Saturday, October 31, 2009

I let the bedbugs bite itchy...can't. stop. itching!
I have more than thirty bites on my body. They're on my feet, legs, stomach, arms, hands, fingers, and I even had a bite IN my ear. I knoooow. Okay, they're really not that bad, kinda like mosquito bites, but all the same, they're so iiiiiiiiitchy!

P.S. Chile is not a third world country and I living in a really nice area. I just have a knack for getting bugs bites.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Tres Meses Dia

Whoa. This one went by FAST! Lots of good things happening down here, allow me to list just a few things I will remember from month three.
  1. watching General Conference in Spanish
  2. practicing about seven hours a week for the blessed upcoming Primary Program
  3. Santiago with Holli and Emily
  4. singing "Haven't Met You Yet" just about everywhere I go
  5. hitting up the beach more and working on my tan (Mom, you didn't read that)
  6. horseback riding
  7. Alina's Baptism and Birthday party
  8. Bomba (fire-station) tour
Truly I am blessed to be in Chile. I am learning so many valuable lessons and experiences so many incredible things in this far away land.

Bienvenidos a Sala Mapuche! This is the room where I spend about 98% of my class-time. Pictured above is my Grammer class con la Holli y la Gillian. Wee. Everyone say, "tres meses!"

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Baptism: a time to celebrate

October 20th was Alina's eight birthday, and she and her cousin Alejandra were baptized yesterday, October 24th. It has been years since I've attended a baptism and I loved it. I won't go into detail, but I do want to say that there was a wonderful spirit present.

Make a wish!

We celebrated Alina's Birthday with all her friends and family at the Chapel directly after the baptism. Mi madre is incredible. She baked so, SO many goods for this fiesta. She started baking on Wednesday and the baptism and party were on Saturday. I felt like my house was a Pasteleria. This picture doesn't even begin to convey how many sweets there were (most of which were Ukrainian). It's missing the cakes, fruit, and finishing touch of cream or powdered sugar.

These bad boys are filled with manjar. Positively sinful. Mom, Matt, you know what I'm talking about.


I toured the Congress building in Valpariso last Friday with UVM. I don't have much to say about it other than I enjoyed the architecture.

The group.

I thought these doors were neat.

Monday, October 19, 2009

This makes my bones stronger?

Things are different here. Language, smells, gestures, driving, and yes, even the milk is different. For starters, it tastes a little thin...and milk comes in a box. Yes, a box. What gets me is that it's not refrigerated until after it's opened. Mi familia buys about eight boxes of milk at a time, and when one runs out they just grab a new one from under the cupboard. And today was the first time I've ever noticed the expiration dates on the milk. Today is October 19, and the both chocolate and white milk expire in MARCH 2010. Wha!?! Ja, en serio. I don't think that's normal. I usually don't even drink milk, but mi padre noticed this and made me promise to drink a little milk every day so I don't have flacan (skinny) children. Humm. Let's just say that I'll be keeping it at a minimum.

Read it and weep. Chocolate milk: March 2, 2010. While milk: March 28, 2010. Oh my. I'm just not going to think about it too much...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Back in the Saddle Again

On Friday I went horseback riding with the University on the beach. Yeah, totally bomb. It was seriously one of my favorite things I've done here. Because of Badger Creek, I was the most experienced rider there and it took me down "horse wrangler/workshop lane." The instructors didn't do anything beyond stick us on a horse and lead, so I enjoyed teaching people how to hold the reins and steer. It felt so, SO good to excel at something besides washing the dishes. And can I just say that their rules (or lack thereof) made Badger look super paranoid. Helmets: no. Particular horse order: nah. Running: sure. Galloping: absolutely. I loved it. I can't think of many things that are more exhilarating than galloping through sand dunes or on the beach. Truly it was an experience I won't soon forget.

My horse Pompero. He liked to be up front and to go really fast. We got along great.

The dunes.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Bread Run

Tonight mis padres had me go buy bread (at the Panadoria just down the street) mostly to practice my Spanish. It reminded me of the day I got my drivers' license and was actually excited to go buy milk for my family. I told the checkout lady "I'm an exchange student and I need to practice my Spanish." She smiled and said something I forgot. I asked her if my Spanish was "claro" y she said yes. Then I got excited and figured I should stick around and have a pleasent converstaion with the kind woman. I said something that I'm pretty sure didn't make any sense, to which she responded, "te vaya bien" (have a good day). I took that as my exit. When I got back to mi casa mi familia had me relate my bread-buying experience to them. I love how the smallest things become a story and a celebration down here!

Monday, October 12, 2009


This weekend I went to Santiago with Holli and Emily for a couple days. It was such a nice little getaway trip complete with culture and new experiences. We went to Santa Lucia (kinda like a big garden), a Contemporary Art Museum, the Moneda, the mall, a market, a Don Quixote Ballet, and also figured out the different Bus and Metro system. The three of us had lots of good laughs and enjoyed our stay in the capitol city, rain and shine.

I had my first Hostel experience with our stay at the "Hostal Forestal." It was actually pretty nice.

Making a wish on a peso at a fountain in Santa Lucia...I believe that wish is only worth 1/200th of a penny. Pucha.

The Ballet: incredible everything. It was a gorgeous building, I was amazing by the grace of the dancers, I loved our seats (yea for being a student!), and I got just as much out of the show as everyone else (yet another universal language). Did I mention that it was beautiful?

The Moneda, which is like the equivalent of the White House.

I must explain this picture. We left Santiago on a Saturday night; a Saturday night in which there was a World Cup soccer game on. Yikes. Everything was closed and it felt like a Ghost Town without any cars on the road. There were carabineros (police) lining every street in armored buses for crowd control, and we felt a bit anxious from the sight. To make matters worse, a couple Metro Station entrances were barred shut and we didn't know how to get home without it. We managed to fine an open entrance, but the Red Line to leave was not to be found. What! After a nice lady showed where to go we glowed with satisfaction upon finding it. That feeling didn't last long. The Metro intercom announced something about Pajaritos (the Station were we going to) a couple times and made us nervous. What was going on? They made it sound really important. In the end, all they were saying was to exit on the left rather than the right. Oh boy, this is when knowing Spanish would help out a lot. Anyway, this picture is when we finally reached Pajaritos and were joyous beyond words.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Did you know...?

A couple months ago, I really felt like listening to some Pandora. My Enya Station felt like it would just hit the spot. But alas, it was not to be. This is what I saw upon entering

Dear Pandora Visitor,

We are deeply, deeply sorry to say that due to licensing constraints, we can no longer allow access to Pandora for listeners located outside of the U.S. We will continue to work diligently to realize the vision of a truly global Pandora, but for the time being we are required to restrict its use. We are very sad to have to do this, but there is no other alternative.

We believe that you are in Chile (your IP address appears to be

We share your disappointment and greatly appreciate your understanding.


Tim Westergren


NOOO!!! I had no idea Pandora was strictly and American thing. Count your blessings. In the meantime I've decided that it's not so bad. I don't need to amuse myself to death.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Dia del Cine

Chile has a National Movie Day where every movie at the theater costs only 1 mil (which is about $2). Brilliant. I saw Tinkerbell (this MUST be said in a Spanish accent!) with my family. It was hilarious to walk into the theater and see it full of little girls, mothers, and only three fathers. I understood a lot of the movie--more than General Conference, visuals make a huge difference--and to be honest, I liked it. (To answer your questions, Tink did travel safely to the far North, she learned to admit that sometimes she's the one at fault, she made a new friends and patched up her friendship with Terence, and she managed to created the most beautiful Moon-Stone Septor for the Fall Festival. Whew, what an amazing fairy!) Afterward we all got ice-cream cones at McDonald's and I was reminded of how special the trips to the Movie Theater were in my early years.

But I'd like to give some background on the event. In my Grammer class we started watching a movie that I discovered was rated "R," so I emailed my teacher asking to be excused from watching it. She responded saying she was surprised by my "petition" and she even lightly reprimanded me by saying it was in the syllabus I received in August. I think she believes I'm sheltering myself and that I don't understand real life. I've had this discussion with lots of people about why I don't watch movies that don't agree with my standards, and I was thinking about how difficult it would be to explain this in Spanish. But it turns out that I didn't even get the chance. I ditched class to go to the movies--Tinkerbell of all movies--with mi familia. So now I just have to laugh thinking about tomorrow. My professor will ask me why I missed class. She will tell me that the movie from class isn't that bad and it has good themes to discuss and she may try to get me to watch it. This will be the part when I tell her that I'm not sheltered, and that I missed class yesterday to go see Tinkerbell. Oh boy, too funny. Can't hardly wait...

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Universal Language

I have a calling in my ward. I am the Pianist for the Agua Santa Ward in the Vina del Mar Stake. It is a blessing in so many ways. I have a purpose, I have an obtainable goal to work toward every week, and I am getting so much better at playing the Hymns.

Remember that part in Remember the Titans when Coach Denzel Washington walks onto the football field and says, "this, is my sanctuary." Well, I have a key to the Church, and when I walk into the empty Chapel to practice, I usually stop to take in the wonderful feeling and I think to myself, "this, is my sanctuary." When I go to the empty Church Building it doesn't matter that I didn't understand anything my teachers said in class, it doesn't matter that I don't use direct or indirect object pronouns correctly when I speak, I doesn't matter that I forget how to conjugate verbs properly or that I forget new vocabulary words I wrote down all of three seconds ago.

All that I have to think about is music. I don't even think in English much. I just thing about music, the glorious, wonderful, universal language that I can speak. I'm not the best pianist by any means, but I love this calling because I can feel myself improving. I can play Hymns that I struggled to get through a week ago. It's like Spanish in fast-forward. As of late, when I'm feeling really good about things--and especially when I'm not--I sing along with the Hymns (in Spanish of course). My favorite Hymn is Mas cerca, Dios, de ti. Words cannot explain how good it feels to sing my heart out in an empty Chapel. Like I said, I am blessed.

Here is the most wonderful sight to my eyes; the empty Chapel. The keyboard is the left of the window. Denzel said it best, "this, is my sanctuary."