The plaza with mosaics, next to my house! It is so incredible at night with the light reflecting off of it.
So I feel that it is due time for a real update!
From the beginning of my time in Valpo:
We took a bus from Santiago to Valparaíso. The memories that sticks with me is the moment we first were able to see Valpo. Our bus filled with energy, as we all clambered to get our first glimpse of the place where we will be spending the next few months. No matter how many pictures you see of a place it is so different in person. A great feeling.
Then, we all realize we are about to meet our host families. A bit more of a nervous feeling than the look-at-the-beautiful-ocean-feeling. I wasn't too anxious until walking into the room with all of the families. It was an intense moment with my thoughts going something like this:
"I hope they like me. What if they don't like me? Oh man, they're not going to like me! What do I say! Oh man, my Spanish is horrible. What do I say?...."
Well, the introductions went well. My family is so kind and welcoming, so despite my lack of language skills settling in was pretty simple. They even had put fresh flowers and some candy in my room!
Alright, I'm bored with the catch-up, so fast forward to this week.
Wed. was the first day of classes. By this time, I've learned not to take myself so seriously. However, I must admit that it is humbling to feel so foolish on so many occasions. I know, I know, it will get better! So far I have been to Communication and Culture- relaxed but very intelligent teacher, Grammar- a bit harder to understand this prof but it will be a great class for my Spanish, Writing- ahhh! This teacher is really intimidating but I'm going to stick it out. We'll see..., and Phonetics. Let me tell you about Phonetics class. I was planning on dropping this class, but I decided to try it out and now I may take it. We practiced making the sounds of the vowels, sticking our tongues out, and rolling our "rr"s, sitting a big circle. There are people from my travel group in the class, so you can image how hard it was not to laugh as this somewhat eccentric professor is telling us to stick our tongues out harder! "mas fuerte, mas fuerte!" The prof is hilarious and is the only one so far to check consistently if we understand without making anyone feel bad, so that's a huge plus. It will also be great for my pronunciation. I must admit that I went home the first day of classes with a headache from the amount of concentration it took me to listen!
Next week= dance class! :)
Today I went on a bit of an adventure. When you take the micro (bus) around the cities, you pay to get off at whatever point, but you have to know when/where to get off. The driver doesn't tell you, there are no signs on the side of the road, no map in the bus, nada. So I was trying to meet some friends in Vina (the neighboring city) at a park with a lake. I know around where I was supposed to get off, so I asked the woman next to me and she lets me know when to go. So I get off the micro to see nothing that looks remotely like a park. Hmmm... a safe looking store? Nope, auto-repair shops- dark and dingy. Spot to make a call safely? Check. So my friend helps me find my way and I make it to this awesome park. Pictures to follow. I found a spot to sit and watch the beginning of the sunset and spend some time journaling and reflecting. It was so calming and refreshing to have some time alone in a beautiful place to sit and think and sort through my thoughts.
So to skip the details, my friend Andrew and I finally met up and walked to the beach to meet up with the other half of the group. The sun was setting over the ocean, I bought an ice cream. What could be better?!