Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Cambia de Casas

We're finally changing houses next week! I'm kind of split on feelings for it though.
I haven't always been the happiest in this house, but I think I'm really going to miss it. I've been spending a lot of time with Sofia and Javier and Matias lately and now I don't want to leave them. Sofia made me cry today because we were writing notes back and forth and it was the cutest thing ever. Matias and I have gotten so close that it's going to be really boring without him. And Javier! It's hard to explain, but I love him so much! I also live right next to all of my friends and it's really easy to get to downtown Talca.

On the other hand, my new family is so sweet and nice. I think I will learn a lot there in terms of Spanish and cooking and probably just any and everything. They're the kind of family that will help me with those kind of things I think. The house is really cool and it's in the middle of farm land and you can see this big volcano and it's just pretty. There is a little sister, too, who is 12 years old and really nice. They don't have stable internet though, which will probably give me Facebook withdrawls and make me really homesick. It'll be better for my Spanish though. Oh, and we're going to La Serena for three weeks in February! It's a super nice beach up north.

Just so I never forget....The other day I was playing "Would You Rather" with Javier and I was translating his questions for him. The question was: Would you rather have two harmless bats in your room for two nights OR five pigeons in your bathroom forever? And he said he'd rather have the bats for two reasons. One being that he didn't want them to poop on him and the other being that they might think his you know what is a worm. I couldn't stop laughing.


Friday, December 25, 2009


Christmas 2008 consisted of 3 feet of snow, a successful completion of 2 seasons of Weeds, no presents, a major lack of brothers, and a cup of noodles dinner. I didn't think I would ever have a Christmas to top that one. But then, of course, I came to Chile.

Santa Clause/El Vejito Pascuero/Papa Noel comes at night when all the kids are not at home and then when they get there, they have like 8 billion presents. Unfortunately, that was as close to Christmas-y as the day got, because the rest of the day was spent listening to poorly chosen 80's music, swimming in the pool, and eating Popsicles. The extended family came over, but I always find that uncomfortable because they all talk about Pancha and how much they miss her and want her to be there with them. I understand that perfectly, as I would much rather be with my family, but they don't understand that I have the same thoughts as them so it's like I'm some gringa alien. Although they did manage to awkwardly make me part of the family by taking pictures and giving me presents. It was just when they would say "Oh, I wish Pancha could be here. We miss her sooo so so much" and then look at me and reluctantly add "Oh, but now we have Emily." That's just uncomfortable. Needless to say, I was incredibly homesick on the 24th.

Christmas Day might as well have been any day in July. We woke up late, ate breakfast outside, and never once said "Merry Christmas", or rather, "Feliz Navidad". It's like it ended when we went to bed the night before. But for me, it was still Christmas Day, and:

I spent Christmas Day swimming in a lagoon. Now, how cool does that sound?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Patagonia was AMAZING! We visited the National Park of Torres Del Paine, went horseback riding, ate glacial ice, watched sheep get sheered, toured a Chilean cemetery, took a three hour boat trip to icebergs and glaciers, swam in the Strait of Magellan, walked inside a giant cave named after ancient Chilean bear/dinosaurs, and saw little land penguins. I was sick all week, got almost no sleep, and broke my camera, but all the same, had the BEST WEEK EVER. (Thank you, again, Daddy!)

Not too much has happened since that, just a sleepover with the other Talquinas (Exchange Students from Talca), a Christmas chorus concert at the Cathedral, a long night at the airport to pick up Pancha who got back from Brasil, and getting a package from home full of food and presents!

Today, Sofia came into my room with a tray of origami things she made. She showed me a cat, a dog, a house, a boat, a tree, and adorably in between all those seemingly normal things, a piece of rolled up red paper, that she casually pointed out and named "el jamon" which means the ham. I almost died of laughter. It was the cutest thing she has ever done. I'm going to keep her rolled up ham forever. I mean, honestly! What kind of a child makes ham out of origami!?

(Swimming in a glacial river after jogging)

(Swimming in another river (in clothes!) after horseback riding)

(Swimming in the Strait of Magellan after jogging)

Tomorrow is Christmas. Mama Bear is coming next week!

Thursday, December 10, 2009


It's so summery out. Think sun. And heat. And NO SCHOOL!!! Today was my last test and my last day! No more uniform! I most likely didn't pass the year, but hey- I don't speak Spanish fluently. It was to be expected...

Last weekend we went to Santiago. It was a lot better than I predicted it would be. We got there late on Friday night and then we went to the movies. Matias and I saw 2012 and the rest of the family saw "La Princesa y El Sapo" which is like "The Princess and the Frog". We ended up going to bed at like three and then we were woken up at 8:30 for a day spent visiting any and every museum in Santiago. The first one was cool. It was a Chinese exhibit below La Moneda. But then, it was museum after museum and it was so boring. Luis even threw in a stop at the Chilean National Library. So entertaining... By the fourth one, only Luis went in and the rest of the family all passed out on a bench outside. Like, literally, we all passed out. He took a picture before he woke us up.

On Sunday we went out to lunch at a Chinese Restaurant with all the extended family and afterwards, Matias, and two cousins and I went to el Cerro San Cristobol and rode up in a little cart and went to the zoo! Of course, it was just like any other zoo in the world, but it was particularly cool because we were on top of a big hill and so there were giraffes and in the background, the entire city. We went to an aunt's house afterwards and had an "once" and then the whole family skpyed Pancha for like 2 hours. It kind of makes me sad that they ask her all these questions about Seattle and they never talk to me or ask me questions about Seattle.

On Monday, Anita and I went to "Partronato" which is this place in Santiago where they have really cheap clothes. It's like street after street of stores and then smaller booth things on the street. AKA, heaven. I bought some sandals, pants, a shirt, and a dress! The shirt was $3. Ahhhhhh! Afterwards, we went back to Anita's grandma's house and ate lunch and watched TV. She had her boyfriend and other friends from Santiago there and they were so funny. They watch Gossip Girl and Paris Hilton BFF so they know how to talk like annoying brats. I had to go home at like seven, and Luis told me he would come get me if I met him at Dunkin Donuts (Oh yes, Dunkin Donuts). I called before I left and then Martin (Anita's boyfriend) drove us there and when I got there I called to ask where they were and they just told me that they were at the mall and that I needed to take a bus and meet them there. lajf;lkasjdf;lkasjdf;lkajsdf;lkj I would like to know how on earth they expected me to a) know where to catch the bus, b) know when to catch the bus, c) know which bus to catch, d) not die on the way to the mall, or e) know when to get off the bus. I was really mad because they wouldn't even let me got visit my exchange friends in Santiago because it's such a big and dangerous city. But then they just casually tell me to catch the bus. So very, very inconsistent.
Anyways, Martin drove me to the mall instead and when I got there, Luis said, "We're going to do the jumpy thing". They had one of those slingshot rides outside the mall so we did it! It was so much fun! I screamed soooo much. We got back to Talca at like 2:30am.

Tuesday, I slept in, went to a lunch at our school with the family, and then I took Sofia and Javier to the movies to see "Los Fantasmas de Scrooge" (A Christmas Carol). Sofia was scared the entire movie and Javier didn't like it. A successful outing, obviously. I didn't like it very much either. I would have thought that they would make it funnier/lighter. Oh, it was in Spanish, too!

Wednesday, I woke up and went jogging and then went to my friends house. Except she is in Brasil for two weeks, so I went to hang out with her sister! Her sister went to Wisconsin last year and she's sooo sweet. We went swimming and then baked "Calzones Rotos" which are like little donuts with powdered sugar. DELICIOUS! I'm so excited I finally know how to make something Chilean.

Today I had my last final (which I undoubtedly failed), came home and ate some strawberries and now I'm sitting in my window in the sun thinking about going swimming in the pool before lunch. Nice, eh?

Our first Rotary trip is this Saturday! I'll be gone until the 19th, I believe.  Sooooo, hasta luego!

Friday, December 4, 2009

navidad en verano

Last week went by pretty fast. On Wednesday, Sara and I went to the centro and ate sushi (although mine was a picky-eater version of sushi). Then I met my friend Toto and we went to Jela's birthday party which was fun. On Thursday, I got my nose pierced...Sorry, Daddy! :) That night I also went to see Luna Nueva (New Moon) at the theater with Toto. I love how loud and obnoxious Chileans are. Whenever Edward or Jacob would appear on the screen there would be like groans and whistles and screams because all the teenage girls are in love with them. On Friday, I didn't go out at all. Sofia asked me if we could watch Hannah Montana on my computer and I told her it would be in English and she told me that was okay because she understands pretty much everything. Five minutes after the movie started, she was asleep. Saturday morning, Matias and I rode our bikes to San Clemente and then came home and swam in the pool. It's clean now!! That afternoon, we went on a car drive to this big hill in Talca and later went to a Exhibition that was really, really boring and then after I went to a small party at  a friends house. On Sunday, we went out to lunch at "La Viejas Cochinas" which translates to "The Dirty Old People".... It was actually dirty but apparently the food is like famous in Talca.  Afterwards we went back to the really boring exhibition. When we got home I went on a bike ride with Pancha and Josefina. We rode out to the vineyard and hung out for awhile and then we went back to Pancha's house and swam in the pool. I got a bloody nose!! It was weird. Then I stayed and  we went to the store and bought stuff to make tacos!! It was so much fun to make food with her family. I like themmm. Pancha is going to Brasil tomorrow. I'm jealous.

This week was all sorts of boring. I had a lot of tests. And I got sick from drinking the water from the tap, so there was some vomit, too. Yummy.

As it is December (although you would NOT know it by looking outside) we put up all the Christmas decorations in the house. There are snow men. Why do they even have snowmen for Christmas in the southern hemisphere? It doesn't make sense!! That's like us having snow men on the Fourth of July. Ridiculous. Everything is really pretty, though. Until you look past the Christmas tree, through the giant sliding glass doors, and outside to the blue sky, swimming pool, and leafy trees... That kind of ruins it. I like to go into the living room at night when the curtains are shut and pretend it's winter. Ha. This year is going to be weird....

On Wednesday, the school had a Nativity play. It was kind of weird to have all the Christmas songs in Spanish. I don't have anymore school! Well, I have to go for two hours on Thursday to take a test, but other than that, SUMMER VACATION!! (again!) I'll be going on our Southern Trip with Rotary on the 12 of December. I'm excited!! We're going to Puntas Arena, Torres Del Paine, and some glaciers. It's going to be freeeeezing. Maybe that will make it feel more like Christmas...

Today we're going to Santiago for the weekend. I packed in one backpack and I'm proud. I'll be back on Tuesday, I believe...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

La Lista Negra

So if you all remember a few weeks ago when I mentioned my name was on "la lista negra"? Yeah, today the seniors came to school. We were in the gym and all of the sudden everyone started screaming at the top of their lungs and running away and there were dirt bikes outside. I had absolutely NO idea what was going on so I ran into the locker rooms and hid in a shower. Unfortunately, they found us and threw water balloons on us. I was spared getting rotten eggs shoved in my hair - Sole and Rosario weren't. Then we locked ourselves in a bathroom for a few minutes, but when we came out, they were still there! There were jeeps driving around on the grass and sidewalks and they were chasing people. I tried running into the building where everyone was hiding, but on my way there someone poured orange paint in my hair. Then as I was running away from him, someone else threw a handful of mud in my face. Needless to say, I locked myself in the bathroom again. It was sooo funny though because when we were in the bathroom, all you could hear were screams and pounding and it sounded like a horror movie where people were getting killed. But, they finally left after throwing fish heads and muscles, instant hair bleacher, and flour on people. Overall, a very eventful day!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

"Culture Fest"

The last week has been pretty dull. I've mostly been working on college applications and Rotary things. Awhile back, the University of Talca invited me, along with the other exchange students in this city, to prepare a stand displaying information and have some food that is typical of our country. Of course, we agreed and of course, we waited until the last minute to put anything together for it. So, Wednesday night we all got together and put some stuff together for the following day. We made a giant poster with pictures and information and made about 9 billion peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (the power even went out during everything). Sara and Chanel spent the night and we stayed up late watching movies and eating ice-cream. In the morning, Benny, Elizabeth, Breno, and Rafaela arrived from Curico to come help us. So, we had everything ready, even though it was last minute, and we got to Culture Fest to set up. And then we talked with the coordinator guy and he told us that because we had such bad coordination and other such things that we couldn't do it anymore. So, we ate some PB&J sandwiches and walked around Talca for a couple hours before the event actually started. We did go for a little bit but it turned out to be lame anyways.

On Saturday I went to the cathedral in Talca for my class's Confirmation. It was cool because it was in a church and it was all catholic and stuff, but it was so incredibly boring and obviously in Spanish...Afterwards I went to Anita's house for lunch and all her family and friends from Santiago were there. Luis was kind of mad at me because I went there instead of going to his office for a family day, which was dumb. It really didn't help because that night my entire class was having a party for Confirmation being over and I couldn't go because I had previously (but very unwillingly) agreed to go to a birthday party with the family. However, I should not have had to go. It was for a kid that I didn't even know, it was 29384 miles away, I knew absolutely no one there, and it was really lame. Not to mention, Luis and Miriam wanted to stay late because the parents were having an asado so we were there until like 3.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


Last night we ate tacos for dinner. BY FAR the best meal I've had here. When I come home next year, I want to go to El Caporel for my first meal. I miss Mexican food so much.

Nothing much has happened here. Luis wouldn't let me go to Santo Domingo, surprise surprise. I've just been trying to fill out college applications. :( Stressful.

This was last weekend before the 15 cumple, with Toto! And then this week in Viña at the beach with Sara and Benny.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Viña de nuevo

I got back from Viña Del Mar yesterday and I must say, it was a very enjoyable 3 day excursion. On Sunday afternoon, Matthew and I took the train to Curicó to stay with two other exchange students for the night. When we got there, we walked around the city for awhile and met up with a couple other kids from there. We stayed out until about eleven and then Elizabeth and I stayed up for about 3 more hours eating ice-cream and trying to illegally watch Mean Girls online before we passed out. The next day we all took the bus to Santiago and from Santiago to Viña. We stayed in Cabins right on the water that were like part Naval Cabins. That first day we didn't really do much at first. We explored the cabins, went swimming in our clothes, subimos la mierda/esa wea (hahahahhha), and at night we went into town and walked around and went to the movies. We saw Bastardos Sin Gloria. It was soooo good. When we got back we hung out in our cabins and tried to watch Mean Girls again. That failed so we called Chloe on Skype to wish her a Happy Birthday, which I would like to inform you all was on Tuesday, November 10 - not the eleventh as I may have previously accidentally written). So de nuevo, Feliz Cumpleaños a Chlo! 

Tuesday we unwillingly woke up and got ready to leave for a day in Valparaiso, but we ended up not going because Anna was really sick and so Ernesto and his wife took her to the Hospital. However, it was extremely sunny out so Elizabeth and I went and laid in the sun for 2 hours. Horrible idea in retrospect. We went back content with our faint tan lines, only to find half an hour later that our bodies were similar to those of lobsters. So that kind of sucked, to say the least. But we put some clothes on and left to Valparaiso to go to the Congreso Nacional de Chile. It was rather lame compared to the Congress in the United States, in terms of aesthetics, but we got to sit in on a vote and some lady was randomly singing and all the people were cheering, so it seemed a bit more relaxed and lively... We went back to the cabins after a bit of walking around and had an asado. Right before bed, Elizabeth put a pita bread in the microwave and forgot about it (the microwave was broken...apparently) and three minutes later our cabin was full of smoke and she was writing her name with charcoal on the pavement outside.

Wednesday was our last day, so we woke up and cleaned and packed and left for Valparaiso again. This time we went to the port and took a boat around the bay to see the city. It was a bit boring for me because I had done the same thing barely a month before with my family, but it was still pretty. After that we went to lunch and then back to the bus station. Before we boarded, Sara got sick with almost the same thing that Anna had. Booo. When we were on the train, I was waiting for the bathroom and one of the conductor guys started talking to me and then Matt and Elizabeth and I asked if we could go into the Conductor's room thing up front in the train and after promising that we weren't going to kill him, we got to go up and take pictures. I felt like such a little kid, but it was definitely cool.

When I was at Elizabeth's house on Sunday, I weighed myself. Definitely a little bit more than I was when I got here... Today I told my friends and one of my better friends told me that she noticed that my face got fatter. And I was talking to my Matias earlier and he told me that when I first got here my cheeks were more skinnier and skeletal-like. Daily bike rides, 8 minute abs, and no eating out of boredom will be incorporated into my daily routine from now on, I believe. 

Anddd, today I had a really good talk with Miriam and she hugged me for the first time.

P.S. No school tomorrow. Possibly Santo Domingo on Saturday. Thanksgiving next week!

Saturday, November 7, 2009



Friday, November 6, 2009

Tanto Tiempo

I haven't been writing in this! That is a problem. Everything is great, though. I really love everything here. That is, except the food. And how strict Luis has suddenly become. It's weird how fast my ideas of normalcy have changed since I've been here. In the US, a midnight curfew was cool and thankfully accepted. Here, a 2am curfew gives me reason to complain to all my friends with their silly 5am curfews... And, I can only go out once on the weekends. But you'd be amazed at how ridiculous I find that. These are just things I have to get used to! It's just hard because the funnest times are when I'm with my friends. That's when I learn Spanish and don't feel at all lonely. It's not like I'm just gung-ho, let's-go-get-trashed-and-be-crazy-teenagers-living-in-Chile...It's not like that at all! It just sounds like it when I say I'm going to parties every weekend. But, it's part of the culture here. It's harmless. 

I've also decided I don't like the idea of exchanges. Not in general, but just the fact that when one kid leaves, another one comes to take their place. I think that is a very stupid idea. For someone to enter into a family as a replacement child is a very difficult thing to do. It's hard enough entering in a new family. But this way, the family has expectations. They know their own child so well and obviously love them quite a bit more than they like you. So, when you try and fit in, you are always being held up and compared to the other. The things you do differently make them not like you because it makes them want their own child. It's like you have to try your hardest to fill in the gap they left. Unfortunately, I'm not a champion swimmer and tennis player, nor do I have a desire to do homework during my exchange. I'm not learning Spanish the same way that someone else is learning English. I'm completely different. Which, yes, is part of the point of the exchange. But it could much more easily be done if you were WITH your opposite, instead of replacing your opposite. I'm more of a family-friends kind of person. But this is not my family. And this family won't let me hang out with my friends (as much as I'd like to). Sooo, what then?

On Saturday night I am going to a "Quince Años" birthday party. That's the Chilean equivalent to a Sweet Sixteen. This one is formal. Like Homecoming formal, almost. I'm excited!

On Sunday, I'm taking a train to Curico to spend the night at another exchange kid's house because Monday we're all going to Viña Del Mar for three days. There will be eleven of us and 1 adult! It's going to be nice to be with other exchange kids. There is a girl I met (Elizabeth) that lives in Curico and we were talking on Facebook and then Chloe joined in. Somehow, Chloe found out that Elizabeth knew Bo, an exchange student from Thailand, who Chloe knows because she is the daughter of one of the families that Chloe stayed with in Thailand. But Elizabeth knows her because Bo stayed with her family when she came to the US. And I know Bo because I slept in her bed when I went to visit Chloe. It was so weird to find that out, though. SMALL WORLD. Anyways, we're going to Viña Monday through Wednesday. I get to skip school! :)

And on November 11, Feliz Cumpleaños, Chloe Anna Cook! I LOVE YOU SOOOO MUCH AND MISS YOU JUST AS MUCH.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

reglas estupidas

This is my first negative post.

I understand that I live with a new family. I understand that I have to live by their rules. I understand that I have a good family, compared to some other exchange students. I understand that I have a lot of freedoms that I didn´t have in the US.

But I don´t understand why I can´t spend the night at a friends house. It´s not even against Rotary rules. It´s completely normal here. But not with the Perez Heredia Family. And for some reason, this is bugging me beyond words.

I know, my life is so horrible.

(Este es mi primer ¨post¨negativo. Yo entiendo que yo vivo con una familia nueva. Yo entiendo que mi familia es más buena que las familias de algunos otros estudiantes de intercambio. Yo entiendo que yo tengo muchas libertades, que yo no tenía en EE.UU. Pero, yo no entiendo porque no puedo alojar en la casa de mis amigas. No es una regla de Rotary. Es demasiado normal acá en Chile. Pero, este no es el caso con la familia Peréz Heredia. Y por un razón desconocido, me molesta muchísimo. Sí, sé. My vida es horrible.)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Semana del Niño

Last week was Semana del Niño with Rotary International, so on Wednesday I met up with the other exchange students in Talca and we went shopping and ate a ridiculously large amount of ice-cream, while planning games and songs for the kids that go to Escuela San Miguel, a poorer, public school for kids in K-8. After, we went to the movies and we saw ¨Te Amaré por Siempre¨ which was The Time-Traveler´s Wife. It was okay...The ending bugged me so much.

On Thursday, all of 3º Medio (my grade)went to Santiago to visit the Universities there, but I couldn´t go because I had to do the Rotary thing. That wasn´t entirely too bad because I got to stay home and sleep in... :) At three we went to the school, which was just down the road from our house, and started putting together plates of candy and snacks and pouring juice. When all the kids swarmed around their plates, the other exchange students and I went over and talked with the older kids that go to school there. They were so nice and wanted to know every difference between the United States and Chile. I couldn´t even begin to answer it because there are so many differences and similarities...Afterwards, one of the Kindergarten teachers showed us her classroom and it was soooo pretty inside, compared to the completely empty, cold, ugly, bare classrooms at Colegio Ingles! It was warm, to begin with. That was my favorite part. But they had a turtle, and drawings all over the walls and it was colorful and cozy. I talked to the teacher, though, and asked her if she needed help anytime and she told me that I could come in whenever I want and help. That works out rather perfectly because I am trying to find something to do on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday after Lunch because I want to leave school. I talked to Luis and he´s still thinking about it. The kids all left right after their snacks, so we didn´t even have to play games with them!

Chanel and Sara (exchange students from Pennsylvania and Ohio) came over after that and we just hung out and played games with Sofia and Javier for like 4 hours. It was wierd being with English speaking people. It ruined my Spanish though. I can´t talk anymore!! At 8 we went to the Rotary meeting which was horribly boring.

Friday at school was completely pointless because our math teacher never came and I went to the library during Physics and then a group of 7 or so went to downtown Talca to talk with Accountants and Bankers. It was stupid though because we were all Humanistas (taking art/literature related subjects) so we weren´t even interested in anything. Our teacher took us to lunch afterwards and it gave me a really bad stomach ache so I went home and slept until 8. Then I went to my friend Pancha´s house and we went over to Anita´s for a girls night, more or less.

On Saturday I woke up and went on a bikeride for 2 hours. I had so much fun. The entire time I was just smiling, which was awkward, but Chile is sooo pretty. It was sunny and really windy and everything was just cool. I passed horses, pigs, dogs, Huasos (Chilean Cowboys), restaurants, kids, wine fields, rivers, old buildings..... I basically plan on going everyday.

Saturday afternoon we went to the store to get ready for the asado (barbeque) we were having that night with all the families of Rotary Exchange Students. I helped squeeze lemons for Pisco Sour (pisco is like Chile´s main alcohol, made from grapes but nothing like wine) and put together chip plates and crackers and cheese. When all the Rotary kids got there we had to make American Appetizers so we made garlic bread, deviled eggs and Bruchetta. It felt more Italian than American...The garlic bread was delicious and my host family loved it so now I get to make it all the time which makes me happy because I missed garlic bread.

On Sunday I woke up at noon and right when I got out of the shower, Pancha called me and asked if I wanted to go to lunch with her and her family. Sooo, of course I said yes, but I would like to emphasize the fact that I got ready in 15 minutes!! I did my hair and make-up and everything. I can be so amazing sometimes... Lunch was good and after we went to Maule which is basically the country part of Talca. I really like that family. I wish I could live with them!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Dos Meses

Today I realized that I have two feelings about Chile. One is that I never want to leave. One is that I want to leave immediately and eat American food. I really hate the second feeling. It makes me feel fat. Unfortunately, my mind seems to always be on food. I'm hoping that my high metabolism stays with me...

But I really do love Chile. Every night, even if I had the most boring day ever, I think "Hey Emily. Guess what! You're in Chile. For a year." And then I think about all the stuff I've done so far and all the stuff I'm going to do this year. And about how when I come home I'll be fluent in Spanish and have all these new friends and experiences. It makes me so excited. It's so crazy how fast it is going by. Today makes two months. I've been gone two months already! The second one went by way faster than the first one. That kind of scares me because I really don't want this to go by fast. I like it too much. I like the people. I like my friends. I like the country. I like the culture. I like (some of) the food. I like how excited I get everyday about being here.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Presentacion a Rotary

Yesterday I finally made my presentation to the Rotary Club in Talca. I made a powerpoint that just had pictures on it and then I wrote out like 4 pages of stuff I was going to say. I was sooo nervous, even like three hours before we had to go. I finished the powerpoint though and then Ben and Matthew came over (other exchange students). It was weird because I´d never invited anyone to my house before then. Very strange...It´s weird how other people can make you feel so much better about things. They kept telling me how nice my house was and how we had so much food in the kitchen and how I was lucky we had a pool. Before then, I'd kind of harbored a secret hate for it, even though it's not even bad. Oh, andddddd they talked Luis into letting me go to a discotec that night after the meeting! It was so fun. Except for the school thing the next day...

But yeah....The Rotary meeting....I was very nervous. I can't talk in front of large crowds. And I can't speak Spanish. So combinations of those very two things make me nervous. There were about 30 old Rotarians there. I had to introduce myself to all of them and give them a kiss on the cheek like normal, but I kept forgetting who I'd already greeted so I would introduce myself twice to some and then they would laugh at me. Haha. Dinner was soooo good, aside from the salmon that they tried to tell me was chicken (Steph- I felt like Danielle!) We had potatoes and turkey and for dessert we had ice-cream and that chocolate pudding pie with bananas.  Anyways, my presentation went better than I thought it would. Granted, I wasn't too great at speaking the Spanish, but Luis told me I did really good. And this a Rotarian invited me to spend the night at his house tonight because his daughter is my age and she went to the United States on an exchange last year. So that should be awkward...

Yesterday at school, the seniors put up their "Lista Negra" which is a list of all the underclassmen that they hate/don't like, and on a random day they do stuff to everyone on the list. Let me first say that I know like 2 seniors. And now, guess who was on the list!? ME! The wrote: Gringa- Killer Asesina. When I saw it, I had no idea what the list was or what asesina meant (killer, easy enough) and so everyone had to explain it to me. But apparently the girls all hate me because the boys all love me. Hahahhahaha.

And last night, we all went to a ballet. It was the National Chilean Ballet and it was actually pretty boring, but really long.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Viña Del Mar

Well, it's been awhile
This past weekend we took a family trip to Viña Del Mar (aka the beach!). We left Friday afternoon and had to go to Santiago first. We got there and drove around and stopped in the plaza and walked around. We went inside this amazing old church and now I really want to go to Rome and see all the buildings and churches and statues and fountains. The inside was soooo pretty. There were giant pillars and carvings everywhere and it was hugeee. There was even a confession box! After walking around inside for about 10 minutes we finally noticed that there was a casket up front and somebody was having a funeral! That was awkward, so we left and got dinner and then got back in the car to go to Viña.

We got there at about midnight-ish and went straight to bed. I was so confused at first because I thought we were going to be staying in a hotel and then they kept saying "la casa" and then I figured out that it was Luis's brother's apartment (I'm still guessing on this...) The next morning at breakfast, Luis kept asking me where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do. I had no answers for him, because I'd never been there. Obviously. I just wanted to tell him, "Look. You live here. You've been here. You know what's good. You know what's bad. Take me to the good places." But nooooo.  He just kept asking me.

That morning we went to Valparaiso. It was soooo cool! The houses are really poor and ugly up close, but when you look at the entire city, it's amazing. The city is basically hills that extend down into the ocean, so the houses are every which way on the hills and they're all different colors. That day we walked around the city and  went to the street market and different shops and to lunch at this restaurant at the end of the alley...Ha, the food was really good there. We rode the elevators that the city is known for. That was pretty cool. Then we went to about 9225235 different beaches. They were empty because it's spring but in summer they are going to be full of people. At night we went to the mall and the boys went to a restaurant to watch the soccer game (Chile v Colombia). We won, 4-2! VIVA CHILE! It was sooo funny walking around the mall because every single guy was staring at a TV and everytime we scored, the entire mall erupted with applause and screaming and the CHI-CHI-CHI-LE-LE-LE-VIVA CHILE chant. I liked it. Afterwards, the streets were full of people running around with flags screaming and all the cars were honking for at least an hour. I wish the US was more spirited.

Sunday, we went to this old mansion and walked around more. Then we drove out to Quintay, which is another city on the beach. This one is way smaller and sooooo much prettier. Quintay used to be an old whaling center so they have big cement structures/ramps going into the water from when it used to operate. It's against the law now, though. We walked up this giant rock where the tiny lighthouse was and then we ate lunch at a little restaurant on the beach. After that we drove over to the part where there are houses. It's kind of just for rich people there. They are really nice houses. But the waves were huge and we walked down the beach for about 2 hours and watched the waves. When we finally left we drove to Isla Negra to the house of a famous Chilean poet, Pablo Nerudo. They turned it into a museum when he died 30 years ago. His house was full of art and crazy random collections of things. Everything was pretty cool there.

On Monday, we went into town again. We walked down to the port and went on a tour in a boat. We were right next to this giant barge ship that was unloading all the boxes and then there was a sea-lion sitting on the back flipper thing. Then we rode past 6 Chilean naval ships (bought from the US) that guard the port and then over to a buoy that had sea-lions sleeping on it. We left Viña after that and went back to Santiago. We got there at like 4 and went shopping until about 9 o clock. I bought some shoes and two shirts. They want me to buy trekking boots so that we can climb the mountains. I was originally planning on it because I thought they would be like hiking shoes but these are like legit hiking boots that you wear in the snow. And they're $160. Soooo, since I'm not a big mountain climber, I didn't buy them and now my family is like mad at me. Kind of. We got back home at 2 in the morning and I stayed up for another 2 hours and so Miriam let me stay home Tuesday! Whooo-hoo! And we're getting along much better now.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Los dias de la Alianza

I've been in Chile for six weeks. I don't know how.

Wednesday was the Presentacion de Reyes. I didn’t have to go to school that day because we had a Mass and a partial day. (Non-Spanish speaking/Non-Catholic=No School!) Instead I went to el centro with Toto again and we picked up the costumes for the dance. It was a lot of speed walking around, which was a dumb thing to do in my vans because they’re already too small. So now I have blood blisters on the bottoms of my feet! (I wore slippers to school the next day because we didn’t have to wear our uniforms and I cannot even begin to measure the number of times I got looked up and down and pointed at and asked why I was wearing “pantuflas”. I tried to explain to them that in the US if you want to wear slippers or pajamas to school, go ahead. And the idea of Pajama Day was ridiculous to them. Lesson learned though: Don‘t wear slippers to school in Chile. Ever again.)

(Top: I'm in the middle with a blue spotted dress. Bottom: Second on the left.)
At 8pm, the Presentation of the King and Queen began and I felt sooo sick. I still didn’t know the dance and everyone was mad at me because I didn’t know it. So I was in a sucky mood. But I did it. I messed up at the part I knew I was going to mess up at. Afterwards we all went back to Cucu’s house to work on more Alianza stuff and I didn’t get home until about 2:30, which made the next day pretty long.
All Thursday was full of competitions and sports and dances and music. To be honest, I hated it. All of my friends were like the leaders for our Alianza, so they were busy the entire day. Meaning, no one talked to me. Which I know, may sound like I like to be the center of attention, but it’s such a gloomy day when you walk around and don’t talk and awkwardly tag along 2 steps behind everyone.
Friday was a little more fun because I tried to be more involved in getting stuff ready. I painted for about 2 hours and got yellow paint all over my clothes. And I walked in a parade but I was very unhappy during it because I wasn’t aware we were having a parade so I didn’t have a fancy dress or shoes to wear, which meant I had to borrow a dress that was 2 sizes to big and see-through and walk barefoot on my blistered feet…..I’m not complaining though….
I went home at lunch time and did nothing until later that day. It was very good. But at 6 I had to go to Cucu’s house and get my costume ready for the Fashion Show. I stapled candy/chip wrappers together and taped them to my cowboy boots and I had a cape made out of McDonald’s Chicken Nugget boxes. Whooo-hoo! That night was the best night of the Alianza. All of Alianza Roja's skits and stuff were sooo good and everyone was soooo excited and happy. Of course, a large majority of the time I was confined to the locker room because they didn't want me to rip my cape off. Plus, I had a stripe of purple paint across my eyes... The Fashion Show was really fun. When I went out, everyone kept yelling "GRINGA!" and all my friends were screaming. I didn't have to stuff my mouth with food, either! I just ate a little popcorn and threw it out around me. (If you have Facebook, you can watch the video) In the end, Alianza Blanca won, which was pretty lame. Actually, everyone thinks that it was a fake because they said we didn't win one single event, when we actually did...The judges change the scores so that Cuarto Medio (The Seniors) win every year. I think that's messed up. There was a party afterwards and Luis let me spend the night there so I didn't end up going to bed until about 6 in the morning. Overall, a good day...

Saturday, we took the bikes to the repair shop. They come back on Thursday, so I'm pretty excited... Then Luis told me that we were going to have the best food in the world, but he wouldn't tell me what it was. So, I sat down at the table, and lo and behold: sea food. I don't know why he though I would eat. He knows I won't eat it. But for some reason he thought it would be nice to put a giant slug/fish/shelled creature on top of my salad and offer me crackers with fish and then a fried fish. Ewwwww. After, I went to the centro with Matias (my brother) and Matthew (another exchange student). We went to buy shoes for me. I didn't find any. They both did. That was dumb.

Sunday, Sofia had a gymnastics competition. Soooo boring....

And today! I got up to go to school and when I got there, everyone asked me "WHY ARE YOU HERE? We have essays all day." So I got to go home and sleep until 1. I've had a productive day, obviously.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


These are pictures from Sunday afternoon. I can only tell you that we went to a river, a mountain, and a lake. Spanish names are very hard to understand when mixed into Spanish sentences...

Every school in Chile has an "Alianza" every year to celebrate their school's anniversary. For Colegio Ingles, it's this week! We've been meeting everyday after school until about 9 o'clock for the past two weeks to get ready for everything. The school is split into 2 different groups, Alianza Roja and Alianza Blanca. Each group has to prepare sketches, dances, races, games, songs, videos, etc., and pick a King and Queen and it's basically an all out event. Seriously: All out. Tomorrow is the first day of it, beginning with the Presentation of the King and Queen. And somehow, they got me to be a part of the dance for that. So, tomorrow at 8 pm, I will be dancing in front of our entire school and their parents/friends. Boooooo! If I wasn't a clumsy, uncoordinated, SHYSHYSHY girl with stage fright and zero grace, this would be great. However....
And on Friday, I get to be part of a fashion show. I volunteered on this one, but I'm regretting it. It's a fashion show for the 7 Deadly Sins. Guess which one I got stuck with. Glutony! I get to wear a dress made of candy/chip wrappers and walk down the runway eating french fries with a crazed/hungry look on my face. Again, Boooooo.

Also, anyone reading this?

Saturday, September 26, 2009


I just got back from the centro with my friend Toto. Oh my goodness. I feel sooo overwhelmed. Her mom works at Ripley's which is like the Nordstroms of Chile. Which was good because we got a very nice discount. BUT! I cannot wear Chilean styles. They like extremely tight skinny jeans with zippers and bleach lines and flourescent color shirts and wedge shoes and just generally loud clothes- none of which look good on me. I feel like a weirdo. Anyways, because her mom works there everyone was like throwing clothes at me and telling me which ones were the best and telling me I needed smaller sizes even though they were skin tight. It was ridiculous... But I got a dress and two shirts and a sweater and a pair of jeans. I love the dress and the sweater, because they're my type of dress and sweater. But the shirts are BRIGHT and one has....a zipper. And the jeans. Oh my. They are about as tight as physically possible and dark dark dark blue and stretchy (but stretched to full capacity hence the tightness) and have three little buttons at the bottom. I was obviously talked into buying them and if I ever wear them will feel like a silly white girl trying to be Latino. Overall, a very sucessful shopping experience. I just can't gain any weight.

I did talk to Luis about a bicycle because I really want to go out for like 4 hours every day and just ride around and take pictures. I don't know if he'll let me though because he doesn't think it's safe but he is starting to complain about me not doing anything active. Especially at lunch/dinner because then he can tell me how fatty the foods I'm eating are and then tell me that I'm going to go home and my dad will say "Oh, what a gordita!" And Miriam was talking to him and saying that I needed to find something I liked then I just laughed and muttered "hahaha deportes" and then they made fun of me for being lazy.

Oh, and I feel soooo bad because when I left to go shopping, Miriam was gone picking up Sofia and she said she would be back in half an hour but was gone for like an hour so my friend was getting mad for waiting, so I left Javier at the house. And then when I got home, I was lectured for leaving a nine year old home alone. To my defense, it's the middle of the day and he was only alone for like 10 minutes and the house is gated with two dogs. However, apparently he is very scared of being home alone and Miriam found him in her room with a baseball bat, a phone and a radio, away from all windows and doors.

Friday, September 25, 2009

muy fome

It's the weekend finally, and I'm sooo excited. School is getting to be extremely boring just because I can't understand a lot of what goes on and it's mostly just me sitting in a desk doodling in my notebooks. And it's not just like casual doodling. It's intense doodling...And then when I get home I just sit on my bed and either read, sleep, or doodle. Therefore, I look forward to being with kids outside of school. Verrrry much...Plus, that's when I learn the most Spanish.

Tonight I'm going to a party and tomorrow I'm hopefully going shopping! I have this random urge to buy clothes... Ever since the first day here I've wanted to go to the centro and go shopping, but I haven't been able to. Soooo, tomorrow might be my lucky day!

I really have nothing to write here because as you can see from my busy daily routine, nothing happens on weekdays. I just thought I'd tell you all that. But that isn't to say I'm not having a good time. Because when I actually do stuff, I LOVE CHILE. However, times like these, it's not so special...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Que loca! Un mes?

I've been in Chile for over a month now. It's crazy how fast it's gone, but at the same time it feels like I've been here forever already. I think I've finally become acostomed to all the small things and at this point I don't even feel like I'm in a different country- I feel like I'm in Spanish class all day long. I'm still pretty awful at speaking, but sometimes it comes a little more naturally. The other day we were driving to Rancagua and there was a cow in a field and I looked at it and the first word that came to me was "vaca", not cow. And today a group of Sofia's friends were asking me to speak in English to them and they kept holding up their fingers and asking me to count, and at first I kept saying Spanish numbers instead of English! It was really weird, but it made me feel good to know that at least I was somewhere in the right mindset. It's just hard to stay away from English because all of my friends speak it so fluently and I forget that it's their second language or that I'm trying to learn Spanish. I'm trying not to use English, though!

I went to a birthday party on Monday after school for the girl on the right, Pancha.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

18 de septiembre

Friday was the big independence day for Chile. I was a little bummed out because I didn't have anything exciting to do, plus I was sick. I went with Luis and Javier to Rancagua for La Copa Davis which is a tennis tournament. It was against Austria. I felt out of place because the second I saw the players, I instantly hated "Nico" (the Chilean one) and I loved the Austrian one. So, the entire time I cringed when Chile scored and got excited when Austria did. Nico was really full of himself and it annoyed me. But Chile one in the end! However, I didn't know this before going, but there were supposed to be two or three games. The first game lasted four hours and half way through I asked Luis what time we would get home and he told me very casually, "Oh, like two or three". After the first game was over, I went to the car and slept. Tennis is boring after awhile...

On Saturday, Luis's family was over. I really have no idea who was related to who, but there was an aunt and an uncle, two girls that were at the University, and an old woman. I do not know any of their names and barely talked to them. I'm so friendly... We went to a Rodeo, though, and it was sooo cool. Well, kind of. It was cool because of the fact that the people there were wearing traditional Chilean outfits (aka the cape, the boots, the hat) and they were riding horses and their was Chilean music. But it wasn't cool because they were chasing cows around a pit and slamming them into the walls! After that we drove up this big hill that overlooks the entire city. Because it was the 18th, about eight billion people were camped up there and there were booths and tents and cars and people EVERYWHERE. And all the people were flying kits because that's part of the holiday and it was so pretty because it was on these really pretty hills that were green and perfect and there were kites all over and it just looked so happy with all the people. We didn't stop and get out though. That made me saddd.

We went home after that and I got to Skype with Dad, Andrew, and Daniel for like ten minutes. It was really good, but after, for the first time since I've been here, I got homesick. So for the rest of the day, which actually was really fun, I had this awful urge to cry. I think I just didn't like that I was doing this with a new family and I wanted my actual family to be here.

Anyways, we made shish kabobs and had a big barbeque outside and it was really fun because there was classic Chilean music and everyone was happy and we were flying kites and eating bread...Ah, I don't know.

After the barbeque (asado) we were all just hanging out and Sofia was riding her bike around the patio and she kept making us look at her and nobody was paying any attention and then all of the sudden we heard a crash. She had ran into a pipe next to the house and broke it and water was seriously gushing at her like a fire hose and she couldn't move. So one of the cousins helped her but the entire time I could NOT stop laughing! And she was bawling for like an hour.

Later we went to a Fonda in the town which was just a bunch of booths and food and dancing but it was in the sketchy part of town so Luis was super stressed. He gave us like a walking order and was like code talking to Matias to make sure that nothing happened to anyone. It was really annoying. And we didn't stop and look at anything. We just marched in a straight line through the entire thing and I was mad. And the people there weren't even scary. They were happy and minding their own business. I don't like how he takes me places to see Chile but it's only to walk by or quickly see and go. I'm excited for when I can speak more Spanish and go out on my own.

I'm getting a double chin. It makes me very sad. Whenever I take pictures, I always look fat. And I told Matias and now he points it out all the time. And he even asked me the other day if I used to be fat when I was a baby because I have one. And today Sofia made one and then laughed and said "Emily tiene" which means Emily has one. Ahhhh.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

estoy enferma!

So, the week I have off of school, I'm sick. UGH! It's been nice though. I slept all yesterday and just relaxed. Actually, more like TRIED to relax. Sofia and Javier were in my room the entire time using my itouch. They were watching videos of people getting scared so it was scream after scream and the volume was up the whole time. Or they would play games (with volume, might I add) and when they beat their high scores they would scream "MIRA! MIRA!" and wake me up. And Sofia likes to pretend she is a cat so she crawls into my bed and purrs in my ear. I do not like having little brothers and sisters.

Luis's mom came to stay with us and she is really nice. She lives in Santiago and is here until Sunday. Friday I'm probably going with Luis and Javier to Rancagua (2 hours north)to watch a professional tennis match. I kind of don't want to go because it's like the big "18 de septiembre" and that just sounds kind of boring... Saturday though we're going to take a train to Concepcion which is close to the ocean. That should be fun. But we have to be at the train station at 7am!

Today was one of my friends birthday so I went to her house and hung out with people. I think my Spanish is improving. I can understand sooooo much more so I don't just sit there and have the most boring time everr.