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.