Well, hello again! It’s now hard to decide when to do a new blog post, as I’m staying for the most part in my little Quilpué (population approx. 150,000), but of course, a lot is still going on! After 5 + months of traveling around Central America and staying in countless different hostel beds, I must say, it’s really nice to have one spot to set up shop for a little while. I could definitely continue traveling for a while(especially if my funds were unlimited… which they’re not) IF I was able to spend a little more time in each place. Moving every one or two nights is definitely something you can only do for a time.
Anyway, back to life in Chile… The last few weeks I’ve been working on upping my teaching skills and now feel pretty comfortable in front of a classroom. I have to admit that I was a bit petrified at first, because those of you who know me well can attest to the fact that I find children a bit puzzling and new, like little foreign creatures. Up until recently, I hadn’t spent much time around them at all. But alas, all of that has changed, because five days a week, I am helping to shape their little minds!
I work about 25 hours a week in front of a class(or half of a giant class of 35-40 as we split most of the classes in 2 groups) and plan for another approximately 10 hours a week. Most days I have to be at school at 8:00 am, which hurts me a little every day, but after a strong cup of coffee and a 20 minute walk to the school, I’m half-awake by the time I have to teach Spanish-speaking students English using mostly English. After about a month, I still find most of my students adorable with the exception of a few trouble makers. There are days, however, that I feel a bit like Michelle Pfeiffer in the movie, “Dangerous Minds“, trying to get my tough public school kids to pay attention and motivate them to learn something instead of playing on their phones or asking me if I smoke or know Katy Perry… sigh. I am definitely enjoying it though, and constantly find myself smiling at things they say or ways they try to impress me. Hopefully, I will be able to teach them some English in the meantime…
I’ve still been spending a lot of time with my lovely host family, and I’m usually the one that prepares the family meal together every night(cutting up tomatoes and avocadoes and making tea – not too complicated). I also try to help around the house whenever possible and feel a bit domestic these days(hopefully that won’t last). I wash dishes, feed the dog(yes, we have a big German shepherd named Lika), take out the trash, and wash and hang my clothes out to dry(we don’t have a dryer). My Spanish, if I do say so myself, is definitely improving! I can’t believe how quickly the brain can learn a language when you’re in an environment where you’re immersed in said new language. I am still FAR from fluent, but my vocabulary and conjugation skills grow by the day. I am resolving to not get on a plane back to the U.S. until I am fluent in Spanish(or close to it, at least)!
Other than settling into my life here in the lovely city of Quilpué, I’ve been going about once or twice a week to either Valparaiso or Viña del Mar. The weekend before last, the other gringos and I went out with a few Chilean friends to Viña del Mar and spoke Spanish the whole night while we drank pisco sours, danced and ate completos(very unhealthy Chilean hot dogs – of course, I managed to find a veggie one). I took a solo trip to Valparaiso last week and took some photos of the crazy stairs, hills, and beautiful vistas all over town.
This past weekend was beyond epic. A good chunk of the volunteers in my program decided to buy tickets to the giant music festival, Lollapalooza that just happened to be in Santiago, 2 hours away from where I live! The volunteers in my city and I headed out Saturday morning from Quilpué and spent the day and night in Santiago walking around, eating, drinking and meeting up with other volunteers that we hadn’t seen since orientation. Sunday morning, we headed out to Parque O’Higgins(a big park in Santiago) by metro and saw countless amazing bands from all over the world play. I managed to see songs by Band of Horses, Peaches, Systema Solar, TV on the Radio, Foster the People, Crystal Method, MGMT(terrible performance, though), Skrillex, the Foo Fighters… and others I can’t even remember. It was a HOT day in Santiago, though, and I spent the day literally running from stage to stage, so when I returned to Quilpué at midnight on a bus, I was exhausted!
This weekend there is a definite chance that I will head to Mendoza, Argentina with some of the other volunteers, as it’s a long weekend and only a 6 hour bus ride! If not, hopefully something else fun will come up… Then, at the end of this month, my amazing sister and her pololo(Chilean Spanish for boyfriend) are coming to visit – yes!!!
Oh, also, it’s fall right now and it’s starting to get cold… a bit weird as it will apparently be freezing in July! Am I in San Francisco?? 🙂
Things I miss about the U.S (as some of you have asked):
* Black beans (they have them here, but they are super $$$)
* People with blonde hair(sounds weird, but when I see one I get excited and a bit nostalgic)
* Pandora.com (doesn’t work down here due to licensing restraints outside of the U.S.)
Oher than these things… I could stay here for a long while… Besos!