Friday, August 28, 2009

Viendo lo que será mi vida durante el proximo año

I now have 4 days of school behind me, and I'm starting to get a sense of what my life is going to be like for the next year.

Sorry there won't be any multimedia to accompany this blog, but I haven't been taking my camera with me because even when I carried it, I used it very little to avoid looking and feeling like a tourist.

Anyhoo, school has been nice. The classes are easy and the kids are very friendly. During the classes the kids are somewhat less attentive and serious than they were in my classes in the US, but it's nice for me because I can socialize and talk and ask for definitions from my classmates the whole time without being considered a disruption. My class is apparently notorious for being a bit crazy like that though, so I'm not sure to what extent it is the norm.

Outside of school, I have had the chance to do a few things:

Soccer- I went to a practice, and it was very nice to be able to play, and I didn't feel at all out of place which is good. Unfortunately, I can't play in the official games because you have to have been born in 1992 or later, but I can play in the friendly matches. I also watched all of the school teams play today (different age groups, plus the girls' team), which was fun, and a good way to take a break from Spanish without having to use English, and still be entertained.

Cueca- All of the Rotary exchange students in Curicó are required to take lessons in Cueca, the national dance. We have them twice a week up until the Chilean Independence Day-- Sept. 18. I was very glad to meet the other exchange students in town, and it was interesting to experience, but I think that before we're done with the lessons, I may feel like I've already attained a level of skill at the cueca that is plenty satisfactory for me...

Asado- A classmate is going on exchange to England and leaving sometime within the next few days, and there was an Asado/Carrete (BBQ/Party) in her honor, with a hint of welcome party for me tacked on. It started right after the cueca classes ended, so there was a bit of coordination required for me to get there, especially since Plan A fell through due to someone not having access to their car. Anyhow, the party was a good fun. They dance a lot more here, and that suits me well.There were a lot of songs I didn't know, but there were also a lot of spanish remixes of hip-hop and electronica songs I know. All in all it was a grand ole time.

Mall- One day our language teacher was sick and didn't come to class. My classmates managed to talk some school administator into just letting us go (it was the last class of the day) instead of finding us some busy work or a substitute. So, I went to see the mall with a couple of classmates. It was a mall like just about any other, but I was very glad that someone wanted to hang out with me, and I felt like I was getting a taste of the vida curicana.

A Few Things That Are Noticably Different So Far:
A Brief List That Will Probably Be Continued

-Bread. I'm yet to see any in loaf form (it's all been individually sized), and I've eaten it with every single meal.
-Eyebrows. Perfectly maintained eyebrows are very uncommons, and unibrows are heavily abundant
-Driving. In general, everyone is a little more aggressive. There are also a lot of speedbumps here and not as many stop signs. The thing that still makes me a little nervous though are the bikers. People bike on the edge of the road, and the cars drive really really close to them...

On the Spanish front, I think I'm doing pretty well-- I've had a few dreams in Spanish, and it's hard to tell to what extent, but I'm starting to think in spanish somewhat. I'm not sure how much I'm still translating when I speak spanish, but I noticed that when I switch to English, at least for a little bit, when it comes to words I know in both languages, the Spanish word pops into my head first.

Heading into the weekend, I'm a little bit afraid that boredom will strike because I don't have any definite plans, and I don't know if my classmates are feel close enough to me that they'll call me and make plans.

Wow. This is a pretty disjointed entry. Oh well.
All in all, all is well.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Día 1

no quiero hablar en inglés porque será mas dificil hablar en español después, y ya tengo bastantes problemas... pero para ustedes... I'm willing to do some english writing while the thoughts and memories are fresh.
I left from Pittsburgh friday at 5 PM, then, after a 3 hour layover and 1 hour delay in Atlanta, headed off to Santiago. There were 19 kids headed to Chile from the US on my flight, and I was fortunate enough to be sitting between Sara and Liz. We had a grand ole time, although that meant that there was less time for trying to sleep. Not that we didn't-- we just weren't very successful. So, after arriving and going through customs with minimal complications, we all walked out the door and met our host families who were waiting for us. My host parents were there-- Adriano Donoso and Ximena Azocar. Some quick group pictures, then we were off for Curicó, a 2 hour drive. At first I, was just so excited to be seeing the landscape that I was wide awake. The landscape feels raw with foothills of the Andes popping up sporadically out of the flat grassland, looking more like mountains then pretty much any of the Appalachians do. Even though it is fairly cold here (it is witer afterall), palm trees are everywhere, which surprised me. Anyway, I slept for about half the ride, and then arrived at the Donoso/Azocar house
. It's gorgeous. Really.
Lots of stone, and even a pretty gate.
My room is also very nice, and comes with a cozy bed, a good sized closet, it's own bathroom, and a substantial window with curtains that actually block the light (unlike my shades at home). At the house I met the younger brother Adriano, and the two older sisters, Ximena and Cami. The sisters are both living in Santiago, but are home for a little bit. I spent some time talking with them and they're both very nice. Adriano the dad and Adriano the son took me on a tour of the town. There are a lot of nice places to walk around, and there are a lot more people walking around then there ever are in Morgantown. It didn't take long to feel that the city is almost twice is big.
Well, I think I start school on monday, though if I understand correctly that depends on whether or not I get a uniform today, which looks doubtful. It'll be nice to go to school though because the one thing I think I may have underestimated about this experience is how much normal, somewhat boring life there is between all of the excitement of new things and adventures. It'll be nice to meet other kids and have friends to combat the monotony. It's been pretty nice overall, and I think I'm really realizing what it means that this will be my life every day for the next 11 months or so.