Monday, October 26, 2009

Pictures

At a beach in a nearby town.
Sand Sledding! No sandboarding for me, but this was still awesome.

Horseback riding along the beach! What you don't know is how long my stubborn horse took took to get to the beach...
Oh yeah, I saw Daddy Yankee in concert! Hahahha. (Yes, I'm aware that this is not quality music.)
And I was pumped to be there!
At cousin Tito's Birthday Party! Tito and the Gringos :)
(side note: gringo isn't derogatory here.)
So after a long time of searching, my Mom found this magazine with photos of Tito's favorite model. He was so THRILLED! Thanks Mom for helping out this one!
We had a special dance class last week, and our instructor (on the right) had a friend help out. They performed a bunch of dances, each with their own traditional outfits. The highlight though was after this dance (from East Island). It was my friend's birthday, so he got to dance with the pretty lady on the left!

This is where I went camping. And below is my tent!!!!
Can you tell I love it?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Por Fin...






Hi everybody! Hope you are all doing well.

I get really overwhelmed with bloging and/or journaling if I try to "catch up" on everything I've done. Instead, I'm just going to write about today, and if I don't fall asleep maybe some more!

Today I woke up early to meet my friend Andrew at 7 to catch a bus to a nearby town. (Off topic: there was a street lamp down, and I found it funny and that although the street was blocked off, I was able to walk right on by. There was no one nearby, the wires weren't covered, nothing! Here, the attitude is more like, "If you're dumb enough to touch it..." versus the thought in the U.S., more like, "They could sue me..." I also realize I'm stereotyping, but I thought I would share my thoughts!) Anyways, three hours, a nap in a micro, and an encounter with a driver we couldn't understand later, we made it to La Campana. It is a nearby mountain (but to the locals it's a hill!). We climbed all 1.920 meters above sea level- around 7 k. It took 3 hours, 20 minutes to summit, but about 4 to get back down! The going was harder work on the muscles, but going down was by far more dangerous, and I took a good spill. (update in the morning) The good news is that I'm hardly sore and the knee is good, too!

The video in the last update is from the soccer match- I made national TV! You are all proud, right? I think it is when they asked me who was going to win, to which I said, "Chile, obviously." And in Spanish, obviously!

Last weekend was my host cousin Tito's birthday party, so I got to meet his friends. It was a great time, and I had some conversations beyond the where-are-you-from-how-do-you-like-Chile talks! This Thursday Tito even went out with me and a group of friends from my program and our language-exchange group. (I can dance basic salsa now!)

In my time here, my self-evaluation of my Spanish is a yo-yo. When I can have a conversation- up. When i can't understand someone- down. I suppose in general it's emotional to be here. I miss my loved ones, but I can't think about leaving Chile. I feel as though my Spanish is finally at a level where I can have more meaningful interactions and relationships, so I'm trying to focus on making the most of my time left here. As Tito reminded me, it's never too late! Sometimes I am really frustrated with myself, like when I can't remember a vocab word that I know I've studied. However, when I think of my first weeks here, I know I have learned so much. (As Tia Ana will be happy to tell you, I didn't understand anything!)

Thursday I'm going to Buenos Aires!

Love you all!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Thursday, October 8, 2009

I know, I know...



I haven't been updating! However, I will now:

So, two weeks ago I went to the Atacama Desert. It was one of the most amazing trips of my life! The highlights:

Renting bikes for the day in the Valle de la luna. We were alone practically all day, riding in the desert. Watched the sunset, and rode back by the moonlight. Simply amazing.

The hostel owner took us to a "secret thermal." There are tours to another one, but there are alot of people and it's expensive. So we just trusted this guy, and we ended up in the middle of nowhere at a gorgeous thermal. Again, we stayed to watch the sunset.

To summarize that week, I don't think I've ever felt so complete and at peace, and grateful as I did so many times there.

Fastforward:

Tomorrow night I'm camping on a nearby beach. Sunday we are going to the Daddy Yankee concert in Vina!


This is from the festival of a thousand drums. The parade ended right by my house, and as you can see it was very energetic and colorful. As my mama chilean would say, it's because Valparaiso is such a passionate city.


This is us getting ready for our 5 hours of sleep in the Santiago airport after our trip! We're champs.



No words for this! (Ok, so it is a salt lake. On the other side were flamingos!!)



What a ride!! (And who's proud of this ACL?! I'm sooo grateful that I am getting to experience Chile so fully, and I hope I always remember how lucky I am! )


Please watch the video! It's a short one.

video