Monday, Chileans in Texas and around the world celebrate el dieciocho, or September 18, 1810, the day the small country began the process of gaining independence from Spain.

Orieta Ender, a lactation consultant in Austin, describes the lively celebrations in ramadas, temporary structures in towns around the country, where empanadas, wine and chicha, a fermented maize beverage, are sold.

Ender says that despite the similarity of the Texas and Chilean flags, she has no trouble spotting the difference between the two and feels comforted when she sees her home country’s flag flying in Texas.

“When I see (the flag), I know I’m going to be home and I can let my Chilean ‘slang’ Spanish out,” she says.

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