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.