Yet again, it’s probably about time for another blog post! I finally was able to order a new camera through Amazon(Amazon to my parent’s house, my parent’s house to me in Chile – just a tad complicated), so I have a new camera – yay!!! I don’t have too, too many new pictures to post as I’ve only had it a week or two, but have a few words and pics to show you to keep you updated on the happenings in my so-called life. 🙂
Since my sister came, I’m been living a pretty laid back life, going between Quilpue, Viña del Mar, and Valparaiso depending on what’s going on. I’m still getting used to the fact that Chileans don’t usually start their night until about 10/10:30 pm, so when I go out, I rarely get home earlier than 3:00 am! If you go to a bar at say, 8/9:00 pm, you will likely be the only person in the bar… quite a bit different than in the U.S. Also, the bars here don’t close until about 5:00 am… needless to say, I sleep in a tad on the weekends! I am, though, starting to feel really comfortable with my new little life here in Chile. My Spanish continues to get better and I find it easier to say things that I never thought I would be able to say in another language. Although I still have days where I mess up really simple things and get mad at myself… but I suppose we all do that in our native language, as well!
I recently started running about 2 to 3 times a week and am starting to look for a 5K or 10K to do in Valpo or Santiago, you know, just to pass the time. 🙂 I don’t think I’ve ever eaten so healthy(so many veggies!!!) and between running, walking about 3-5 miles a day to and from school, and eating healthy, I’m feeling pretty marvelous!
Ah, for those who don’t know, it’s actually fall here in Chile, and it’s getting close to winter! This means that in the mornings and evenings I’m wearing my one heavy coat pretty much all the time, as they don’t have heating here. It actually hasn’t been too bad – I think my days in Flagstaff(so long ago) and San Francisco prepared me well. However, during the day it actually gets pretty warm – sometimes up to about 80 degrees Fahrenheit! So, I am cold in the morning, hot in the afternoon and then cold again in the evening. It’s sometimes hard to dress appropriately…
I have about another month of school left before we’re off for winter break – 2 weeks off – sweet!!! I’m still figuring out my plans but I’m leaning towards heading to Montevideo, Uruguay and Buenos Aires, Argentina for about 2 weeks. Time seems to be passing by so quickly – I really can’t believe that it’s June 2012! For the first time since I’ve been here, it’s been slowly creeping into the back of my head that after Chile I don’t have plans, but I have to remind myself that that’s about 6 months away! Depending on how things go here, I may stay in Chile a bit longer, or look for more international opportunities, but honestly I have absolutely no idea what I’ll want to do come December! And luckily I don’t have to think about that quite yet, but I’m open to any and all ideas that might be thrown at me. 🙂
School has overall been going well, but I have definitely had my days of wanting to run out of the classroom at full speed to find the closest bar. On Monday, for example, I had 2 different classes of 8th graders pretty much solo (with an “inspector”/disciplinarian sometimes watching over the class) and there were a few of them that I wanted to throw out of the classroom. Being a teacher is hard… being a teacher speaking a different language to 35 unruly, hormonal 8th graders is a whole different story! My Spanish is getting better, but try sternly talking to teenagers in a not perfect, broken second language and see if they take you seriously! But again, overall it’s still an amazing experience. Today, for example, I worked with the song, “We’re Going to be Friends” by the White Stripes(and Jack Johnson) with my 7th graders and we went over vocabulary, sang the song and they behaved very well(thank goodness) and even told my co-teacher that they learned a lot(precious)! I don’t know if I could ever be a full time teacher, but just as with my days of waitressing, this has definitely given me respect for those that do it all year, every year!
Some highlights/funny happenings in the last few weeks have been(in no particular order):
- The day the metro wasn’t really working because of a bit of rain but I decided to take it anyway and spent about 2 1/2 hours going on 2 rides that normally take 20 minutes each. Also, the train completely stopped and all the lights went out while we were in a tunnel. Twice. It was quite an experience!
- Going out to a 4-level dance club in Valparaiso when a few other volunteers came into town. We sat on a rooftop overlooking Valpo while a DJ spun some tunes, danced to reggaeton, danced a little salsa, and watched a few minutes of a drag show – random, but fun!
- Making “American once” with Julian and Hillary, the two other volunteers and sharing it with Julian’s host family. We made hamburgers, french fries, mushrooms and cheese, and had vanilla ice cream with manjar(dulce de leche, carmelly goodness) and bananas on top… and wine, of course. Although I did feel a bit ill the next day as my stomach wasn’t used to that much grease and oil! What will I do when/if I go back to the U.S.?!
- Finding a favorite bar close by (in Viña del Mar) – El Juglar – which is a red-painted little dive bar complete with Chilean hipsters, terremotos(a super sweet, kind of nauseating drink that the college kids here love) and great, mostly American indie and alternative tunes playing loudly. I try to make it there once a week, to, you know, keep up appearances. 🙂
- Getting my Chilean visa and Chilean ID card!!! They are both valid until May 2013! They were a bit of a process to obtain as I had to go to 3 different places in town and talk in Spanish about things I didn’t quite understand in English to get them, but hey, they are now in my hands and pics are below!
- Finding out that there is a random picture of me singing with my old band up in a coffee shop in San Francisco… I’m kind of a big deal.
- Spending pretty much a whole weekend indoors because it was pouring rain and Chileans don’t really go out in the rain… but still managed to have the gringos over for wine, along with my host bro and his friends.
- Running around Viña a few times with Hillary(the other gringa volunteer) – while in Viña, we like going to Zara in the Viña mall, eating ice cream, drinking Kuntsmann(a delicious beer here) and having photo shoots – she’s rad! There is a series of pics, a.k.a. – a faux photo shoot on the beach in Viña del Mar that you’ll see below!
That’s about it for now… I’m headed to Santiago on Saturday for the day with my host sister and Hillary to check out the Museum of Fashion’s Michael Jackson exhibit! That’s right… I’ll be checking out Michael’s actual rhinestone gloves – haha!
Below you’ll find a mix of photos, but the majority towards the end are around my little city of Quilpue – enjoy and will post another blog soon with photos of my weekend in Santiago and Quilpue…! Sending lots of love and besos!