Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Return to My Two Motherlands!!!!


This past weekend I went back to Santiago Chile to see all my family and friends there one more time before I come back to the states. I´ll take it for it granted that you´re going to ask me how it went, so I´ll just save time and answer right now.


I landed in Santiago at 9pm and was picked up by my best friends Claudio and Ely. After lots of screaming and hugs, we went back to Ely´s house. They made fun of my accent because I was talking like an Argentinian instead of a Chilean....seriously, it´s really different. It took me the whole week to get my Chilean accent back. That night we had dinner and stayed up until midnight which was the beginning of Ely´s birthday.


Ely, Martina (Ely´s 5 yr old daughter) and I climbed to the top of Cerro Santa Lucia and saw the huge statue of the Virgen Mary. I bought a sticker and a patch of the mapuche (natives of chile).

Then, I surprised my host family with an unexpected visit and talked with them for a few hours. At night, a bunch of people from Ely´s family came over for her birthday dinner and afterwards we went dancing.


I woke up early and climbed Cerro Santa Lucia by myself and left something there for someone who means the absolute world to me. This person will study in Chile next semester and I miss this person so incredibly much. If you are reading this, and you know who you are, I want to tell you that you are an amazing person and can´t wait to see you again.

Then, I met up with Natacha who is a friend from my old philosophy and states classes in Chile. It was great to see her. After a whole bunch of stories, I gave her the argentinean jersey that she asked for and she gave my a hand-made statue of the Virgen Mary which she painted herself.

Then, I went to the house of my friend Cecy. I met her when I was in Chile because she studies english and will come to study at Loyola next fall. I talked to her mom and got the point across that Loyola is amazing and incredibly safe. Cecy is 20 yrs. old and has a boyfriend, from the US, who lives in Delaware. He´s 21. Big shock to me......she told me that they got engaged last Christmas! I know you have lots of questions, but I don´t know too much because I was just stunned and couldn´t think of any questions to ask her.

At night, I met up with Claudio, Ely and another good friend Pia. We went out dancing and had a good time.
These guys are my best best friends in Chile!!!!!!!!!

Claudio- (Right of me)I consider him a best friend/older brother. He´s 21 and is studying two majors at the same time in the communications department of Diego Portales...a great university in Santiago. I met him through Ely, his cousin. He took me twice to the house of his grandparents which you could compare to the "farm" without the river. He also went to Uruguay with me a few months ago.

Ely-(Second from right)I seriously consider her my older sister. She´s a goof ball just like me and is always good for a laugh. She has a beautiful 5 year old daughter named Martina who goes to Pre-K and everyday learns english. Ely is dating a guy who goes to Boston College and studied with me in Chile last semester. I met Ely because she was the host sister of Hanna who was a part of my program in Santiago.

Pia-(Furthest right)I would also consider her an older sister/good friend. She is Ely´s neighbor and studies design. She always comes out with us and even went to the chilean "farm" with us twice. She´s always laughing and is incredibly caring.


I was able to see my friend Valeria (studies english at my chilean university) for about an hour in the morning. She´s coming to the US (Wisconsin) on December 3rd and will work for a few months. She usually comes to the US once a year. Then, I went to mass with my host family and had lunch with them. It was like I never left the house. It was incredible.

Saying good-bye to everyone was extremely hard but I promised that I would return...when that will be, I don´t know....I will go back.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

I Shouldn't Play Baseball

Let's start with the first day of spring in Buenos Aires:
September 21:
I helped kids in the villa (Ciudad Oculta) with homework as part of the LIFE organization, but since it was the first day of spring, we also made butterflies, flowers, hearts, and many other things out of construction paper. I love being the coordinator of this site because I get to know all of the kids, and they all get to know me. Everytime a kid I recognize walks in the door of the soup kitchen, it puts a big smile on my face because they are usually happy to see me. This day I talked with one of the women who works at the soup kitchen. All of her kids come to work with us and she has been cooking for about 150 everyday for the past 4 years. She is an incredible woman with a heart of gold.
That night I bought the speedo of by Buenos Aires water polo team.

September 24:
I went to the Immigrations building in the morning to work out everything for my student visa (even though I don't need it...that's a whole other story). I give all of my papers to the guy at the window and he tells me that I'm missing a paper from the university. I show him my USAL id that I picked up a few days before, but he still told me that I missing a paper. A lady from the university was there and came over. She told me I was missing the paper also. I told her when I went the office a few days ago, the director did not give me any paper. Hearing this, the lady tells me that I didn't understand. I literally wanted to knock her out. Being told that I don't understand something in spanish, when I clearly do, gets me so fired up. So I stormed out of the building and went to the university. I ask my director, who gave me my id a few days before, for my paper and she looks at me like I've never come in the office before and that I'm irresponsable for not picking up the paper beforehand. I take the paper and skidaddle. Then back at immigrations, strike two is called. The worker tells me that one of my argentinean passport stamps is not recorded in the computer, so I have to talk to another worker. The lady from the university comes over and the worker tells her the problem. For some reason, this lady explains the problem to me for a second time. (I'm speaking spanish to these people, but they assume that I don't understand spanish). I go with the lady to another part of the building to talk to another worker, and I strike out looking. The worker tells me that the passport isn't in the computer so I have to come back in a week to see if the system has been updated and recognizes my stamp. So I'm sent to the dug-out without even taking the bat off my shoulder because I am told that I don't understand the game. I hate when people make me feel like I'm less than them.

That night, the jungle adventure began.

4 peeps from England, 2 from Australia, 2 from Canada, 2 from the US, and one argentine coordinator

Aw right mate, let's hit it!

So we were all super excited to get on the bus, but it decides to come two hours late. (Buses here are not like planes, you are not notified if your bus is late.) However, everyone in the group is awesome and when we do get on the bus, we discovery that we got the best class available! After a great night of sleep, we arrive in Monte Carlo Friday at 2pm. (Yes, it has a Monte Carlo casino, but trust me it's no Monte Carlo.) As everyone goes to drop off their bags at the hotel, I stay with all the equipment where the bus dropped us off. As I'm waiting, I meet a lady from the village that we'll be working at which is about a half hour away. Her name is Rosita and is a grandmother at the age of 28! After everything gets settled, we go to the town (Peruti). It's seriously my dream come true! We had to drive through a forest to get there, and the town is gorgeous. The roads are made of dirt (they only have roads for the people that come to help them), the houses are made of scraps of wood and metal sheeting, and there is greenery everywhere. We are greeted by a whole bunch of women and children that seemed to come out of nowhere. We played with the kids for the rest of the day and served them chocolate milk and cookies, but there's a catch! We need to boil the water and there's no stove. So we make a fire and boil a huge pot of water over it. I couldn't believe it! This has been the kind of place that I've wanted to work at for the past few years. Saturday and Sunday, we worked ourselves to the bone, getting to the village at 9:30am and leaving at 7:30pm. Saturday, we cooked rice and eggs for 200 people and also served milk and cookies again at night. Then Sunday, we cooked over 350 hamburgers in nearly 100 degree heat and again served milk and cookies at night. The other activities consisted of delicing the children, giving out clothes, soap and toothpaste, a quick tour of the village, cleaning thousands of cups and plates, and making 100 balloon swords for the kids. At the end of each day, we all were extremely exhausted, but the experience really brought us close together.

The last three days of the trip we went to Iguazu Falls on the Brazilian side and the Argentinean side and we also went to the black market in Paraguay. Everyone considered me the leader of group because I could speak pretty good spanish and...well I don't know why but I acted as the tour guide and made sure that no one got lost (PS Out of all of us, I was the youngest!)

On the way home on the bus, I got in a verbal to dispute with the workers on the bus because...well that's a story I'll tell in person.

Anywho, it was the best trip I've been on in Argentina and working in that village has definitely left it's mark.

Jump to October 11:
I ran in the Buenos Aires Marathon 42km/26.2 miles.
Ok, that's enough talking about that...painful memories.

Last weekend, I went to go see my host brother in a professional clown show. It was a bunch of little scenes down by modern clowns (not the ones in the circus). They are absolutely hilarious. My favorite scene was of two male nuns who when they made the sign of the cross they would play rock, papers, scissors with the people of the Holy Trinity. So instead of rock, paper, scissors it was Father, Son, Holy Spirit. I literally almost peed myself laughing.

So, I left a lot of things of done out of this post because obviously I don't feel like typing a lot and because I want to keep some stories to tell face to face. Everything is going well with school and I CAN'T WAIT TO COME HOME! Seriously, I want to come home right now!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

What the heck is that?....That's our party bus!!!

Last Friday, I met up with my best Chilean friend, Claudio, at the airport in Buenos Aires to go to Uruguay. There are many ways to get to Montevideo, Uruguay from Buenos Aires, but obviously we picked the cheapest way....plane. Our flight lasted a grand total of 25 minutes....I don't think we even got up to full altitude. It felt like as soon as we took off...we landed. Once we got into Montevideo, we changed our money into Uruguayan pesos. ((I paid for Claudio's plane ticket with my debit card and Claudio paid me back in US dollars. It was the first time I've seen a dollar in nine months.............another crazy fact....I haven't spoken a full day of english in 9 months!!!)) Claudio and I took a cab from the airport to our hostel, and the #?*%$# taxi driver ripped us off. I was so confused by the conversion rate that I didn't notice at first. He charged us $50US, when it should cost half that. However, we stayed in a really incredible hostel....$12 for 3 nights/each. The ladies that worked there were incredibly helpful and understanding...definitely the best hostel that I've ever been too. Our first two days in Uruguay, we walked around Montevideo and the beaches. It seemed like I was in Europe....I've never been to Europe but that's the feeling I got...haha. The first day, we ate at an incredible place that cooked your food on a huge grill right in front of you...it was awesome.

Sunday, we went to Punta del Este, Uruguay with two Brazilians that we met the night before named Eriston and Juliano. Neither of them could speak spanish, but Eriston could speak English. I finally found out how similar are Portuguese and Spanish. I had a rough time understanding it, but Claudio could understand them. Reading Portuguese is a lot easier for me. At Punta del Este, we enjoyed the day walking along the beach and learning about Brazil from our Brazilian friends.

We got back Monday.

I've been studying all week, so I figured I needed a break....so I decided to go dancing with the people I work with at LIFE. The plan was to meet up at a bar and then we would be taken to club. On the ticket I had it said to be at the bar at 10:30pm....so what time do I get there? 10:15pm....No one I know got there until 11pm. I actually almost left because I didn't think they were going to come. Three of them will be going with me to Misiones on Thursday. So we go into the bar and wait until we are taken to the club....we all heard rumors about a train/bus thing, but none of us were sure. We just talked and got to know each other which was really cool, but everyone was getting tired at 1am and the bus thing hadn't come yet. The thing came at about 2am. The best way to describe it is a bus/train thing. It looked like the back of a school bus was put onto the front of a train and it was covered in lights with a picture of Spiderman on the front. We all got on the bus and reggaeton music started to play. It was really insane....we danced in the bus all the way to the club. I can't imagine what the people that saw us last night thought when they saw us go by......oh I know...."That's so cool!"...haha. After about an hour, we get to the club and the energy just continued. The music was great and we just had a blast. I went to bed at 6am.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Nan Is Buying Me a Tattoo for Christmas

First of all, somehow I convinced Nan that she should pay for me to get a tattoo.....she caved pretty easily. I'm thinking about getting a water polo ball, but instead of it being yellow it'll look like a globe with North and South America to represent that I've played water polo in 2 continents (3 countries). I want to get it on my hip where the speedo simple is on a speedo.

Second of all...school. Nothing new really, I have to read a lot and for some reason one class was cancelled for three weeks in a row. I don't ask questions, I just listen to the Argentines.

Third of all....wopo. I had two games last week and my total playing time is a whopping 0 seconds. In the first game, when my coach told me to go in after a goal, I started to swim to the line and the ref kicked me out of the entire game......his explanation was that it wasn't a goal, so there was no stoppage in play. Apparently I entered the game incorrectly, and got kicked out of the game for it......that's what I call "Ref makin' up rules." In the second game, the coach never told me to go in. He looked at me a million times, but never said a word to me. I was the only one who didn't get to play. If they gave me just one chance, they would see how good I am, but they still haven't given me that chance.

Fourth of all...I joined an organization called LIFE....www.lifeargentina.org. Every Monday and Friday, I go to a really poor community and help a group of kids with homework, math, language, coloring and having fun. Yesterday, I taught Soledad how to divide, Alexander how to multiply two-digit numbers, and Cristo how to spell. I absolutely love the program.
With LIFE at the end of September, I will go to the Misiones region of Argentina to work with the Guarani (an indigenous tribe) for three days and then I will get to visit Brazil and Paraguay with the organization. Usually, US citizens need a visa which costs $150 just to enter these two countries, but since I'm with LIFE....I ENTER FO' FREE!!!!

Fifth of all....tango. I went to see a few competitions of tango and I'm pretty sure I would break my legs and my partner's legs if I tried to dance it....will that stop me? OF COURSE NOT!!!

I hope everyone is enjoying the end of summer as I hate...haha...the end of winter here....I can't wait 'til spring. Love you all and see you in 77 days!!! The countdown begins!!!

Monday, August 24, 2009

3-Tooth Willy

First of all, my mom informed me that I should put up the times of my classes. PS I'm an hour ahead of the east coast right now.

Monday: 6pm-9:15pm Argentinean History (Yeah, sucks!!!)

Tuesday: 3:30pm-5:30pm Tango

Wednesday: 2:30pm-4:30pm Tango Outing (We go to a show or watch a movie)
6pm-8:15pm Spanish Language

Thursday: 10:25am-12noon Basic Processes IV
1:30pm-4:15pm Argentinean Literature

Friday: Nothin'

Just to let all of you know, I've found a club where I can play water polo. It's called Gym and Fencing of Buenos Aires. To become a member, I need to get a health certificate from an Argentinean clinic. We'll see how that goes...because Argentina has universal health care. I went there today and they told me to come back tomorrow.

Getting your books here for classes is way cheaper than in the US because there aren't any copyright laws. All the texts are photocopied for the students. This is awesome, but it's a pain in the butt to actually get the copies. First, you need to find the photocopy place that the teacher uses and then wait until they have time to copy the materials. The first month of class is usually hectic because sometimes it takes awhile to get them.

Walking in Buenos Aires is like going through an obstacle course. First of all, there are 15 million people in Bs As. Second of all, there are the dangerous obstacles....the old ladies with broad shoulders, the millions of windowshoppers, the broken sidewalk, random construction, dog poop (seriously there's a lot), the people that hand out flyers (at almost every corner), the random liquid that drips from the apartments, the biggest pigeons I've ever seen in my life, the dogwalkers that are literally getting walked themselves, the runners, the bikers, the newsstands every 15 feet, and so on......I'm just saying that walking to school is at times interesting and frustrating.

So I guess you wanna know who's 3-Tooth Willy....well he's my history teacher. First of all, I'm going to say that he's incredibly smart and a great guy. Ok...so usually I can understand the majority of people that speak in spanish, but he's not in the majority. He's got three teeth and by the looks of it, at the end of the semester he won't have any. Remember....he's a great teacher...no joke! The way he talks and the sounds he makes with his mouth are just incomprehendable. I can get like 70% of what he's saying at times, but that's when he's talking clearly. Oh...I forgot....he has his doctorate for history, so he's Dr. 3-Tooth Willy.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Back to School

So I've tested out all the classes that I was interested in, and I've made my decision on the five classes that I'm going to take:

Argentine Literature (with 5 other foreigners)
Tango (with 10 other foreigners)
Spanish Language (with 2 other foreigners and 12 argentineans)
Argentine History (???)
Basic Processes IV (with 30 argentineans)

Basic processes is a psychology class for the second semester of the second year for psychology majors in Argentina. What am I doing taking the course? I have no idea...but seriously for my Global Studies major this class should be able to count for one of the requirements. At first it was a little overwhelming because I sat there surrounded by 30 argentine students, the professor and the auxillary teacher. However, everyone was really nice to me, even though it's hard for them to say my name.

I tried the class called International Negotiation but I didn't like it because it was pretty much a business class. I don't see myself as a businessman.

Everyone one of my classes meets once a week for about two hours and I have fridays off. Also, I don't have class on Mondays until 8pm, so I almost have a 4 day weekend every week. :)

I miss all of you so much!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Travelling in Argentina

The last few weeks I haven't been doing much. I was running almost everyday, but I developed shin splints so I've had to take some time off. A few of my classes have started and I love my class called Spanish Language because it is teaching me the little nuances of Spanish Grammar. It's a really difficult class, but it's great. I've also attended my Tango class and my Argentine Literature class. I will have started all of my classes by the end of next week. My classes seem really interesting now and I hope they stay that way. I'm really excited to go to my International Negotiation class tomorrow.

This past weekend I went to the waterfalls of Iguazu in the north of Argentina. I had an absolute blast. I went on a beautiful day and I took some great pics...they are all on facebook. I even went on a boat that went under the water falls and in the devil's throat (nickname for one part of the falls). I also went to the Jesuit ruins in San Ignacio. There, I was able to walk around a former village built by the indigenous people and the Jesuits. It was so incredible that I was left speechless. You really feel that you are standing in a holy place. A great movie about the Jesuits in South America is called "The Mission" starring Robert DeNiro.

To do list:
Open bank account to avoid all the fees from my bank in the US
Plan trip to Chile
Plan trip to Machu Picchu
Go to Montevideo, Uruguay with my Chilean friend
See a Tango show
Go to the theatre
Watch the Brazil vs Argentina World Cup Game on September 5th

Sunday, August 2, 2009

He's Crazy...But I Understood Him

On October 11, I will be running 20 some miles in the Buenos Aires Marathon. I know it sounds crazy, but I'm doing it to prove to myself that I can....It's a mental thing. So I'm trying to run at least 4 days a week in the morning, and so far so good. Still, I haven't found a water polo team but I'm not too worried about it because I'm focusing on the marathon. This week I've just been walking around the city trying to get used to it. The other day I was walking down a street and saw a man standing in front of a pile of broken glass with a big crowd around him. He's know as The Crazy Glass Man...original...I know. He's on youtube. Type in El loco de vidrio. Well, this man is very charismatic and a crowd-pleaser. He throws the glass in his face and jumps and marches on the glass. For the final part of the show, he lays on top of broken wine bottle necks with a few people standing on him. So he chose a few guys from the audience. The were australian soccer players....wait, one problem...they didn't spanish and the crazy glass man didn't speak english...so the crazy glass man asked for an interpreter in the audience. I raised my hand and he chose me to help him. So, I explained everything to the guys that the crazy man said, and it went exactly as planned. The crazy man told me that my spanish was really good and that if I'm as nice to the people in Argentina as I was to him, I will make a lot of friends. The australians were really surprised that I could speak spanish. Another day this week, I went to a buffet with my friend from Mexico, Arturo. For about 12 bucks, we ate all the cow, lamb and pig we wanted with drinks and dessert. Argentina is world-renowned for it's meat and now I know why. The buffet was absolutely delicious.

Miss all of you guys!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

First Week in Buenos Aires

I don't really have much to do during the day, so two days ago I went to the zoo and a farm exposition and today I went to the basilica, a cementary and two museums. Here a few pictures.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

I'm Alive in Buenos Aires

Sorry, I haven't written in awhile. I am alive and well. The last few weeks were pretty rough for me because I had to say goodbye to a lot of friends and family in Santiago. On July 20th, I took a 24 hour bus to Buenos Aires and arrived the 21st around 1pm. Here, I'm one hour ahead of the east coast of the US. The first two days I've been here, it has rained and been really cold. I'm a little overwhelmed because I feel like I'm in the heart of NYC. The city is alright, but a little to busy for me. Today, the sun is out but it is still cold...like 50 degrees with a strong wind. I live in an 8th floor apartment with a nice family. I get along with them pretty well, and so far so good. Yesterday, I had my first day of orientation at the Universidad del Salvador. In my program, they're people from Puerto Rico, Colombia, France, England, Germany, Canada, Ireland, and only a few from the US. Now, I don't have really anything to do until August 18, so I might try to travel. My plans are to see Iguazu Falls, the cities of Mendoza, Bariloche and Montevideo, Uruguay. This is just what I'm thinking. I still need to get to know the city because it's so darn big. With my family, I talk a lot about Chile...so if they don't like it...too bad. I had such a great experience in Santiago. I passed all my classes and survived a final oral exam of state theory...rough. All in all, everything is great and I'm excited to start all over again in Buenos Aires...even though I wish I was in the US enjoying the summer and seeing all of you guys. MISS YOU ALL!!!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

I Think Hannah Montana Was At My Water Polo Game!!!

June 17: I found out that a water polo teammate from Loyola died of a heart attack. He was a grad-student and had just recently graduated with his masters at the age of 33. Each member of the water polo team wrote a letter to his spouse. I received a 4.4 on my second philosophy exam. At practice my teammates were upset that to find out that I'd be leaving in a month. The whole fam is at the farm and I'm super jealous.

June 18: I received a 5.3 on my second state exam. My brother Pablo had an interview with Greenland high school to become a history and human rights teacher.

June 19: I went to the national library to study and Meredith told me about Cecilia Vicuna's poems. I read a few, and they're incredible. At night, I wrote my poem for class:

Sueño mío

Caminando por las estrellas,
Busco la única que brilla.
La estrella que me llevará a mi sueño de paz.
La misma paz que yo compartía años atrás
Con las personas que extraño durante esta noche oscura.
Estoy solo, solo con mi sueño;
El sueño de mi vida pasada.
Mi vida no sólo ha perdido su sentido,
Sino que sus esperanzas también.
Tengo que salir de esta vida.
Tengo que encontrar algo mejor.
Tengo que volver a mi pasado.
Sólo puedo esperar, soñar y rogar
Que el último día se acerque con prisa.
Dios mío, Dios mío, sé mi estrella.
No me abandones otra vez.

-Josh Barnes

June 20: I made hamburgers with Meredith for the family. I never realized how much I missed burgers. I'm dying for a five guy's burger. I went out with Pablo, Meredith and Hector. Meredith taught us all how to dance salsa.

June 21: At night, I went to the birthday party of the seminarian in our group. I tried to joke with the seminarians, but they were a little dry. A poor guy on the street told me to go back to the US because I didn't give him money.

June 22: Matthew from Univ. Cali. San Diego is now living with us. He's studying psychology at the Catholic Univ. here.

June 26: The past week I had a philosophy exam, a poetry exam and a state exam. Laura's father came to visit her and we went to Bravissimo, so everyone could meet him. I prepared my Poetry Presentation.

June 27: I went to Cerro Santa Lucia and the artesan fair there.

June 28: At mass, I read the second reading. A girl named Montserrat received her first communion. After mass, I met a Trinitarian who's been to the retreat house I went to senior year of high school.

June 29: Feast of Saint Paul

June 30: I received a 5.0 on my recuperation state exam. This exam takes the place of the 4.0 that I received on the first exam. I received a 5.3 on my third philosophy exam. David and I received a 6.7 on our poetry presentation. Pablo got the job at the high school and today was his first day. My host mom told me that she doesn't want to live a long life because she thinks old people just pester people.

July 3: Last Wednesday, I had my final exam for philosophy....so hard that my head hurt afterwards. Thursday, I had my third state exam. I had my last poverty class, and handed in my final essay.

July 4: At 9:30am, I went to the US Embassy here to watch the ceremony of the raising of the American flag. I got free Starbucks and McDonald's. We had a cook-out at the house. I had a polo game. Then, I went to the cook-out at my friend Esteban's house. I bought my new camera. At night, I went out with Pablo, Meredith and Hector.

Today: I went to mass. Then, I had a water polo game at the national stadium. We played against the city of Valparaiso. We won by a lot and I scored 4 goals. I have no clue why, but before the game...music was playing and they played "Everyone Makes Mistakes" by Hannahtana.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Easter Island...I Didn't See Any Bunnies Though

Day 1

First, we had to get off our plane and switch to another one because of technical difficulties, but at least we got a free breakfast out of it. In the plane, I watched the movie "Into the Wild." It was really good...better than the book. The movie makes me want to read Thoreau. My favorite quote of the movie is: Happiness is only real when shared. I tried to watch "A Beautiful Mind" afterwards, but I fell asleep. The first thing I thought when I got off the plane was how clean the air was. There's no pollution whatsoever. Everything here is so beautiful. I think I'm dreaming. In the afternoon, I walked along the coast with my group to see a few of the moai (human looking statues). I took a lot of great pictures. At night, we went to a traditional Rapa Nui dance that was spectacular.

Day 2

I ran at 8am to take advantage of the beautiful weather. I ran past the armada and found a tiny port of boats and another moai. Before, I turned around to go back, I found a cave with a few paintings and awesome cliffs. For breakfast, the hostel gave us bread, a tortilla, and tea. After breakfast, I went SCUBA diving with Amanda Bell and Hanna. The instructor taught us everything we needed to know in about 10 minutes. The dive was incredible. We saw many colorful fish, a few eels and a moai. We paid about $55US a person and we shared the cost of the pictures which was $18US. After lunch, I went to Volcano Orango. At the top, I paid $8US to enter the former ceremonial lands of the indigenous people. Seeing the island of the Birdman was incredible. Probably my favorite part of the trip. Now the volcano is a huge crater filled with sweet water. Coming down from the mountain, I got a little lost, but eventually found my way. I was exhausted by the end of the day. At night, I played cards with David, Cathleen, Hanna, and Laura B.

Day 3

I went to mass with David and Joe at 9am. They played Rapa Nui music which was pretty cool. David was able to sit on the altar because he met with the priest the other day....not to mention he's a seminarian. After mass, there was a procession to the hospital. It was interesting to see the art in the church because it was the combination of Catholicism and the Rapa Nui myths.
After church, Joe and I met up with Amanda and Stefan. We rented a truck which Joe named Reba. We went to many places along the coast. At one point my camera broke. The lense won't move and it keeps telling me lens error. After the coast, we went to Raraka (the factory of the moai...where they were made). There were 400 moai on this mountain alone. We ate lunch in front of a line of 15 moai along the coast. There we found a cave with a lot of bones in it...not sure if they were human or not. Outside we found the skull of a horse which Joe named Ned. We took Ned with us on our journey. After this, we went to Ovahe, which I named Paradise Lost. It was a beach which we thought was very remote, but people saw Reba from the road and followed us. However, we still had a great time in the water. Paradise Lost was really cool because it had a cave in the side of a mountain. Afterwards, we went to the famous beach called Ana Kena. We didn't like that beach to much because it was crowded. After the beach, Amanda taught me how to drive stick. I stalled 5 times, but now I feel comfortable driving a stick. To end the great day, we followed the sunset which was insane.

Day 4

This morning I went to the diving place with Amanda and Hanna to pick up our pictures. I had the same expression in every picture (blue steel from zoolander) but they were still really cool. From the same place, we rented snorkel gear, and took a taxi to Ana Kena. Our driver was super nice and his son was really cute. At the beach, we went snorkeling and saw even more cool fish. I think I saw the shell of a rape rape (a mix between a crab and a lobster...only found on the island). My favorite fish was half orange and half blue, but my favorite fist from the SCUBA diving was bright green with neon pink stripes. After Amanda and Hanna were done, I took Laura M. and Kara snorkeling, and then Beth went by herself. Our cab driver took us back to the hostel at 5pm. From there, I went shopping and bought really cool bamboo picture frames. At night, I got a text from my chilean friend that said that I received a 4.4 on my philosophy test which is like a 76%...a lot better than the 2.2 I got the first time.

Last Day

In the morning, I ate breakfast and then went shopping. I got my passport stamped and bought cool gifts for family and friends. On the plane home, I listened to some great spanish music. My favorites were by Sin Bandera and Thalia.
Unfortunately, when I got home, I received an e-mail from a girl on my loyola water polo team that informed me that one of our teammates had died. James Phillip Bowman was a 33 yr old mechanical engineer grad student who just received his masters from loyola last month. He suffered a heart attack while playing a pick-up game of roller hockey. He was an incredible guy and he will definitely be missed. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

We Won!!!

Friday night was my first water polo game with my club, Stadio Italiano. We played a team of old guys...I thinks the teams name was ORCOS or OSCS...let's call them DORKOS...yeah, that sounds better. I played pretty well. I was only kicked out once, and I was able to draw four kickouts. I scored twice, but one didn't count...I still don't know why. Anyways, we won 15-6 and the guys from my team asked me to go to dinner with them afterwards. It feels like they're accepting me as one of their own; it's awesome. Today, I bought a ticket for the world cup qualifier game this wednesday between Chile and Bolivia. Chile only needs to tie to qualify for the world cup. They beat Paraguay last night 2-0. Then friday morning, I'm off to Easter Island.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Argentina actually accepted me!!!

Last weekend, I didn't do much. Saturday night, I went to a birthday party for a kid on my water polo team. It was a little awkward because I was the only foreigner there, but they talked to me and they're are really great guys. Sunday night, I went to Esteban's house and played some madden like usual...and as usual, I lost. Monday, I met up with a group of chileans after my philosophy class to help them with their english class. Over the weekend, they gave me a short story in english to read for them. Monday, I gave them a short summary of the story. Wednesday, they returned the favor and revised my essay for my poverty and development class. Today, I got back an essay for my poverty class that I turned in about a month ago. I got a seven out of seven, which is awesome because it's really rare to get a perfect score in chilean schools. All in all, my week was pretty calm, but this weekend is my first water polo tournament. It'll be great to see how good our team really is.

P.S. One day this week, I received my acceptance letter from my university in Argentina, la Universidad del Salvador. I'm really excited. It's going to be a whole new experience because the university has 16,000 students.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Jam-packed Two Weeks...Can You Handle It?

I'm going to start with two Saturdays ago. In the afternoon, my water polo team and I had a scrimmage amongst ourselves, and then we had a cook-out at the pool. It was great because I was able to talk to Enrique for awhile. He's a really cool guy. After the cook-out, the guys on the team asked me to play soccer with them, and so I did. It was a blast. Some of the guys were really good. Sunday, I went to church with my family and then afterwards, we went to a bakery called "Laura's Sweets." My mom bought pieces of almond cake, orange cake, and coffee cake. I can't even describe how incredible they were...I was in heaven. Monday, we had an easy practice because Thursday and Friday are holidays. Thursday is the anniversary of the day that Chile won it's first and only naval battle...it was against Peru. Tuesday, I went to my social work and the kids asked me to play soccer with them. Even though, I had to stay at the foundation much longer than usual, I did play with them. These kids were even better than the guys on my wopo team. I think there's something in the water down here...hopefully I get infected with it so I can have some talent with soccer. Wednesday morning, I met up with Cathleen to plan our weekend trip to northern Chile and to print out our plane tickets. Afterwards, I wrote my journal entry for my social work, and met up with Greg, Laura, and Arturo for lunch. We ate at a Peruvian restaurant. It was so good because Peruvians use a lot of spice, and Chileans don't...so it was a great change. At water polo practice that night, the guys taught me ways to insult people in spanish even though I'll probably never use them. I talked a lot with our goalkeeper who's really cool. That night, I stayed up until 3am packing my stuff for my trip. At 6am my transfer to the airport picked me up. At a Dunkin' Donuts in the airport, I got an awesome donut and great mint chocolate hot chocolate. Unfortunately, in the plane I kept having that kind of dream where you fall of a cliff. The guy sitting next to me must have thought I was weird because I would jump in my chair every two minutes. From the airport in Antofagasta, Aerospace bused us to the bus terminal. We had some time to spare, so went to a book fair, where I bought "La Niebla." Then we met up with Cathleen's friend, Samantha. She's teaching english in Antofagasta. Then we took our bus to Iquique and arrived there a little before 7pm. We stayed at Backpackers' hostel and it was a little weird. In the same stall as the toilets...was the shower. Anyways, we met up with Tony, Rob, Ken, Caitlin, and Anna. Cathleen and I went to an overrated cafe for dinner, and then we walked past a carnival that had the ride I was on with Matt in Ocean City years ago. My mom has a recording of it, but I don't know where it is. After dinner, we met up with the other group and hit the casino. So of course at first, I lose $20, but then I reluctantly tried my luck again, but this time at the roullette table. It paid off because I won back the money I lost plus a little extra. The worker of the table told me to play the numbers 5 and 17 because they were hitting all night. So I did, and I won three times on the number 17. The next day, Friday, we had breakfast with Cathleen's German friends, Stefi and Hanis. Cathleen and I then took I tour of certain parts of Iquique with our guide Felipe. First, we went to a run-down mineral producing factory where I collected nails, rocks, and seeds for my collection. Then we went to Homberstone, the run-down town of the factory. It had a really cool metal pool. Then we saw the geogliphs carved in the sides of mountains. For lunch we ate at Don Williams, and chatted with a family from Santiago. Then, we visited two churches that had statues that freaked me out because they were a little too real. Before the tour ended, we were able to get pictures with huge statues of dinosaurs. On the way back to the hostel, the bus driver was crankin' out some '90s mtv hits. I felt like I was back in the states. At night, we went to the duty-free mall called zofri. So I figured out that there is no word for cologne in spanish, it's perfume. So spanish-speaking men were male-scented perfume. We had MickyDee's for dinner. That night, we took a bus to Calama. At two in the morning we had to have our luggage checked for drugs...I think they could have waited until the morning. It was freezing cold in Calama. We met up again witht the other group and got a bus to San Pedro de Atacama. At 9am we arrived. No tour agencies were open, so we went straight to our hostel called "Mama Tierra." San Pedro is what I thought Chile would be like before I arrived in Chile. There's only dirt roads, houses made of adobe, and just a really calm atmosphere. At a feria, I bought a really nice hand-crafted chess set for $10. When I tried to take out money for an atm, I discovered they didn't accept visa. Well that put a stop to my shopping for souveniers for family and friends unfortunately. First, we booked three tours with Atacama Connection and then ate at Todo Natural. I had an incredible ham and cheese pancake. Then, we made reservations for the star-gazing tour. Kevin, Julia, Greg, and the other group went sandboarding in the afternoon, while Cathleen and I went to the Salar de Atacama. First we stopped to look at a tree...I'm still trying to figure out why. Then when we went to see a church, I was kissed by a llama named Macarena. She wouldn't take no for an answer...haha. Then we watched the sunset surrounded by beautiful mountains and dozens of flamingos. Our guide was german and her name was Claudia. Side note: Mama Tierra had an awesome Colombian hammock. The next day, Sunday, we woke up at 3:30am for a tour and our bus was 30 minutes late. That morning it was -20 degrees Celsius. It took two hours to get to the Tatio Geysers. Victor was the name of our guide. Midway through the tour, I got altitude sickness. I got very dizzy and nearly collapsed. Victor gave me some oxygen, and I was back to normal. Then, I decided to get in the thermal there, which felt so nice. Afterwards, we ate llama in the town of Machuco. In the afternoon, we went sandboarding in Death Valley which was really cool, and we watched the sunset in the Moon Valley. I talked a lot to our new guide and was able to learn a lot from him about the surrounding area. At night, we ate at Paso por Chez Michel for really cheap and then we met up with Kevin and Julia for the stargazing tour. It was really cool. I was able to see the cross, the scorpion, the centaur, the jewel box, star clusters, the sombrero galaxy and Saturn. One thing I learned was that with the technology we have know, it would take us thousands of years to fly to the stars. Since they are so far away, we actually see the stars of years past. Then, Monday we took a bus to Antofagasta and almost missed our flight to Santiago. Before I got on the plane, I had the most incredible completo...hotdog with tomatoe, mayo, and chile. On the plane I played Peek-a-Boo with one year-old Lucas. He was so cute. The rest of this week I studied my butt off for my modern philosophy test that was Wednesday and my state test that was Thursday. Yesterday, I went to Isla Negra which is on of Pablo Neruda's houses. It's so beautiful right on the water. My favorite room was the one filled with seashells from all over the world. Pablo is buried there in his backyard. For lunch, I had ate salmon with shrimp sauce. It was really good. During lunch, I talk to two exchange students from Mexico, Christy and Cynthia. There were very nice and I was able to hold a conversation with them pretty easily in spanish. After lunch, we went to see the biggest pool in the world. It is shared by 5 separate hotels. Literally it's the size of at least a dozen football fields. And now, I'm just trying to recover from the last two crazy weeks.

If you want to see my pictures on facebook and don't have an account, e-mail me and I can send you my name and password so you can see them.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Rollercoaster Week

The week didn't start off too well. I was incredibly homesick (*fish) sunday night and all day monday. Then on monday, I received back my philosophy exam which didn't help my mood at all. I received a 2.2 out of 7. I was absolutely devastated. I was a mess. For each essay question, the teacher wrote that I didn't answer the questions that he asked. I was really confused because I thought that I did answer the questions in the way he wanted. He told me that we would talk wednesday after class. Tuesday, I didn't have to go to my social work, which was great because I was able to get a lot of reading done for my classes. Wednesday morning, I worked on a presentation for my poverty class which was due Thursday. With students that work with me where I do social work, we had to present to the class what we actually do at the Foundation Cerro Navia Joven. Before my philosophy, I met with my group and we split up the work that we needed to do for the powerpoint presentation. I then went to my philosophy class 30 minutes hoping to talk to my professor. He showed up less than 10 minutes before class started, but we still were able to talk. He read over my test again, and said that he could see that I studied really hard. He told me that I wrote about the metaphysics (theories of reason) of Descartes, instead of his basic themes. That was the only problem. What I wrote was correct, but it was about the theories of Descartes that must not have been important for the class. I understand now the difference in between the two types of theories...I think...it's still confusing. He told me that for the next test that I should sit with the grad student who helps the teacher and tell him what I think about the answers before I begin to write. He'll make sure I'm on the right track. At the end of our conversation, my professor told to not worry about anything. He'll fix this first grade at the end of the semester. All in all I felt a little bit better afterwards. During the class, we learned about the philosopher Kant. I really tried to understand what his theories were, but I was a little lost. After the class, I went to the professor to clear up a few points and he was able to clear all of them up for me. It was a little confidence boost being able to understand what Kant's thoughts were. At water polo practice that night, all we did was scrimmage. I didn't like it because everybody came to practice...especially the ones that don't come when we swim for 75% of the practice. Anyways, I didn't get to play much because they don't trust me as a solid player yet. Thursday in my poetry class, I received an essay back which helped my mood a little. I received a 6.7. In the afternoon, my social work group presented our foundation to the class. The presentation lasted 40 minutes. It went very well. After class, I went to an artesan fair with Caitlin and Laura. A lady there tried to get me to buy a purple sweater with the head of a wolf on it. I love talking to people so I flattered her and tried it on and also told her why I was in Chile. I looked ridiculous in the sweater. I felt bad for saying no to the lady, but it definitely wasn't for me. After dinner, Caitlin, Laura and I went to Amanda W.'s volleyball game. From there, Caitlin and Laura went home, while I went with Amanda and Ken to Esteban's house. We had a good night playing madden and winning eleven. This weekend I need to get a lot done, because in two weeks I have a state exam and a philosophy exam. In addition to that, I'm travelling to the north of Chile next weekend, so I won't have much time to study. Oh...totally forgot. Happy birthday Rachel!!! I hope you like the beautiful sweater I sent you...haha.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

A Great, Tranquil Weekend

Friday night, I did not go to practice because we had a big dinner for Pablo after his graduation ceremony. The food was great and we had a merengue pie that was to die for. Fabiana, Juan Pablo, Pancho, Niko, Marta, Valentina, Pablo, my mom, my grandmother, and I were at the dinner. It was great to have big family dinner. Afterwards, I met up with Claudio, Rob, Brittany, Eli and Pia. We just relaxed at Pia's apartment, and talked until 6am. I love having Chilean friends because my spanish is really improving. I didn't feel too bad staying out too late because I wrote two essays during the day friday. Saturday, I shopped for mother's day gifts for my host mom, her sister, and mama Ana. I got my host mom and her sister each a set of hand cream and spray, and I bought mama Ana a scarf. Then, after working on an presentation for class, I went out with Laura, Cathleen, Arturo and Stephanie. It wasn't that exciting of a night, but we did have fun. I had some really good mango juice and shared a pizza with Laura. This morning, I went to church at 9am, and then called my mom, Nan, and Corinne's mom to say happy mother's day. Then my host mom and I went to her sister, Marta's house for a mother's day cook-out. The food was absolutely amazing. The meat was incredibly tender, and I ate until I couldn't possibly eat anymore. After lunch, I danced in a circle with Carlie (4 years old), Darinka (9), Gabriel (12), Valentina (14), my mom, and Marta. Carlie was telling us what to do. It was so funny. Darinka and Carlie were so cute. They were very timid around me at first, but by the end of lunch, they wouldn't leave me alone....haha. After we ate "3 milk" pie (don't knock it, until you try it), we watched a horror movie about the loch ness monster. We had such a great time.

Friday, May 8, 2009

First Grades

This week I got my first grades from three of my classes. The grading scale in Chile is 0.0 to 7.0; 7.0 being the highest. In my class called State: Transformations and Roles, I received a 4.0 on my three question essay exam. I'm not too happy, but the class is ridiculously hard...even if it was in english, it would be hard. Somehow a 4.0 on the Loyola grading scale equals a B-, so it's not that bad. In my class called Poverty and Development, I received a 6.5 on a two page paper I had to write on globalization. On the Loyola scale, 6.5 is an A. In my class called Poetry: Latin America and the Society, I received a 6.5 on my one question essay exam. So overall, I'm pretty happy. This weekend I have a lot to do. I have two papers, one oral presentation, and tons of reading for each class. Also, this sunday I'm taking my Chilean host mother out to dinner for Mother's Day. Tonight, we are having a big dinner because my Chilean host brother has his graduation from college tonight (2nd degree: 1st in history and now in teaching).
Wednesday night at wopo practice, we scrimmaged while wearing t-shirts and jean shorts. My best friend was on the other team. When he grabbed my t-shirt to keep me from swimming, I tried to swim faster, and accidently punched him in the nose. Now, he has a big bump on his nose, but luckily it's not broken. Hey...that's water polo and I was able to score because of it.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Off to the Campo (Farm)

Last Thursday night, I went to see Amanda W.'s volleyball game at San Ignacio. Unfortunately, she lost. Afterwards, I met up with Laura, Stephanie, Arturo, and a few of Laura's Chilean friends. First, we went to a pub and I talked to Arturo (a Mexican) and Esteban (a Chilean) about US politics. They absolutely love Barrack Obama. After the pub, we went to a dance club called Blondie. We had a really great time. I danced on the stage and the balcony. I got back to my house a little before 7am. Friday, I met up with Rob, Eli, Hanna, Brittany, Pia and Claudio to go to Claudio's grandparents' farm house for the weekend. It took us two hours to get there. The town was called Patagua. After dinner, we went for a walk around the farm. It was really dark. Eli was really scared, so we all hid around the farm and tried to scare her. I fell in a really deep hole, but luckily didn't get hurt. Later, we went to a friend of Claudio's farm house and talked to a bunch of people. I was the tallest by at least a foot. Pia and I rode bicycles around the neighborhood. The next day, we had pino empanadas for lunch. They were so good. I tried one of Chile's hottest peppers...ummm...yeah...it was incredibly hot. After lunch, I learned to drive a manual tractor...now I just need to learn how to drive a manual car. Later, we went to a wine festival. There we saw the cueca (Chile's national dance), I rode a mechanical bull and learned that many spanish words have double meanings in Chile. At night, we went to a farm disco, which was a little strange, but fun. It was right next to an abandoned rodeo, where I found a lonely, sad horse. I felt bad for him. The next day we had a really big cookout. The grandfather thought I was from Argentina because I couldn't understand him. People from the farm here, speak very differently. Before we left, I went for a walk around the farm with Jacke (Claudio's aunt), Camilla (Claudio's cousin), Hanna and Pia. From Jacke I learned a lot about the farm. After every corn harvest, they burn the whole farm because it enriches the soil. It's very dangerous, but somehow the wind controls the fire. During the winter, they grow lemons and oranges. We left the farm around 6:15pm.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Too Much English

Yesterday, I decided to go to church with Hanna because she always went with me to Catholic churches during our February vacation. I think it was a Non-Demoninational church. When we entered the church, a man handed a book with all the hymns and said, "good morning" in english. It took me by surprise. I asked Hanna why they are talking in english and she told me that it's an english service. For some reason, I felt really uncomfortable. Being here, I'm trying to get as far away as possible from english. Afterwards, Hanna introduced me to some of her friends of the Church and we spoke in english. It was just too much english for me. In the afternoon, I went to an art museum called Bellas Artes. I went with Arturo, Hanna, and Brittany. Arturo is absolutely hilarious. He always is full of energy and always has something to say. After the museum, we got banana and honey ice cream that was absolutely delicious. After dinner, I finished my reading for my Poverty and Development class. This morning I went for a run, and realized that I really like running past smokers because it's like I'm making sure they know that smoking is unhealthy. Sometimes I just want to turn to them and ask them, "Why are you doing this to yourself?"

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Just Poloin'

Last night, I met up with my group of gringos because during the past week it was three people's birthdays. We just went to a pub and I talked to Arturo for awhile...he's a part of the exchange program, but he's from Mexico. Afterwards everyone went dancing, but I didn't because I was feeling a little under the weather and I had a game the next day.

Today, I had a wopo game at 3pm at el Estadio Nacional. We played the Chilean selection team again, so it was pretty much just a scrimmage. Amanda W. and Liz came to see the game. Afterwards, we went to Bravissimo for ice cream. I had an amazing sundae that had a delicious Sunday in the middle. I'm still feeling a little congested, so I'm not going to do anything tonight. I hope it passes soon.

Friday, April 24, 2009

First Tests

Wednesday was my first test this semester. It was for my modern philosophy class. The test focused on three works written by Rene Descartes. I think I did alright. I studied with my Chilean friend, Natacha, before the test. The teacher came in the class, read off three questions, and then we had an hour and a half to right three essays. I ended up writing a total of three pages. It was a little rough, but not too bad. I think I did better on my state test Thursday. I understood the questions better, and I feel I knew a lot more. The test format was the same. I wrote three and a half pages for this test. After my philosophy test Wednesday, I bought an as from school. Yes, it's spelled right. An as is like a philly cheese steak with avocado, mayo, and tomatoe. It was so good. It's definitely my favorite Chilean fast food. For $1.50, I got an as that was as big as a subway footlong roll and juice...can't get better than that. Wednesday night at water polo practice, we played in the outdoor pool that we usually do, but now it has a huge globe over it...thank God...it was getting cold. Yesterday, I planned a trip to the north of Chile with a friend who also goes to Loyola in Maryland. We are going to Iquique, San Pedro de Atacama, and Antofagasta between May 21st and May 25th. We got an unbelievable deal on the plane tickets. This morning, we went to the bus station and bought our tickets, so we can travel between the cities up north. This afternoon, I got my haircut. I don't know. I think I like talking to the hairdressers here more. In the states, sometimes it's just awkward.

Last Sunday, a sophomore from Loyola in Maryland was killed in a hotel room in Towson. Her parents and little sister came down for the weekend, and it is suspected that her father killed the whole family and then himself. He is suspected to have been involved in illegal scandals with his clients. He was a lawyer in New York. My heart goes out to the family and friends of Stephanie. I just want to say to all my family and friends that I love you and that I really, really miss you. What I've learned from this is to not take anything or ANYONE for granted.

With All the Love I Can Give


Monday, April 20, 2009

I Love Speaking Spanish!!!

I spent the whole morning in the library studying for my two tests this week. Before class, I met David and Fabian, who are in my Philosophy class. They are both Jesuits, and really nice guys. We had a great conversation, and they invited me to study with them Wednesday. After class, I went with my Chilean friend Natacha to a philosophy presentation. At practice, I met Xander, who is from Holland. He's a really great guy. It's kind of nice to have another gringo on the team. After practice, I took the metro home with Carlos. We had an awesome conversation about school, water polo, and more water polo.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Burger That They Served on Noah's Ark

Well, hello there. Thursday was nothing special; just another day of class. At night, I went to my friend Esteban's house to play Madden 08 until 3am...he beat me in all 7 games. Friday, I read literally all day until my head hurt. At water polo practice, we worked on ball control and anticipation on defense. Then, we scrimmaged for about an hour. Afterwards, I went to Esteban's to watch the end of the Brewers/Mets game. The Mets won in the bottom of the ninth. Esteban was bragging about how latino ballplayers are really good...which is true. We played one game of Madden, and I actually won. It was like a miracle because he's beat me the last 20some times. I was the Ravens and he was the Vikings. Saturday, I went to Santa Lucia to study for a bit. There was a really cool, young religious group there singing some pretty cool songs. Unfortunately, I couldn't find Corinne's name at Santa Lucia....she wrote her name on one of the rocks there when she studied in Chile during high school. After studying, I went shopping and bought two jerseys and a sweater. One jersey is of the Chilean National soccer team and the other is of la Universidad de Chile...my favorite professional Chilean soccer team. Soooo...the sweater. You might think it's ridiculous, but I absolutely love it....judge for yourself. And yes, it will stretch out. I need to soak it in water. It's made up sheep's wool. At about midnigt, I had second dinner with a few friends at the Break House. I had a really good burger called the Noah Burger. It had lettuce, tomatoe, pickles, chili sauce, and mayo. It was surved in a plastic container that looked like Noah's ark....no, just kidding. Today, I went to 9am mass, and then studied until lunch. At lunch, I called my grandmother a liar...we are close enough that I can do that...because she said that she saw on tv that a boy ate a seed of somesort, then it somehow got into his lung, and then it grew into a plant. Guess what? She was right. We saw pictures of it and the article on line. We also watched a video of Susan Boyle, the lady from British Idol. In the afternoon, I sadly watched la Universidad de Chile lose to Colo Colo...a team that I think of as the Yankees. Not fun, when most of the city cheers for Colo Colo.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Soccer and Jesus

Saturday morning, Brittany told me that the University of Chile...my favorite team...had a game that night and she really wanted to go. We went to the stadium at 10am to get tickets for the game at 6:30pm. We talked to a few fans in line and they told us that the game that night against Santiago Morning...which Brittany and I called Sunday Morning...would be an easy win for the U. Well, we went to the game, but the U didn't play too well. They had some chances, but couldn't capitalize. Every good chance Sunday Morning had, they were able to put it in the back of the net. The U lost 3-1. The one awesome thing about the game was that everytime Sunday morning scored, the U fans would cheer even louder to get the U back in the game. After the game, I went to the Easter Vigil with my family. For Easter, it was just like any other Sunday. My family didn't do anything out of the ordinary. At night, I went to see Jesus Christ Superstar with Rob, Eli, Laura, Hanna, and Pia. I forgot how much I loved this musical. It was absolutely phenomenal. Even though it was in spanish, the music and rhythm were exactly the same as they are in english. The actors were really great, especially Jesus and King Herod.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Descartes in Spanish

Thursday, I spent the whole day in the library reading political theory and philosophy...worst day ever. At night, I went and bought theatre tickets for Jesus Christ Superstar in spanish. It's on Easter at 8:30pm. Yesterday, I went to the fish market with Eli, Mama Ana, Martina, and Brittney. We ate at a really good restaurant and I had a seafood stew...a little too fishy for me, but it was still good. Last night, I walked in a procession of the Way of the Cross. In the streets, teenagers acted out the stations of the cross.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Where Have All the Years Gone?

To start off my birthday, Corinne and her roommates called me and sung happy birthday. I couldn't stop smiling. Then at breakfast, my host mom told me how great of a person I was...I almost started to cry. Then, I opened my box of goodies from my parents...peanut butter, sour skittles, butterfingers, tootsie pops, OLD BAY, gum, confetti, and a happy birthday sign. I never realized how much I love candy. At class, my good friend Natacha gave me a cool book about Indigenous groups for my birthday. For dinner, Rob and Laura came over, and we had mussels and clams with OLD BAY....I was in heaven. Then, I went over to Eli's house for some more sweets. I brought Mama Ana some Old Bay. She loved the smell. The pastry she made was kind of like pancakes with melted caramel. It was really good.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


4:30-5:50pm Philosophy
8:00-10:00pm Water Polo
8:30-9:50am State
10:00-11:20am Poetry
4:00-9:30pm Service
3:00-4:20pm Estado
4:30-5:50pm Philosophy
8:00-10:00pm Water Polo
8:30-9:50am State
10:00-11:20am Poetry
3:00-5:50pm Poverty and Development
8:00-10:00pm Water Polo

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Surprise in the Japanese Garden

Palm Sunday was the day of the Santiago Marathon. A few of my friends ran in it, but I didn't. Starting in May, I'm going to train for the Buenos Aires Marathon on October 11th. Before church, I walked in a Palm Sunday procession with a few friends. It was really nice. PS Chileans use full palm branches...so cool. After church, we planned to have a small picnic...nothing special. However, when we arrived at the Japanese Garden, 20 or so of my friends popped out and surprised me. It was a surprise birthday party for me. I had no clue. It was great. We stayed at the park for a few hours just eating and playing football. After the park, I went over Esteban's house and watched the Phillies-Braves game. Braves won by hitting four homers in the first two innings. Monday at wopo practice, we had "evaluations." This consisted of swimming one thousand meters for time. My time was 16:19. After practice, I came home and rehearsed with my group for the play we had to act out for today. Then, I went to Esteban's to watch the NCAA Championship Basketball Game. Today, our teacher was really impressed with our play. We received a perfect score of 7. At service this afternoon, I talked with Carlos for about a half hour...one on one. It was really great. I was able to practice my spanish and we actually had a pretty decent conversation.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Wine Festival

Friday night, we threw a party for Fernando. Fernando is from Uruguay and the host cousin of Hanna. He has lived with Hanna's host family in Santiago for one and a half years, but is now moving back to Uruguay to be with his girlfriend and because he got a really good job. The party was very nice and calm. Afterwards people wanted to go to a bar, but Fernando is not the bar type. I was going to go home until Fernando said he was going to go, so I went so he could have someone to talk to. We talked for about an hour about stereotypes, South America, and the US. Fernando is a really nice guy, and is very easy to talk to. He's...I would say...28. Today, I went to a wine festival in Pirque, Chile. It was very nice. They even gave us glass wine glasses to keep. They also had a rodeo there, but I couldn't watch because the cowboys were cruel to the calfs. All in all, it was a nice relaxing day.

Friday, April 3, 2009


Wednesday night, Chile played Uruguay in a World Cup Qualifier. I watched the first half with my grandmother, and the second half with my friends at a restaurant. The game ended in a 0-0 time, which isn't bad for Chile because apparently Uruguay is supposed to be really good. At the restaurant, I met Richie and Juan Pablo. Juan Pablo was a really nice guy and is studying medicine in Santiage. Richie...umm...was a bit different. He's in the Chilean navy and is a boxer, but he is on medical leave because he has problems with his man parts...he told me this before he told me his name. Yesterday's classes went pretty well. I was able to completely understand my state class...woohoo! After lunch, guess who called? Richie! He wanted me to meet up with him at mall that's pretty far away, so that didn't happen. He invited me to a party was having, but he needed my last name and the full names of my friends that I would bring...I'm not giving out people's names...so that didn't happen. After my 3pm class, I worked on a play that we have to perform for poetry class with a few friends. After dinner I tried mate (maatay) for the first time. It's like opening a teabag, putting it in a cup, pouring hot water in the cup and using a straw to drink the liquid. It's kind of between a coffee and a tea. I think it's really good. It does give you energy, so it's probably more like coffee. At night, I met up with Stefani, Rob, and Eli at Plaza Brasil and we went to a cumbia concert. There, we met up with almost 10 other people from my class. I've never heard music like cumbia before. I can't describe...look it up online. It's fun and crazy...I can't think of any other words for it. I'm still a little confused by it. On the way home, I took a taxi and had a really good conversation with the driver about Chile, Obama, Argentina, cumbia, mate, Chilean food, etc.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

That's Just the Way It Is

Monday was just a normal day of class. At water polo practice, we practiced with the Chilean selection again. They left for the South American Cup in Argentina Tuesday. Yesterday for my state class, my teacher came late, so he sped through his notes. I didn't get much of what he said. In poetry, we had a paper due on racism in Chile. I interviewed my family here to get an understanding of the topic. The indigenous people in Chile, the Mapuche, are not liked because some Chileans are just ignorant of their culture and also because some Chileans feel that they are just different and shouldn't be in Chile. Most Chileans don't like Peruvians or Bolivians because there is a history of border conflicts, which Chile has won. Currently, there are disagreements of Pacific Ocean ownership. At night, I went to Cerro Navia for service. When I got there, I found out that one of the boys of the population I work with had died. I never met the boy, Christopher, but the social worker I work with, Ximena, had known him for two years. Apparently, everyone knows who killed him, but nothing will be said because it was a close friend of all the boys, even Christopher. I was told this all occurred at a party, where everyone was really drunk. The social workers told me that that's how life is there. It's just a really complicated situation. When I got back to the foundation after walking around with Ximena, I taught an english class to some of the neighborhood kids. They were extremely obnoxious, but fun. Today, I went to the Argentinean Consulate and Embassy. Both places told me that I can't get a student visa, unless I study there for at least two years. They told me to go as a tourist.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Burns, Goals, and Burger King

Yesterday, I played wopo at the Chilean National Stadium against the Chilean selection team. It took me forever to find the stadium because my map was incorrect. Even though we didn't have any subs, we still pulled out a win. I forgot to put sunscreen on and got burned pretty bad. Last night, I played poker with Esteban until 4am. We also got Burger King...the taste is a little different but still good. Today, we played the selection team again. We had to borrow a few players because we didn't have enough. I feel like I played better today, and I was able to put three in the net. Right now I wish I could go to sleep, but I have a lot of work to do.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Yes Man

Yesterday was just another long day of classes...nothing too special other than getting some of my school books. At night, I watched the movie "Yes Man." I thought it was pretty funny, but I was expecting it to be funnier. This morning I read and read and read for my state class. Over 600 pages due by the end of Holy Week...woohoo. It's not that bad. It's just boring. After lunch, I talked to Corinne for a little bit =) Tonight, I met up with Emerson and Fabian at a discoteque. We had a great time. I'm really glad I went. I was thinking about going to bed early, but I thought...hey why not. I even ran into Marcelo on my way home. So...I think I'm going to take the Yes Man approach for now on and say yes to things even if I don't feel like doing them. Of course there will be exceptions...duh.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

First Polo Game

So...I'm finally caught up with my blog. What I'm writing actually happened today. This morning, I talked to Matt on aim for awhile. It was really great to hear from him. I went to the helping class that's scheduled for my state class. It didn't help much because the grad student talks faster than the teacher, but whatever hopefully I can get my book tomorrow. I'm feeling more confident in philosophy because I can understand most of what the teacher is saying. After class, I went to wopo practice and paid the coach my membership fee. Come to find out, there was a scrimmage scheduled against the Chilean selection...the best 18yr old water polo players in all of Chile. We didn't fair too bad. I got scored on three times, but hey who's counting?!?! They just beat me down the pool. I think a few more weeks should help. I only shot once and it hit the top left corner and barred down, but I got just a bit too much bar. My whole team and I let out a big sigh because we thought it was going in. It just trickled on the line.

Some Old Pics

All of these pictures are taken in Pichelemu, Chile.

Service 3-24

In poetry class, I said another word that has a double meaning. I don't even mean to do it. I ate lunch at home with the fam and Ruthie who studied here two semesters ago. She's here visiting. I had no idea what to expect at Cerro Navia. I walked around the town Vinete with Jimena, a social worker. We just walked around and talked to teenagers about school and drugs. They were a lot more open then I thought they would be. I feel like I should be doing this kind of work. It's great.

Treading with Chairs 3-23

I did a little reading in the morning. Then, after lunch I tried to get my picture taken for my pase escolar, but of course it didn't work out. I have to go see a lady named Claudia tomorrow. I didn't really understand anything in my philosophy class and the teacher's handwriting is atrocious. However, Natacha was able to help me. Water polo practice was a killer. We swam a whole lot and did a lot of leg work. We even had to tread water while holding plastic lawn chairs over our heads, but I can feel myself getting stronger. I mad friends with Carlos, Jaimpa, Gavino, and Marco.

Stressful Planning 3-22

Thursday in Poetry class, I said a sentence that has a double meaning which was apparently sexual. It was so funny because I didn't even realize it. Friday, I woke up early and the gang and I ran to the gym playground. Then, I went to Lider with Laura and Eli to buy food for Hanna's birthday party. After that, Laura and I went to Club Magiko to make reservations, but it was a little too sketchy. I then got ice cream at Bravissimo with the gang. After signing up for my state photo copies, I had dinner and went to polo practice. It was great. The guys were really good and I was dead afterwards. P.S. I feel in love with the NUTS4NUTS stand...honey roasted peanuts. Straight from practice, I went to Hanna's party. The whole time there, I tried to find a club online for us to go to. Finally, Laura, Eli, and I walked over to Huracan and they agreed to let everyone in for free. Hanna liked it, so it went well. I was dead tired. We took a 9am bus to El Tabo. The house we rented was gross. I had to buy gas for the stove and almost got attacked by a dog in the process. At first, the gas didn't work, but the gas man, who I called Jorge, came and fixed it. Most of us went to the beach for the day, and just relaxed and talked. I collected a few shells. At night, I played soccer with other people...requirement was you had to be in your sleeping bag. Today, I woke up and made eggs for Eli, Rob, Hanna, and me. We took the 9:45am bus back to Santiago. I was nice and went to a Methodist church with Hanna. We were the only ones there...seriously. It was a very powerful mass and we really connected with the pastor and the band. We talked to them for awhile. I plan to go to a meeting there next Saturday.

PASEO 3-18

This morning, I ran with Caitlin, nicknamed La Kite...idk why I didn't make it up. Then, I went to Lider to get food for the Paseo. All the students of UAH went to this big park, which we described as the park where you would have field day. It was a great day. Esteban and Marcelo were there. I met up with Natacha and she introduced me to Daniel who is in love with the NBA. I also met a lot of students in the philosophy dept. Daniel is really nice and is in my philosophy class. I also met a whole lot of other Chileans, but I can't remember their names.

St. Patty's Day 3-17

In the morning, I picked up my poetry photo copies. After lunch, I went to Cerro Navia which is where I'm going to do service. It took forever to get there, and the guy who met us there, Sergio, didn't seem too enthused to see us.

You Put a Smile on My Face 3-16

At the end of philosophy class, I met Natacha who is also in my state class. She is really nice and is willing to help me. Today, I received two letters from Corinne. It made me really happy. I really hope that everything will work out and I'll be able to see her in El Salvador. At night, basketball practice was rough. We did a lot of running.

LOTERIA!!! 3-15

A bunch of us went over Hanna's and played Chile's version of BINGO. We had so much fun...crack jokes in spanish with Eli and Pia the entire time. At night, I went to the same mass as my house brother, Hector, and didn't even know it.


I shopped all day to find white clothes for White Sensation. It's a requirement to wear all white or they won't let you in. I found a nice pair of white shorts in the morning, but I wanted to check out other places. Then, of course, I didn't find another pair and when I went back, the store was closed. I eventually found a pair of white soccer shorts. Then, I looked for basketball shoes. I found a pair I really liked, but they didn't have my size because my feet are too big. Then, I met up with a few other students and went to the Precolumbino Museum for a school project. The museum was really cool. It had artifacts from the Incas, the Aztecs, etc. For my school project, I chose to write about a pink shell called Spondylus which is found near Ecuador 40m down on the ocean floor. The divers who would retrieve the shells led short lives because of the work they did. White Sensation was INSANE!!! On the metro there, everyone was wearing white and so pumped up. Inside the building, it was like a different world. It was the best techno I've ever heard with lasers and people hanging from the ceiling. I danced on top of a 10 foot pillar. I met Toni, Java, Kety, and Sebastian.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Cook-Out! 3-13

I went to the Inaugural Mass at school. They introduced two guys that are going into the seminary. At night, we had a cook-out at Lauren's house. I dared David, the seminarian, to jump in the pool, and he actually did it.

First Day of Class 3-12

I went to the wrong room for my Estado class...gonna be super hard. Then, I had the secretary Marisol help me find my second class, Poesia. I love the class and the teacher...the same teacher I had in January. I bought my ticket for White Sensation and then had my Poverty and Development class. Then, I ate the apple pie that I helped bake yesterday.


I called Corinne to wish her a happy birthday. In the afternoon, we had an orientation at school for exchange students and students from other regions of Santiago. I met Barbara, Veronica, and Camilo. They are so nice and amiable. At the free lunch, I ate three sandwiches and four postries. Then, a bunch of us went to a restaurant to just chill, and the waiter tried to flatter the gringas. It was really funny. At night, I helped Hanna bake an apple pie. Then, of course I called Corinne again and sung to her happy birthday in spanish.

I Met a Fifa World Cup Referree 3-10

I went to school and paid for my homestay...February and March. I discovered that my philosophy class changed times, so I ran all over the place and saw Isabel (my coordinator) three times. Long story short...there are other sections and everthing is fine. I went to the pool with Esteban. It was great. I met two lifeguards who were really funny and one referreed for the '98 Fifa World Cup. We also met Shaye, Kaitlin, and Ryan from American University. I talked with one of the lifeguards on the way home. At Manuel Montt, I ran into Fernando. I just e-mailed the Club of Providencia about water polo.

And It Begins! 3-9

Orientation today was like any other orientation...long and boring, but useful. We got a free lunch...which was great. There was a violinist who I think played popular spanish songs because people were laughing and smiling. I signed up for basketball at the fair. After orientation, I went to lunch with Chilean Political Science Majors. I met Jose who is a really nice guy. We talked for awhile. Then, I went to Esteban's house and played Madden '08. He kicked my butt.

Gnarly Dude!!! 3-8

The surfing lesson was at 11am, and Hanna and Fernando showed up. Hanna took the class with us. Apparently, Fernando is a really good surfer. The class consisted of four other people with us. We went out pretty far at first. I caught one good wave, but I couldn't coordinate my feet well enough to stand. In the shallows, I was able to stand for a few seconds. David was able to stand for the longest. When we returned to the school, we met a nice guy named Carlos and we ate lunch with him. He lived in St. Louis for awhile and now lives in Santiago. He loves to surf. Then, David and Joe went to the supermarket, and I got a rock and a crab claw from the beach. I talked to two nice old ladies at the palm tree park. We took the 6:45pm bus back to Santiago.

And the Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round 3-7

After dinner, I went to Brenna's house and had once. It was really nice and Esteban was there. Then, we went to a club on Calle Suecia. It was alright at first, but then I realized that it was March 7th... I got to bed around 5am. The bus to Pichelemu was at 9am. I met David and Joe at the station. I slept on the bus most of the way there. We stayed at the hostel Angel Azul for 3,500 pesos/night. I guess that included the bed bugs...gross! One of the surfing schools said the morning is better for surfing, so we decided to wait for the next day. We just went to the beach for the day and ate sandy sandwiches. At 7pm, we went to church, but it turned into a wedding. It was very simple, but the most important part seemed to be the signing of the marriage contract on the altar. For dinner, we ate burritos with Fernando and Hanna.

Argentina Visa 3-6

I went for a run this morning and went over the big bridge twice. Then, I went to the Argentinean Embassy and they told me to go to the Argentinean Consulate. The lady there told me that I didn't have to do anything until I go to Argentina. Then, I called Luis and apologized for not being able to go out tomorrow for his birthday. Hanna, Laura, and I ran into Sergio (from Torres del Paine) on Avenida Providencia.

More Chilean Friends 3-5

Today, I went to the pool Tuphue on Cerro San Cristobal. It was such an incredible pool. It had a huge rock in the center to lounge on. There, I met three Chilean guys...Luis, Fabian, and Emerson. They work at the clinic near Pedro de Valdivia. Luis really liked Anna.

Friday, March 20, 2009


Last night, our guide for the colcano told us the weather was too bad to go at 4am, so we were going at 7am. We woke up at 6am and had some cereal. Once we put all of our gear on, we went to the transfer van. We slept most of the way to Volcan Villarrica. Once there, we were told the clouds were covering too much of the volcano for us to go up safely. After a few crazy pics with some new friends, we went back to the hostel. We packed up all of our stuff and put it in Gustavo's make-shift office. Gustavo is from Uruguay and he's trying to travel for two years on a $200/month budget. He was working at backpacker's to pay for his stay. For lunch, I had two huge hotdogs with tomatoe, mayo and avocado. In the afternoon, Hanna and I went Hidrospeeding (spanish spelling). It's like white-water rafting, but instead of a raft, you use a boogie board. It was INSANE!!! I loved going up, down and through the huge class III and IV waves. Hidrospeed is only practiced in Chile and France. I don't know why it's not more popular. It's definitely the craziest and most fun extreme water sport. For dinner, Hanna, Lauren and I ate at Mama's and Tapas which of course I called Mama's and Papa's. It was a little expensive, but my pork sandwich that was called Churrasco Mamas was really good. After dinner, we got all of our bags and took a taxi to the bus terminal because we were almost late. We made the bus at 9pm and were on our way back to Santiago. I LOVE SOUTHERN CHILE! CHI-CHI-CHI LAY-LAY-LAY VIVA CHILE!!!