Lo siento mi companeros, I realize it has been forever since I have updated. I’ve been in Chile now for a little over two weeks and I really feel settled in the area…sometimes I forget where I am in this beautiful world (shame on me). But regardless of how settled I am, my life is still happening and I want to update you all on everything.
I have been taking Spanish classes everyday from 9:30 to 10:45 at the Internation Center. I have an incredible teacher, Jennifer, or Jenny, who has really helped me in building an incredible base to this confusing language. While trying to grasp spanish, I have actually realized how difficult english is to both teach and learn and has created an interest within me to develop a way to learn to teach english at some point in the future. But, I digress, Chile is the fastest speaking spanish country in the world, so us english speakers have pretty much drawn the conclusion that becoming fluent is almost impossible. But hey, we’re working on it.
One of my roommates, Gabriel, met another Canadian man on his flight over here who has a house here and has been coming here for years. He speaks no spanish but knows the area front and back. On Sunday, he went to Santiago and took Gabriel, my other roommate, Kelsey, and I with him! It was a lovely day of sightseeing and exploring some incredible, state-of-the-art malls. It was comforting but exciting to spend time with someone who knew the area and spoke english at the same time. He has become a valuable help and friend since we have been here and he left yesterday to go back to his wife, but he took us out for dinner which was so nice. I am glad we could all meet each other.
Last weekend, however, is the one that I really need to update you all on. All four of my roomates, as well as myself and another friend from the international rented to cars and took a roadtrip up north on the coast of Chile. It was a national holiday here on Thursday and Friday so we had a four day weekend and decided to take advantage of it, and boy did we! We drove about six hours to La Serena, to an incredible town and even better a blast of a hostel experience. But the trip there was just incredible, every peice of land was worth a photograph, it was one of those instances where you don’t even need a good camera, no matter the camera, an amazing picture will come out because the beauty was so natural and powerful. We drove and up and down dirt roads, mountains, and stopped at a national park called Fray Jorge, where we had a very close encounter with both a baby fox and a hairy donkey. I mean, they were actually wild, like just there, sometime I am just not used to seeing being from Maryland and NYC. Hostel Aji Verde was packed full of students from around the world and let me just be honest with you all, it was an amazing place to just chill out and party a little bit. Everyone in Chile is so friendly and generous, we met some amazing people and slept in some very calm, peaceful rooms. The bathrooms were nice too, which we later realized, was a real priveledge in the Hostel world.
The next day, we continued our journey in La Serena to a far away island to explore. We got a boat tour on a tiny little wooden boat and were shown pinguinos (penguins) and sea lions almost in touching distance. It was beautiful and REAL. I discovered I am extremely afraid of Sea Lions. Those babies are huge. That trip took the whole day and when we returned back to the hostel, we were greeted with a huge birthday party of one of the other people staying at the hostel. It was another great day and great night.
We woke up early the next day to move onto Ovalle which is a little further into the center of Chile but still north of Vina del Mar. Ovalle was a very small, cute little town. We got to our Hostel, reunited with a friend from the other hostel who was staying there, and realized that where we were, “Jaime’s Crazy House.” We were in a tiny, shoe box room filled with three home made bunk beds, one single and a bathroom that looked like it was built in 1874 and hadn’t been cleaned since then. However, that night, we had the treat of going to a mine of the national rock of Chile and a observatory on the very tip of a mountain, where the stars where brighter and bigger than I had ever seen so we figured that when we got back to the hostel that night, we would be so tired that we would just fall asleep. It did happen that way, but waking up was a harsh reality. The mine, the observatory, and the culture of Ovalle was worth of the necessary gross experience of the hostel. We headed back the next day, with a new friend in our extra seat, never happier to be back to our Adelante home.
Classes have been good this week, we got a new student which is exciting. I decided that I will continue to take spanish classes at the international center until the day I leave because I really want to become a master of spanish and it’s a lot harder than I had remembered. Tomorrow, I am going to my internship for the first time, so more on that soon. They are also taking us on a canopy ziplining tour aswell! Tomorrow will be great, but tonight…Harry Potter con Subtitulos! Yoopie (Chilean “yay”)!
As always, I am thinking of all of you at every step of this adventure. I love to continue hearing from you on facebook, email and through my blog. Check out my pictures from the trip on facebook, they are pretty killer. I love you all and hope you are all happy and healthy and living beautiful lives.
P.S. Check out the website, http://www.art-stream.org and check out what Julie Bain Zittraur has been doing for this incredible organization. I am inspired by her passion and bravery. Maybe we can all help her cause just a little bit…