So this is the last post from Chile… My flight leaves tomorrow night at 11pm and I arrive in Minneapolis at 10am Monday Morning… Wow I didn’t think this day would come so fast, I actually didn’t think that I would survive living in a foreign country for five months. As it turns out I built a life here that I am very sad to be leaving. Last week Nico and I took a trip to the south of Chile and it was AMAZING!! This country is soo beautiful! I have been busy saying goodbye and getting things ready to leave! I miss everyone alot but am not sure if I am ready to trade christmas lights on palm trees for christmas lights on snow covered pine trees with a windchill of 30 below!!!!!! I will see you soon!!!
Archive for the ‘Samantha in Chile’ Category
So I have neglected to blog in a very very long time!!! Wow. Exciting things that have happened… Halloween was very low key here. Mom sent me a box that I got the day before Halloween that had cupcake decorations! Good timing! I made cupcakes and frosting from scratch and shared them with my host family, Nico’s family and his friends. Nico’s band played a fundraiser concert at his old high school. They did a really good job and my two gringa friends that went with thought they were good as well! On Halloween there were a few trick-or-treaters but not nearly as many as there are in the States. Nico and I went to a fundraiser for my host brother and sisters scout group (like boy scouts but for both genders). We played BINGO and didn’t win at all! Then we went to his friend Pia’s birthday party which was very low key.
I took a weekend vacation to Mendoza, Argentina. I caught up on my sleep trying to get through customs because we waited for four hours!! Once we got there our hostel was very beautiful. On Saturday Jess, Heidi and I toured two vineyards, and olive oil factory, a winery museum, and a chocolate shop! It was the perfect day with sun and chocolate!!
I have been going to the beach almost three times a week! My host family says that I am taking advantage of it while I can! My classes are wrapping up. I had a final today and have two finals next week, a presentation and a paper to do!!! Busy Busy!
The weekend of October 9th I went to a small surf town north of where I live. My “cousin” Sara (she is an exchange student from Michigan and lives in Santiago with my host family’s aunt) and I stayed in a cabin on the ocean!! Friday was beautiful but Saturday was cloudy and cold so we came home to Viña where it was sunny and warm! On Sunday night we went to a Daddy Yankee concert! It was a lot of fun but we were surprised that a lot of families came with their little kids!
The weekend of October 16th I went to an art museum. It was small but had a lot of really interesting paintings. Many were from the 1800s and there were only a small number of modern paintings. On Monday October 18th my friend from home’s sister was in Viña so I showed her around and we ended the day watching a beautiful sunset in Reñaca.
During this past week my friend Jessica’s family from the US was visiting her here in Chile. It was awesome to see their reaction to how she lives here. They are from Wisconsin too and her dad has the same sense of humor that my dad has, and that almost no one in Chile has!
For Four days there is a huge fair in a park near my house. There were typical carnival rides and games, artisan stands, as well as more than forty food stands that served a variety of food and beverages.
People also celebrate by going to Ramadas which are tent like structures made from branches and canvas. There is a cover charge to enter but you are able listen to live music, dance, eat and drink. I still haven’t caught up on the sleep that I lost over las fiestas patrias and I don’t care to eat meat or anything grilled for a very very long time!!!
Winter is almost over!!! Spring starts September 21st and I cannot wait. The days are starting to get warmer, last week the temperature got over 75 degrees Fahrenheit! I am learning more and more Spanish and making more and more Chilean friends!
Last weekend I traveled with my family to a summer house in the country! There we celebrated the birthday of three of their cousins who have birthdays in September. There is always an abundance of food which almost always includes grilled chicken and fresh vegetables. Their birthday cakes put every desert that I have ever eaten in the United States to shame! The taste is just as good as the presentation!
Last weekend I also visited the southern part of the city of Valparaiso. My families Nana took me on a tour of the hills of Valparaiso and showed me where her favorite soccer team plays! We watched the sunset from a place called Playa Ancha which was beautiful!
I am taking a class called Traditional Chilean Dances. My professor is very expressive as well as a good dance instructor. We are learning a dance called the Cueca which is the national dance of Chile. Everyone dances this during the celebration of their independence day which is the 18th of September. My family and Chilean friends are very excited for this celebration and almost everyone has had plans made for a month about what they are going do!
I have had almost all of my classes now and like them very much! Two are taught by instructors that specialize in Spanish as a second language. My writing class Professor explained to me that it is part of their culture to stare at people, so I have become accustomed to people looking at me. I am taking a Cognitive Psychology class, which I knew was going to be a challenge. I understand about 40% of what my professor says. After the first class I turned to the other exchange student in the class and asked her how much she understood. She is from Germany and Spanish is her third language and she only understood 10% so I think that together we should be able to comprehend 50% of the lectures!
My host sister, Javi, turned 18 on Friday. Eighteen in Chile is like turning 18 and 21 at the same time in the States so we had a huge party with a lot of food and almost the entire family. There was much laughing and conversation but Javi shares her birthday with her grandpa who passed away 6 years ago so there were some tears.
On Saturday I got a lesson in Texas Hold Em from my host Dad. I gave him a run for his money and at 2 a.m. after Brittany, a girl from Pennsylvania who was here for a summer program, and Aunt Tatty were somehow all in for the 10th time in a row after losing each time, I came in second to my host dad!!!
I have gotten to know the Nana, Marcela, who works for the family I am living with. She is a very sweet yet outspoken woman who has three sons and lives in Valparaiso. Brittany and I went to her house for lunch on Sunday. The outside was very rundown, and looked patched together, something that most people would turn away from, however the inside was very nicely decorated and had a very comfortable ambiance, similar to being at your mom’s house. The division of classes and treatment of the lower class in Chile is hard for me to live with each day, but it is their culture. In my free time I help Marcela cook and make sure she doesn’t have to clean up after me!
I arrived in Chile on the 25th of July! My days have been full of getting to know my family, the cities of Valparaiso and Vina del Mar and my University!
I live with a mom named Sandra, her husband Horacio and their three children, Camila (19), Javiera (17), and Matias (16). We live in a calm residential neighborhood called Miraflores from which I take a bus called a Micro to my University or other areas of Vina del Mar or Valparaiso. The people here drive very fast and seemingly out of control but I have only seen two car accidents in the two weeks that I have been here!
I start classes today and am directly enrolled in the Pontifica Universidad Catolica de Valparaiso with other Chilean students. I am struggling with the language as well as being blonde in a Latin American Country! I didn’t think that people would care this much that I was blonde! I traveled to Santiago, the capital of Chile this past weekend and was the object of many people staring and commenting. Some high school students even asked me if I was Paris Hilton. An interesting experience very similar to being in a zoo.
The ocean is beautiful here and there are palm trees and sunshine! It is winter so it gets very very cold at night and there is no central heating! It is very hard to get out of bed in the morning when you can see your breath! I am doing well and learing how to survive in the “Chilean Jungle”! Choa