Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Mish Mashed and Done

This is probably the longest I’ve worked on a post, but still no real proofreading like usual.  I just wanted to get it over with.   The stories are just in random order with no real correspondence, but all good memories that I want to remember.  So, some will be vague and some will be pretty clear and some might not make all that much sense here and there and aren’t ordered to well, but it works for me and it will work for the most part for you, and I think they should still be enjoyable to read.  Plus some good stuff at the end juts for kicks.
This last weekend started out with deciding to go to Santiago and then to a town north of it called La Ligua for a Danish girl’s birthday that I met this summer when she was staying with Kathrine.  Luckily for me, my counselor is cool with just about everything and so are my parents, so it was a quick organization before I could go.  I ended up traveling with 4 others, the Danes, Alex and Kathrine, and then two girls from the US, Jana and Cassandra.  Kathrine and Jana were going with my all the way to La Ligua and the other two were meeting up with kids from Santiago they had met the week before while traveling in the north.  It was a fun 7 hour bus ride to Santiago with everyone, it just sucked that I didn’t get to sleep at all.
At Santiago I got to meet a bunch of the kids they were meeting up with and of course, like with all exchange students hit it off right away.  They stayed for about an hour and then headed out.  Kathrine, Jana and I waited a little long and were off for La Ligua on a 3 hour bus ride.  I ended up sitting with Kathrine and we talked the whole time, more exchange bonding.  We arrived pretty late, but we ended up having a pretty decent amount of food at the house.  And for once meat that had been spiced up with more than just salt, which made it my favorite meat I’ve had here.  After eating we layed around for a while and eventually went to sleep.
I got up the next morning and ran around her neighborhood and outside it.  Outside the neighborhood was an area where you could drive around and a soccer field, all dirt, but people had taken the liberty to throw their trash out there.  It was gross, all the heaps and heaps of trash, just lying where people walk.  By the end of the run I was dead and actually tripped and fell twice within probably 3 minutes.  But, back to the house for breakfast and then to the beach.  They live fifteen minutes from the beach, and a beautiful one at that.  We wandered around, saw some fishermen, pelicans, and great rocks.  A few other spots and then back to the house to meet another exchange student and eat lunch.  Lunch was more of the great meat plus a different cut and a bunch of Chilean salads.  After lunch we laid around some more and then Kirsa, the girl who’s birthday it was, had to leave and set up and see her friends from school and told us to stay home.  So we decided to go for a short hike up the mountains behind her house.  We went up for twenty minutes or so, saw the whole valley and head back to wait until the party.
The party was a blast.  First we took all the food and drinks and set up pretty quick and all of them left to get some more stuff and I stayed to keep working.  I started talking to Kirsa’s friends and started making my way into the Chilean group there.  By the time the party started I was dancing, just me, trying to get others to dance.  So I wandered around and talked and whatnot and eventually got people dancing.  By the end of the night I think I danced with just about everyone, was in the center quite a few times, and was giving and getting hi-fives and what not to everyone.  I felt good for having made friends that quickly there.  It’s weird how easy it was there and it has been a few other places compared to LA.  Oh well, I had a great time.  When the party ended we walked back to the house and went to bed. The next day we went back to Santiago and Jana and Kathrine went home while I stayed until my bus at night so I could see Eliza, though I eventually changed my ticket to the next night so I could see Obama.
I got in touch with Eliza, a friend from home who is doing an exchange with a program that works with universities, and we met up at a metro stop.  I went to her apartment and met her exchange family and ate lunch.  She is living in an amazing location, right in the center, just a few blocks from La Moneda, the presidential palace, and from tons of other great stuff.  This is to say, I’m super jealous of her.  It was really great to see her though, having someone from home in general here, just like my brother, gives something to the exchange, maybe a verification that you are here, or maybe a part of home is brought to your new home.  I’m not sure what it was, but it really made me happy to see her.   We hung out, ate some more, talked and then went back to her apartment to get my bags so I could leave.  Once I got there  I realized Obama was coming the next day.  So, at 9:30 I called my parents, aunt and uncle, and changed my bus tickets so I could stay an extra night.  I made my way to my aunt and uncle’s house and met Cassandra, a girl from LA who was in still in Santiago too and wanted to stay, and went to bed.
The next day we got up, laid around and waited to get a ride to the metro.   On the way in and throughout the day I taught her the subway system of Santiago and how to use one in general since she was going to be coming back a lot.  We got to the center, bought our tickets and met a guy that Cassandra had met on the north trip a little bit before.  Then it was to see Obama at the Moneda.  We got pretty close, just on the other side of the street from the Moneda.  But the police started pushing up back a bit.  Then, more and a lot more forcefully, and eventually with fences and whatnot.   So we ended up like for blocks away and started looking for a place to get a view.  We finally found and area a block and a half away where we could see the President enter.  In the end I could only tell that he was taller and darker than everyone else, but that was about it.  And at one point I felt something move pretty hard in my pocket where I had my camera and I stuck my hand in and didn’t feel my camera, so I grabbed the shadiest looking character around me who shook me off kind of pissed.  I checked my pocket again and it was there, I don’t know what happened, but I was sure someone stole it. 
During this whole commotion we met some other exchange students who had come too and we went out to eat sushi, sidenote, I eat a ton of sushi now, whenever I can and I am going to learn when I get home how to make it.  After sushi we met up with Eliza and her friends and then slowly broke up until it was Cassandra, Steven, and me wandering around in Santiago.  After a bit Steven left and it was just Cassandra and me hanging out for 5 or six hours until our bus.  It was fun, just sitting and talking and eating.  She made me miss home a bunch, but it was worth it, just reminiscing and talking about how little time we have left here.  We went and bought some Chilean pants and then went to the bus station, and ended up talking with two Chileans for a while and then got on the bus and came home.
Next, Fiesta de la Chileanidad in Concepcion.  It was an artesenales (I don’t remember the word in English) festival with a bunch of stalls for homemade honey, marmalade, leather, pottery, etc.  I went to help my aunt and uncle with their honey stall.  My aunt ended up not coming because she was working on putting together a class about bees and honey with a friend. 
The fair had some of the best food I have ever eaten, in particular the longanizas, which are just sausages.  But hot damn, they were huge, homemade, and had every kind of sauce I could want.  I think I ended up eating four while I was there, which wasn’t enough.   I went each day to the festival minus one and stayed at Audrey’s house each night since it was so close to where my uncle was staying.  But, the festival was great, I got to see a great concert from a fairly tradition Chilean band, I got to know my uncle a lot better, and I got to visit people in Concepcion and see some more Chilean culture.  Plus I found a Chinese buffet which I am going to get to somehow in the next month or so, even if I take a bus out just to eat there.
It was weird though, for some reason that weekend I realized that something had clicked with my Spanish in the past month and I wasn’t having any problems talking to anyone, I was even helping sell the honey.   Another weird thing was the temperature.  When I had left LA to come to Conce it had been too hot to even sleep with a sheet on, then in Conce it was so cold that I had to have three sweatshirts on at night when I was outside and clothes on when I slept.  And then, when I got back to LA, I had to put another blanket on my bed, just after one weekend.  The weather here is really strange, even now, three weeks later, I am back to sleeping without a sheet on the bed, the tonight I have a feeling it is going to be freezing.  One last thing that is strange is daylight savings.  They are doing it later here so that they save energy, I’m not sure when, but sometime in April.
I got to miss the first two days of school, hang out in Concepcion, get to know my uncle and, I also hung out a bit with his sister and her son which was a lot of fun.  The son was 9 years old and a blast, always excited, especially to see me, and great for my Spanish.  I saw Ada, Audrey, and Jana, went to some parties with them and just had a good time relaxing in Conce.  All in all a good weekend, and one good enough to make me come back the next weekend.   Not that I wouldn’t want to, but I went with my family who were going to see my grandparents who were visiting my pregnant aunt and my husband.  So, more time seeing Audrey, Ada, and Jana and enjoying good food and nice cold weather.
I got back from the first weekend and started school, it wasn’t too bad, definitely not like last year, though at this point, a month in, it’s starting to kill me slowly.  I ended up going to a friend’s house one day with Kathrine and we made a bunch of chocolate and cakes and other crappy food, but all delicious.  It was hard for me to do though because I have been dieting pretty hardcore.  Nothing to unhealthy I think, but it has been working really well and I feel a lot better about myself, plus if I keep it up I could easily come back skinnier than when I got here.  But I didn’t even try to keep the diet that day, plus a few others.
Another short, but not too short story would be meeting the new girl and all the stuff we did.  First I met my aunt and uncle in Santiago at my other aunt and uncle’s house and stayed the night there to wait for the next day.  We got up, went to the airport and picked her up the next morning at 11:30.  We went around Santiago for a bit after dropping her stuff off at home and a bit of free time when I went running.   After we showed her around a bit we ended up going that night to my other aunt and uncle’s country house about an hour outside of Santiago.  We got their late, ate a big and went to sleep.
The next day was just a relaxing day.  Swimming, picking blackberries, eating, talking, soaking up sun, and of course I went for a run.   We got back to the house n Santiago a day later and then it was off to Cauquenes to see the family.
The whole drive, four hours, I fought with Vicente, the younger of the two sons of my aunt Veronica.   It was fun fighting, nothing serious, but the kid is crazy, he ended up trying to stab me with staples.  And when I said something later to his mom, she didn’t really do anything.  Not much happened in Cauquenes though, the same old same old, good food, farm life and town life.
Maxy, the new girl, and I ended up going to LA and hanging out for a while before we went to Pucon.  For the few days we were there we went out to a bar one night with some of the other exchange students and hung out for a while, nothing crazy, just a night to meet the others.  Then it turned out that my parent’s friend from Concepcion were coming back from Pucon and stopped at the house.  Great people who I always enjoy, and of course had a good time with them they were there.  Though, sadly, the mom got a call that her dad was in really bad condition at one point on the day before they were going to leave and decided to go home that night.  Later that night we got a call that he died from a hear problem.  The next morning we were supposed to leave for Pucon, but in the end went to Concepcion for the wake first.  But of course as is normal with Chileans, we left really late and put the whole day back getting us to Pucon at 2 in the morning.
In Pucon we were staying with some friends from Santiago who were staying at my Grandparent’s house.  When Chileans go on vacation they go on vacation, they do nothing except sit around and eat and sleep and relax, and nothing more.   When we were there, in the most touristy spot in southern Chile, with good reasons (mainly the landscape,  thermal pools, and extreme sports), we didn’t do anything except drive up to a lake one day for the beach.  It was kind of disappointing, but it was relaxing a I guess.  One night however my cousin, Maxy and I went to a bar to meet my cousin’s friend, and then to a disco.  We ended up meeting some other foreigners who were traveling and danced with them for a while and then went home.  Got up the next morning and drove back to LA stopped for a bit with the other family, and then we all went to Cauquenes.
Once more, not much happened except good food, this time better than usual because it was my Grandma’s birthday.  They have the best cake in Cauquenes of any I have ever had, and they had two, completely worth eating way to much of it.  But besides that, there was some horseback riding and soccer and then it was home.
Now we go back two weekends to when I went to Laja.  On Friday I stayed at home and when to a grill with my class and had a blast, easily the best time I have had with them.  Then on Saturday I went to Kelsey’s and celebrated her birthday a week later with her and a few friends.  We all went out to a little concert in Laja that they were throwing as a fundraiser for a girl who has leukemia.  For some reason, I get along so well with the people from her town, and smaller towns in general so much easier than I do with kids from bigger cities minus Santiago.  It’s strange, but always fun.  So, only one night with Kelsey, but still a lot of fun, almost as fun as the previous time I went with Alex, which I think I wrote about before.
Then, last weekend there was Santiago again.  Alex and I took a bus on Thursday night and got there on Friday morning and made our way to his grandparent’s apartment for the morning/day.  It turned out that he thought it was a lot, a restate a lot closer than it actually was and we walked from the metro station to the apartment with our bags.  It ended up being an hour and a half.  I should have taken this as a sign that he didn’t actually know how to get there from anywhere really, but I figured he could do it.  But, that will come into play later.   We ended up hanging out just me and him for the day until his kind of girl friend got there.  We hung out, ate some dinner, and then more people arrived.  We left the apartment with some things for sleeping since we were sleeping at a friend’s house.  We met up with even more exchange students and all hung out at a bar.  From there we went to a disco, which was either a gay disco or the most open disco in Chile.  It was a ton of fun, dancing with all the new people I met that night, and then eventually a little bit with some gay guys.  By the time we left there it was time to get back to the house we were staying at.  We took some taxies and stopped to get some food and then arrived around 5:30.  We were talking and two of the girls had to get to the metro so they could get home in time for stuff they needed to do the next day.  So at six we started walking to the metro.  We started early because we knew it would take a long time and we didn’t mind since we could just talk and hang out while we walked.  It was still dark and took us about an hour and a half to get to the station.  Then, after dropping them off, Alex and I decided to go back the apartment.  So with no sleep we started.  We asked a bunch of buses if they went near where we needed to go but none did.  So we just walked and walked and after a bit realized we were off track, what we thought was a little.  Alex kept pointing this way and that and we went from one street to another, to another and then back the original and did this way to many times.  Finally after three hours of walking we got a taxi to the nearest grocery story to his apartment, bought food for a big American breakfast and went back.  First we cooked the breakfast and ate and then slept.  That night we made our way to my aunt and uncle’s house and had pizza and watched a movie, then got picked up by the other cousin from Pucon who lives in Santiago, a few blocks away from my aunt and uncle’s and took us to his house since no one was home at the other.  We had more pizza and went to bed. 
Then on Sunday we went to the bus station and hung out all day, watched a movie and ate.  Which, I got Taco Bell.  I couldn’t have been happier except that the crunch wrap supreme I got was not supreme, it was tiny, probably half as big as the one’s in the use.  But oh well, it was delicious and made me happy.  We caught the bus that night and had a terrible ride.  It was the smallest, hottest, and most cramped bus I have ever taken, it blew and I had to go to school the next morning.
A few small things here.  Being in Santiago is great, just walking in a city, using the subways, being free and far away from supervision is great.  It just feels free and relaxing, nothing else.  My grandparent’s dog from LA died the other week when it got hit on the road.  They took it to the hospital, but a few days later it died.  Going out at night is completely different here.  At home it would be nine or ten and I would think, “Oh man, it’s getting late, we better go, not much time left”.  Now I see nine or ten and think, jeeze, we go a while.  Stuff normally starts around 1 or later with just teenagers, and when there are parents involved, a little earlier at like eleven, maybe ten.  I just think it is weird how my hours have changed and how little sleep I function on at this point.  I am going to get home and want to go out late while everyone else is falling asleep.

The last thing is that I honestly don’t know how I am going to live without some of the people that have come into my life here.  In particular Alex and Kathrine.  It’s crazy how fast I have become attached to them, but it just shows that time isn’t a judge of relationships.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Summer Stories

Here are just a few things that have happened over the summer, more recently, that I figured were good stories or cool events that might be interesting for everyone and that I wanted to remember.
My family and I went out to the camp in Cauquenes for a weekend, mainly to harvest wheat and corn.  Of course there was great home grown food and amazing fruit, fish, crab, the whole shebang, but that was all basically to get ready for the next day, the harvest.  That night though, before the harvest, my uncles, brother, cousins, and dad, and I went hunting.  We got two rabbits and a hare just driving around the camp.  My dad had the gun and is a good shot, no more than 2 on each rabbit.  After hunting the rabbits we took them over to a neighbor’s where the wife gutted them and cleaned them for us.  I left before we could eat them two days later, but next time I hope.  Now, the harvest, I must admit, I didn’t do a ton, but a pretty good amount.  I ended up going off with my little brother and cousins and some other camp kids to a river and back to the camp.  The machine was moved from camp to camp around the area for the day and I work at just the first.  But for about an hour or an hour and a half I lifted 50 kilo bags from the old-time mechanical harvester.  The bales of wheat and corn were tossed onto a conveyor belt and went through what was in essence a cotton gin for other stuff, and the grains came out two tubes on the other side to fill the bags.  And throughout the day we got drinks, from the store, and then some great local drinks that the farmers had made in their house, and food, which was all from the camps that we were helping harvest.  I went back home a few times throughout the day and slept, I finally caught up with all the sleep I had been short and it felt good.  After the harvest was over we went to another neighbor’s house and had some food to eat.  I will never forget this old man, a worn out farmer, bald, red eyed, sitting outside alone with a glass of wine, piscola, or something, drunk beyond belief.  There was obviously something wrong with him and just to look at his bloodshot eyes, crying and hear his blubbering, was depressing.  But after that, we went back to the camp and hung out for a while.  My dad called us outside to watch a thunderstorm in the distance which was beautiful, but the cool thing was that it was around a volcano.  It was too far to really see, but we could see all the flashes of light on the horizon from the lightning, and then really big flashes from the volcano.  The next day it was home.
Just last weekend I went out to Marbello, a community up the hill from a coastal town, Mantencillo.  Alex’s family has a house up there and he had invited me up and I finally had time to go at the very end of his stay.  Their house was right on the edge of the hill and had a perfect view of the ocean and beach.  The house too, amazing.  I couldn’t believe that Alex had been staying there for two weeks, but at least I was getting to stay for a bit.  The second day we had a grill and a bunch of food, all incredible homemade dishes.  There as a eggplant salad of some sort that was a family recipe that they bragged about, with good reason.  Both nights Alex and I went out, the first night we just hung out on the beach and talked and the second night we went to a disco, but no one really showed up so we left.  The walk back to the house was two hours each night with a shortcut up a hill that was less than a foot wide and basically straight up.  If you fell, there was no stopping with a pretty big drop at the end, needless to say, you would be dead or paralyzed.  So we were pretty careful every time we used it.  In general though, there was a beautiful beach over run with people, and a beautiful place to visit, especially with Alex.
Yesterday my dad dragged me to soccer because they didn’t know if they would have enough players.  I had said I would go, but kept thinking and realized, yet again, that I don’t want to play soccer anymore.  So I said if they really didn’t have anyone, I would play.  I ended up playing.  And surprisingly, I had fun, the first time in a long time.  It was just a small field outside LA, and a bunch of guys of all ages came, from my brother and his friends to a guy who had to have been at least 60.  I don’t know what the score was, but I think we won, even though they said the last goal was for it all and they won.  Sorry, but that way of playing pointless.  I never understood the last point wins it all.  The whole point of a somewhat competitive game was destroyed.  If you are playing for pure fun, sure, but this was relatively competitive.  All in all it was good, I would have changed the fact that I got blasted in the leg by someone’s foot and messed up my shin and calf muscles pretty bad for all day today.  But who knows, maybe I will play soccer for the school now this year.
The last story is two days after my brother left I went out again into Santiago with my cousin and her boyfriend.  The one thing I really wanted was to eat the meat wrapped pizza that Seth, Mateja, Jana, and I had seen.  I ended up not getting it, but I’ll be going back soon and I am going to make sure to get it.  Anyways, we went out to see some pretty popular parks, Los Quintos (I think), and Parque Scultura.  The first was under construction in the most famous part and we ended up going to a science museum and wandering around that for a while.  And then when we went to Parque Scultura, it was closed completely.  So, I got a good lunch and a bunch of disappointment.  But at least I know where they are now and can go visit them next time I’m in Santiago.
Quick update on me.  I have been doing awesome, I’ve obviously had a ton to do and keep me occupied.  I’ve started losing some weight and I’m feeling pretty good about that.  School starts, which sucks, in the beginning of March, and a new addition to our Rotary group is arriving on the 15th.  I am probably going to meet here at the airport.  She is going to live with my aunt, uncle, and cousins who lived with me at the beginning, my favorites, and my brother’s favorites.  So, she is really lucky to have a great family and she already knows Spanish pretty darn well from what my family tells me, not to mention French too.   Well, the last few weeks of summer should be crazy.  I am getting together with Rotary students a ton in the next few weeks and I am probably going to see Eliza Hans-Greco who is going to be doing an exchange to a university in Santiago.  I am thinking about it now, and she arrived yesterday, I should get in contact with her and see if she can meet soon.  But, that’s about it, was exciting, kind of boring right now, and should be exciting pretty soon…before school.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Siblings Trip

This is way too long so I just did it quick and easy.  There is a little bit too detail in some places and one or two places it is a little confusing, but I got it all down and that is what matters.  Soon enough though I’ll have another one about a bunch of other random stuff that has been going on.  Enjoy!

So I started out my trip going to Chillan for the weekend with Kathrine and Donner to visit Jana.  Jana’s host mom wanted to get to know me a little since Jana and I were going to be travelling a bunch together, so I headed up for the weekend.  There’s not too much to say about the weekend, just hung out around the house, went into town for a little, and went to one of their family friend’s houses.
 I took a bus from Chillan to Concepcion and got picked up by my parents.  We had a few hours to kill before my brother came, so like normal Chileans, we went to the mall.  We wandered around for a while and my brother and I ended up bowling for a while.  And for not playing in a long long time, I did erally well, scoring my highest score ever, 186.  We stopped off at my aunt’s house in Concepcion and dropped my brother off to ride with them to Cauquenes, which was where we were off to next.  Finally is was pick up my brother, after a few months of waiting, I was finally going to see him.
As we drove over I was reading my book and my mom looked back and asked, “How come you aren’t more excited for your brother?  You’re just reading!”  I told her I was ready to see my brother, and I would in a few minutes, nothing to get worked up over when we were almost there.
Once we got to the airport we went straight to the arrivals door and went in, looking for my brother.  After about 20 minutes of searching the airport I decided to look outside.  And there he was, sitting, listening to music at the departures door.  He had walked out the opposite door as we had walked in.  We got everything into the car and were off to Cauquenes with my brother.
Immediately the offers began.  “Do you want a sandwich, something to drink?  Anything?  How about an ice cream?  Water?  Nothing? Are you sure?”  And that was how most of the car ride was and how much of the next few days with my family was for my brother, not that it isn’t like that for me a lot of the time too. 
Once we got to the camp, the eating began.  First, crab, then friend fish, followed by different things here and there, and then the New Years meal.  Chicken, Potatoes, carrot dishes, corn, and so much more.  And then of course dessert, cake.   And of course, my brother hadn’t been feeling good from the flight, and none of this helped.  Dinner was over and we were all sitting around, waiting for the new year and all of the sudden my cousins and host brother wanted to go into the center to see the fireworks.  As we were driving in with my Aunt Vero, who Seth took a quick liking to because she helped him around so much, the fireworks were going off in the distance.  By the time we got into town there were 10 more minutes left.  In the center of the town there was a big celebration with live music, games, and a little carnival.  We ended up meeting Jesseye from Germany and Cassandra from SC and hung out for a while with them and Jesseye’s family.  It turned out that they were going to a club for the night and asked us if we wanted to go.  My brother, being sort of sick and tired from the trip opted out and I said yes.  So, a little while later after visiting my Uncle’s family in Cauquenes, and meeting up with my cousin and second cousin, who spoke English because she was living in Toronto and was just visiting her family for a few weeks, I went to the club and danced all night till 5:30. My second aunt picked my cousins and I up and dropped me off at some random house to sleep.  I didn’t know it, but it was my grandparents town house and I was sleeping in my uncle’s bed, but at the time I was extremely confused.  I was alone in someone’s house,  sleeping in an obviously previously slept in bed. 
I woke up two and a half hours later than I meant to, at 11:30 and got up and tried getting a hold of my family.  No one picked up and I eventually got my Aunt who had slept in town and was going back to the camp later.  A half hour later my other aunt called and asked where I was because they were coming into town to go to their house.  They picked me up and we went over to the house that had been destroyed in the earthquake last year.  The ceilings had all fallen down, tiles on the wall fell off, there were cracks in the wall, and broken windows everywhere.  It was trashed, better than some, but definitely worse than most.  We stayed a bit and then went back to the camp before going back into town to catch a bus to the beach to meet the girls from the night before.
We hung out at the beach for the day playing Frisbee, talking, digging a big whole, and relaxing after a long night before.  We went back to the camp and ate tons more the whole night.  Seth and I looked through the bag of stuff he brought be and then went to bed.
The next day we went into town to my Aunt and Uncle’s house and my grandparent’s house, where I slept, and then went to the beach again.  My Aunt, Uncle, and their kids, plus my brother and I went and ate lunch in a restraint looking out over the beach and ocean and then went to swim.  The water was freezing and I only jumped in while my brother just sat in the sun.   My cousins and I ended up deciding to play soccer and 3 other guys, two in their 20’s and one in his 30’s wanted to play too.  So, me, and my two cousins, 9 and 13, ended up beating them 2 to 1.  So, we went back and ate and slept, like usual. 
The next day we tried to catch a bus to Castro on Chiloe, the biggest island of Chile, but there was only one seat left.  So we went back to LA to try and catch one there, but there weren’t any there either.  So we decided to spend the day in LA and go the next night.  We got back to the house and Seth and I watched a West Wing and went to bed.  The next day we hung out, watching more West Wing and packing for the trip, and later we went out with Kathrine to show Seth things around the town.  
That night we went to the station and the chaos began.  We asked the first bus, they said it was the next.  So on the next bus we got on and sat down.  Two people came on with the same ticket and we got off.  We asked the next bus and they said it was the one before.  So something had gone wrong with the tickets and we weren’t waiting another day.  So we got on the bus and sat on the floor and stood for the first 5 hours of the night ride.  Not so much fun, the bathroom stunk and it was pretty dirty.  Finally with 3 hours left two seats opened up and we got to sit down.  We got to Puerto Montt in the morning and caught a bust to Castro. 
We just wandered around Castro and looked at the Palafitos, houses built on stilts right on the water.  The town was great, small shops everywhere, an old wood church, and a great town center.  Our hostel was in a good spot, right above the docks, which gave us a good view of the port.   We went to a restraint that was suggested by The Lonely Planet, Sacho’s and got a pretty traditional dish of the island.  It was a seafood dish, with clams, mussels, sausage, and onions.  We got one serving for the both of us and it was by far enough.   I ended up eating most of Seth’s since he didn’t like the mussels much and that was the majority of the dish.  The next day we got up and walked to the other side of the bay which was about an hour and a half.   One the way over, most of the bay was dry and none of the Palafitos had water touching their stilts.  Once we got to the other side we sat down, ate some lunch, and played Frisbee.  One the way back, another hour and a half, we looked out at the bay and it was full of water.  All the Palafitos had water almost half way up their stilts and all the boats were afloat.   Part of the way back we stopped in a store to look for some of the island’s traditional drinks.  We found a creamy liquor that the store owner let us try.  We wanted to take some with us, but it had to be refrigerated, so we were out of luck.  It was time to leave Castro and head back to the mainland to Puerto Varas.
Puerto Varas is a pretty decent sized town that acts as a base for all sorts of outdoors activities.  It is right on a lake and has a perfect view of a volcano and a large mountain.  Seth and I ended up eating some stuff we bought at the grocery store outside on the pier watching the sunset over the volcano.  It was a great night just sitting and talking and we ended up staying out till 12 or 12:30 just wandering around and talking about this and that.  The next day we just wandered the city some more and got some good views of the city and the volcano and mountain.  Then we caught a bus to a neighboring town, Fruitillar.  It is a really small town with not much, but we had heard it was a really pretty place.  It turned out to be really boring.  We went down to the beach and played some Frisbee, which is when I broke my toe.  I was running for a fast throw from Seth and didn’t see some sacs of sand and smashed my toe off of them.  It was just my pinky toe, but it was sticking out at a pretty strange angle and I thought I might just have dislocated it, but I wasn’t sure.  I ended up just yanking it back into place and putting in the water to stop the swelling, but it made the rest of the trip a pain.  And it still isn’t better almost a month later.  It is still really swollen, it just doesn’t hurt anymore, though I might just be used the pain, I don’t know.  Once I rest more and stop moving around for a while it might get better.
Anyways, we went back into Fruitillar to catch a bus to Valdivia to meet Jana and her sister, Mateja.  We ended up waiting at the bus stop on the highway for an extra hour and a half.  All the bus problems were strange considering I had never had problems before, but lateness is normal for all Chileans.  Side note, I might be becoming the most patient person in the world, or I am getting really good at ignoring anger because Chileans are the tardiest people in the world.  For instance, I left for Cauquenes the other day two and a half hours later, and when we left from Cauquenes with my brother to go to the bus station we were two hours late.  Another time I got to a party four hours late.  Time just isn’t important.  But, we did get the bus and did get seats, we just arrived really late to Valdivia.  Once we got there we went outside of the city with Jana and Mateja to the Kuntsmann Brewery.   We tasted all the beers and ended up getting a column and dinner.  After that it was back to the city and out for the night.  We went and hung out at a bar and played uno at a booth.  Mainly we just talked for the rest of the night.   We got back to the hostel and talked some more until Seth and Mateja went to bed.  Jana and I stayed up just talking about our exchanges and how they were going and then went to bed too.
The next day Seth and I decided to go to some islands outside of Valdivia and Jana and Mateja wanted to go to Pucon early in the morning.  They missed the first bus and hung out for a while as we got ready and then went to the islands.  Seth and I asked them to buy us tickets and put them at the desk for us, they had to buy some for pretty early and called us when they were buying them.  We were on a ferry that went between the island and had to go back right away, so we only got about a half hour on the islands while we waited for the next ferry.   We caught the bus just on time and had no problems with the bus, just people on the bus.  There were two guys behind us blasting Reggatone dance music for half the trip.  Seth was asleep for most of it, but I got to hear every song from the clubs, which would be great, in a club, but not on a bus when I am trying to sleep.
We got to Pucon, the main outdoors city and biggest tourist spot in the heart of the season in the south just for that reason.  We met up with the girls and wandered around for a while until 8 when we had booked a ride out to some thermal pools.  There were 6 different pools of different temperatures.  We were there until 12 and then went back to the hostel.  The girls got dropped off at their hostel and we went back, hung out for a bit and went to bed.
Next day we went out to some waterfalls in the woods and a few pools that we weren’t allowed to swim in.  From there we went to a small town pretty close with a beach.  We walked down away from the beach to a secluded spot and sat around in the sun and swam a bit. 
That night Seth and I had a bus at 11:30, so we decided to scope out where our station was and what we needed to do.  We were told where the station was and so we went to find it.  We found the station we were told to go to, but it wasn’t the right one.  So we went back, got our tickets and went back the station and asked where we needed to go.  We eventually found the station for our bus, which was really close the girl’s hostel.  So we waited for them and went into town.  At Christmas I had been in Pucon with my family and talked to a vendor who made and sold shoes.  I had asked her to make me some shoes since they didn’t have my size.  So I called the woman and went to their house where they made them.  There was just a man there, the guy who made the shoes, and he said that the shoes were an extra twenty-six bucks that they were originally.  I told him no and eventually got him down ten, but that still only made the shoes forty.  Too much for a pair of leather shoes as cool as they would have been to have.  So we left and went to the beach.  Seth and I played some Frisbee while the girls looked for some trails they wanted to hike the next day without us.  As Seth and I were playing Frisbee, right beside us, two models and two guys with cameras started setting up for a shoot.  So, we didn’t leave and ended up playing Frisbee as they had their photo shoot and a small crowd formed on the other side of us.  I like to think that the crowd was watching us and taking pictures of us playing Frisbee, not of the models.   Eventually it got dark and we headed into the town again and met one of Kathrine’s cousins who lived in Pucon and went to a bar until we had to leave.  And luckily we had an awesome hostel with a really cool owner who let us keep our bags at the hostel until we needed them, and let us hang out all day at the hostel too.  So we got our bags and went to the station and were off to LA again.  My dad ended up picking us up at 3:30 even though I had asked just to send a taxi for us.  The next day we went to the station early so that we could get tickets to Pichilemu, a surf town southwest of Santiago.  There were two tickets for that night, but we needed four because the girls were coming in that night or the next day, we weren’t sure which.  It was all kind of crazy.  But we went to find more and couldn’t find any more for that night.  Seth and I decided we would go that night and they could come the next day, but by the time we went to buy them they were sold.  So we got two for the next day and reserved two more to buy if the girls wanted them. 
The whole problem now was that Kathrine’s parents wanted to meet Mateja, who knows why, but they wanted a whole day with her.  Mateja didn’t know them, hadn’t know their son who lived at their house in the US, and we were all trying to get to Pichilemu.  The felt terrible, but they could only get to LA for an hour before we left for Pichilemu.  So they ended up buying the tickets with us, considering there were no other tickets that day and we had a hostel booked.   But that all meant that Seth and I were stuck in LA another day.   We did the same thing.  Hung out, watched West Wing, packed my bag I was sending back with him to the US that my mom was going to take to Santiago when she went later that week.  And then later in the night we went to Kathrine’s and ate some food, and my brother met her parents.  And of couse, Kathrine’s mom told me is was my fault that they weren’t going to get to know Mateja, jokingly, but seriously.  My parents picked us up from their house and we just went to sleep.  The next day we waited for the bus.  We went to the station and Jana called me, they went to the wrong station, luckily though it was just next door and they made it to the bus.  Our tickets were all split up, but we asked around and switched some seats so we were all sitting near each other.  We got the San Fernando, a city that we had to stop at to take another bus to Pichilemu.   The whole trip ended up taking a lot longer than we thought, 9 hours in total.  We got the the hostel pretty late, around 9 and were picked up by the wife of the owner.  She let us stop at a small store and get some food and whatnot before going to the hostel. 
This hostel was awesome.  It was a surf hostel, with amazing beds, which we really needed after the trip there and the last few days, a great location, 3 or 4 minutes walking distance to the beach, and just a great build.  Really big windows, a pretty square look, but really interesting, and a lot of wood with a patio on the side with a grill and pool.  But, once we got there that first night we walked down to the beach and hung out down there just talking.  Then back to sleep.  The next day we went into the main part of town and wandered around until Seth and I decided we would go surfing in the main surf spot, a twenty minute walk on the beach from our hostel.  The girls stayed in town a little longer and bought some food for dinner for later.  They ended up meeting us at the beach after Seth and I had surf lessons.  We stayed out for a while, just paddling and trying to catch waves, which we both caught.  But overall, for me, surfing isn’t my thing.  Too much waiting for a wave that you probably won’t catch and if you do, probably won’t stand up on.  If I could go surfing a lot more, maybe I would, but for how much I will go in my life, there isn’t much of a point since I will never be very good.  But, I ended up going the next day too. 
After surfing that day, we went back to the hostel and had a cookout on the grill.  I manned the grill while they got the other stuff ready, a few salads, and watermelon.  This of course meant that I was outside grilling by myself, sausages and vegetables.  And the biggest part of grilling is the socializing, but I was alone.  They eventually came out when I was done cooking, with salads that could have only taken 5 ot 6 minutes to make, but whatever, we had a great dinner and a fun time.  Not much else happened that night since we were so tired from surfing and Seth and I ended up teaching Mateja and Jana Euchre so we could play throughout the rest of the trip.  They caught on pretty fast, but they needed more practice, which they got later on throughout the rest of the trip.  As I said, the next day was more surfing and then we left for first, Santiago for a day, and then Valparaiso and Vina Del Mar, two neighboring cities on the coast.
In Santiago we met one of Mateja’s friends who was going back to the US after 6 months of studying abroad the next day and went out on the town with her.  First we got something to eat after dropping our stuff off at our hostel and then went to the disco and bar strip of Santiago.  We went to a disco for an hour or so when my brother decided to go back.  We stayed out later and when we left the disco we met some guys who were going to another party in Santiago.  So we went with them.  The party was in a garage in who knows what part of Santiago, within walking distance of our hostel, but pretty far.  They said that no foreigners ever came to this venue and we were really lucky.  So eventually that ended too and Mateja got a number from one of the guys so that we could call them when we came back.  So at 7 in the morning we got back to the hostel and slept for 2 hours.  Then it was to Valparaiso and Vina del Mar.
Vina del Mar is the nicer more political side of the city with all the tourists who are there for beaches and nice houses.  Valparaiso is southern city with a port, which isn’t big enough for the city but has nowhere to expand.  Valparaiso was voted the country’s city with the most culture, or something along those lines and has great houses everywhere, amazing views since it is on a pretty big hill and great places to eat and visit.  Along with ascensores, I forget the word in English, but they are just carts that go up and down the hills on tracks. 
We ended up staying in Valparaiso most of the time with just a small trip to Vina del Mar.  At our hostel, which took a bit of searching to find we met an American couple and wandered around the city, did a short boat tour and looked for a seafood restaurant that we couldn’t find with them for the day ending up at a grocery store buying food for the night.  We made burritos with the couple, which was a great idea.  It was the best meal we had on our trip.  Then that night we went out and wandered around some more and went to a pretty cool restaurant/bar and had a drink.  And they gave us some cooked marijuana seeds too eat.  They had cooked them which got rid of the THC, but none of us had seen it before and they were actually really good and lasted a long time for how little there was.  But after that it was back to the hostel.
The following day we went and saw Pablo Neruda’s house in Valparaiso.  Pablo Neruda was a famous poet/politician in Chile who collected all sorts of stuff and put it in his houses, which he had one in Valparaiso, one in Santiago, and one more on an island off the coast near Santiago.  All the stuff inside was really interesting and the house itself was beautiful.  He had a bunch of his friends who were artists do different things all over the house such as paintings and stone and tile works all over.  There were free electronic tours which gave a lot of interesting information about the house and about Neruda.  After the house we wandered around some more, went to Vina del Mar and went to a park.  After the day was over we went out and ate at a small restaurant and went back to the hostel for a wine mixer that the owners put on.  After the mixer, all of us, and all the other people staying at the hostel went out to a huge discotech for the night.  The disco had 7 levels with different music in each one.  We stayed until pretty late until Jana and I were pretty tired and decided to go back.  We started walking and she said that she knew a shorter way back to the hostel.  I wasn’t so sure, but she seemed like she was positive even though I knew a sure way back.  So off we went.  But, we only got so far till we got lost.  We spent an hour and a half wandering through the city asking people where we were and how to get back.  It was a ton of walking and kind of sucked, but it was fun just wandering and talking, plus we got some amazing view of the city during the night with all the lights on.  We ended up getting back at the same time as everyone else was coming back too and got teased pretty well about getting lost.  Then it was to bed.
In the morning we got up and ate breakfast and went out to a lagoon outside of the city and spent the day on the beach.  When we came back we went back to the hostel and then to the bus station to Santiago.
In Santiago I had arranged to go and stay at my Aunt’s house the next night which meant I had to go get the keys for the house since no one would be there.  It was a 40 minute trip out by myself while the other three went to the hostel we were staying at that night.  I dropped off my bag, got the keys and came back in.  I almost couldn’t come back in because it was so late and the metro was about to close, but I made it.  It was a terrible trip in and out to the house and was ready to shoot someone by the time I got back in.  Once I finally got back though we ate a bit, played some euchre and went out again for the night.  Seth stayed in since he was so tired from the last few days, but Jana Mateja and I knew it was the last night we would have out on the town and had to go out.  So, we called the guys from before and met up with them.  They were having a small party at their friend’s apartment which ended up being in a high rise apartment building and or course, they had the apartment that opened up onto the roof of the other half of the building which meant we could climb over the railing and hang out there too.  It was an amazing view of the city with some really cool guys.   They were all skateboarders and the owner of the apartment wrote for a Chilean skateboarding magazine.  So after a while there we went out to eat at their favorite hotdog/hamburger joint.  It was delicious and completely worth staying out even later for.  But after that they took us back to our hostel for a little bit of sleep before we explored Santiago the next day. 
So, when we got up, it was straight out to explore.  First we went to Plaza De Armas, the main plaza and looked around at what there was to see like the giant Catholic church and the first post office in Chile and a few other things and then we went to a museum in the center.   And finally to San Cristobal which has an acsensor that goes up to Santa Lucia, a statue that looks out onto the city with a small church.  All in all, we walked way too much and were all ready to drop over by the time we went back to my aunts.  We got some food and made dinner and then just hung out in the house.
We all rested pretty well and Seth and Mateja were ready for their trips home.  But first we went to the giant open air market in Santiago so Seth and Mateja could by some stuff for people at home.  Then we took Jana to the bus station to go home.  Seth and I went on  wild goose chase for my bag that my mom dropped off at the bus station and went from bus station to bus station looking for it and eventually found it.  Then after Mateja said goodbye to Jana, the three of us went back to the house where my Aunt was going to pick us up and take them to the air port.  Seth and I packed all the stuff for the trip home and Mateja packed her bag too.  Then we just waited to take them to the airport.
Saying goodbye sucked.  I just want to crawl into the bag and go back with them.  As great as it was to have them there, it was almost impossible to say goodbye.  In the end, I had an amazing time with them and was happy for the break from my exchange.  Travelling with them couldn’t have been better.  Jana and Mateja were amazing travelling companions and made the trip just that much better.   And I am still happy that I got to see so much of the country, because I know that I wouldn’t have gotten to see so much otherwise.  Travelling with Seth is always great, but this was just so much better than usual because  I hadn’t seen him or anyone in such a long time.  I wish he could come back again and we could go to the north, but I know we will travel together again and I am looking forward to that

Friday, December 3, 2010

South Trip

So unfortunately I waited a few days to write this because I didn't really have time and a few times I did I really needed to relax and think.  But now I am ready, school is over, today was the last day but no one went, so it was gym and home after sleeping at Alex's house last night.  Lets begin.

We left the bus station at 11:30 at night and got to our first city, Puerto Monte in the morning at around 7.  I didn't really sleep well, I'm bad at sleeping on buses which is going to be interesting for when my brother comes to visit and we take a bunch of night buses.  But, I digress, we go to the city, wandered around the coast for a bit, took some pictures and then went to eat breakfast.  We went to a little cafe on a second floor with a view of the ocean.  It was where I had my frist blueberrie muffin, definantly worth some extra money.  A few other others wanted one and I let them some money, they all enjoyed theirs too.  There was a bit more wandering and seeing the city, we went to a feria, just an outside market, tons of giant fish, other seafood, cheeses, and the regular nic nac shops.  Then it was off to the airport for a plane ride to Puerto Arenas.

The plane ride was quite an eventful one.  Kathrine is really scared of planes and as wrong as it was for me to laugh, I did.  She was swearing and freaking out, holding Alex's hand, who was sitting behind her, and trying to stay calm.  But of course, when we tried landing in the freakishly strong with of the south, we couldn't the first time and had to come back around, that thouroughly scared her.  In the end a safe landing and a fun plane ride for me.

We got out of the airport and were in winds at least 50 maybe 60 miles an hour.  Throughout the whole trip the wind was strong, it wasn't the cold that was a problems, just the wind.  From the airport we went to a mall, got some food and hung out.  Two other exchange students from the South met up with us for the trip, one from Germany and one from the US, both nice and fun to have on the trip with us, I think they had a ton of fun with us.  There are only 4 students in the south and they don't do anything together, they are completly isolated.  Back to the trip, during our free time at the mall we went ice skating at a rink inside the mall, tons of fun and something too keept us occupied.

We drove to our hotel that was in the city, hung out for a while and then got a surprise Thanksgiving dinner.  Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes with I think kale, and vegtables.  I went to town and ate and ate and ate.  It was for sure worth breaking my diet, which stayed broken for the rest of the week, might I add.  I got to cut one of the turkeys, I did a good job, and Donner cut one of the others, and ended up cutting himself.  The last one was cut by a waiter.  I was just so happy to have had a Thanksgiving dinner, it is 2nd, technically 3rd behind the tie of New Years and 4th of July for my favorite holidays.  After dinner we walked around the city and saw it at night, beautiful.  Then back to the hotel for some much needed sleep.

Next day we were up at 8 and left by 9.  We went to a museum that had all sorts of history of Chile from drilling to Darwin's trip near Chile and much more.  Then we went to a famous and giant cemetery and wandered it for a while.  It was creepy, but definantly the most beatiful cemetery I had ever seen.  For the rest of the day we saw the city, sites, the coast and a few other things.  Then back to the hotel for free time.  A few of us wandered around near the hotel and found a great little coffee shop where we went each day after. 

We got up even earlier the next day, 6:30 for a bus that left at 7.  Quick morning getting ready and if was off to see Torres del Painne.  First we went to a giant cave with stalagmites and stalagtites where the first of some prehistoric vegitarian bear was found and they had a replica statue of it too.  Then another reserved area with a few lakes.  We started driving and got our first look at the mountains and Torres del Painne.  It was amazing and far away.  We went a bit closer, even better with a lake.  We thought we were done there and were all kind of pissed, but then we went close and got out, got more pictures and even more beautiful scenery around.  Then two more times, one with two giant different colored lakes and one with hills, a camp, and some animals.  Torres was amazing, and in pictures it looks fake it is so unreal.  I will tell you soon why I don't have any pictures of any of this, only from other students.  So, it was long day at Torres, and then we went one more place.  We had a two hour walk on a beach to see a few glaciers in the water and one between the mountains from pretty far away.  It was 15 million year old ice, pure and beautiful.  As tradition we had a small drink of whiskey with the ice from glaciers with the Rotary women, so it was ok.  Then it was back to the hotel for a dinner and fun.  We ate, went out and played some pool and lottery machines and the came back and hung out till pretty late.

Following day was up early again and off to a boat ride.  It was cold, windy, raining, and lots of splashing waves.  But I sat out on deck for a quite a while on the way there, just by myself looking at the scenery go by.  I went inside a few times, had some tea and talked with people.  We went by some waterfalls, a few glaciers, some penguin looking birds, and a few other things.  Then we got of the boat and and took a hike through the woods to a glacier.  It didn't seem that far away or that big until there was a avalanch.  It was so loud, loud enough to make me relize just hot big the glacier must have actually been.  It was incredible.  The a walk back through the forest with a drink from a little waterfall from the glacier.  I was sitting on the beach, took a picture, put the camera in my pocket, sat down on the dock for a few minutes and got one.  I went to talk a picture, and my camera was gone.  Gone for good.  I asked around, talked the park incase they found it later, but no such luck.  All my picture gone, at least it was just this trip and not more.  It just made the day so much harder after that.  I sat on the front of the boat again, just watching, there were some sealions and just some good views.   Before we got all the way back we stopped again and had an amazing lunch of lamb, chicken, and some other stuff.  Man I love the meat here, and I am sure as heck going to grill a lot when I get home.  I could eat lamb all day long.  We got back, and just went to the hotel.  The day picked up from the camera and we ended up going out to the pool house again and having a great time.  The night was a lot of fun, just hanging out and talking with everyone.

I don't remember exactly what day, but one of the first two days we went and saw penguins, we walked out on a trail for maybe a mile in the gusting wind to a little lookout.  A bunch of penguines with their heads down, huddled together with a few here and their wandering around. Really cute animals.  I had my camera at this point, so it ws before the boat day.  On they way back we saw some more of them, just sitting near nests or protecting babies.

The second to last day we went to see a fort pretty far outside of the city and stayed there for a while.  It was the center of Chile, including the Antarctic territory.  On the drive there along the coast there were a bunch of abandoned old ships, rusting away in the ocean which were really neat and spectacular to look at, just leaning in the sea with sides and parts missing and big holes.  Then it was to another camp, first for another lunch of even better lamb than the first day and some great side dishes of rice and vegtables.  Second to see their animals.  There were two kinds of penguins, ducks, gunacos, llamas, alpacas, an ostrich, and a bird that look like and ostrich only smaller.  The llamas, alpacas, the ostrich looking bird, and guanacos we got to go into the cages with and pet and feed them.  I got a kiss from a guanaco and Alex got spit on, and made the ostrich angry, who knows why.  After that we went back to the hotel, got out bags and drove back to Puerto Arenes, I think I am getting mixed up in with places and locations, so if you don't follow, remeber that I don't really either. I just remember what I did.  We had a bunch of free time so a few of us went to a great chocolate shop, and then even less of us wandered the city and ended up on the beach.  I got to walk along the beach without shoes by myself, looking for beach glass.  It was amazing, I had a choice of giant pieces of beach glass, so many great colors, the usual, but still, giant and it huge quantities, I got to decide which ones I wanted to take and which ones not to instead of trying to find as much as possible.  Plus is was great to stroll the beach by myself just thinking and being.  Then me and a friend walked down the docks just by ourselves, sat around on some benchs with chessboards, talked and saw the port of antarctica.  It was just nice to sit and talk to someone who knows what I am going through and is going through a really similar experience.  Especially when they are a really cool person.  Back to the hotel, dinner, and more time just hanging out with the exchange students. 

One more day, some time in the cities, monuments, breakfast and lunch, a plane ride, some time in another city and the bus station and around it.  Alex and I after eating a sandwich that we got from rotary went to a supermarket and go a chick and sat there eating it with out hands, just a good time with him like always.  Then it was home on the bus.  I sat next to Kathrine on the way home and had an amazing talk with her that I really needed.  She can listen to anything and I can tell her anything.  I don't know what I would do without her.  She brightens my day every day, considering I see every day.  We sat and listened to music too and she fell asleep pretty fast after we finished talking.  I got about and hour or two of sleep on the busride, I just can't sleep well on them, they are to small and uncomfortable.  We got back and waited for a bit at the station because we were earlier and went home. 

It was an amazing trip and the things that happened on it I will never forget.  It would have been perfect minus losing my camera, but I won't let that ruin what I got out of that trip.  I wish we had had more time together, but at least we got that.  And we will keep seeing eachother throughout the year and I am greatful for that.  I have Alex and Kathrine in my city and the holidays are here and I can see all my other friends.  My brother will be here soon enough and then he will leave and 3 days later I will have been here for 5 months.  It seems pretty fast already.

Friday, November 12, 2010

I Think I've Still Got It

I should have written the otherday, after I got back from Santiago when everything was fresh.  But, writing in my blog takes a certain mood, or extreme boredom.  In my case, boredom.  I stayed home from school today because I wasn't feeling to well, but I feel great now, let's hope I can get out later.  I've got two friend's from out of town, plus one of their host sister's and a friend from in town staying here tonight because tomorrow is RYLA, a Rotary event and we have to be there at 9 in the morning.  I am supposed to meet them at the bus station and I think a bunch of us are going to do something tonight, who knows what though, there isn't much around.

Rewind a week.  I left for Santiago on the bus Thursday so I could study and rest on Friday.  The bus ride was 7 hours, a relaxing 7 hours (I enjoy the bus rides a lot).  Then I just waited until the SATs.  I spent Friday not really studying like I should have, only a bit, I wanted to relax and calm down before I took them.  I realized how much I wanted to take them though, I figured it would be nice to actually do some real intellectual work for once.  And it was, the SAT was good.  I don't think I did all that well on the writing, but I wasn't surprised, I couldn't think of the words I wanted to use and I couldn't put my thoughts on to the paper very coherently.  But the rest I did pretty well I think.  Only one math problem that I skipped cause it looked to hard and then came back to and realized it was really easy, only I didn't have enough time.  The main problem was that part way through the test I started shaking and had trouble keeping still and writing.  I don't have any idea what it was, but when I held my hand up I could barely keep my pencil in my hand, so I just kept it pushed against the desk.  The rest of the test went on like that, but I got through it.  And I've been shaking a bit here and there now and keeping my hand steady is impossible, I think it was like that before just not as bad.

The rest of the day was fine, some tv, food, and my cousin's hockey game, which he won 29 to 1, kind of depressing to watch.  The other team was just slaughtered, I couldn't believe that the coach would let that happen, but people are people. 

Sunday was the really cool day.  We went to Vina del Mar and Valparaiso.  Both beautiful cities on the coast west of Santiago.  They are basically connected but Valparaiso is the port side with all the white collar workers and the political significance where most of the lower class lives, and Vina del Mar is the upper class touristy side.  The rich live in Vina, but travel over for work.  Vina was beautiful, giant, and extravagant, but Valparaiso was amazing.  It was old houses, steep streets, and much more authentic, to me at least.  I didn't see as much as I would have liked to of either, but I'm going back in January when my brother comes, which I'm pumped for.  We walked on the beach for a while, went to some lookouts and could see the whole of both cities, and ate lunch.  My aunt and uncle took me, my two cousins, and my cousin's boyfriend to a high end restraunt in Vina.  It was delicious, I had a cut of beef with some sauce and I don't remember the name in English, or in Spanish, but it was basically mashed corn instead of mashed potatoes.  And then, even better, was my cousin's lasagna.  Both of my cousins got lasagna, but neither liked it, so the boyfriend and I got to eat theirs, good decision for me.  Then we stoped over at Pizza Hut for my cousins to get something to eat and we all ended up eating a bit of the pizza.  A but more sight seeing and then off to home. Sleep, and then another bus ride home.

I got back, not much has happened.  I had a soccer game on a field that was packed dirt, some gravel and rocks, and a bunch of glass, not to mention the broken condom I saw.  I got to fall quite a few times and get some good cuts which weren't fun to clean out later.  But in the mean time I felt pretty tough considering I don't know many people, especially my highschool soccer teammates who ever played someplace like that.  We ended up losing though because we didn't have most of our players and had to play some pretty bad players, but whatever, not a big deal, at least to me, some of my team was pissed.

Well, just sitting at home, about to finish season 7 of friends after watching The Time Traveler's Wife.  And maybe I'll put some pictures on facebook, one of the most daunting tasks I know because of the monotony of the task and the speed at which facebook can upload photos.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Quick Weekend

It wasn't to quick, but I'm going to tell it quick.

I'll start on Thursday, I went to my friends house where she taught me to make alfahores, amazing cookie treates with chocolate and manjar.

Friday, I went to the gym where I met Alex.  He asked me to go to could I turn that down.  Six bucks for an hour, not bad, I might go again.  It was a great workout and it was really nice hitting some stuff.   Then we went back to the gym for a little before we went back to my house for showers and some rice with milk and sugar, my cousin taught me.  It's really simple and I could have done it without him, but it was nice to make it with him, good bonding.  From my house we went out and met up with two friends from my school and then with two Rotary friends, Kathrine from here, and Jana from Chillan.  We went to the movies and saw Blood and Love in Paris, or something along those lines, with John Travolta.  He relived his Pulp Fiction days even with his sandwhich, I don't remember the name, but he eats the same one in each movie and the violence and the lines were just to much.  It ended up not being very good, but still fun because Jana and I made fun of the movie the whole time.  We all went back to my friends house where I made the alfahores and hung out, ending up with me and the two Chilean girls jumping in the freezing pool for 5 minutes, good cold time.

Next day I didn't do anything until 4 when my family and I went to our friend's camp 40 minutes away.  They mainly grow asparagus, and that couldn't be better, we got a bunch of it for free.  The friend's sons took me out to the town and we wandered around for a while, I got to skateboard a bit on some little kid's board that they knew, I'm still terrible and should stop trying.  We went back, hung out for a but and then went to a birthday party for a 5 year old.  It was more of a party for the parents, the daughter was just a good excuse.  I ended up eating randomly assorted parts of the intestines of sheep.  I don't know what I had from the intestines, but they cooked them really well and it wasn't to bad at all.  A bunch of desserts, some other food, and then off to the town again for awhile.  We left sort of late and I was supposed to go to the same friend's birthday party who I made alfahores with and went the to movies with.  It was at the discotec in Los Angeles.  After leaving really late, we ended up running into an accident and got to wait for about 20 minutes while that cleared up.  After reaching the party 3 hours late, I paid for my ticket and got it.  I was then told by my friend that I didn't need to pay for my ticket, I was free, but at that point I couldn't get my money back.  So after a night of dancing and being surrounded by smoke I went home.  My dad picked me up and we went to get my brother who was arriving home from a soccer tournament that his team placed second in.  We got home around 4 and I took a shower to get the smell of smoke out of my hair and off my body. 

The next day I didn't do anything until pretty late when we went out to the mall.  I needed new pants because mine were to small in the legs.  They started out sort of small, but gaining 10 pounds and riding a bike everyday at the gym made my legs a bit bigger which makes tight pants a problem.  I am no officially a faily baggy pants person.  Much more comfortable and free.  I ended up getting two pairs of pants, one of jeans and another of some rainproof pants that I felt obligated to buy.  A whole long story with my mom and a rain jacket she got me for Christmas.  I didn't want the pants, though I really like them and am glad I have them, but it would have been rude not to buy them in the situation, you needed to be there, I'll let you slide on not understanding. 

Finally on Monday, All Saints Day, we had a big lunch with meat and the delicious sausages and a bunch of asparagus, I couldn't have been happier.  I fried some asparagus and my mom boiled some, both great, I couldn't get enough.  The downer was that I didn't do much the rest of the day and my Kathrine had texted me but I didn't get it.  Her and Jana were in a huge market that I didn't know about not far from my house.  First of all, I would have loved to hang out with them, they are both amazing and I don't get to see Jana much, and we get along great, yet another me in girl form, the other being my friend from Mass who is 20 minutes away.  And second, it would have been great to see the market, it was a huge holiday with venders of all sorts and apparently the majority of the city goes to it.  My parents didn't tell me and I didn't get the message, so instead of going to a huge open air market with two of my best friends, I watched movies and studied, kind of disappointing.  But then later my dad, brother, and I went and played soccer for a while which was fun, as tired as I was from the weekend.

And a little more, today I took out Katherine because her birthday is tomorrow.  We went to a Chinese restraunt, which I had gone two days before, kind of forgot to mention this, what better time than the present, with my family after the mall.  It was a little expensive, but Donner and I split it.  Good food, good people, and the AFS exchange student showed up too with his family by coincidence.  And tomorrow she is having a small get together at her house too.

This Thursday I'm off to Santiago for my SATs which I didn't study for enough, definantly some, but not enough.  That is my next few days.  And then after my SATs my aunt and uncle are taking me to Valapariso and Vina del Mar.  Both of which are supposed to be amazing, questionable the best places to visit in Chile, look them up for yourself.  I get to miss two days of school and see great cities, thank you SATs, maybe I'll thank you by studying for you and tearing you apart.

Well that was more than I planned, but I got going and couldn't stop.  Well worth it though.  More and more exciting as you scrolled down.  And all those typoes (that is probably one right there), aren't changing, just a good reminder of how intensely I wrote this, and all my blogs for that matter.