Monday, August 31, 2009
So, today I discovered how difficult it is to break into my house; so difficult that it's flirting with impossible. There is at least a five foot leap of faith to get on the tin-thin roof on one side, and the other side is barred by spikes from heck. At one point I thought about going through the window, but even that is protected by bars. Ugh.
Finally, I plucked up my courage and decided to ask a neighbor for help (after I looked up the words "jump" and "fence" in my dictionary). The neighbor was very friendly, and even though we couldn't understand each other, she did pull out a step ladder to help me get over the fence. Yeah! It was an unexpected adventure that taught me to never, NEVER forget mis llaves!
Sunday, August 30, 2009
I had this idea of taking a picture the 29th of every month while I'm here to celebrate and to have a visual representation of time passing. I would hold up one finger for one month, two fingers for two months, and so on. The only problem is that I totally forgot. So, just imagine that Dania is holding up just one finger instead of all of them. This pic is with my sisters in front of our casa enjoying the sun. Ah, what a life.
Before and after pictures of the Ward . As you can see in the lack of sunlight in the second pic, it took a long time to do work for everyone in the group (and I was perfectly happy to spend so much time at the Temple).
Thursday, August 27, 2009
I love the dumpsters in town. They are so cool. You don't need to touch the lid to put your trash inside. All you have to do is put your foot at the lever at the bottom which lifts the lid for you. It's brilliant, brilliant, brilliant I tell ya! I'm totally bringing this phenomenon back to the States...
If you’ve ever wondered what it would feel like to be a little kid again, or how it would feel to be back in middle school, then sign up to be a foreign exchange student. Really. I feel like I’ve relived the ages 3-19 since I’ve come to Chile. The first couple of days I felt like a toddler because I never knew what was going on. My life consisted of sleeping (recovering from a month of AFY and jetlag), eating, and more sleeping. My familia would explain where we were going before our outings, but all I understood was, “vamos.” I totally felt like a little kid again just getting in the car because everyone else was and sitting content in the back seat looking around. It was fun because every destination, whether it was the market or bank, was a surprise to me.
More recently I feel like I’m in elementary or middle school. I (try) to tell mi familia everything about my day: school, friends, activities. The other day Emily, Holli and I wanted to make cookies and didn’t really know how to go about it. We didn’t know which of our madres would be the most “okay” with it. The next day Emily said, “I asked my mom, and she said you can come over on Friday to make cookies!” I just had to laugh out loud at this. I’ve been away at college for the last two years, and I totally forgot about what it was like to ask mom if and when I could have friends over.
Another change I went through upon arrive in Chile is going without a cell phone because Verizon doesn’t work down here. *I have a secret confession. One of the things I’m most excited for when I return to the states is listening to what I call the “Mystery Voicemail.” I received a voicemail on my phone when I was waiting in the Toronto Airport, but I couldn’t open it for some reason. Ten bucks says it’s my dad saying, “Abby. This is dad. Call me.” But all the same, I look forward to when I can listen to the mystery message…*
But, back to Chile, it felt so strange to have no way to call anyone or for them to call me unless I gave them mi madre’s number. The first week or so I kept getting “phantom vibrations” thinking someone was calling me. But my sister Giselle got a new phone, and mi familia presented me her old phone. I was so excited! I felt so cool to have a cell phone. Granted, I only have six numbers in my phone and I keep forgetting it in my room, but it’s a phone nonetheless. It gives me flashbacks because there is no T9 texting, and I can’t figure out basic things like sound setting. I actually don’t call people much because I pay for the calling card, and every call I make costs me money (but it doesn’t cost money to receive calls, so we always say, "you call me," catchi).
The times that I feel like an adult are when I talk about traveling. I tell mi familia about possible trips to Argentina or Peru, and they listen to me and take me seriously. I know I can do it and I do have some solidified trips lined up, but I can't believe they take me serious enough to trust me traveling around South America. They've heard my Spanish. They know how bad I am. So, even though I may feel like a kid around them most the time, I love that they treat me like I'm adult that has things all figured out. Bacan!
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Me, Holli, and Emily
On our way to the mall we walked past a huge Catholic church with open gates. There was an opera type song playing and the church was full of people. We had no idea what was going on. Holli and Emily felt uncomfortable and went to stand outside, but I went to a pew and discovered that it was was a funeral service. We were the only ones that we not dressed up, oops.
We went to a Karaoke activiy at a church in Quilpue, which was a 30 minute ride on the Micro. We were there about an hour early, and about two hours early in Latin time. To pass the time we all played the piano for each other and tried to teach Raul some songs. It was quite entertaining.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
I have also learned that none of the buildings here have central heating. Growing up I took the phrase, "it's cold outside" for granted. I always knew that I would warm up once I stepped foot into a building. That's not the case here. In fact, it's usually harder to stay warm inside because you don't move around as much. I've even seen my breath in my room a couple times. So, what do I do to prevent freezing to death?
- Relish my time with the blow dryer. I love the blow dryer, it truly is heaven-sent. Not only do I use it to dry my hair, but I'll also use it over my whole body. (My feet are usually the most in need.)
- My family has an elliptical in the Living facing the TV. I like to exercise, I like Church videos, and I like to learn. So I would have enjoyed using the elliptical and watching a video in Spanish anyway, but these days I get on the elliptical simply to get my body temperature up.
- One time when I was straightening my hair I remembered thinking, "I wish I could straighten my entire body so I could be warm." The only thing holding me back was getting third degree burns from my straightener; bummer. But it turns out my my friend Holli actually did that (to a degree). She turned on her straightener for a little while to get warm, turned it off, and she actually ironed her hands, fingers, feet, and her nose! En serio!
My jackets were still wet from last night (I was out in the rain a lot) so mi madre lent me one of her sweaters. This will sound incredibly shallow, but back in the states I wouldn't wear this sweater anywhere, but here it's an entirely different story. I felt terribly clever to have something besides my scarf to keep my neck warm. Bacan! All day my favorite Spongebob quote was running through my mind.
Patrick: No, I'm warm.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
I loved watching the Chilean bread process for this recipe. My padre mixed the dough with water, hot milk, and other things I unfortunately missed because I wasn't paying much attention. Once it began to solidify, he mixed it very well--he even pounded it on the wall at one point. But my favorite twist to this specific recipe would have to be the addition of olives! Little bits of olive were mixed in, which gave it a special flare. The end result was delicious. It tasted like the green onion cream cheese you put on bagels, only this was in bread form. I definitely recommend serving it with avocado on top. Yum!
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Children's Day is actually a low-key holiday. I had completely forgotten about it, but after breakfast mi madre y padre had all the girls come into the "Living" (aka Living room) where they gave each of us a present. I was so excited, I didn't expect anything, but they gave me slippers! YEA!!! It is so freezing here, and everyday I just kick myself for not bringing my slippers. I just love my family here, they are very sweet and far too good to me.
The children with our gifts: Alina's bathrobe, Dania's umbrella, Giselle's pillow, and a super-excited me with my slippers. You know, these girls (especailly Alina and Dania) are usually really loud and smiley, but the never look like it in their pictures...
Dania loves to play with my camera. Every time I get it out she takes it and takes pictures of everything and anything.
There is so much to take in at Valpariso!
Las tres amigas en el bote. Ahh.
Monday, August 3, 2009
Hoy fue mi primero día de escuela. Well okay, not really school, just orientation, but nonetheless it felt good to have something official to do. There are about 25-30 international students attending Viña del Mar this Winter II Semester, with their homes ranging from California, Ohio, Oklahoma, Hawaii, to Romania (I think) and Sweden. Wow!
I took both my written and oral placement exams today, and I felt like I did the best I could have asked for at this point. I actually enjoyed my oral exam because it was mainly me speaking, which is good because I really struggle with the listening and comprehending Spanish (and on top of that, Chileans talk incredibly fast).
I liked today because it felt like I had returned to my Elementary School days. I thought it was really sweet how mi madre gave me the home address and her phone number on a piece of paper before I left the house this morning in case I got lost and needed help. My schedule for Orientation (and I think most Spanish-speaking countries) gives me a couple of hours to go home for lunch, so I walked home with my new friends and even had one join me for lunch at mi casa. It was a fun trip down memory lane to recall walking home from Belmar Elementary and bringing friends along for and after-school snack. But probably the best thing about today was a rekindled determination. I’ve been extremely soft on my Spanish since I’ve been here, and I’ve been talking in English way too much. Today I decided to suck it up and really start pushing myself. I’ve spoiled myself and cheated a lot, but now it’s go time. And thus, the fun begins now.
Saturday, August 1, 2009
This morning I was determined that history would not repeat itself. I saw that the flame was on inside the box thing, so I didn't mess around. I went straight for the water, and miracle of miracles, it was warm, and dare I say it, it even got hot. It was marvelous, simply wonderful, and my warm shower set the mood for a perfectly sunny day. Ah, what a life!
So, bien esta lo que bien acada (all's well that ends well). I can sleep easy tonight knowing that I did indeed conquer the furnace.