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.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Rotary Weekends

Rotary weekends are awesome, and my groups rocks.  We went to Chillan for the weekend and stayed near the thermal pools, though we didn't get to go to one because they were to expensive, and the skiing areas.  We had two houses, one for the girls and one for the boys.  We spent most of the time in the girls because it had a deck that looked out on to a beautiful stream and woods.  Even the woods here seem more beautiful, dead gnarled trees with great bunches of moss hanging off, bamboo everywhere, white weathered wood in the stream, it couldn't be much prettier.  At one point, the three other Americans and I went on a short hike through the woods and found a bridge made out of a log that had fallen across the stream and climbed part way up the mountain that was close by.  Just amazing.

Throughout the weekend we cooked Chilean food, ate Chilean food, took a Spanish test, had a talent show, and a few other things.  For my talent, my friend, Donner, and I did a skit that I stole from two of my friends back in the US.  During a OMD YAC Conference two girls, known as the Katies, did a skit to Peanut Butter Jelly Time.  One Katie stood behind the other with her arms underneath the other's arms and made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and fed them to the other Katie, all very messily.  So, with no real talents, I stole an idea for a talent to perform with another talentless friend.  It turned out well and people enjoyed it. 

My Spanish test went really well and I got told that mine was one of the best.  That was just a big relief being here knowing that my Spanish is on the right track and I'm doing well.  All in all, the weekend was a plus and a much needed break from my everyday life of being an exchange student.  And as always, leaving the exchange students was hard.  But, I know I'll see them soon enough.

Before the weekend I had a track me, my first since 8th grade, granted it was only running.  It took 7 hours and I ran twice, one for my school and once for another school that didn't have enough people.  I got a 2nd and a 3rd, and both races were relays.  And each time only 5 teams ran, so nothing spectacular.  But it was fun and I got to talk a lot the whole day, which was really good for me, I need to talk to more people. 

I'm still not doing as much as I should for the SAT's and college applications, this blog is yet more procrastinating.  And that tells you how much I don't want to do it, I'm writing a blog.  I wish I was more like my brother and I had the ability to sit down and get stuff done more often.  When I do sit down it happens, but it's the sitting down and starting that is the problem.  I have to get it done though, so it will happen.

Today my class had a nationwide English test that none of the exchange students had to take.  So we all sat in the cafeteria all day and talked.  And then we missed a class or two on accident.  Definantly a good day of school in my books.

Not much else going on as usual, I got some recipies from my parents and I hope I can cook for my family again.  The gym as usual, and maybe I'm going to make a special Chilean cookie with my friend on Thursday.  And I almost forgot one of the reasons I wanted to write this blog, music once again.  A lot of the time we listen to music when we eat, and sometimes some not so appropriate songs come on.  And I can't help but laugh, normally I can contol it, at lyics along the lines of "I'm gonna lay you...and something sexual."  Or rap songs rapping about getting money and something degrading to women.  And the whole time I am the only one who realizes what is going on.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Just Because

I say I don't want more does not mean I don't like it.  I just don't want more.  Chileans read into actions to much.  I have said I don't want more of something quite a few times, and the response I have gotten is either still more of that food, or "You don't like it?" in an offended voice.  I feel bad about it, but I have already gained 11 pounds here.  I love all the food I have been given, but you have to draw the line somewhere.

On the same note, today was my grandpa's birthday and my teacher's birthday.  This of course meant cake for both, not the the regular Chilean cake, but regular cake, just glorified.  They were both really good, though normally I don't like regular cake.  But, tons of food, and tons of food that was bad for me.  All delicious.

I forgot to say too, the other day I went to my grandparents and drove a quad.  I now understand why it is so big around me at home and here, it's exciting and fun.  I can't wait to do it more.  I ended up making my brother ask me to go slower and when he got off he kissed the ground, though I wasn't going more that 20 mph. 

This last weekend I went to Concepcion and spend Friday not in school, and just wandering the city.  I went to the natural history museum and a few parks, the center and some stores.  They have these stores here that sell old American clothes, and of course what do I find, nothing else than a Slipper Rock Lacrosse shirt.  Of course I had to buy it.  I got a few other things and some awesome earrings.  But, I spent more money there than I have anywhere besides the on the gym.  In the afternoon, when my dad had a break from his accounting classes he took me to lunch at his favorite place to eat.  Just a sandwich and hotdog shot, but definantly the best Chilean sandwiches I've had.  They are called Churascos, not so sure about the spelling, but they are beef or pork with toppings on a delicious bun.  Toppings include everything, from cheese, advocado, onions, eggs, and mayo, plus the regular ketchup, mustard, and hot sauce, and a few other things.  But it was a good day with my dad, plus I found a kind of coffee that I like, not much of coffee, but still, vanilla coffee.
Then that night we went to their friend's house to stay overnight and had a really good dinner.  The next morning we ate, and then went for a walk with the dog.  We came back, at again, and then went to a waterfall near their house.  It was a long walk, but definantly worth it.  Oh, and I forgot my camera, so I didn't have it in the city, but my mom brought it and I had it for the waterfalls and the river we walked too.  Then it was home on Sunday.

Now back to the usual life at home.  My brother and cousins are going to the gym with me tomorrow and this weekend is a Rotary get together and we have a test on our Spanish to see if we can go to RYLA, a youth leadership weekend workshop.  And I think if our Spanish is bad enough they send us home.  But I don't have to worry, mine is coming along great, I at least won't get sent home.  I'm pumped to see all my Rotary friends.  Wish me luck!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

I Guess It's Time For Another

It's been a while since my last post, but not to much has really happened.  I've got my basic routine down.  I just need to add some stuff to it.  Here is how it goes...
1) Get up and 6:30 and make breakfast and watch part of a movie or a tv show while eating.  Slowly get dressed and do all the other morning things.
2) Go to school.
3) Be bored at school for 6 hours 5 days a week.
4) Come home and eat.
5) Hang out for a bit with my family and get on the computer.
6) Go to the gym.
7) Go out around town, hang out with friends, or most often come home and chill for the rest of the night.
8) Go to bed way to late.
9) Start over.

Weekends vary obviously.  I travel a lot whether it is with my family or now Rotary events are about to pick up for a while.  What I am really waiting for is summer though.  No more school.  And I have a bunch of places I want to go with my family.  One of my extended families have 3 houses, one in Santiago, one county house outside of Santiago with a lake and a pool, and their beach house...amazing.  Plus I am going to get to go see my Rotary friends, I hope.  And I think my brother might be coming to visit.

The past few weeks have been slow as I said.  I started soccer and after my first day they asked me to play for their team.  We played in a tournament this weekend and got second place.  I missed the first of three games because I went my English professor's English class that he teaches at a university close by.  I just gave my Rotary presentation and then talked with them in English.  There were some other exchange students too.  But, back to soccer, it turns out I'm actually pretty good down here.  Nothing special, but not bad, which is a relief.  I was scared they were going to be amazing.  But already I don't know if I want to play anymore.  Last year once the season was done I was done too with soccer.  I will keep playing here though just to be around people.

I think the time when I am happiest here is when I cook.  It is great for some reason, a million things going on at once, smelling great, and looking great.  I just wish I had better pans, the ones I have are thing and burn things easily, and not enough variety.  But I make do and they still love my food.  But with all the food I make comes a lot of excersizing.  But I don't mind, I'm an excersize addict.  And now my cousins are going to start coming to the gym, I don't know for how long, but they came today.  And next week my brother will come too. 

Back to school really quickly, I started working in Chemistry and it's not so bad so far.  I'm starting to recall stuff.  And my math teacher as I said was impressed with me today because I got the farthest on our worksheet, about 6 problems ahead of everyone else out of 18 problems in and hour.  So not to bad.

Not much else except the miners are all safe here.  All 33.  Everyone seems really happy about it.  My dad and I watched it last night and then the rest of the family came in gradually after it was over.  But my dad asked if people in the US had really heard much about it and I said yeah, it's actually pretty big.  He also said that it was pretty big in Denmark too, where is daughter is.  He seemed pretty happy that Chile was getting the attention it was, as I think everyone else was.  I understood only a little bit of what they were saying on CNN which was frustrating and showed me how far my Spanish has really come.  Then again, I wasn't concentrating to hard.  I too was really happy for the Chileans to be out and safe, even with some problems here I fell part of the country and I felt with them.

Well, off to Concepcion tomorrow for who knows what, I'm still pretty lost here.  But hopefully I will get to see two of my Rotary friends while I am there.  Up for a bus at 6.  Maybe I'll sleep tonight.  Oh yeah, I mentioned that above, I don't sleep well or long.  I got to sleep at anywhere from 1:30 to 4:30.  I don't know why but it sort of sucks.  Then again it is nice because it helps school go faster...though I'm not focusing on Spanish as much.  Maybe I'll start sleeping better soon.  I can't decide whether is will be good or bad, I know Rotary would say good, but I hate school.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Frosted Flakes

I've just got a bunch of random stuff with no real correlation in this one, but it's all pretty interesting, or at least entertaining.

So, the Frosted Flakes here, or their verson, rock.  The flakes are all big, and they are all a bit thicker than in the US.  They are also bowl shaped.  This means they are crunchier, and hold milk in them so that when you chew them, they become the perfect consistency.  Man, the small things are what I'm going to miss.

I had dream last night, partly in Spanish, I can't really remember much.  But it was set on a farm, I'm pretty sure I was a slave.  Somehow I was in the main house doing something and talk to people.  Numbers and simple words, but mostly just Spanish sounding jibberish.  There were a lot of dogs and dead ones, it was sad, but considering how many dogs I see here I'm not surprised they were in my dream.  Maybe next time it will be understandable Spanish.

More food.  I cooked taco salad and roasted vegtables, and once more they loved my cooking.  My brother asked my mom later why she doesn't cook like me.  So I guess I can win my family over with food.  I also found out where our food comes from since my mom doesn't cook.  There is a catering business next door and I guess they have something worked out so they can just get meals for the day and nothing big.  And on Mondays and Thursdays our maid cooks food that we sometimes have around for a few days or eat in one.  I also cooked frenchfries in oil.  Definantly better than in the over.

Ever more cooking, I grilled yet again at a party for Rotary students.  Most of us were there with the exception of a few.  Awesome food, great people, and a great house.  We were up really late just hanging out and having fun.  I couldn't ask for a better group of kids.  And a new girl from California showed up, something was wrong with her visa.  But, she too was great.

I hadn't thought about it before, but unlike at home, people can sell stuff in school.  They only sell food and candy, but still, I find it sort of strange.  I wish I could have done it at home though.  School brings me to another thing, SATs.  I am taking the SATs in November on the 6th.  I really don't want to, but I need to.  It's in Santiago, and my friend is taking them too.  I think we are going to take a bus up and crash at her sister's house or I might stay with my family in Santiago, I'll figure all that out later.  But as of now I don't have a calculator.  I'll start looking for that soon too.  But this now means I have to start studying English again, even if it is just vocab, and I'm already studying Spanish vocab.  To many words in my life.

At the same time as studying for SATs and learning Spanish I am looking at schools.  It's actually really exciting and I'm having fun.  I just really wish that I could make some school visits and see the campuses.  So far so good, all the colleges I want to go to have swimming and all my majors minus a few things here and there.  My SAT's as of now are actually acceptable to the schools too, not they are really all that bad.  So who knows, maybe I'll be at Brown, Bucknell, or Davidson next year.

Here is a good story, it was a while ago I just forgot about writing it.  I was coming home from the gym with Alex and we stopped to grab a drink, fruit, and other small stuff.  Just a small supermarket on the way home.  I walked in a woman was washing the floor with a mop.  Immediatly, I step on a little packet of something and bright red cream comes out onto my shoe and pantleg.  The packet said crema de something, who knows.  But of course, I had taste it.  It was bright read, said crema, and looked sweet.  I was completely wrong.  It was soap for washing the floor and had a nice oil taste.  I spit it out outside and rinsed my mouth out.  I don't know if anyone in the store saw or not, but if they did, that is a good foreigner story.

I just finished The Big Lebowski, a great movie about a deadbeat.  And I really want to try a White Russian, The Dude's (the main character) favorite drink.  It just looks good, I've been really into milk and milk products lately.

Now just two short things condensed into one, I miss my cats and I said that to my mom, and what does she do?  Nothing but goes and gets Toast, and holds him up to the screen for me, waving his arm the whole time.  The shirts here are too small and I could use a few new ones.  Two of mine I brough got strange stains on them, and a few other's it turns out are too small.

I find it strange the way I am getting on with my Spanish.  Unlike anyone else, it is easier for me to speak Spanish than to understand it.  I think it is cause I have been teaching myself some stuff and getting a decent amount of practice, while trying to understand Chileano, Chilean Spanish, is impossible unless they slow down.  I still need a lot more time.

Off to Santiago this weekend for a presentation my cousin is giving in her class.  I'm not really sure what it's about, all I know is that she is giving it because it is her last year in "high school".  But I'm happy to go, I love my extended family and maybe I'll get into the center of Santiago again.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Like Usual

I pulled of the impossible.  Here you go, it's a lot, and most of it is just so I can remember, but I have a bunch of picture and a few videos.  They will be one facebook soon.

Today at the Spirit Week was much better.  During the performances I almost died, to crunched together, and a bunch of cheerleading, though, for girls who never have done it before it was probably better than any routines that I have seen at school or anywhere else.  Afterwards was great though.  There was a school barbeque, and once again I got to cook.  I am learning more about barbequing and salting and seasoning as I go, really pretty simple.  And all of the food turned out great, I’m happy.  Now off to Cauquenes, if I find my parents.  They aren’t here and I don’t know where they went.
Got to Cauquenes, outside actually, and had a look around the farm.  It’s really pretty and very Chilean, it is what I would picture a Chilean farm to look like, except for some of the destruction.  Cauquenes is near Concepcion and the epicenter of the earthquake and the farm was hit with some force, not enough to do major damage luckily.  There are chickens, cows, horses, bees, and pigs.  One of the two horses is pregnant, I’m not sure how far, but they are both great.  And two dogs, each really sweet even though the German Sheppard looks menacing.  I went into the main part of Cauquenes last night pretty late and got to see some of the destruction in the city.  We picked up my uncle who is living with me and went to a bar.  At the bar I learned that my aunt and uncle are leaving in October, which sucks.  I really like having them around, they are a lot of fun and help keep me distracted, I will be sad to see them leave.
After the bar we drove back to where we picked up my uncle and got another one.  This time the one from Santiago who’s house we stayed in the first week.   We got back, my cousin and I both dying for a bathroom and went to bed.  As I started to get into bed my cousin told me to check for spiders, which thoroughly freaked me out.  I fell asleep and started dreaming.
I have noticed that when I sleep lately, my dreams have become more vivid that ever.  People and places seem really and features and details are perfect.  But, they are still in English.  I hope they change soon enough.

Again I am writing falling asleep, but  I doubt I’ll go to bed for a while.   I got up at nine thirty ate breakfast and hung around until 11.  I called Jessye, my friend in Rotary who lives close to the camp.  She ended up coming later in the day.  Until then I saw the farm, played soccer and some other game like horseshoes, and cooked some delicious meat as always.   The farm is amazing, hills and terraces, a pond to swim in and animals.  My cousins, my brother and I herded some cows for a bit and walked around the camp.  Really beautiful in all.  The meat I cooked was great, I would describe it as bacon chunks.  It took a long time to cook, but it was completely worth it.  Soon after that I went out into a field, with a book, a shirt to lay on and just read, soaking up the sun.  It couldn’t get much better.
Jessye got there a bit later and gave me an easy person to communicate with, not to mention she is great.  She is from Germany, the western side, and we talked mainly about Chile and our experiences here and how we felt about the whole situation.  I’m supposed to go to another farm with her tomorrow.  We had a small fire out aways from the house with my cousin and eventually drew my other younger cousins and brother who made the fire much bigger.  It got dark and we went back to the house to have some food.  And after having some food we started cooking again.  This time on the grill.  I got to take over and tend to it like usual, and I couldn’t have been happier yet again.  By the end I had delicious meat, a beer, and friends and family all around with some good music and some cheesy music as normal.  All in all a great time.  We took Jessye home and I got to see some more of the destruction in Cauquenes, whole houses and buildings destroyed.   And probably more sights tomorrow. 

I just got up a little bit ago and I wanted to write down a dream.  It started with me getting on the plane for Chile, and then it went through the first few months.  And it went up until last night.  I went to bed, and I woke up, getting ready to leave Chile.  I just had one last orientation with my Rotary group, only it was a completely different group, and Mr. Griggs was there.  I was ecstatic about my whole trip and couldn’t believe that I was going home.  I was talking about how great it was that I had learned Spanish and how much better it had made my life in Chile once I learned.
Of cource, I don’t know Spanish now, and I don’t want to wake up and have all of Chile gone.  I know that I would like to wake up and know Spanish, but that isn’t going to happen.  Anyways, I woke up here and had some breakfast after waiting for the bathroom for way to long with a bladder that was way to full.  Today is the Bicentennial and it should be great, last night was good and it wasn’t even the 18th.  Out for a run now.
Great run, beautiful landscape, but a terrible shower.  I’m not sure whether that shower was worse than my second one at my home.  At least at home there was pressure, more than the drizzle that was less that a small faucet.  And the temperature was ice cold.  Together, I had to stay under the ice cold water for way too long to get the soap off of me.  I did it though, and it’s over.  I’m never taking a shower here again though.
A little while later we, my mom dad and cousin, left for the beach.  We saw a few cities on the way there, saw some damage by the earthquake and tsunami.  Then we went to one of the prettiest beaches I have ever been to.  I took a bunch of pictures (a first) and wandered the sand for about an hour with my cousin, talking and having fun.  She is a huge help with my Spanish.  Her boyfriend who had been in the US last year told her  not to talk to me in English, only help me if I didn’t know a word, not that her English is amazing, but it works really well and even in two days I have come a long way.
At home we ate, and not much else.  I had the most unsatisfying oranges ever.  Too much work to peel for not very much orange or good orange even.  The other’s have made up for their short comings though, I forgive them.  All in all it seemed like a pretty uneventful 200th anniversary of the country.
We ended up going out, a few of us to Cauquenes, the main city and going to a party there.  It was put on by the fire department and was really big.  Drinks, food, a band and a dance floor, the whole ordeal.

The next day I ended up making empanadas for a long time.  It was entertaining to watch everyone make them and laugh and have fun together, and I got to be part of it for some of it, when I understood what was happening.  Towards the end of making empanadas I got an idea, desert empanadas.  I ended up making 8 or 9 apple empanadas, basically small apple pies, even though I was missing some stuff I would have liked to have.  They turned out really well and tasted delicious.  I think they were a hit, but who knows, they might now have actually liked them.  Maybe they’ll let me make them again.
After the empanada extravaganza I went back to Pellehue, the town along the coast with my cousin and her family to their house.  This part of the beach was amazing, probably the prettiest beach I have ever been too.  Their house had been hit by the tsunami, but it was pretty much back to normal, I could see where they repaired with new wood.  There was even a salt water stain on one of the beds where water had broken the window and gotten in.  The crazy thing is that the house is probably 50 or 60 feet higher than the water on a cliff, big tsunami. 
My cousin and I walked the beach, stood on some rocks, climbed some rocks, and then climbed a huge rock and watched the sunset over the Pacific Ocean on a beautiful beach.  It was incredible, I don’t think I’ve seen very many sunsets like it, and for sure not from the kind of place I was watching it from.  I took tons of pictures and a few videos.  After sunset we went back to the house and had dinner with my uncle’s family.  Crab, muscles or different kinds, and clams.  Plus sausage and potatoes.  It was all delicious in the process, but afterwards I didn’t feel so good.  I’m not sure what, but something made me sick for the rest of the night, though it was completely worth it for the food.  We hung around for a while longer, had some delicious dessert pastries and left.  Got back and went to sleep.
Today, the last day there I went into Cauquenes to spend time with Jessye again.  We wandered the city some and ate lunch with her family.  There was still a fair from the 18th so we went and played some games and wandered around.  Not a very exciting day, but it was still nice to see Jessye again.  Then back to Los Angeles, another six person car ride in the jeep, cold cramped, and long.  Back now with no water yet or internet, I’m guessing they’ll turn that on.  I’m exhausted from the weekend and need sleep before I get up again tomorrow. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Not Much

It's 12:21 and I just got back from my parent's family friends, who I really like a lot.  We went over at 8 and now it's late, but I figured I'm leaving for five days because of the Bicentennial and I won't have internet.  But maybe, maybe I'll keep a mini-journal while I'm there, maybe.  If you know me I am pretty bad at that kind of stuff, but sometimes even I pull off the impossible.  More like all the time, but that's besides the point.

Today I went to school nice and late, 10:30 again, and I'll do it again tomorrow.  It's great.  I left early today too, it was boring and I could, not much to it.  I just walk out the doors and go home.  We weren't doing anything and I was bored.

Here is some more stuff I missed.  The moon here is sideways, it waxes and wanes up and down, not to the side.  It's really strange.  And they drink their wine with coke or diet coke quite often.  I went to dinner tonight, a nice one, for me, and the host just added coke to his drink.  I have only seen that a few times, only by younger people, never at a nice dinner in a wine glass.  But I guess it works.  They also had me try Pisco Sour, a Chilean alcohol, and it was delicious.  Just a lemon drink with a kick. 

I've been watcihng a bunch of Aqua Teen Hunger Force.  Not the most educational, a show about a meatball, a milkshake, and a thing of fries.  It's lame, but great, and I've been watching to much.  I downloaded all the seasons and I plan watching them all.  Same with movies, after I get home from a long day it's nice to sit back and watch a movie.  Maybe I'll be a movie buff by the time I get back.  I could use that time to study or learn guitar (we have one somewhere), but I'm way to wiped to do it.  I just need to relax and not translate anymore.

Well, off to the farm tomorrow, 2 hour drive, and tons of people.  This is going to be long, but I expect fun.  And I think I am going to see one of the girls in my Rotary group, a really quite German, maybe I can make her open up and actually talk to her.  Time to sleep, good night.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Spirit Week

It's spirit week at my school and it's great.  I didn't have my camera the first day which was depressing, but I had it today, even though yesterday was much better.  It is the anniversary of our school, and the bicentennial of the country, so it's pretty crazy.  And this weekend is supposed to be amazing in Los Angeles, but I'm going to my Aunt and Uncle's farm, kind of sad, but it should be fun.  And I was invited to go to another friend's farm, but I'll still be gone, even sadder.

To start of the day I didn't have to go to school till ten because my class was setting up and said I didn't need to go, they had already worked everything out.  I figured I would get in the way and just slept in, I needed it anyways.

Now then, the Spirit week is great, three teams throughout the schoo, yellow(hippies), green(discotechers), and black(the greasers/50's).  The first day were a few small skits, mainly my the green team.  There was one where it was a family watchin TV and the others acted out the shows.  The best was The Simpsons.  They were painted yellow and had a bunch of characters, hilarious, I wish I had had my camera.  And today, a mini show from my team, the black team.  Not much I understood, but from watchin other's it seemed funny.  There were a few great dances with all guys.  I was surprised how well they had choreographed them, a few could have been used for music videos.  And then there was a great act about the USA and USSR.  They had rockets with the names on them that went into space, but the main plot was about a US soldier captured and held in Russia, kind of depressing.  He gets out and then gets killed by the Russians, protecting his family.  They showed pictures in the background.  At one point, in with pictures of the Berlin Wall were pictures of people during the great depression by Dorothea Lange. I looked down to her picture of the Migrant Mother and was sufficiently confused for a second.

After school it was to the best Empenada store I know, right across the street from my school, but they weren't taking orders from people just walking in, only advance orders, and big ones for the 18th, the bicentennial.  So Alex, and I met up with a friend and went down town to get some amazing pizzas at another place.  I had one, they had two, I was going to eat something at home.  Then back to my house with Alex.  We watched Freedom Writers, a great movie, I suggest it.  And then to the gym.  Not much else except that I am not hungry and my family tries to feed me constantly, I feel bad saying no, but it has to be done.

I have kept forgetting to say that the music here is hilarious.  I have heard Backstreet Boys, which made me miss listening too them, I think I'm going to download some again, Barbie Girl, twice, a bunch of cheesy 80's music, and then some Led Zeppelin.  That is not all, but those are just some highlights. 

I've taken a liking to honey, I eat it at every meal I have it.  I stopped drinking tea and honey, now it's just water and honey, I love it.  Honey on my bread, which I have a lot of, and honey plain.  I want to try it on everything though.  My Aunt and Uncle make it on their farm, which was pretty much destroyed during the earthquake, but they still have the bees.  It's is a great thing though, honey.  They have me cream for my face, I ate and drank it while I was sick, there are remedies at the store for all sorts of things, there are pills, you name it, they have it made with honey.  And I love it.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

First Time for Everything

So, just  a few eventful things in the past few days.  First though, just the general.  School is good, I've got a couple of friends that I'm getting to be closer with.  Mainly girls, I don't know what is up with the guys, but they don't seem to want to be friends in the way I'm used too, and they are very machismo which bothers me too.  They don't seem to think being friend's with a girl is possible, and everything with them is this is gay, your gay, or that is gay and I'm not to fond of that.  I'll keep trying with them though.

Now then, three days ago I got asked to do a dance for a show at the school next week. I went, had a miserable time and understood exactly why I have no regrets quitting the school play.  Being part of a premade choreographed dance sucks, no creativity on my part, just mindless learning and repition.  Needless to say I didn't go the next day and quit.  I was however asked to help with some cheerleading formations.  Just  catching, throwing, lifting and spotting.  Nothing to terribly difficult.  It was fun though, but I forgot about the next day and missed it.  And now there is another practice that I can't go today.  I feel bad, but it is really simple to learn what I have to do and I can be directed easily.

Last night after a delicious dinner at my councelor's, meat, chicken (on the grill), cheesy potatoes, and some other stuff ( I wish I had had my camera), I went to a party with his son.  Of course, it was outside and I didn't have my jacked, making my cold all that much worse, but I also had no fun with the people.  I didn't know anyone and ended up talk to a German girl who seemed to not like me, soley because I was American.  She didn't think that I was trying to learn the language, even though she had just met me and only talked to me for 5 minutes.  Her views on Americans were predecided and bs, not very fair to me.  After leaving her I ended up talking to someone who has given me my worst experience in Chile and pushed my to the edge of wanting to fight.  Luckily that didn't happen and I don't think I would have let myself.  But, he was one of the hosts of the party and thought it would be fun to mess with the American exchange student who could barely speak Spanish.  After making fun of me, which I didn't realize until later, and asking me ridiculous questions and after being a, pardon here, just the right word, dick for 30 minutes I just walked away.  Ruined the night.  And unfortunately we left at 2:30, way too late for my liking.  But I got home, calmed down and went to bed.

Now off to Alex's to help with breakfast, I hope, then maybe a frienda from a close town is coming in.  As I wrote that she called and it depends on what is going on with Alex. I hope though that she comes, it would be great to see her again.  She is so close to us and yet because of the no driving, so far away, it sucks.

Well, being sick still stinks and my Spanish isn't getting much better.  Broken English and terrible Spanish on my part is going to be the death of me, and my Danish friend aren't helping much either, only speaking in English.  And Chileans are very unorganized and late people.  All the rotary kids I have talk to have complained about how late they are to everything that their parents take them to, and it seems not be perfectly fine with hosts, not rude at all.  It seems very different from home, but it works for them and I'll have to get used to it, that and plans being confirmed at the very last second.  It works and we get there eventually, which is better that not at all, and that is all that matters.

Monday, September 6, 2010


I stayed home from school today, sick.  Just a bad cough, plus I didn't really want to go to school.  It worked out well, except that I feel horrible.  I tried the workout for the actors from 300 and it included 50 deadlifts, which are lower back excercises, and they eneded up hurting my back.  It has been 3 days since I did the workout and I still can't standup or bend over without pain, although it is getting better.  Plus I played rugby, lucky no tackling, which was a good workout and a lot of fun.  Hopefully I will get to keep going, I was told to come back and learn to tackle and then play next week ina tournement.

Today though I have not done much, I watched a bunch of movies, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Momento, and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.  All really good movies, although Momento was extremely hard to follow and I was sort of confused.  A warm shower, good lunch, and lots of nose blowing.  Not much else that I can do today seeing as I am sick, I just read some from Ender's Game and will probably read more even though I want the book to last for a while.

Not to much happened the past few days though, it's been pretty low key.  A small party of Friday with a couple of friends from class, a bigger one the next night for a friend's friend who turned 15.  There were a bunch of 14 and 15 year olds, so I felt pretty out of place.  On Saturday I walked the town with Kathy, it's really interesting and there is a lot to see and do.  And having someone to walk it with made it that much better.  On Sunday, yesterday, I played rugby, went out for lunch, and then hung out with Alex at the mall and ended up seeing Predators.  All the movies in the theatres are in English with Spanish subtitles, it's really nice actually being able to go and see the movie and understand it, plus get to learn some Spanish at the same time.  I feel bad for the Chileans though, it's obviously not the same cinematic experience.

Well, hopefully I'll be up and at em tomorrow.  It's pretty boring sitting around here, and I'm angry I'm not out learning Spanish.  But even when I am out, I have realized, I am not learning as much Spanish as I probably should, to many people speak English and find it easier for them to speak to me in English that I to them in Spanish.  I hope it starts to turn the other way pretty soon here.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

It's a Life

I am starting to feel like I have a life here, I am concious of my other life and that I will go back, but I am getting a routine, an understanding, and much more.  There are obviously things that I haven't done yet or don't know, like know the city or make to many friends, but that will all come in time. 

Two days ago I went to the mall with two exchange students and two Chilean girls, it was a mall, not much else.  Shopping is shopping and I'm not really a fan.  It was good to go out with some people and see the city some.  I forgot my camera and I had meant to take it, I want to get pictures of the city.  Soon enough though I will do that too.

Yesterday was lame, boring in school, nothing much after school, the gym, and home.  I did play cards with my brothers, some sort of rummy, and they talked to me for a while.  I think my parents made them, but it was a good distraction and I think I will start doing it more, their plan worked, I will interact more with my family. 

Today has been better so far, school was sort of enjoyable, when I wasn't sitting in class bored out of my mind.  I got home and ate lunch with my mother.  She didn't eat and just sat and watched me eat, saying a few things every now and then, but mostly sitting in silence watching me.  It was uncomfortable to eat, but I understand why she sat.  And today is Megan's birthday so I will Skype for my first time (not actually, I tested Skype out for a few minutes to see if it worked, but the first time nonetheless).  Then later is the gym with some friends and bingo at the mall with Rotary.  This will be my friend Rotary outing, not counting the orientation weekend, that I have been to and I am excited to see what Rotary clubs in other countries are like. 

Enough about my scheduel and more about how I feel.  I have started to think less, not because I am just spacing out, but because the Spanish that I know and think in conflicts with my English thoughts.  The two languages mix and my sentances in my head are out of order.  The jumble makes no sense and I have to put a bit of energy into thinking and be mindful.  It is sort of like I have to force myself to think.

There is not much nature here, I am in the city and live in a house with very very little yard.  So there is not nature to even look at, not that that would be enough either.  I want a yard to work and walk in, and grass to put my bare feet in.

My classmates are throwing a party for me on Friday to welcome me, I think I can go, but maybe not.  I am going to Pucon, an important city in the Lake District of Chile where my grandparents have a house.  It is supposed to be beautiful and quite.  I think it is going to be quite cold though.  I told two classmates I was going this weekend and they seemed jealous, so I am even more excited to go because of that.

Lastly, I got another nickname today in school to go along with gringo, califa or khalifa, I'm not sure how to spell it.   But they descibed it as someone who is hot or horny or a pedophile.  They explainedd pretty badly and I'm not really sure what it means, but I think will be ok.  Wiz Khalifa is one of my favorite rappers, so I am happy to have part of the same name as him.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Moving Along

Second day of school.  Sort of stunk.  I didn't really do anything.  I listened to music, read, and not much else.  During the breaks no one in my class really talk to me, a few but not much.  I started going to the other class with my friends from the party, they picked me up.  I am still trying to switch, but for some reason my mom doesn't want me to. Who knows, she said she will ask.

After school I went to get my ID and had some problems, nothing major, got fixed and went to the bank.  The atm charges me 5 bucks to get money out and I couldn't get out all I wanted after trying two machines.  And then it started raining.

I got home, messed around a little bit on the computer, at lunch, some other stuff and then it was off to the gym with three other exchange students.  The sun came out, my friends were great, and the gym felt good.  We walked to one house, dropped off a friend and then my Danish friend came over.  It was fun, just hung out in my tiny room.

Over all everything is settling down and slowing down.

It is strange, every time that I speak English with my friends it's broken and sounds terrible.  And many words I am forgetting.  When I get back to the US it is going to be terrible.  I'll pick up my English quick than I am getting my Spanish though.

I am hearing that my Spanish is awesome though, I left my friend's house and her parents that she should speak like me.  I must be doing something right.  I have been translating a bit in school and I started watchin videos on line, but I don't have that much time, I try to get out a lot.  The house is getting hard.
Soccer on Wednesday.  Oh, and I missed rugby, I slept in and my friend's phone wouldn't work.  I'm going to have to wait another week.  And maybe not even get to go, my mom doesn't think I should because it is dangerous and she doesn't think Rotary would approve even though my friend is already doing it.

Goodnight, school tomorrow, I hope it gets more interesting.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

To Much Thinking

I have been having problems sleeping since I have gotten here and its all starting to catch up with me.  Translating constantly in my head, constant movement, they gym, not eating as much as I should, and so much more are taking a toll.  No matter where I am sleeping is hard. It takes me a long time to fall asleep and I wake up at least twice a night.  Hopefully it gets better soon because I need a good rest to function and start learning faster.

Past that though, it is still great.  I've had still more busy days.  I went to school and loved it.  The people were all amazing.  All my classmates speak English pretty well, so it was easy to communicate with people and make friends.  The classes are boring because I have no idea whats going on, but the ten minutes in between each class are good, and the end of the day when we have some time to play soccer and do whatever.

After school I went and had a burger at McDonalds with two classmates.  Not much to say about it, it's McDonalds, the same thing as the US.

I got to go to my first party too.  It was a ton of fun, just at a friend's house.  It started slow, I was the first one there, just hanging out with him.  The other exchange students in my city came which was good for all of us.  The party started getting packed and soon we were all dancing and having fun.  The people at the party were from my school, but not in my class, so I had not met them before.  Really quickly though we all got to know eachother really quickly.  They were all really friendly and I think I did a pretty good job too.  By the end of the night they had convinced me to switch classes, I want to go to a party with my classmates before I actually do though.  There was supposed to be one tonight, the day after, but it got cancelled because the father at the house it was at got sick. 

Now, take the funniest person you know, and multiply him by ten, and I got to hang out with him.  He referred to me as better than Jesus and the rest of the party was calling me a god.  To much fun.  I couldn't believe how welcoming and open everyone was, but they were and it was great.  I can't wait for another. 

Today I went and saw my brother's soccer game.  They won 5 to 2.  The kids on the team are all around 13 and were pulling moves and playing like they were 16 or 17.  It was crazy to watch.  Both teams would have ripped apart any team their age in the US.  Anyways, my host dad seems to be loved by everyone.  All the adults who were their talked to him and a few told me how lucky I was to have such a great host dad.  He picked me up from the party at 2 so he must be awesome.  I can't wait till I can actually talk to him. 

After the game we went offroading a little bit, my dad just showed me the grounds of my schools fields and what not that are 15 minutes from the actually classrooms.  The he took me to the supermarket to get food for lunch.  We ate, I did some computer stuff, and then my dad gave me a bunch of party music to put on my computer and listen to.  The first cd I put in came up as a video and started playing reggatone dance music with girls in bathing suits grinding on guys on a beach.  It was kind of weird, but pretty cool that my dad gave it to me, and even cooler that he had it, with his collection of music.

After that excitement I went to my friend Kathy's house, I wish I had pictures.  It is in the nicest neighborhood in the city and the house was amazing.  Wood railings, tile floors, the whole shabang.  Her father is a game hunter and had boar heads and whatnot covering the walls.  Kathy and I hung out for a while, I showed her That 70's Show, watched soem friends, talked, and then the father came out and asked us if we wanted to shoot some guns, just small pellet guns.  Maybe later some bigger ones.  It was lot of fun and pretty cool.  Turns out I'm pretty good with a hand gun. 

Their family took me to their grandma's house were we ate a small dinner.  Their dogs, German Sheppards, hated me.  I petted one for a second over the fence and then it went nuts, almost bit me.  I got my hand out in time.  I think I'm more of a cat person.  They showed me their pool where I can go swimming this summer, and its really nice, I'm pumped.  The grandma's house was even nicer than Kathy's parents, it's crazy the difference in lifestyles here, just from middle to upper class.

Now I am home and I forgot to talk to my friend about going to another party, some big motocross thing.  Oh well, I had enough action for the week.  I need some rest. 

Seth: I understand why all your blogs from France were so long, there is so much going on and I want to remember it all. 

Thursday, August 26, 2010

It's Going

Yesterday we left Santiago, saying goodbby to everyone was nice.  The trip was great and the family was amazing.  It turns out that my cousin's, Catalina, boyfriend (I almost wrote bolola, boyfriend in Chileano, because I am thinking in Spanish a bit), is back from the US and was there last year in Topeka.  It was arelief to hear some English again.  On the drive back I watched the sunset over the Andes.  the smog of the city made it beautiful, change the colors and making the whole sky turn orange, red, yellow, ect.  That was about the only good part of the five hour drive back.  I had some fun here and there for a bit with the family, but with six people in a five seat car, it was cramped, very cramped.  Not only that, but the door isn't properly sealed and cold air was blasting my arm, even with my sweatshirt blocking it.  With those two obstacles and a back that was screaming to be stretched I couldn't sleep whatsoever.

We got back and I did a few things and dropped out to sleep.  But, just like the car, my window leaks cold air.  Luckily I have a pluthera of blankets on my bed.

The day began as a bust, the policia de international worked and I got a few things there, but the post office people weren't working.  This meant that I couldn't get my ID card.  They were just sitting behind their desks, not doing anything, wasting time.  Also, I couldn't withdraw the money for my trip to the south of Chile with Rotary.  But that is all fixed now and I can do both of those things tomorrow. 

I met up with two other Rotary students, both from Denmark and we went to the gym.  The gym was pretty shoddy but, it has pretty much everything I need.  The guys at the gym were impressed by how much I could lift and made me flex a few different things for them, kind of awkward. 

With the guy from Demark, Alex, I am going to play rugby.  I chose this instead of soccer because I've never done it before, Alex is doing it too, and I might join a college club when I get back.  I have to pay for it though, and another bad thing about rugby is that on the first day the players must initiate us.  This includes taking out pants, putting them on our head, giving us a wedgie, rubbing out face in the dirt, and who know what else.  I'll post an update on that when it happens.  We start on Sunday, Alex was going to start on Wednesday but wanted me to be there with him for the initiation and we just have to work things out with my parents here and everything will be good. 

I am starting to really like it here. The city is rundown, but it is really interesting, and it is a city.  I only walked a few blocks but I already know I am going to love living in the city.  Walking and looking is great and everything is pretty close.  The only problem is that my parents seem pretty strict with going out.  Everyone I know is allowed to go out as long as they want on the weekend, I however, have to be in by one, maybe two.  It is pretty late, but I know I am going to miss out on a lot with my friends in the city and the night life.  I consider myself a pretty independent person when I want to be and their restrictions are going to be hard for me.  I had been planning on asking for another family part way through the year, but now I think that I will work a bit harder for it.

My Spanish, Castellano in South America, and sometimes referred to as Chileano in Chile because they have so many different words and saying, is coming along very good.  My Danish friends said that I speak as good, if not better than them and I've only been here for 6 days, or something like that, I have already lost tract over everything, while they have been here for 3 weeks.  I'm feeling good about just about everything, except my restictions.

A couple things I forgot about the other day are:

1. The bread.  There is fresh bread every day and I love it.  The bread is deliecious and I've always wanted a bakery near me in the US and there never has been, this is going to be great.

2. My school.  It is a Catholic school.  If you know me, it's going to be hard.  There are uniforms (I'll put up a picture at some time when I get one and figure out how to.   I can't have and earring, and my hair has to be above my eyes.  Alex, the Danish boy, said that at his school they don;t really care because he is foreign, but who knows at my school. 

Thats about all here.  I am fitting into the city pretty well and I really like my friends from Denmark.  I start school tomorrow and hopefully make some Chilean friends.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Santiago dia 2

Today was much better than the last few.  Another family breakfast and more people to meet with more names than I remember. I don´t even know who´s house I am staying in. It doesn´t really matter, until I have to figure out who to give the gift I brought with me to.

I went to the super market with my cousin, who is great, and I already lost my Spanish dictionary.  Luckily I got a new one when I was in the center of Santiago.  We also took my other cousin to the airport and said goodbye.  I sort of freaked out when she left because I started thinking about home and everything there, it was like living leaving all over again. I feel much better now and as my cousin said, she´ll be back, just like me. 

I went to the center of Santiago and saw all sorts of things like the first post office, their version of Wall Street, and Plaza de Armas, which was beautiful, interesting, and extremely busy. I wanted to buy a ton of stuff, but I´ll do that later.  The Catholic Church in the Plaza was beautiful, but similar to all the others I have visited.  I could spend my year in Santiago easily, there is so much to do here, and I could do it all twice.  Even with all the pollution that makes it hard to see even 2 miles, it would be worth it.  When I came out of the super market with my cousin, I looked up and saw mountains that were no their the day before, only two miles away because of the smog. 

I´ve been hanging out with the family around the house, playing videogames with my cousins and brother, helping my cousin with her English class, and teaching another cousin to play Starcraft. It´s been really busy and really fun all day.  But I still miss everyone and most stuff in the US

Now, less with the events of the day, and more about general things is Chile and how I am feeling.

1. I have to wear my shoes all the time, and if you know me, you know that I´m having issue with it.  My feet are sore, sweaty, and in pain.  I just want freedom for my feet. I need slippers, it´s rude to not wear shoes inside.

2. I can´t stretch at the dinner table but, I can blow my nose all I want.  How am I supposed to eat in happiness if I can´t stretch my stomach?

3. I have started thinking in Spanish a bit. Words here and there are taking over.  Estados Unidos-USA, o-or, mi/s amigo/a/s, my friend/s, and some others, it´s pretty cool.

4. My dictionary is my lifeline and my family thinks it´s funny.  Every time I pull it out, they snicker at me.

5. I still haven´t really settled down in my home.  That means it doesn´t feel like I´m on an exchange yet.  I am just visiting another county and staying in someone´s house. Hopefully that will change when I get to my home in Los Angeles.

6. I like all my family.  Cousins, uncles, parents, and brother.  My cousin and I are feeling a lot of the same things.  Her boyfriend left for the US a few weeks ago, and now here cousin/best friend has left her too.  She is sad and feeling pretty lonely and we have been bonding a lot.  I wish that she live close than the 5 hour drive to Santiago.

7. I´m not sure when I am being rude or not, it´s hard deciding whether I can do something or not.

There are some other things that I´ll think of later, but for now this is pretty long and I should get going, too much time on the computer. I hope Los Angeles is close to as great Santiago is, but from what I saw and was told by some of the people there, it isn´t.  When I get back I have tons to do in prepartation for school and my exchange, everything from my Chilean ID card taht registers me with the government to buying black shoes for my school uniform.  It is going to by another busy few days even when I get back to Los Angeles. Hopefully I can get some time to rest in the meantime.

Monday, August 23, 2010

First Days

I don't thinks things could get much crazier.  Everything so far has been insane.  The flight over was a total of 21 hours. Marlee and I flew to Miami and met up with Kelsey and then met a guy going to Santiago to study.  We talk to him while we waited for our flight.  During the flight we watched the sunrise over the Andes, and what we thought was the Atacama, but was only clouds, with the Atacama under them.  Still, it was beautiful.  On the flight I was in a center row, but no one was on the plane and I ended up moving to a window seat and stretching out.  From Santiago we flew to Concepcion. We were met with open arms and a car to take us to Salto de Laja.  We stayed in a hotel that looked out on amazing waterfalls.

The 20th to the 22nd was a Rotary orientation with all the other students.  We spoke English the whole time and it didn't really feel like we were in Chile.  Everyone I met was great, and I'm really happy with my Rotary group. Even the Chilean exchange students in previous years that were there were great.

All the meals we ate were great, and seemed authentic Chilean.  I also think that the first few weeks are going to add some weight unless I do something about it.  During the weekend we went of a horse drawn carrige, played soccer, had a small dance, got to know eachother, and listened to a lot of music.  On sunday we met our families, except the exchange students who had been there for two weeks already (Denmark and Germany sent their students earlier for some reason).

My family is great, my mom speaks fairly good English and has been helping me understand a lot of what is going on.  My brother is nice and I have been doing a lot with him.  My father is nice, I have not spent to much time with hime, but once I'm back from being in Santiago I'm sure we will talk more, or try to. Also, my father's sister and two sons are living there. One is maybe 4 or 5, and the other is 12 or 13, like my brother.

I got my house, and they told me we were going to go eat at my grandparents house and then leave for Santiago, a five hour drive, turing out to be 6 because of traffic and stops.  My house is pretty small, what little I saw of it, and my room is tiny.  probably 4 and a half feet by 12.  I unpacked my stuff, as best I could (there is a bunch laying everywhere as I didn't have time to do everything I wanted).  I packed for three days and we were off.  My grandparents own a big farm and I ended up eating all food produced on the farm except some rice.  Chicken, fries, and some Chilean vegetable called castenllas, I think.  It was all amazing, and way to much. Saying no is hard because I feel like I am insulting people, but soon I'm going to have to start doing so because each time I eat I am getting uncomfortably full and it's makes me like the food less because of the association.

In Santiago I have been at my Aunt and Uncl's house with every one playing videogames, sleeping, eating, tyring to speak Spanish, and going to the mall. I wandered the mall with my little brother and cousin, playing games and trying to communicate.  Together they bought me a Chilean soccer shirt that has Sanchez on the back, Chile's soccer hero right now.

Altogether, I am completely lost and am saying yes to things that make no sense to me.  They could be saying anything to me and I am saying yes.  I'm not sure what else to do, I already make them slow down and say it multipule times.  I sort of gave up.  There has been so much going on that I haven't really had time to think about home, only in the car ride to Santiago has that happened, and it was really hard.  Being on facebook and writing this now is not so good either.  I miss everything about the US.  It is really delapadated here, and looks like a South American county would.  Shack on the side of the road, packs of dogs running around, and lots of construction because of the earth quake.  My city looks pretty trashy, but Santiago is nice.  As soon as I take some more picture and have some time, and figure out how to put pictures on facebook I will and everyone can see what I am talking about.  It is pretty cold at night and warm in the day.  My grandparents told me it is going to be a really hot summer which is not going to be fun as I've already had one hot summer.  I miss everyone, and hope that this post wasn´t to long.  Hopefully the rest won't be like this, but who knows, maybe my time here will be filled and I won´t have time to think of home or keep in touch.  Once I get back home I'm sure things will calm down and I'll get some time to talk to people at home.  In the mean time wish me luck with everything!

P.S. The computer I am using is in Spansh so everything I am tying is underlined red.  If it is wrong, sorry, there is to much to figure out.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Day of Departure

Well, I'm off to the airport in a little bit.  There are just a few last things I need to get and pack, and then I'll be set to take off.  There was a last breakfast at Family T with the family plus Kelsey.  Definantly a good last breakfast, and no where near as depressing as most of my last activites.

Saying goodbye to anyone was a hard job to do, but it only got worse as the trip got closer.  It feels like losing appendages, guides, and brothers.  Even though it is only a year, it's still weird knowing that I'm not going to see things that have been so regular to me for so long.  Goodbye to everyone, and thanks for everything over the last few weeks and more.

Once I arrive and figure everything out I will put on my adress for those of you who wanted it.  My skype name is calebjsb if you want that too, just let me know if you want to talk and we can arrange it.  I am not a great writer, and hopefully my skills will improve as the blog goes on.  I'm bound to make mistakes, and I'm sure I'll hear about it from my mom on each one (as she just told me to do spell and grammar check every time). 

Wish me luck, and I'll be back in a year.