Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Viaje a Rapa Nui

And, the third and final Rotary trip is over. I must say, as I fully expected, it has now been categorized as one of my top three weeks here in Chile. (The other two being the two other Rotary trips.)

Easter Island is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. All of the colors are so intense and all of the Moai statues scattered around make it look so cool. We spent the first few days exploring and seeing all the different Moai, going to the beach, visiting volcanoes, caves, lakes, and magnetized rocks, and watching Rapa Nui dances. The last day, it poured down rain the entire day. Half the group decided to go to the beach anyways, and I along with the other half, went kayaking in the ocean with torrential downpours and then later we went scuba diving! Scuba-diving was the most amazing thing in the world, although not literally.  I really didn’t know what to say afterwards, I was so excited and impressed with the ocean. That night we went to a club thing and sang Karaoke and danced which was a lot of fun! The last day we rode to the airport in our little tourism bus. It was a tiny thing that we took whenever we went somewhere on the Island, and the 23 year old Rapa Nui driver would turn on this amazingly feel good techno style music and we would all stand up and jump around and dance and it was the best times ever. By that morning, I was kind of realizing that that would be one of the last times together with all of my exchange friends and I was so happy from dancing and singing and laughing that I just burst into tears and didn’t really stop crying until we got to Santiago, 7 hours later. Those good byes were the worst, because I had to say good bye to some really good friends for the last time.

I don’t really know what it is that makes them so amazing. Perhaps the days of school that we’re excused from. Maybe it’s the crazy beautiful places we go to. But, I think it might just be because you get to be with kids from all around the world who all have so incredibly much in common. I really don’t think I could explain how much I am going to miss the exchange friends I’ve made here. Spending so many days, 24/7, you would think one would get sick of them all or that it would be awkward or difficult.

So absolutely not the case.

Its like an instant connection just being in Chile together, but then when you start to talk, you realize how similar you are to all of them, despite the fact that they live across the country/continent/world. I have friends from the Netherlands, Germany, New Zealand, Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Denmark and Bermuda! I have friends from Ohio, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Michigan, Nevada, California, Wisconsin, Oregon, Iowa and Indiana. And obviously, Chile! But, its not just that I’m friends with these random kids. I, as corny as it sounds, love them to deathhhhh. This is going to be tough to leave.

Its down to less than a month and the time is just flying by. Love my liiiiiiiiiife!

Saturday, May 1, 2010


These are my new friends! Rocio, Caty, Cami, and I. Begoña took the picture. It took me so long to learn their names! Apparently Ive made friends with the "bad" girl in my class, but nada que ver! I still dont understand what theyre talking about! The only thing they do is talk during class, which everyone else does anyways. Im proud to say that Ive gotten in trouble sooo much this year for laughing and talking in class. That sounds bad, but really its not! Im so happy that Ive finally gotten to the point where I can express myself in Spanish. Last year I was such a quiet, boring person in class because I couldnt communicate. Not anymore! Its just sucky that Im leaving so soon.

Here are some amazingly interesting facts that Im sure you would all looooooooooooove to know about school in Chile.

  • The majority of schools in Chile are private. 
  • Almost all require uniforms.
  • Enseñanza Medio is the equivalent of High School.
  • In their Junior year they choose between Scientific based studies or Humanistic.
  • They dont get to choose their classes- a mandatory 13 classes are given.
  • The grades are based on a 7.0 scale.
  • There school work is focused on passing the PSU (equivalent of SAT but harder)
  • They really dont do much in class. Really.
  • Talking over the teacher is completely normal.
  • The curriculum is fairly easy and based almost entirely on tests, not homework or classwork.
  • The hours are completely arbitrary and daily can range from 8am-2pm or 8am-7 pm.
  • Most students go home for lunch and come back one or two hours later.
  • They dont use binders.
  • They use lined paper notebooks and they get completely filled up with notes and nothing else.
  • The teachers rarely come prepared with material, they usually make it up as they go.
  • You stay in a class of about 20-30 from Kindergarten to Senior year with usually the same people.
  • You dont change classmates for each class, just teacher.
  • Paper fights, chants, cell phone music, games, naps, and eating are all very very normal during class.
  • They dont have Prom, Homecoming, clubs, ANY form of heating, or Graduation.

Weve had a few aftershocks recently. Not too big of ones, just like 5 magnitude or around there. We had one when we were in Language class and I got so upset! The teacher wouldnt let us leave because they hadnt rang the giant bell in the courtyard yet. He told us that when the cieling started to fall in, then we could run down the rickety metal stairs and out into the courtyard, but never ever before they rang the bell. Definitely doesnt matter if you hear the afterschock coming, and then feel the entire building shaking. The bell will tell us if it is an aftershock or not. Ugh.

On Tuesday Im going to Easter Island!! So, so, sooooooo incredibly excited!! Please, feel free to be jealous. :)