Thursday, March 15, 2012

An adventure

This week began the start of classes for most of us here in Chile, but thanks to the most excellent planning of Rachel Davenport neither she nor myself have classes on Mondays or Fridays! So what are two able-bodied gringos with nothing but time on their hands to do with a day of freedom? I'm glad you asked. We went to Concón. This is a town about 30 minutes north of Viña where there are some beaches and other stuff to occupy yourself.
founded, August 1541 - long before America was born. 
Now, this might not seem very interesting to some of you more experienced explorers, but I'm not very brave when it comes to going places I've never been/seen/heard about. For all I knew, I'd fall off the edge of the earth as soon as we left Viña city limits. Fortunately, we didn't. We paid the bus driver, found a seat, and drove off into the wild unknown.

We got off in some neighborhood and started heading downhill, beach-ward. Who knows how long we walked, but we made it to the Pacific soon enough. This was my first time at a beach beach. ¿Cachai? (Do you understand?) I've been to South Padre Island, TX and gulfed it up. I've been to Cape Cod and swam in harbor there, but this was my first experience with a body of water not engulfed, not harbored, a water sin fin.
Look how tan we are!

big, cold, and deep.
We walked around exploring a bit but had to be back in Viña at 6pm for a meeting about volunteering! It seems we have a few options as exchange students to give back to the city, but we are shooting for helping with an english class at a local colegio (high school). It would be a great way to be in contact with some Chileans, which we haven't been successful at!

Tuesday came and brought with it our first class! It's a basic Spanish grammar class but I'm grateful for the review and it makes me less frustrated since I at least can understand my professor. (she's also a twin!) Rachel and I went back to her place for lunch where we had this tasty bean soup. They resembled black-eyed peas and there was corn also thrown in the mix. Like I said tasty. (Remind me later to tell you more about Chilean cuisine.) 

At 6pm we were up at the main college campus for our business class with Chileans (or lack thereof). Our Professor is really nice, and even spent some time in the states, but boy is his spanish fast and hard to understand. (I speak, only for myself.) But, as I was saying, there is a lack of Chileans in our class. There are 7 Mexicans, 5 Chileans, 3 Estadounidenses, and 2 Peruvians. Very diverse, haha. Spanish has never made my brain hurt as much as it did that night, but we are staying in the class. How else are we going to learn, unless we struggle through it?

The rest of the week passed by without too much commotion. We went to the beach here in Viña, yesterday afternoon. I sincerely regret not packing a swimsuit. But the water is too cold to swim. Today was kind of a lazy day, since it's cloudy, cold and a little rainy. I hope this means Fall is coming soon-- a sentiment I apparently share alone. 

Adventure is out there!



  1. I would like to clarify that when Colin says we “went to Concon,” what he really means is that we went to the center of Viña and looked around for the first bus that said Concon, rode until the signs stopped saying Concon __ km, and then got off in a neighborhood when it looked like the bus was starting to head away from the coast instead of toward it. While I would definitely classify this as my kind of adventure, it was still a little nerve-wracking at times. Also, there were real beaches in Concon, but the rocky shoreline was prettier than the dirty, touristy sand beaches we found there.

    On the topic of classes, the distinction is this: Most of the international students are here to study Spanish. Which consequently means that they’re not 100% great at it as of now. So most of the international students are taking their classes at the Spanish center, where the there are only international students, the professors kindly talk more slowly and clearly, and they all speak English if you absolutely need it. A few brave souls have ventured to the main campus of the university to take the classes the Chilean students take. It’s terribly intimidating. Although I do think I caught at least 85% of what the professor said, Colin is right—my brain hurt. I am ever so grateful for his willingness to struggle through it with me though, because I don’t know if I’d have the conviction to stick with it by myself.

  2. Hey, Colin! I didn't even realize you had started writing a blog until you commented on my last post, so know I didn't swipe that phrase from you. ;) I'm so excited you started writing though and I've added your blog to my subscriptions so I can read it on the iPad during the day between dishes or playing with the kids or whatever. :)

    Chile sounds amazing and it's great that you guys are finding time to volunteer while you're there! Very cool. :)

    1. Great minds think alike, it would seem. :D