Life in Chile, Phase 1, almost complete… what’s next?!?

And it’s been a month and a half since I last blogged… seriously, I don’t understand where the time goes. It seems like just a few months ago that I was getting accustomed to life in Chile, and here I am with a few days left in my program! Did I black out for a few months and miss a bunch – what the hell?! Anyway, I am obviously feeling a plethora of emotions at the moment, but mostly I’m excited about moving forward and continuing to attack life. As the thought of not coming back to Chile makes me very sad, I have started the job search here and am looking to find something here starting in January or February. I am really excited to visit the U.S. and see my family and friends, but I feel like this is my home for now and I’m not ready to leave it yet. However, things could always change and we’ll see how I feel after seeing all of your wonderful faces in the U.S.! I’m also keeping my eyes out for other international jobs. My main goal is finding a job/place where I can continue to speak Spanish and to teach/tutor in some capacity. But I am ready to make a little bit of money… it’s been a while!

So, to catch you up on my life… I’ll start with the present then go back in time a bit to give you a little description of all the events that have happened in the last little while. This Friday is my last day at school and although I think I’m ready for my next endeavor, it will be hard to say goodbye to all the little faces I’ve gotten used to over the course of the school year. Before coming here, I genuinely had very little experience or even exposure with kids, so I think it’s been an eye-opening experience for me to see how their little minds work and to teach them a little bit about myself, my culture, and of course, some English! I definitely had some issues with discipline, being an untrained teacher that made a lot of mistakes in their language, but in the end, there are a lot of students that absolutely impress me, inspire me, and that give me hope for the future… and of course, I will miss them a lot!

But also on Friday, my mom leaves from the U.S. to come and visit me!!! I am SO excited to see her after almost a year without seeing her face! She will be here on Saturday and we will be spending a week here in Chile, a week in Peru and then I’ll be headed back to the U.S. for about a month to see friends, family and work at my sister’s store. I am excited to spend time with all of you and to eat every type of international food I encounter…

I also only have two more weeks of living with my host family! That probably makes me the saddest of all. While I am ready to travel for a bit and see my family and friends in the U.S., and to live on my own again(I am 28, after all) it has been an absolutely unforgettable experience here and I hope to stay in touch with them forever and ever! I have also made some amazing friends here, both gringos and Chileans that I will be really sad to say goodbye to even for a month, and some for longer…

So to catch you up on a few events, that have corresponding photos below… here goes:

Teacher’s Day Mid-October my school celebrated Teacher’s Day. Myself and the rest of the teachers got flowers and the students at my school put on a performance with dances, songs and lots of desserts. I felt very appreciated! 🙂 They also had the carabineros(police) in Chile come to the school and put on a show with their police dogs… not sure how it tied in but it was fun to watch and the kids LOVED it!

Norman’s Birthday (2 celebrations) My host dad celebrated his 30th birthday… 😉 in October and we had two different birthday celebrations here, both involving lots of delicious cake, friends and music. What they are lacking in tofu and spices, they definitely make up for in delicious desserts and good times. If I wasn’t running a few times a week, I would be about 25 pounds heavier.

Aprovechando el sol (taking advantage of the sun) As it is Spring, quickly turning to Summer here, the weather has been amazing!!! I’ve been making frequent visits to the beach in Viña del Mar,  running around Valparaiso whenever possible and trying to capture as much sun as humanly possible, before I head to Winter in the U.S… que fome(how lame) :).

Halloween/ Día de las brujas While it’s not anywhere near the magic that it is in the U.S., Halloween is growing increasingly popular in Chile and I even saw quite a few kids dressed up and trick-or-treating around my neighborhood! I made myself an elaborate parrot costume and went out with a group of gringos and Chileans to Valparaiso. While it wasn’t quite the amazingness that we experience in the U.S., it was still fun to dress up and celebrate my favorite holiday!

Election Night First of all – yes I voted! It was actually way easier for me as I just had to print out my ballot, scan it and send it via email to the Dept. of Elections. But it was definitely weird being out of the U.S. on Election Day, although any time I went on Facebook I was quickly reminded… haha. The night of the election, I got together with my gringo friends at my house and we watched election coverage in Spanish, English and on my computer, while drinking delicious Chilean wine. My host dad, who is also a huge Obama fan, was proudly sporting his Obama t-shirt, so I definitely snapped some pictures of that!

Fiesta Cubana A few weeks ago, I went to a Cuban-themed event with my host family at my host sister’s school. If you haven’t heard it before, Cuban music is amazing!!! There were Cuban singers, salsa lessons and we ate black beans and rice and drank mojitos! It was a lovely time with my Chilean family & friends and, of course, my gringo friends, as well!

Night Out with Charo (my host mom) Two weekends ago, I went to a concert with my host mom and afterwards we went out for some drinks to a local bar in Quilpue and had a great time! She is such a sweetheart and so much fun!

La Cumbre de Rock Chileno/Santiago The weekend before last, the gringos, my good Chilean friend Yose and I headed to Santiago for a wonderful all-day festival of Chilean music. We saw some fantastic groups/artists that we’ve come to know quite well here in Chile. A few that I really liked are Astro, Camila Moreno, Fernando Milagros and Francisca Valenzuela. The only bad part about the festival was that it was’t very well-organized and didn’t really have enough food, water, bathrooms, or a way to get out of the massive crowd to get water/go to the bathroom, etc….kind of typical of music festivals… but after staying in the same spot for about 8 hours with very little water and no food, we left a bit early in search of satisfying some basic human needs. The next day, we wandered around Santiago a bit in the warm sun and took in the busy, bustling city!

Thanksgiving/ Día de Acción de Gracias Although I unfortunately didn’t have any time off for Thanksgiving, the gringos and I decided to make our own little Thanksgiving feast this past Sunday. We bought and made just about all of the traditional fixings, including turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans, corn, apple pie but had to compromise a bit and make sugared carrots instead of yams and squash pie, instead of pumpkin pie, due to the lack of availability of certain products in Chile. I must say, though, that I was very impressed with what we came up with and this is the first time I’ve ever made a “pumpkin” pie from scratch – starting with the raw gourd(funny word) and it was all soooo delicious! I also dabbled in a bit of turkey and did NOT regret it. 🙂 And the photo with the thumbs up is of myself and the mayor of Quilpué. Mauricio, at our Thanksgiving feast – he tried pumpkin pie for the first time and loved it – jaja!

Final Ceremony for English Opens Doors Program Yesterday, I had my final “ceremony” of sorts for my program. I met with the regional coordinator and all the other volunteers in my region to talk about our experiences and to get my certificate of completion. Again, I cannot believe that I am just about done, but am SO incredibly grateful for all the amazing experiences that I have had. This year has absolutely changed my life for the better in so many ways.

And now, here we are in the last week of school, before my mom comes and experiences my little Chilean life, before we embark on a little journey to Peru, before I say a lot of temporary goodbyes and before I hug a lot of you! Enjoy the photos and I’ll write more soon – from the U.S.!!!

 

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Categories: Random thoughts | 1 Comment

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One thought on “Life in Chile, Phase 1, almost complete… what’s next?!?

  1. Great catch-up Ashley. You make a lady miss Chile, ya know! Arequipa is lovely but it’s no Valparaiso… Is Hillary still working in that art position she was pursuing? Excellent photos – I especially love the photo of you taking a bite of turkey. Glad to see Yose is still very much in the mix, she’s awesome.

    We’re both headed back to the states around the same time! I don’t have any definite plans to return to S.A. but now that I’ve been living in Spanish, it will be a tough break. Hoping to keep it going strong in San Diego. Let’s see if we can’t connect in this hemisphere or the next 😉

    Ciao amiga! Un abrazo desde el otro lado de la frontera!

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