Tuesday, January 27, 2009

So I Fought Nature and It Kicked My Butt















































Just for clarification: I bought a sleeping bag and a sleeping pad...not 2 sleeping bags...thanks Dave. Sunday I went to Cascada de Animas (Waterfall of Spirits) to go white water rafting. It was $80 USD for transportation, rafting, lunch, and we could use the pool. So for my boat, my guide was named Benjamin (say it with a spanish accent). He gave us instructions in spanish and we were off. About 5 minutes into the trip, we hit a huge bolder and our boat got stuck on top of it. When the boat fell off, I was thrown into the river. The only scary part was, at first, I couldn't come up because I was under the boat. When I was able to surface, Benjamin threw me a rope, and the rescue boat picked me up. Then, I was taken back to the boat. I thought it was awesome. My favorite part was sitting in the front and getting hit by all the waves. No one else was thrown from their boat. After that, we went to the pool and then hiked to the waterfall which was incredible. I stood under the waterfall, but was yelled at by the guide because apparently I could have been hit in the head with a rock from above...woops. After getting back from the trip, I went to a show at La Moneda. The show featured a 50 feet woman/puppet which was held up by a crane. The show was incredible. Yesterday, I bought more stuff for my camping adventure. Today, I visited a place where I might do service. It was called Centro Abierto. It's an after school program for underpriveleged kids. The workers there took us to the house of two of kids who go there. We were able to talk to the family for about a half hour. It was really eye opening to see the poor side of Chile because I live in a city which can be compared to New York.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Future Plans

Last night, we went to a dance club for a girl in my class's birthday. Apparently, Chileans like to party really late. We left the dance club at 5am!!!! Yeah, I was exhausted, but it was worth it. We had so much fun! Today, I went to the park and did a little homework.
So my plans for the future are:
Tomorrow: White water rafting on a river named Maipu
February: Go camping in Patagonia, Torres del Paine, Tierra del Fuego, Ushuaia, Punta Arenas, and possibly hit Cape Horn. All these place are in the south of Chile.
Yesterday, I bought a hiking backpack, a sleeping bag, a sleeping bag, and a tent. I know I need more than this to go camping, but I'll get that stuff later. I'm so excited to camp in Torres del Paine. It's Chile's National Park.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Chile Can Be Disturbing and Beautiful
















On Tuesday, I went to a contemporary museum and it was so weird. One of the artists used his own tears, blood, and something else I don't want to mention to make his pieces of art. There was a room of embalmed dogs having a party, and two were hanging from the ceiling. There was a similar room with embalmed cats. One cool room had a man and desk made completely out of gold tacks. However, the most disturbing room was the room of art made of shaved human bones, and the music in the room was the sound of the artist cutting the bones. The next day we went to Pablo Neruda's house in Providencia. This house was absolutely amazing. I'm now a huge fan of Neruda. He lived such an interesting life. One of his best friends was Pablo Picasso. My favorite saying of his is "Hoy es hoy, ayer fue ayer...no hay duda." "Today is today, yesterday was yesterday...there is no doubt." Today, I went to the top of Cerro San Cristobal which has a huge statue of Mary at the top. The statue is so beautiful, and so are the views of all of Santiago. What I really liked was the area next to the statue, where you can light candles and leave notes for Mary. It was a very emotional experience.

Monday, January 19, 2009

An Absolutely Incredible Weekend
















Thursday, we all went to two different places to get forms and other things in order to get our Chilean IDs. It took a really long time, but we didn't have any problems. We can pick them up on January 30th. On Friday, we to an art museum under el Palacio de Moneda and then took a tour of el Palacio. The art museum was really cool...until I was yelled at for taking pictures where I wasn't supposed to...haha. El Palacio was beautiful, but the tour guide we had talked forever. It was such a long tour. After the tour, I tried to get Elton John tickets, but they were sold out. We are going to try to scalp them, if we can. Saturday, our group moderator took us all to Valparaiso, which is on the west coast. We went to one of Pablo Neruda's house, which was incredible. Then, we had a huge seafood lunch, which was paid for by the University. Then, I went shopping and bought a pair cool shoes. My shoe size in Chile is 43. That night, I ate a huge hot dog with mayo, lettuce, tomatoe, and avocado...sounds gross, but it was good. Then, we went to Cafe Journal, which was a three-story dance club. It was so much fun...I may or may not have danced on the tables and got cheered on by the whole club. No...I was not intoxicated. Yesterday, we went to church and then to the beach for about four hours. I got burned really bad. After that, I got some ice cream and got on the bus back to Providencia. Last night, I saw the most amazing show I've ever seen. It took up an entire block. There was a guy flying attached to a crane, people walking down the sides of the buildings, and a huge human wheel. It's really hard to explain, but it was awesome. This morning I went running with a few other students, and four stray dogs ran with us the whole time. It was so funny.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Burned to a Crisp!
















Yesterday, I went to the pool after class. The pool was really nice. It was at one of the best private high schools in Santiago. Everyone had a great time there, but we all got burned a little bit. Today in class, I had to present a story to the class with a partner. We all had to read the story for homework, but Rob and I directed the conversation in class...like we were the teachers. The teacher said we did a great job! After class, I walked to see the stadium where Elton John is playing. The stadium is huge, and I also found an amusement park called Fantasy Land. After a huge lunch, most of the group went to a mountain called Santa Lucia. It has many beautiful statues and crazy winding steps. There I tried a juice called el jugo de mote con huesillos. The juice was really good, but the peach and corn inside the drink was gross. After Santa Lucia, we went to a kind of flea market for tourists, and I bought a really nice Chilean flag for my room. The vendors there spoke so fast and they mumbled, so it was really hard to understand them. Tonight, I went to an Improv show. I didn't understand most of it because they spoke so fast, but at the end I was able to put most of it together. At the show, I met a guy from Thailand, who speaks Thai, English, and is learning Spanish. He is a chef at a Thai restaurant in Providencia. Tomorrow, as a class, we are going to get Chilean IDs.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Corinne, why did I like the giraffes so much?
















Sunday, after church, I went to the zoo with three friends from the US. It was about a half hour walk. The zoo is on the side of a mountain called el Cerro San Cristobal. This zoo was huge. We spent almost four hours there just looking at all the animals. The view of the city from the mountain was incredible. Yesterday, I started classes. I had a class called Latinamerican Stories and another called Conversation. In my Conversation class, we tried some tongue twisters in spanish. It was so funny. Today, I have a grammar class. Yesterday, I tried to go to a public pool with most of my class, but we got lost many times. When we finally got there, the pool was closed. So...I went to dinner with a few of the students just so we could say that we did something =P After class today, we are going straight to the pool, now that we know where the pool is. Last night, my Chilean host brother passed his final exam to become a teacher, and he already has a small job. FYI: the hole in the toilet here is facing the front, not the back like in the states. (Go look at your toilet.) PS I'm going to try to get tickets for an Elton John concert here in February!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Church


Pictures of the church I went to today. It's called La Parroquia de Jesus Nazareno.

Cirque de Soleil?!?!
















My family, a friend from Boston College, and I went to a play called "Entre Millones" last night. Well...I thought is was going to be a play, but it turned out to be like a small Cirque de Soleil performance. It was absolutely incredible and the performance was free. The performers were so strong and athletic. I was amazed. After the performance, I got a picture with my family and another with Robert, my friend from BC, in front of La Palacia de Moneda...the building where the president works. Then after that I went to a cafe and got a mango milkshake...out of this world. This morning I went for a run around Providencia and when I was stretching in the park named El Parque de Aviaciones, a poor, old lady came up to me and told me her life story. Apparently, she had a boyfriend in the US that owned part of the Hilton hotel business. Then, she wanted me to bring her to my house to get water. I pretended I didn't know the name of my street. I'm about to go to church, and then I think I'm going to the zoo!





video

Saturday, January 10, 2009

A Few More
















More Pics











A Day in the City with My Host Mom
















Last night I went with some students from the US to a café with a live band. I like Chilean nightlife better than the nightlife in the US. It is way more laid back than the craziness of the US. Anyway, we had a great time and the mango juice was incredible. After breakfast this morning, I went for a walk around the city with my host mom, so I could buy cell phone, sunblock, and a map. I live in Providencia, which is a town in Santiago. Providencia is beautiful and it has about 6 parks. Of course, I forgot to take my camera, but I did take some pictures of the city yesterday. For lunch, I had salmon which very good. During lunch, my family told me about the strong personality of our cat, Perla. Apparently, she doesn't like other cats and last week she scratched my brother, Pablo. I haven't any problems. I think she likes me. Tonight, my family and I are going to a free play outside. It doesn't get dark here until around 9pm, so during the day I can't even guess what time it is. I'm able to drink water now from the tap. My host mom says that she has been adding tap water to my bottle of water more and more each day. I'm so glad I don't have to worry about buying bottles of water anymore.

Friday, January 9, 2009

A Test Already?!?!


Last night I had dinner with my host family and their neighbors. Each neighbor has at least one international students, and one is actually in my group. We had homemade pizza, and it was the best pizza I've ever had. I can't believe how nice all the families are. After dinner, I went dancing with students from Stanford because my brother, Nicky, asked me to go out with him. We had a great time. We took a taxi...that only cost 2 US dollars...to a street that had tons of places to dance. It must have been weird for the Chileans to see a large group of white international students, but it didn't keep us from having fun. This morning I had breakfast with my host family, and then again at la Universidad with the students from Jesuit universities in the US. Chile has the freshest fruit that I've ever tasted. The fruit is really sweet, even the tomatoes. After breakfast, we took some pictures together and heard a man talk about the history of UAH. Then, we had to take a test which evaluates our spanish level. It was much harder than any spanish test that I've taken at Loyola. To get to UAH, I take a metro which costs about 60 US cents for both ways, but in March I will have a student card which will make it even cheaper. Starting Monday, I will have class from 10am to 1pm every weekday until March 30th when we have an oral presentation due. I just had lunch with my host family...we had soup and it was really good. My host mom and brother are very funny, and I feel at ease when I talk to them.

My First Day...Yesterday







My flight in Atlanta was delayed five hours, but it didn't cause any problems for me in Chile. Apparently, I'm in a group of about 30 students from different Jesuit universities in the US. Everyone in the group is very friendly. When I arrived in Chile, I took a bus with my group to la Universidad Alberto Hurtado. We met our host families for the first time there. My host mother is incredible. She is very nice and a great cook. Her son, Pablo, is also very nice and we get along very well. I'm able to understand most of what they say and they do help me a lot with my spanish. They don't know much english, but Pablo knows some english words. I also live with another international student named Nicky. He is from Germany, but he goes to Stanford. In the afternoon, I went for a walk around Santiago with Pablo. Santiago is very beautiful. Every building has a different type of architecture and is a different color. I'm having trouble getting used to the peso, but it will come with time. I have my own room which is pretty big. We don't have air condition which stinks because it is incredibly hot here, and it is still somewhat hot at night. My family here is great, but I'm not totally comfortable yet. I guess I'll feel more comfortable as days pass. So far, so good.