \\
BV: \\ [Laughs] \\
VB: \\ [Laughs] At the-, I remembered the tape that went-. \\
BV: \\ [Laughs] \\
VB: "The race is on," and the rabbit [laughs] was laughing, and I was reading-. [Microphone falls]. Wow.
BV: [Laughs]
VB: \\ Hello, hello? \\
BV: \\ [Laughs] \\ Is it still recording? [Laughs] It jumped, it did not want to listen [laughs] that the race was on. Let's stop for a little while. [Laughs] [Pause]
VB: The cable here. ( )
BV: OK. I think it is still recording. Uh-huh. [Laughs]
VB: It records fine.
BV: Yes. [Laughs]
VB: \\ [Laughs] \\
BV: \\ [Laughs] \\
VB: Let's see if \\ if it will-. \\
BV: \\ [Laughs] \\
VB: -Drop again, it's the cable that-.
BV: ( ) [Laughs]
VB: -The cable. No, not that.
BV: [Laughs]
VB: [Laughs] The turtle says that \\ there is-. \\
BV: \\ [Laughs] "The race is on." \\
VB: Yes.
BV: The microphone fell. \\ [Laughs] \\
VB: \\ Yes. [Laughs] \\ The microphone fell [laughs], and such. And there. Oh. And the, the rabbit always underestimated, it underestimated the turtle, like I said, it was faster, and one time it-, he-, it would go faster, it would run for a while and then it would fall asleep. One time the rabbit fell asleep very deeply [laughs] and the turtle passed him and won the race. \\ [Laughs] \\
BV: \\ [Laughs] \\
VB: That was the story. [Laughs] I always remember it because it was ( ) when I was a child, I read it and I listened to it. And from there, from there no more, I don't remember what comes next.
BV: Were you told stories when you were a child?
VB: Yes.
BV: Your mother or your father?
VB: My mother, my father. Yes, they told me the usual ones, "Little Red Hood," uh, the, the ones, "Snow White," "The Three Bears"-.
BV: Uh-huh.
VB: -Or the, the three-, the one about the bear family. [Laughs]
BV: American stories, right?
VB: Yes, those are the same ones. \\ They are-. \\
BV: \\ My \\ my father told me stories about-, uh, he made up, be-, before we went to sleep. He would come to our room and invented stories, he would always tell a story about a dog and, there was always a family that was-, a man cutting the grass. \\ [Laughs] \\
VB: \\ I see. [Laughs] \\
BV: And he'd cut the dog's tail. [Laughs]
VB: \\ No. [Laughs] \\
BV: \\ [Laughs] And the tail would grow back-. \\
VB: \\ I think that-. \\
BV: \\ -And then the tail would grow back. [Laughs] \\
VB: \\ [Laughs] No. \\
BV: \\ [Laughs] \\
VB: \\ I think that-. \\
BV: \\ [Laughs] \\
VB: \\ [Laughs] They also told me-.\\
BV: \\ [Laughs] \\
VB: -A story like [laughs] that one. And some other but, I don't, I don't know, I think I was too little \\ I don't remember. \\
BV: \\ [Laughs] \\
VB: \\ [Laughs] \\ Yes.
BV: The dog with two tails.
VB: Yes.
BV: It was funny because my father, my father would start the story like-, and then he would say, "The dog was color," and one had to com-, complete the sentence.
VB: I see. \\ ( ) \\
BV: \\ [Laughs] \\
VB: \\ Yes. \\
BV: \\ One invented something. [Laughs] \\
VB: Yes.
BV: And he cut the [laughs], dog's head. \\ [Laughs] \\
VB: \\ [Laughs] I see. \\
BV: \\ [Laughs] The foot. \\
VB: No. Uh, No.
BV: \\ [Laughs] \\
VB: \\ [Laughs] Yes. \\
BV: Oh.
VB: It was always stories like that one. I don't remember more stories. But I remember those ones because they were so typical.
BV: Uh-huh.
VB: Always and each-, the one about the bears, about the little duck.
BV: Oh. "The Ugly Duck."
VB: Yes. The ugly duck that-.
BV: \\ [Laughs] \\
VB: \\ Yes. \\ Those were al-, always. [Laughs]
BV: ( )
VB: Yes.
BV: ( )
VB: Yes. Those were the stories I remember.
BV: Did you have many books, when you were little? Didn't you have stories?
VB: Yes, I had books with cassettes and everything.
BV: Uh-huh.
VB: But, I don't know where they are [laughs], they are lost.
BV: [Laughs] Lost?
VB: Somewhere, yes. I didn't remember about it, but now I remember, that I have them. I didn't remember about those stories but-. [Laughs] Yes.
BV: Do you want to keep talking?
VB: I don't know, if, what else?
BV: Uh, Do you remember any, any natural disaster, flooding or earthquake?
VB: Uh-huh.
BV: Any-?
VB: Oh. Something that, for example, it's, it's not a big disaster, but it's about nature and, it's not very common. Those things that are-, that always happen in my country, about volcanoes. They expel ashes. They are-, it's something that you don't see every day, but it affects, it affects, but not, not so drastically. It affects more the-, animals. Many times it has stopped the port activities and all that. I don't know if you have heard about it.
BV: Uh-huh.
VB: Yes, the-, there are moments like, everything is surrounded, which is-, mostly the mountains, there are lots of volcanoes, and the-, they erupt. At the beginning it takes the shape of a mushroom in the sky, with ashes and gases. And then the ashes-, then, then-, that's like the first stage. And then the ashes spread around the whole country, it even reaches very distant places, but in the-, always in the places that-, I lived in the city of Quito for about two years, and it was surrounded by many volcanoes, and one of them the-, exploded, uh, erupted, and everything, and ashes start falling, it's like something-, instead of snow, it is ashes coming down. And the streets are full of ashes. Many times the airports cancel flights because of the ashes. If you want to go out, you have to wear a mask-.
BV: Oh.
VB: -Because those ashes can get into your system. And it affects the crops because it falls on the-, on the grass, and on the food for the animals, that's-, yes. And if you go to-, you have to clean up your car. It's like here, you have to take off the ice, down there, you have to take off the ashes.
BV: Uh-huh.
VB: The ashes.
BV: It's dirtier.
VB: What?
BV: It's dirtier.
VB: Yes, it's like, when you have to take off the snow from your car in the mornings so that you can see, I had to take off the ashes because it was like, like, like dirt, like rocks, like dust.
BV: Uh-huh.
VB: Yes. And that's-, that's something, that I have always witnessed, I have not always lived it, but I have sometimes seen it.
BV: Uh-huh.
VB: I think Ecuador was amazing. In Ecuador [laughs] in another place.
BV: Uh-huh.
VB: That affects, but not that much, it's like a fire, no, no, something that destroys people's homes, and all that. It's almost like it, but it's not the same. ( )
BV: There were many floods in Venezuela. In Caracas, there is a river called Guaire that goes along the middle of the city, and people always build their, their little houses-.
VB: \\ Of course. \\
BV: \\ -Beside the river, and the river-. \\
VB: \\ Drags out the houses.\\
BV: \\ -Drags out the houses. \\ Then the rain-.
VB: Drags them out-.
BV: But, but when it levels off. \\ ( ) \\
VB: \\ They build their houses again. \\
BV: \\ [Laughs] \\
VB: \\ That's the only piece of land they have. \\
BV: \\ [Laughs] \\ They don't have much-, and I don't even think it's their land.
VB: \\ Of course, yes. \\
BV: \\ It belonged to \\ the government, you know, but they build their houses there without, without a permit. But then they come back. \\ ( ) \\
VB: Of course.
BV: [Laughs] Yes. And I there was also an earthquake, when I was little, I don't remember much, but my mother, she-, she-, there have been several earthquakes in Caracas \\ big earthquakes-. \\
VB: \\ Yes. \\
BV: -That have destroyed buildings and everything, and my mother tells me that, when I was still little, that everything started to shake very strongly-.
VB: Uh-huh.
BV: -And they all had to run outside the house.
VB: Yes.
BV: Uh, and my mother says that the, the noise was so strong that, that she thought-, it sounded like the roar of a lion.
VB: I see. \\ That's what it sounds like. \\
BV: \\ Like a lion. ( ) \\
VB: I have, I have been there.
BV: Have you ever witnessed an \\ earthquake? \\
VB: \\ I have been there \\ yes, in about three earthquakes.
BV: Uh-huh.
VB: And once I was-, yes, once, uh, the ones, the ones I remember the most are two, I lived in a city, near the coast.
BV: Uh-huh.
VB: The centers were, were always like, like swells.
BV: Uh-huh.
VB: And the centers-, and, they were very strong. One time we were at school, uh, yes, at school, in four-, in fif-, fifth grade. And we were, I, I was studying in a school from seven in the morning until four in the afternoon, and we had lunch and did our homework at school. When we finished having lunch, I remember, there was a place where, it was like to re-, to rest and everything, and when we were resting together with my classmates, the earthquake began. And in front of us there was a wall, and the wall started to move like this.
BV: Hmm.
VB: And, we were lucky that in that area there were like, chairs, they had something like, like chairs, they had, they had, they had things like hammocks, things like that, hanging ( ), and, and towards the sides, there was a soccer field, we were not that scared, uh, but when, we watched the news on TV and everything, I saw that the center was, precisely the place whe-, where-, same place where my father was working.
BV: Uh-huh.
VB: And I started to run like crazy, to see what had just happened. Nothing much happened, but-, that was one of the earthquakes, and another one. Oh. Another one, oh, that was also very strong was, the, the one I told you that destroyed many houses and everything. That one affected many places that were an hour away from where I lived. It destroyed many buildings, it left many people homeless and all that. It almost destroyed-, it was very strong, it was very strong that everybody but, it didn't, it didn't, it didn't destroy that many things. It was very str-, strong. Everybody was scared and ran, the cables. ( ) And the other one was-, uh, I was watching TV, I remember, there was a political problem in Ecuador, something like that, and there were, uh, yes, there was-, they were judging a politician at Congress, and such, and I was watching that on TV and just when this person-, I remember clearly, when he was going to swear, just like, you know, in those cases where you have to swear on a book and \\ all those things? \\
BV: \\ [Laughs] \\
VB: This person was about to swear that he would tell nothing but the truth, when he was about to swear, it started the-, when-, the cameras started to move but I thought it was-.
BV: \\ [Laughs] \\
VB: \\ -That it was, it was the, it was the, \\ it was a camera effect or something because it sounded like this, "Trrrrr." When, because, because the program was being recorded in a different place, it looked like the earthquake got there first. You see?
BV: [Laughs]
VB: And because the program was live and the case-.
BV: Uh-huh.
VB: -It went, "Trrrr" and, when, uh, ten seconds later, I got scared, "What's going on?" And everybody inside the Congress were moving, and I was very calm at home, but three seconds later the, the, the power was-, the effects were felt later on this side.
BV: Uh-huh.
VB: And I was watching that, when it reached this side, that's when I started to feel what they were feeling down there.
BV: Wow.
VB: And it was \\ "Oh." \\
BV: \\ [Laughs] \\
VB: \\ I had to hide under the table. \\
BV: [Laughs]
VB: Yes [laughs], I remember clearly that nothing mayor happened.
BV: ( ) \\ [Laughs] \\
VB: \\ That was, he was guilty, he was bad. \\
BV: \\ [Laughs] He was guilty. \\
VB: \\ He was bad. [Laughs] \\
BV: \\ [Laughs] \\
VB: \\ He was guilty, of course, of course, for having sworn, but it was probably in vain. [Laughs] \\
BV: \\ [Laughs] \\
VB: \\ Because. [Laughs] \\
BV: \\ ( ) \\
VB: Yes.
BV: \\ [Laughs] \\
VB: \\ [Laughs] \\ Yes. I believe it's enough.
BV: I believe we'll now turn it off. [Laughs]
VB: Yes.
BV: [Laughs]
VB: Yes.
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