Hey blog readers! Sorry it’s been a while, but my camera unfortunately broke about 2 weeks ago, so it wasn’t until my sister came to visit that I was able to snap some new pictures using her cam! And what is a blog without visuals?!
Anyway… the last few weeks have been pretty chill. I do my weekly routine of going to school, hanging out with kids all day while teaching them a little something in English, coming home at night and talking jive in Spanish with my host family, then going out on the weekends with the two other volunteers in the region(and of course spending time with my host family, too).
Needless to say(or maybe I need to say it), I have been ecstatically happy. There are definitely days at school when I have a rough class or a naughty student say or do something inappropriate, but all it takes is one smile and a “Hello Miss Ashley, how are you?” from one of my students, and all is right with the world again. I also am so fortunate to have been placed with such an amazing host family. I think I said it in my last blog, but my biggest hesitation in being a part of the program I’m in was that I had to live with a Chilean host family. To me, initially this meant no independence, awkwardness, communication problems and so on… while occasionally I have tiny bits of those issues, I seriously feel like I have a second family here. They are patient, warm, welcoming and are quickly warming their way into my little cold American heart – haha.
My Spanish is still getting better by the day and every conversation I understand(and contribute to) with them and others is a tiny personal reward. I am also totally in love with all this country has to offer – the people are so friendly and warm, my region has so much to offer – Valparaiso, Viña del Mar, Quilpué (my tiny little town where the streets often smell of fresh bread, as it’s a staple of the evening meal here) and I have so much of Chile left to explore!
With all that said, I looked at my initial end date of July 27th and decided that Chile deserved a bit more of my time… so I sent some emails and talked with some people, and now I will officially be living/working in Chile until November 30th, 2012 (the end of the school year)!
To add to all this glory, my sister and her boyfriend, Ross, came to visit this past week, which you will see below in my many photos. Kate and Ross first traveled to Peru and hiked Machu Picchu, then went to Lake Titicaca, onwards to La Paz, Bolivia, then flew into Santiago and came to visit me! They were here for about a week and we managed to squeeze in a few days in Valparaiso, some time in Viña del Mar, a day in Isla Negra, countless meals and good times with my host family here in Quilpué, and they even came to hang out with my 6th graders at my school!
The highlights( and random pictures that may need explanations) included:
- Ross and Kate coming to my school and playing a game with my 6th graders (after eating lunch at a Rasta vegetarian restaurant in Quilpué – delish!!!)
- Checking out a random Sustainable Practices fair in the middle of Quilpué , where a few of my students had projects/posters to show
- Wandering around Valpo taking pictures of all the beautiful murals and sights to see there(with my host bro in tow)
- Going to the house of Pablo Neruda(Chilean poet) in Valparaiso – awesome views of the whole city!
- Going to the other house of Pablo Neruda at Isla Negra – a beautiful beach town where he had a giant house with a fricken amazing view of a gorgeous beach
- Eating way too many completos (giant smothered hot dogs – yes, they make them veggie, too)
- Going to the music practice space of my host brother
- Wandering along and napping on the beach in Viña
- Going to the abuelo’s house(grandma and grandpa of the fam)
- Spending some serious quality time with my awesome sis and Ross, alongside my lovely host family
My host dad was very excited that they were here because as most of you know, I’m a vegetarian and as you likely don’t know my host dad loves cooking meat, specifically in outside barbeques called asados here in Chile. So… both Kate and Ross ate more meat than they probably are used to, but succeeded in making my host dad very happy. The hardest part in them visiting was saying goodbye to them at the bus station… I can’t believe I won’t be back in the U.S. for another 7ish months! I seriously had an amazing time with them, though, and it was great to be able to show my sister my little life here in Chile! Also, I welcome any other visitors – come visit me!!!
That’s all for now… but hope you enjoy the pics and will write more soon! There are a lot of pics of my house(and the huge yard, garden, flowers, etc around the house!) and full host family this time(Charo – mom, Norman – dad, Ayun – sister, Amaury – brother, & Lika – dog)! XOXO