Sunday, March 25, 2012

oh the places we'll go.

It’s been almost a week and a lot seems to have happened! The beginning of the week was rather slow. We didn’t have classes on Monday so we spent the day lounging and resting for the week's upcoming classes.

Tuesday was a good day. Our first class was cancelled by our teacher, who in fact sent me a text message to tell me that class was cancelled. (This could only happen because our class is so small, but it was strange to have a professor text me all the same.) Rachel and I still met up so that we could pick our carnet (Chilean identification cards) at the Registro Civil. We both didn’t actually get them until later in the week, but now we have them! -->

Afterwards, I went home with her and we had some sort of pasta with a cream sauce and a side of hot dogs. More lounging ensued and we caught the University bus up the hill for our business class at the Rodelillo campus. Again, it was hard to keep up with the professor. We even lost some cool points with him since we’ve never read anything by Kurt Vonnegut or A People’s History of America by Howard Zinn. (Obviously, we’re just uncultured gringos doing nothing with our lives.) Nevertheless, our teacher still seems nice, although his lectures are somewhat random.

Wednesday brought more class. Our teacher was back and feeling better so we pressed on. Afterwards, Rachel and I went back to my place for lunch. More lounging ensued. We both stumbled out of a nap later and decided to go to La Plaza de Viña and find some ice cream.

I love this plaza. Perfect mix of sunshine, shade, and stray dogs. 

In the plaza we tried some delicious soft serve and people-watched. We went home afterward to eat once and meet up later for a birthday party which some of our new classmates from our Tuesday night class had invited us to. After deliberating a while over our 8:20am class in the morning, we decided to go since we really haven’t made too many friends who are  hispanohablantes nativos. The party was at Me robó el corazón, which is close-ish to the mall. We only got a little lost finding the place, but arrived all the same.  It was fun. We got there a little before 11pm and started meeting new people. At one point, I told Rachel I thought the place was getting busier and she just laughed at me. When we left at 12:45am (which is still early for most Chileans, mind you) the place was packed and a line had formed outside.

Thursday, we have a class at 8:20am. I’m not trying to argue that this is early, but if you’ve ever had an early class, you can understand my plight. I woke up a little later than I wanted to, but still had time to get to class. Unfortunately, I waited a long time for a micro and when I finally got one, it was packed. What’s worse is that I was overcharged. I paid for a Student Bus Pass, which enables me to pay less for transportation at certain times. With the Student pass, I usually pay either 120, 160, or 180 Chilean pesos, depending on the bus. (This is between .25¢ and .37¢ in American dollars.) Without the pass, I would pay the normal fee of 370 Chilean pesos, which is around .76¢.  I got on a bus that claimed students paid 120 pesos, and gave the driver 200 pesos and my pass. He looked at me, the pass, back to me, and then gave me 20 pesos as change. I stared at him. He had cheated me out of 60 pesos, flagrantly. I didn’t say anything. How could I argue with a man who had a packed bus full of people about how this gringo needed his .12¢? But on principle, I was shocked. I went to class in a foul mood and later found out that since my bus pass is private, it might account for the higher fee. I’m not buying it.
Oh, and I was late to class. (Woe is me, woe is me, right?)

After class Rachel and I went to Starbucks do homework and I bought my $5.75 cup of Jo. (Yeah, it’s a lot more expensive here than in the States.) I love Thursdays after class at Starbucks, because it’s a chill place to do homework, use free WiFi, and of course, people-watch.

Later in the day we went to an orientation meeting at the elementary school we are volunteering at. Now, there were eight of us, so we had to take two colectivos, and as luck would have it, Rachel and I went in the one without our group leader who knew how to get to the school. The driver had assured her before we left he knew exactly where to go. Fifteen minutes later we showed up at the school and said goodbye to the man, only to find out from a niño that we were at the wrong one! Then, the school principal came out and started talking to us about how we’re actually pretty far from the correct school (Paul Harris Colegio) and how we can’t really walk there. This guy’s a saint, because he ended up driving the four of us stranded gringos all the way to Paul Harris in his own car. After thanking him many times we finally made it! We are excited to start volunteering this coming week and will post more about it later.

After the meeting, Rachel, Sarah, and I went to the mall and met some of our American friends to see Los Juegos del Hambre (The Hunger Games!) One of the perks of this country is that usually movies come out a day earlier here than in the States. So, 8 hours before any of my family and friends back home, Rachel and I witnessed the emotional roller coaster of Suzanne Collins. It was good, and the only drawback was looking past Spanish subtitles the whole movie.

Later, a few of us went out for some food and/or walking around to pass a few hours.

Friday, we had a make-up class for the class on Tuesday that was cancelled. (I can’t believe we actually had a make-up class. That would never fly in the U.S.) We met up with our friend Hillary to do homework after class and enjoyed the rest of the afternoon walking, talking, and eating more helado (ice cream).

Saturday was awesome. We had to be at the campus at 8:30 because 30 of us exchange students went on a tour of Satiago, the nation’s capitol!!! The trip was marvelous! This city is huge with around 7 million people and so many buildings. We didn’t have a tour guide, rather our International Student Coordinator, Carlos, walked us places and showed us cool stuff.

Palacio de Moneda - Similar to the White House, but the president doesn't live here.

Carabineros- Chilean Police Force
Caribineros on horses with spears. 

A neat statue in one of Santiago's many plazas. Might refer to the Mapuche people who are indigenous to Chile 

La Catedral de Santiago, Chile - It's beautiful.

Inside the cathedral. I was rushed, so these didn't turn out so well.

I'm beside myself with the beauty in this building.

We ended the day on a huge hill, Cumbre Cerro San Cristóbal, where you can look in any direction and see most of the city. I took some great shots, but there is an awful lot of smog in the air, which accounts for the haziness. My host father told me later the it’s the fourth worst city for air pollution, since most of the city resides in a valley. (Similar to Los Angeles and Mexico City.)
The view was spectacular after all though!

This is the view in almost every direction.

Smog. And they say cigarettes kill you fast.

At the top of the hill is a large sculpture depicting the Virgin Mary. There's a place to light candles and pray.

Today, Rachel and I found a church that we think we'll be attending the rest of our time here. It's a very small church and Pastor John is blind. His wife, Cathy, was extremely kind to us and we were happy to worship with fellow Chilean believers. I'm not exactly sure what kind of church it is, but they love Jesus Christ and they didn't mention the word "predestined" anywhere in the sermon. I think we'll be happy there. But more on that later.

"Que la suerte esté siempre de tu lado!"


1 comment:

  1. Hola Collin! Que emocion tengo al leer el narrativo de tus aventuras! Tu hermana me compartio de tu blogsite. Hay muy pocos de mis estudiantes que siguen sus estudios del espanol, pero cuando eso si pasa, me siento tanto orgullo! Me permitirias mostrar unos de tus fotos a mis clases? Que buena oportunidad para ti a tu amiga! Te deseo muchas bendiciones en tus viajes! Cuidate mucho!