What an awesome, interesting, learning experience the last two weeks have been. For those of you who have not heard I changed host family’s on the weekend of August 13th. There were no major problems with my previous host family, the family was very nice but something didn’t seem right and I just don’t think we were connecting like I wanted to so I asked for a change. The hard part of course was explaining this to my previous host parents. It was hard enough having to tell them I was moving out let alone trying to explain my true feelings in a foreign language I am still learning. However, in the end they were very kind and understanding and I am now living with a new family, and I am very happy.
The following Tuesday, August 17th I had to take a micro “micro-bus” to class. There was a small problem because I had just moved and this was my first time having to take a bus to my class location. Well, I took the right bus but I got off the bus a bit too early, ok more like 5-6 “Santiago” blocks to early (they have much longer blocks here for some reason). After I got off the bus I saw I was on the right street, I just had to walk a bit. I glanced at my watch and realized I was probably going to be early. At that same moment I looked up and saw a big huge cloud of black smoke. I thought to myself quickly, “oh great, probably just a bomb or something I’ll walk the other way.” I kind of made that up but for some reason I decided I should walk towards the big cloud of black smoke. It ended up being smoke from a fire started by a group of high school protesters. It was actually more then a protest it was what I believe is called a “paro.” A paro is a temporary student take over of an educational institution. There were students on the roof of the school in masks, more students on the street surrounding the school so nobody could get in while police officers watched and directed traffic around the fire in the street and to different roads. What I found most intriguing was that all the chairs and desks from inside the school were all hanging in the fence around the school, literally. Maybe not the smartest thing going near the “paro” but I’m glad I was able to get a glimpse of the protest. There was also a bigger protest the following day with about 2,000 students in the city center but we were warned by our resident director not to go near that protest as it could have gotten dangerous and the police sometimes bring out tear gas and what not.
Next, I have a short but funny story to tell. I had to go to the pharmacy this past week to get some medicine for a sinus infection. Oops! The woman at the counter gave me a weird look after I told her what I needed. I had no idea why until my new Chilean brother explained it to me when I repeated the same thing to him the following day. I supposedly told the lady at the pharmacy that I had an infection in my breasts instead of a sinus infection. She must have understood what I meant because she gave me the right medicine and I don’t have a sinus infection anymore but how embarrassing that was and definitely when I repeated the same thing to my Chilean brother. I will never forget that one.
This past weekend I went to Valparaiso and Vina del Mar on Chile’s west coast on a day trip with my program group. It was a tad bit cold but it was awesome. Valparaiso is Chile’s most important port city, it is absolutely beautiful with a lot of cool graffiti and bright colorful houses let alone the beautiful rolling hills overlooking the Pacific ocean. Vina del Mar located right north of Valparaiso is also very beautiful. I’ve added pictures to my Picasa gallery from the trip so check them out!
People celebrate in Santiago after hearing news that trapped miners are alive!
I also added new pictures of people celebrating in the city center after news came out this past Sunday that 33 Chilean miners that have been trapped underground for over 18 days are alive. People around the city started driving around honking their horns and singing in the streets in excitment. I also captured a small video of the celebrations. You can see the video by clicking here and more news on the trapped miners here. To wrap up I wanted to let everyone now I am going to be helping teach English at a local Chilean elementary school starting next week. I just got my school assignment this week and I’m very excited. I have to put together a powerpoint presentation about me and where I am from to introduce myself to the students in my class. Well, that is all for now. Nos vemos!!