Sorry for the drought of posts; this has been literally the first time in two days when I have been able to sit down and write. I’ve been really busy…as you’re about to find out.
Anyway, Day 1 actually begins on Sunday night, where I learned that in Chile, they eat dinner much later in the night, usually around 8-9 PM. I had a good dinner of spaghetti with meat sauce and egg-and-rice soup, and my housemates and I had a very good conversation with our host family, the Marquez family. They are very nice and friendly, and the mother, Morelia, treats us just like her own kids. Are we spoiled? Yeah, I guess we kind of are. 🙂 Because of the cold nights here, we have electric heating pads in our beds that keep us warm during the night. I think this must have been the first time that I slept so well in a bed other than my own.
The next morning I had my first experience with the shower. Without going into details, let’s just say that the whole shower lasted about five minutes because it was very cold and I hadn’t figured out how to make the shower work. For breakfast that morning, Morelia made us ham-and-cheese sandwiches and yogurt for breakfast, and we watched part of a Mexican sitcom on TV. The school is too far for us to walk there from the house, so Morelia took us to the bus stop, and we rode the bus to school. Public transportation is very popular in Chile, and finding a seat or place to stand on the bus can sometimes be pretty difficult, but we were lucky enough to find a space. The bus ride lasted about half an hour, and we got to school at 8:30, half an hour before classes start. I played a couple games of fooseball with Matt, spoke with everyone to see how everyone was doing, and went to class at 9:00. Our first class of the day was with Leonardo, who teaches grammar and speaking. Class was pretty fun, and our first lesson was about the Chilean dialect, so that we can both speak and understand it more easily. We had a twenty-minute break at 10:40, so I went back to the common room for more fooseball, and returned to class at 11:00 where Leonardo taught us about some unusual customs and rituals in South America, like the Day of the Dead in Mexico and the rather unusual (in my opinion, I don’t wish to offend anyone) the ritual of El Angelito. After class at 12:40 we had an hour for lunch, so after a fight with an ATM that wouldn’t let me withdraw any of my money, I found a cafe in town that takes MasterCard and bought a sausage-and-cheese empanada and a bottle of Coke for lunch. The grand total of everything was just over two dollars, and I got a very filling and tasty lunch in return. Classes resumed at 2:00, and my next class was Conversation with Lara, a very pretty (I hope she isn’t reading this) lady from Spain who moved to Chile to teach three years ago. This class is a bit different in that all we do is talk. It may seem a bit strange, but the purpose of the class is to encourage us to talk and converse more, and develop our vocabularies and language skills. The first session was rather interesting, as we spent most of the time talking about and learning about each other, including hobbies, fears, plans for the future, and other little tidbits and quirks of ours. Classes ended at 3:40, and I was very happy that we escaped with no homework.
After school, I went with my housemates and another student named Jason Zweifel into town, where we explored a local bookstore, and discovered a market in the center of town selling everything from books to stationary to antiques. It was all very fun, but I made the mistake of bringing my backpack (with my computer and everything else in it) with us, and after an hour or so, my back was starting to kill me. Around 5:00 or so, I checked the event calendar we were given the first day and discovered that there was a barbecue that night at the school, so we had to hurry and get back to the school before 6:30. I’m really glad that we did go. The instructors made steak and chorizo sausage with salad, and it had to be one of the most delicious things I had eaten up until that point. It was really fun being able to eat and talk with my friends, but at 9:30 we had to leave, so my housemates and I took the bus about halfway back home and walked the rest of the way. The rest of the night was interesting, as we spent about two hours that night talking with Ernesto, the father, about (of all things) the difference between Sweden and Switzerland in Spanish, and how much it would cost to both buy and transport a llama to America. We were all a little wound up that night, and I think it took us about two hours to finally wind down and get to bed. Anyway, that’s Day 1 in Chile. Stay posted for Day 2, coming soon! Until then, God bless and stay well!