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Hogar dulce hogar

¡Hola! Soy Daniela otra vez. It's me, Daniela, again. They say there's no place like home, and while I have made my home in the U.S., I still feel like Chile is home, too. But, I enjoy living in the U.S. There is such a variety of places to live from apartments and condos to single-family homes and big sprawling ranches. I remember when I was looking for a place to live when I started working here. There were so many choices. My home in the U.S. is very different from my home in Chile and even from where I lived when I was studying in Brazil. For one thing, I have a roommate, Teresa, who is from Bolivia. The home of two young women who are friends and co-workers is certainly different from a family home! 

In the Spanish-speaking world, as in other parts of the world, home styles differ depending on a person's needs, location, and of course, budget.

You can get a good idea of what houses are like in the Spanish-speaking world in the following video. Watch the video about homes in Venezuela. Are the homes similar to or different from what you imagined? In which type of home would you like to live? 

Select the play button to access the "La casa" video from Realidades.
Now that you've gotten an idea about homes in the Spanish-speaking world, we are going to learn a little bit more about one of my favorite places in a house—the bedroom. We'll learn words and expressions that we can use to talk about the bedroom and how to describe, compare, and contrast. We'll also learn about the country and culture of Bolivia. There's a lot to do, so let's get started!
* Apply knowledge of vocabulary related to bedroom items, electronic equipment, colors, describing, comparing, and contrasting * Compare bedroom characteristics of Bolivia, to that of the U.S. * Examine Bolivia's traditional use of brightly colored textiles used in bedroom decor
Key Words
The following chart lists today's key words and expressions in English and Spanish. Write the words in your notebook, and be sure to leave space to write down pronunciation tips for each one.

Spanish | English | la alfombra | rug | el armario | closet | la cama | bed | la cómoda | dresser | las cortinas | curtains | el cuadro | painting | el despertador | alarm clock | el dormitorio | bedroom | el espejo | mirror | el estante | shelf, bookshelf | la lámpara | lamp | la mesita | night table | la pared | wall |
Bedroom Items

Spanish | English | el disco compacto | compact disc | el equipo de sonido | sound (stereo) system | el lector DVD | DVD player | el televisor | television set | el video | video |
Electronic Equipment

Spanish | English | ¿De qué color? | What color...? | los colores | colors | amarillo, amarilla | yellow | anaranjado, anaranjada | orange | azul | blue | blanco, blanca | white | gris | gray | marrón | brown | morado, morada | purple | negro, negra | black | rojo, roja | red | rosado, rosada | pink | verde | green |

Spanish | English | bonito, bonita | pretty | feo, fea | ugly | grande | large | importante | important | mismo, misma | same | pequeño, pequeña | small | propio, propia | own | a la derecha (de) | to the right (of) | a la izquierda (de) | to the left (of) | mejor(es) que | better than | el/la mejor; los/las mejores | the best | menos...que | less, fewer . . . than | peor(es) que | worse than |
Describing, Comparing, and Contrasting

Mi dormitorio

I have had a long day at work. I love my job, but after a long day, I just want to go home and relax. Some people have a favorite place in their home where they like to wind down. For some people it is the living room, patio, or kitchen. For me, it is my bedroom. It is the most relaxing place for me because it is my private and personal space. I love my roommate, Teresa, but I like to have my own space, too. In Spanish, the word for bedroom is dormitorio or cuarto. ¡Me gusta mi dormitorio! I like my bedroom!

Mi dormitorio es importante to me, and I always try to keep it clean. But not all people are like me. Watch the following video about Ignacio's bedroom. As you watch, notice some of the words used for items in the bedroom.

Select the play button to access the "El cuarto de Ignacio" video from Realidades.

Descripción de mi dormitorio

Mi dormitorio is very comfortable. It is pequeño, or small, but pretty. I have a big cama, or bed, between two bright windows. Next to my bed, I have una mesita, or night table, where I have una lámpara, or lamp, and where I keep my despertador, or alarm clock. I need a despertador because I have trouble waking up in the morning!

I have a nice soft alfombra, or rug, for my feet, which matches las cortinas, or curtains. For my clothes, I have a big armario, or closet, and una cómoda, or dresser, with un espejo, or mirror. And, of course, on one pared, or wall, I have a beautiful cuadro, or painting, which is a cityscape of my hometown, Santiago. It is a little piece of my hometown in my bedroom!

There are a lot of words for things in a bedroom. Listen to some of these words. Which items do you have in your bedroom?

Select the play buttons to hear words related to the bedroom spoken. Then practice saying them aloud. What do you notice about the pronunciation?

Of course, since my bedroom is the place where I like to relax, I watch TV and movies there. I also like to listen to music there, whether it’s an MP3 I downloaded or un disco compacto. I have a televisor, or television set, with a lector DVD, or DVD player, for when I want to watch un video. It is a good thing, too, because Teresa and I have different tastes in movies. She can watch movies in her dormitorio, and I can watch them in mine. I also have a very nice equipo de sonido, or sound system. I can spend hours in my bedroom! What do you like to do when you hang out in your bedroom?

Select the play buttons to hear words for different electronic equipment spoken. Then practice saying them aloud. What do you notice about the pronunciation?

When I first moved into my home, my bedroom was amarillo, or yellow. I liked it for a while, but then I wanted a change, so I painted it a beautiful rosado, or pink. Then I changed my mind again and wanted a more soothing color, so I painted it again. Now my bedroom is azul, or blue. But, I think it will soon be time for another change. I think I might like purple, or morado. Teresa likes more subdued colors. Her bedroom was blanco, or white, when we first moved in, but she painted it a nice, soft gris, or gray. It is very soothing. ¿De qué color es tu dormitorio? What color is your bedroom?

If I had to describe my bedroom to you, I would tell you that it is bonito, or pretty, but pequeño. When I first moved in, it wasn't feo, or ugly, but it wasn't my taste. What I like about it is that it does not feel small because I have two very large windows. There is one window a la derecha, or to the right, and mi cama esta a la izquierda, or to the left. When I was studying in Brazil, I shared a dormitorio. But now living with Teresa, we each have our propio, or own, dormitorio. Her bedroom is más grande, or bigger, than mine, but even though mine is pequeño, es mejor que, or it is better than, having a small space that you have to share!

It has taken a while for me to fix my bedroom just to my liking. As I mentioned, I have painted it several times. I used to have a terrible bed that was very hard. There is nothing peor que, or worse than, una cama that is uncomfortable! I have less furniture in here now than I did before. La cama is la misma, or the same, as my old one, but it has a much better mattress! Mi dormitorio was too cluttered before, but now it is just right. But la major, or the best, thing I got for my bedroom was the painting of my beloved Santiago. It looks like a window looking out to my hometown. I love my bedroom!

There are many ways to describe, compare, and contrast things in Spanish.

Select the play buttons to hear words and expressions you can use to describe,

Dormitorios en Bolivia

Of course, in the Spanish-speaking world, and in many other parts of the world, homes are similar to homes in the United States. Teresa tells me that in Bolivia, for example, the houses are generally smaller than those in the U.S. This is generally true in the Spanish-speaking world. In some ways, this can be a good thing—there is less to furnish and less to clean! Just like in the U.S., there isn't really a single style of a typical or native Bolivian home. There is a variety of house styles in Bolivia; however, there are some architectural styles that are noteworthy.

Teresa says that some homes boast a colonial architectural style. This style was brought by the Spanish conquistadores. You can see this style in the cities of Sucre, Potosí, and Cochabamba. When I went home with her one time, I thought it was really interesting to see the mix of colonial-style homes, neoclassical style homes (which were popular during the time of the Republic), and modern homes all in the same city. There are also some homes built in the indigenous style, differing from region to region. For example, in the area of the Andes mountains, there are homes carved in the rocks. Near Lake Titicaca, there are houses that are built out of reeds called totora. The Valley region has homes built of sticks and plastered with mud.

However, when it comes to dormitorios in Bolivia, they are generally similar to bedrooms in the U.S. It is not uncommon for siblings to share a bedroom. In fact, I shared a room with my sister Mariana when we were younger. The furniture and items in the bedroom are what you would expect: una cama, una cómoda, y una lámpara, for example. However, unlike in the U.S., built-in closets are not as common in Bolivia. Often you will find a free-standing, detached wardrobe instead of a closet. In many American homes, the bedrooms often have a lot of electronic devices, such as TVs, DVD players, sound systems, and computers. However, this is less common in Bolivia.

Decoración en Bolivia

One special aspect of Bolivian culture that can be found in homes and bedrooms across the country is the native textiles that are made in Bolivia. These colorful cloths have their roots in the indigenous Andean community and have been made for thousands of years. These cloths are usually made by women, and the patterns and colors are representative of an individual ayllu, or a kind of family group that lives in a particular area, and have a special meaning to each specific ayllu. The inspiration for these textiles traditionally comes from Andean life. Inspiration is found in the herds, water, and pasture lands.

The traditional cloths are all handmade from the wool of llamas or alpacas. The wool is spun and dyed and then woven by hand on a loom which is staked in the ground. Each cloth is unique, imagined and realized by the weaver.

One of the most common textiles is the Aguayo, or awayu, cloth which comes from the Aymara or Quechua people of the Andes. This rectangular cloth is typically woven from wool dyed in bright colors and is traditionally used for many purposes, such as wrapping and carrying items, as a blanket or cover, and even to carry babies. This cloth is recognizable by its striped pattern, alternating between solid colors and intricate designs.

While the crafting and weaving of these textiles span thousands of years, they are still in use today. Now, some cloths are commercially produced as household items such as tablecloths, blankets, bedspreads, or even wall hangings. The variety of styles, patterns, and colors can help spruce up any room in the home. In fact, Teresa brought a whole bunch of Bolivian cloths to help decorate our place. We have a beautiful tablecloth and a throw blanket for the sofa. Teresa has hung up a beautiful cloth on her bedroom wall. The colors look great against the paredes grises!…...

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