Saturday, September 1, 2012

Those are completos. Mostly chilean drunk food, but also a staple. It is basically a huge hot dog with tomatoes, onions, avocado, ketchup, mustard and mayo. I personally think they look disgusting, although I'm thinking of trying one just cause I feel like it's part of the experience (but definitely without mayonaise-which, fun fact, they put more mayo on after I took this pic, like, on each 

Anyways, Monday was an easy/pointless day of school and then I walked home at about 1...the 50 minute walk home is getting a bit old, but at least it's getting warmer and sunnier. Then around 2 Timm came over, we went to the market, he got a completo, and then we met with Laura to get food to make a stir fry.

We came back to my house and cooked, sat with Beto and Eduardo, and watched Timm/Beto try to communicate through the roughest Spanglish ever. We made this amazing mix of veggies that were so full of flavor it was ridiculous. I can't understand why this family doesn't eat more veggies when they are grown right in the next town and have SO MUCH FLAVOR. Also, I told Pilar that the eggs here were really good and she was like, "ya, we have the best ones. My friend has a coop and she only feeds them corn and greens..not fish like the other places." I am really, really happy my family doesn't buy the fish eggs. 

Us gringos sat around eating veggies (even dipped them fresh into the ranch dressing I just bought! Eduardo was disgusted by it... I just don't understand.) Then we decided to walk to this secret ice cream place, where I got banana manjar and tres leches scoops...obviously it was delicious. We sat in a plaza and watched some boys who were way too old to be riding there trick bikes, practice tricks with some skaters. 

I walked home and Pilar asked if I wanted to watch TV with her in her room. It was pretty cute, we laid with our heads at the bottom of the bed and watched some movie and then CSI (which was in English thankfully, cause my head was starting to hurt). Also, right now we are both sitting at the kitchen table and she is working and talking to herself and it is pretty entertaining.

Then Eduardo and I had once, he ate the left over completos and made me a special drink he wanted me to try cause he knows I like sweet things (how did they find that out?!). He made a malibu rum and pineapple juice drink. So today I only had 2 hours of class, I walked to Lider, got more pb, SOCKS! and oatmeal. It was a successful trip. Then I pretty much slept all day. Whoops. I got up and ate with Estefani and Eduardo and then went on a quick run to the beach and then to an aerobox class...I will definitely be joining that gym.

Aerobox is the greatest, funniest "workout" ever. We basically fake punched, kicked and bounced around to remixes of all kinds of songs. IT WAS SO GREAT. I laughed the majority of the time and kinda felt a workout. So i walked home and here we are...just took a half hour break from this while Eduardo tried to read/understand this. 

I am a bit scared about tomorrow as Caroll won't be at school in the morning so I have to actually teach all on my own, the entire class even. I'm nervous, but obviously I'll let you know how it goes ;)

Amor desde Chile.

Saturday was a pretty nice day. I woke up late and had a cheese empanada waiting for me for breakfast, so obviously it was a great start to the day. 

I read a bit in my room and then went for a run on the beach. It has been getting sunny earlier in the day and it really is nice out when the sun is out. The beach was really busy with soccer games going on (apparently eduardo was playing in one but I didn't realize it) and blow up bouncy attractions for kids and a dj. It was really gorgeous out and I enjoyed that. T

After skyping with steph and bill I went down to the center to meet Bria and Timm. We met at the McDonalds and then walked to get Timm a phone. The poor kid is trying  really hard, but he doesn't speak any spanish and is having some troubles with his family, i think really just because there is a general communication barrier, not that they aren't nice. But at least for now he has a phone so that's one thing off the list. 

Then we went to Telepizza, which is one of their chain pizza place, and I have to say I was really disappointed. Honestly, the pizza just didn't taste like anything.  But then we did go to a place called Dimango and got a 4 flavor sundae to split, which was the best decision ever. We had chocolate, manjar, passion fruit, and mint chocolate chip, which sounds weird together, but it was great. The guy also accidently covered it in that hard chocolate sauce, which we really didn't mind. It was sooo yummy and I will definitely be going there as a regular. 

Also, we saw Cristian, the guy whose birthday party we went to a few weeks ago, his friends, and some students all while walking "downtown," it really is a small city. I was also embarrassed while in the restaurants with Bria and Timm because they, especially Timm, speak soo loudly and expressively, I felt like they were screaming the whole time, in English, and everyone was staring at us. (I didn't just feel like they were staring, they really were.) Plus, we all know I like to talk, but these two....there is literally never a pause for you to get a word in or excuse yourself. 

Anyways, then we went to Bria's house, which is really nice, even has a small yard with grass! And we met her host sister and TINY little dog Lily, who was just too cute to handle, and we then walked to the Arica Casino! This was actually my first time ever in a casino, it was exactly what you imagine it would be like. We only went to one room because we were going to watch Bria's host brother play piano in the band. They were really nice and I enjoyed the music, they played mostly american music, really cheesy songs that you would expect at a casino for old people. They even gave a shout out to their american friends who were joining. Embarrassing. It was a nice night seeing some new things and meeting new people and I was glad that we had a pretty early night ( early by chilean standards). 

Sunday I woke up late, had lunch with the family, fried rice and cheesy potato balls, and then went to the university boy's volleyball game. There were a lot of other gringas there, mostly us actually, and also Jennifer's host family (she is the volunteer who has been here awhile and I brought stickers for). We watched the game, which was a really close and good one, but we lost, and then Jennifer's family took me to the Feria Dominga. This was a huuuuge market I guess you could say down one of the major roads. Apparently it happens every Sunday and is where everyone comes to get their "american clothes". I got a fresh cheese empanada that was insanely good and just walked around with them. They were a very nice family and invited me to once with them, but I thought I better go back home. I'll have to go over sometime tho cause the mom told me she would teach me how to make emapanas, which I obviously have to do. 

So it was a nice day, I came home and had once with the family, talked to host dad a bit, and then skyped with my real padres. Now I am at school during my break hour and obviously planning my classes very seriously. We had an award ceremony this morning for the top 3 kids in each class and some students played typical chilean folklore music and it was really really good. The ceremony itself could have been a lot shorter

I only have one more class and then I am walking to the market by my house to meet Timm so we can buy food and then go to my house to make lunch. One of the problems he is having in his house is that they don't really feed him anything and didn't say (although this could be a language thing) that he could cook whenever, so he is coming to my house so he can make a real meal...which is good for me to cause I would like to make something I actually want. 

Also, can you believe I've been here a month? It really is going quickly and I am starting to warm up to here (maybe cause it is warming up here as well hah) but now that I am learning my way around, making friends, and slowly but surely feeling more comfortable at home, it is all starting to feel normal and nice. I have a feeling it is going to fly by as life has a way of doing. 
Where to start.

Monday and Tuesday I can´t say anything particularly interesting happened. I went to classes, walked home, got some food at the grocery (chips to go with my queso!) and hung out at home mostly. Oh, I also started running on the beach, which has been some nice clear my head and hopefully not get fat in Chile again time.

Tuesday we did have a really fun day in class with the 5th graders where I led a game based around foods, it used the smart board and they had to spin the wheel and then answer the food/kitchen related question. They seemed to love it and Caroll was really pleased with it as well. I also didn´t feel so bad about some kids losing. 

Tuesday was also like a Friday because Wednesday we had off for some national holiday.  I decided to walk to the Morro, the hill we had tried to climb friday, to watch the sunset (just to clarify, I didn´t sleep from like noon to 6, lunch here is at like 3 or 4). So around 5 I started the walk and saw some new streets that I liked and will have to explore more, then I met up with Bria at the entrance to the hill and we walked up.

I think we actually had the best sunset that day that I´ve seen, the fog and clouds weren´t too thick and obviously it was a pretty view seeing the whole city. We stayed up there for awhile, it was really nice and helped me see that Arica is not quite as small as I was thinking. The only minor downside was that I couldn´t see south, which had been my main hope, but there is this stubborn hill in the way of the view.

Then yesterday I woke up and the family informed me that they/we were going to Tacna, Peru. We all (10 of us) piled into the van for the hour ride. There is pretty much nothing on the way there, just sand and some shacks, then you go through both Chilean and then Peruvian customs at separate stops. It went smoothly and we drove about 25km more to the actual city. 

I really liked Tacna, it was bigger, had a lot going on and had some green. We went to lunch at ¨La Frontera¨I had mixed seafood ceviche...they claimed it was the best thing to get in Tacna, and although it wasn´t bad and I´m glad I tried it, it was a bit much for me. I also had a Peruvian pisco sour, which was sweeter than the Chilean version, and Inka Cola, which is my favorite.

Then Eduardo, Estefani and I walked around town, they showed me different shops and we went to some juice place that was amazing, I had a mango and milk juice (mom you will love this place). It was really nice walking around with them. then we met up with the rest of the family who had been shopping for home things and they also wanted to take me to the juice place...So we went again. We also went to some artesenal cake place and got slices of cake. This time around I had a strawberry and mango juice. Also very good. 

Today went better than expected considering I am very tired. I got to grade 6th grade presentations, which was pretty entertaining. 

Overall it was nice to have a few adventures these last few days, I feel like my family and I are bonding more, going to Peru on a whim is fun, and plus tomorrow is Friday and that´s never a bad thing. 
Another lazy saturday. Thank goodness. between all the time spent miming to students, meeting new teachers, switching between spanish and english, trying to feel out the ways of my house, and walking around trying to learn my city, i'm exhausted. I love it all, but it was beyond nice to wake up when I wanted this morning, hang out by myself and cook my own breakfast!- it's amazing how nice it is to choose what you are going to eat. 

So let's recap again. it's been a good week. thursday I had a pretty full day of classes, i also had my first day with half the class at a time on my own. We had 6a first and we were working with them finishing up making an album of famous people where they had to use 2 physical and 2 personality adjectives "Justin Bieber is tall and thin. He is funny and sociable." After finishing this in the last 2 classes, thursday they had to practice what will be a graded presentation next week presenting 3 of the famous people they choose. So, my job was to walk around and help them learn how to pronounce words and correct their sentences. Then we broke off into 2 classes and each kid had to give a practice presentation in front of the class..this is when I was on my own. And actually, it was awesome. I'm not really sure what persona took over, but I got them to listen to me, they did what I asked, but they also seemed confortable and I was able to keep their attention/make them laugh. They also were pretty good at speaking, so I was a bit on cloud 9. 

Then during my break I helped Eliu, the gym teacher translate some documents he needs to emigrate to Australia (he got a job there, but has to get all the other legal stuff together) he needed his life insurance plan translated, and although I kept asking him if he needed like an official translation, he just kept asking me to do it. So I did. I felt kinda cool being able to help him and knowing how to translate a life insurance policy (just in case he is going to send the spanish version too haha). Then I had to do the same presentation thing with 6b, only it was a bit more difficult this time. Classes are considered a or b for a reason. When it came time to split up the class Caroll took most of the class cause they were really acting up/didn't do their work. So, the class I did have was awesome and really good, but since there were so few we had like 15 minutes left where I realized i had to entertain them...Cali improvising being a teacher take 1. 

Somehow it all worked out. I made up a game really quick where I would say a sentence like "Lady Gaga is tall and has blonde hair" and a person from each team would have to write it on the board, first one done correctly got a point. They seemed to love it, were screaming and helping each other and couldn't wait to get to the board. It was pretty awesome and I feel like they were actually learning, some poor kid will never forget how to spell blonde that's for sure. In the end they were tied and so I made a harder comparison sentence (which they had done in their album as well, something like Justin Bieber is taller and more sociable than Selena Gomez)---side note, thank goodness I have the music taste of a 6th grader sometimes, it's proving to be helpful-- and obviously one team one. 1. i didn't realize how hard the losing team would take it and 2. i didn't realize how bad it would make me feel telling some kids they  didn't win. it's not like they even won anything (even tho they kept begging me for candy, but it wasn't mine to give). I'm going to have to get used to some kids being disappointed I guess. 

The rest of the day was a 8b and then 7a class and I don't think much happened in those classes. I also can't seem to remember what happened that night, so i guess i just came home hung out with the fam and tried to make myself stay sane until "dinner" at 9. And then friday happened.
Friday is a "hard" day cause it's all the older kids all day (well...til 1) with no breaks. So we had 7a and taught them about past tenses and they actually weren't bad, the kids in that class are warming up to me so it was nice. Then we had 8a and we gave them a worksheet on superlatives (tallEST, most beautiful, etc.; turns out I'm learning a lot about the rules of why we actually form words the way we do. it's kinda nice just knowing how to form sentences without having to learn the rules, although at some point in time I don't remember I'm sure this was a struggle. It's also nice to remember that I actually can speak a language fluently.) anyways, they were somehow really into this worksheet and kept asking me for help and were really good at it. I was pretty excited about how it was going, and then halfway through someone came and told us that they were going on a field trip to a nearby high schools 8th grade day, so our class was over. 

Caroll and I weren't sure what to do next because it was 10:45 and we were supposed to just have 8th grades the rest of the day, so we went and asked the director who told us we could just go with them....spontaneous field trip? ok! Turns out, the 2 teachers who were supposed to chaperone were sick, so really we just got sucked into being subs. Either way, it turned out to be an adventure. We literally ran to the bus with 2 schools worth of 8th grade classes stuffed in (these people sure do know how to sardine themselves into spaces). Caroll explained to me that we were going basically to a trade high school where most of these kids would go-I guess im learning more and more that this is a low income school, not as bad/scary as some here, there isn't a drug or violence problem, just lots of mental illness and lack of opportunities. So we went to this small high school where we spent the rest of the day going from class to class listening to each area present why the kids should chose to become a secretary or accountant or whatever. 
I was really surprised by the students' behavior here. They are loud at school and usually don't shut up, but eventually they do give you some respect and attention, but here they were just so rude. Talking and laughing and even leaving the rooms as the high schoolers were presenting. I was so shocked. They paid no attention to Caroll, me, or other teachers there who were telling them to listen. I know I went to strict schools, but I still can't imagine not listening to a teacher, especially one at a high school I am visiting when I am a little 8th grader...was I the only one really overwhelmed and intimidated on 8th grade day?? I was getting really frustrated, but really my standing by them, telling them to be quiet, etc. was useless. I think in general this is something that had been bugging me most about schools here. On the outside it looks so formal and put together, everyone wears uniforms, they line up to enter your room, they stand waiting for you to say good morning, say good morning mees back, you tell them to sit down and they say thank you mees, and then all hell breaks loose. they have all these formalities for writing with the correct pens and making it look neat and clean (don't get me started on the use of white out here) but then their notes make no sense or are incomplete. There is just such a disconnect between the formalities and appearance and what is really happening. 

So as we were leaving the school at 1 I was really ready to leave these kids. I was so disgusted by their rudeness and lack of respect and really ashamed to have them as a representation of our school (possibly even worse, we weren't the worst students there). Then things took another twist. For some reason our bus couldn't come pick us up, so we ended up waiting for over an hour for one to get us. During this time a lot of the kids were coming up to me and IN ENGLISH trying to ask me questions. It felt like such a breakthrough. It was the first time they didnt just try in spanish, realized I "didn't" get it and walked away. They were asking each other how to say things and at least tried. They also tried teaching me spanish, which I think helped them in the end cause they would teach me by saying it in english and then obviously some connections were being made there. and then I would ask how to say something else and make them work to make the connection in spanish. That was actually really positive and I felt like all these walls between us were breaking where they were seeing me as a normal human being and they were seeing that we actually can communicate. 

So somehow I managed to start to like the kids again...they really are toying with my emotions here. A micro (city bus) came to pick us up and if I thought we had squeezed onto the bus before, I was wrong. After standing in the sun for an hour, these 13 year olds smelled less than fresh all smushed together on a bus. (I'll have to talk about hygiene here some time too...although I'd rather not think about it hah). On the bus it was kinda cute when I told Caroll that i was hungry and one kid understood me and said "Mees, here" and handed me a sucker. 

So we got back to school around 2:30, instead of 1, missed our new teachers meeting and got our stuff to go home. While I was waiting for Caroll (who was picking up her son and was going to give me a ride) I was talking to the gym teacher, who is going to help me get a pool membership here, but we were talking in spanish and some kids came by and heard and yelled "SHE SPEAKS SPANISH, SHE'S BEEN PRETENDING THIS WHOLE TIME," i panicked a bit and just said, "what? what?" they laughed and walked away, so we'll see on monday. -except then I cam home and Pilar told me that Eryn, the boy who was their teacher before, had emailed them and when they said that I don't speak any spanish like him, he responded saying, no that's not true I speak really good, thanks Eryn. 

Anyways, Caroll dropped me off, I ate really quick and then walked into town to meet Laura and Bria, other volunteers. It turned out to be an awesome night. We sat and vented a bit in the plaza and then walked to the "isla" which is not an island...considering you can walk to it. We sat and had octopus empanadas (!) as the sun was setting and it was gorgeous. 

[PHOTO_ID_L=laura-and-bria.jpg] [PHOTO_ID_R=best-moment-so-far.jpg] 

[PHOTO_ID_L=island-sunset.jpg] [PHOTO_ID_R=bria-and-i-very-content.jpg] 

Then we walked a bit more south (which I have been wanting to do since I got here so I was pleased) and saw some other beaches and areas that were really nice. We then walked back to the port area, saw some sea lions, tried not to puke from the smell of the fish market and she showed us where the good restaurants are-so mom I know where I am taking you. It was really pretty to see the boats and bay lights from the port, definitely somewhere I need to go in the daytime too. 
[PHOTO_ID_L=laucho-beach.jpg] [PHOTO_ID_R=puerto.jpg] 

 Then we walked to literally a hole in the wall bar Laura knew (she's been here since march) and had terremotos ("earthquakes"-called this cause you leave with your legs feeling shaky they say; you can also follow them up with the same drink but half the amount, called a replica or "aftershock" haha) They are basically just drinks with pipeno, a fermented white wine and pineapple ice cream. So we sat there for awhile talking and then decided to hike up the morro..the famous rock/hill. So we walked up some hills to the entrance, but it was closed. It didn't really matter, the view was still really spectacular, it looked a lot like vina (where I lived before) actually. Very pretty views of the bay and city lights and hills. 
[PHOTO_ID_L=terremoto.jpg] [PHOTO_ID_R=on-the-way-to-the-morro.jpg] 

We decided then to go get ice cream (Laura's favorite things are also ice cream and empanadas, it's too bad she's leaving in a month). We went to the main street and got 2 desserts to share, a "hot cake" which was kinda like a brownie with fudge and ice cream...i can't tell you how happy i was. and then a mil hojas cake, the same we ha made for hector's bday. we stuffed our faces and then decided to call it a night. 

I took a collectivo home (first time!) and was all ready to go to bed, but eduardo and stephanie asked me to play a card game with them, so I did. It was like rummy but with 12 cards and with like 10 rounds with things you have to do each round. for example, you have to get just 2 trios (3 of any card) at first, then next round you have to get 2, 4 card straights, and you just keep changing/adding on what you need. it took about 2 hours to play. although it was really fun and felt pretty normal hanging out with them. I also tried a dulce de leche liquor that was incredible. you literally sip like a teaspoon amount with ice for a long time cause it is so sweet...obviously i  loved it. finally at 2 i went to bed, got up today, and here we are. 

This really was an exciting week looking back on it. Lots of firsts, lots of learning, lots of adjusting, and lots of really starting to love my new life. It's going to be a challenge, it's definitely pushing me, but I already feel more assured and proud of myself and even more than that I feel overly blessed and lucky. 


"It's amazing where I'm standing. 
There's a love that, we can give. 
It's just ours just for a moment. 
There's a lot that we can give."     
   -Vega 4 "Life is Beautiful" 

With love, from the southern hemisphere, 


Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Thursday, July 26, 2012

i haven't updated this one as much as the other simply because I can't figure out how to post pictures anymore, but today i am having a terrible day and can't write about it on there cause i don't want to worry the padres. nothing is actually wrong. i am just sick and feel so tired and can't breathe the air here really well. the combination of pollution/smog, smoke and talking so much with so many new people has really killed my throat. not to mention the air in general is thick and hard to breathe. so that has been really annoying and I am ready to leave the city.

also, it is cold, obviously i dont like this. i hate having to time my showers so the cold water isn't too cold cause it's also freezing outside and im not a fan of shivering all the time. thank god for my down sleeping bag. so today was just one of those days where i was uncomfortable and cold and tired and so i wanted to be home and didn't want to deal with the little hassles of learning my way around here. it will get better, just today wasn't so great. at least i go to the warmer city of arica on sat! bright and early-leaving at 6:30am.

but the important part i should update about, which i will add pics to in the other one eventually, is that i went to visit vivi and guido (my old host parents) yesterday. i got out of my orientation early at 4 and metro-ed to the bus station and then took a 2 hour bus to their house. i was really proud that i remembered how to get to their home from the bus station, especially since so much has changed there since i last lived there. it is even prettier than before because when i was there there had just been an earthquake so everything was a bit messy, but now it is all new and reconstructed and was absolutely beautiful.

so i went to their house and had dinner with vivi and their new host kid, then she and i hung out. i had planned on leaving that night around 10, arriving to santiago at 12, but she said i couldn't go so late to the city, so i should spend the night and take a morning bus. so then guido came home and we all talked and he looked at his new camera i brought him and they showed me pictures and then we went to bed. so then i got up at 5 and guido walked me to the bus stop and i got back around 7:45, took the metro to the hostel, changed my clothes, and walked to orientation. it was a very long day to say the least. not only cause i got up so early, but also i didn't sleep at all because their house was so so so cold.

it was really nice to see them and strangely normal and familiar. i will see them again in december before bill comes and then again when we visit for the new year so that is nice that i will see them so much

so tomorrow is the last day of orientation and tonight is our last night all of us together (all 80!) so people want to go out and as much as i want to join in, i think my body would actually implode if i did. so instead i think i will go to bed now. start fresh and again tomorrow.

hope you are enjoying your warm beds and the sticky weather.

sick love from chile

Sunday, July 22, 2012

I'm alive. I'm tired. I'm happy.

I was very energized to write this entry earlier, but I am losing steam as the day progresses.

I left Cbus yesterday at 1pm after some tearful goodbyes, flew to Dallas, had an 8 hour layover and departed at 9:25pm to Santiago. The wait was surprisingly ok, but the flight was a little rough, only because it was especially cramped and cold, but I got some sleep and before I knew it, it was 8 am and I was landing.

The view from the plane as you are heading south along the Chilean coast before you turn east to head to Santiago is beautiful.

The sun was rising over the Andes, the water on the coast was crashing, the fog highlighted the peaks and lakes, it was beautiful.

After 2 hours in immigration and customs, I finally made it through and without a hangup found my transportation company and joined a car with another volunteer, Katie. We talked a bit on the short drive over and then moved all our junk up four flights of stairs to our room, which we share with one other volunteer, Marissa.

Our hostel is nice, pretty basic. The other volunteers all seem nice so far. A group of us hung out at the hostel for a bit this afternoon and then walked around to whatever that smaller hill in the middle of the city is. --Chels we went there before with the castle, garden and Neptune fountain on top. It was smoggy but you could kinda see the mountains which was nice. Then we kept walking, saw a cathedral, the plaza de armas, a kid's park that was interesting and walked on back to the hostel. It was a nice day, not bad weather at all, but now it is starting to get cold. So now I am killing time until dinner at 7:30--looks like some sort of spagetti with potatoes an/or eggs. we shall see.

This day has been such a blur, I don't think it has hit me yet, it feels strangely comfortable and spanish, although I haven't used a ton yet, hasn't been a struggle. So I guess we are off to a good start, I have orientation tomorrow 9-6.  Hopefully I will get to bed tonight early, but off to meet other volunteers now.

Love from Chile,


ps...does anyone know why I can't post photos anymore?