Thursday, December 10, 2009

Jingle Bells

**Much more smiling involved if actually sung**
Dashing through the sand
In a flip-flop sort of way
Over the couples we step
Laughing all the way
In the Southern Hemisphere
Christmas lights displayed
What fun it is to rush and pack
into the micro bus.

(chorus)
OH…
Jingle Bells
Jingle Bells
Jingle Chilean style
Hot and humid
Are the words
During my last month here
Jingle Bells
Jingle Bells
Jingle Chilean style
Waiting for Santa Clause
On the ocean shores.

About two months ago
This Christmas-ness began
Crazy street vendors
shrieking here and there,
“Oh, buy your kid a gift!”
This commercialism
Simply does not change
Not even culturally.

(chorus)

So, dashing through the sand
I’m loving my last month!!
Yet staying focused
On the true reason
Because Christmas indeed
Is about something more
So continue passing on
the JOY, the PEACE, and the LOVE

(chorus)

¡FELIZ NAVIDAD! …MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Chilean Bells

Chilean Weddings, also known as the time of your life. Yesterday, I was able to attend my first Chilean wedding, a cousin of my host family here. Finally, check mark for attending an Hispanic wedding. Oh, wait did I say "wedding"? By golly, by all means, I meant PARTY. Preparation for this event was quite a bit of drama for my taste. Although I like to dress nicely and elegantly (sometimes), I am really simplistic in the drama-mama realm. Wedding ceremonies tend to be ultra-formal here. Most woman were dressed in categories we would consider bride maid's dresses, prom dresses, or cocktail dresses. Anywho, my "date" (my host brother), other members of the family, and I arrived in Santiago for the wedding ceremony, where the groom greeted us outside the church's doors, a tradition held here in Chile. The invitations said the service started at 8:00pm, but we arrived at 8:15pm -- I wasn't too worried because we are on Chilean time here, don't cha know? The service didn't start until 9 (at night keep it mind). We all stood up when the groom entered from the outdoors with his mother accompanying him. He walks to the alter to wait for his beautiful bride, while the audience also awaits anxiously. She makes her triumphal entrance from a vehicle that drives her to the entrance; everyone starts chitterchattering about the dress or the groom's reaction. The bride and groom take their places, while the parents of the groom and bride take their respective chairs on the stage with them (I liked this part for the sake and honoring of the parents). Everything else about the ceremony was similar. One aspect I especially enjoyed was the blessing of the rings. The priest took the rings and prayed over them, really precious to me. If I don't become a nun, don't be surprised if I integrate this into my wedding. The groom and bride quickly kissed and the ceremony ended about 10pm, lasting only about an hour. DANG, when the pastor says, "You may now kiss the bride", my husband better take advantage of that statement. :)

Then, we drove to a separate banquet hall for the reception, and the PARTY commenced. For thirty minutes, 10 different types of samples were whirled around us, Chilean wine flowing, and random fruity drinks. The most interesting appetizer I tried was straight up octopus, cooked but with no dressing. Not a favorite. A bit too chewy and tasteless for Miss Dudley. Then at about 11:30pm we entered into the official dining part, to be served appetizers and dinner all around midnight. Buffet of desserts around 1am. Then, ladies and gents, began the dancing session from 1am until 5am I do believe. I made Sebastian, my date for the night, dance with me without ceasing -- including pop, merengue, salsa, cumbia, 80s, disco... etc. Near the end, they were handing out masks, glow sticks, crazy headbands, and noisemakers. It was a lovely glorious sight to see people over the age of 40 breaking out their dance moves, furthermore past midnight. I second this motion to be installed in the USA. Do I have a second?

From 8:00pm until 6am, therefore, I had the time of my life at my first Chilean wedding.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

a d L d

Thank you Straten. Perfect.

Kerrie Isabel has come to the conclusion that her English is no longer equal to that of a native English speaker. Please forgive any misunderstandings you might encounter while engaging in any form of communication with her. She is deeply sorry and is trying her best to correct the issue at hand. Unfortunately, it appears the damage caused by learning a second language might be irreversible.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

"Agridulce"

Well, hello there! So nice to see you again. You’re lookin’ mighty fine. :) This past week my classes all ended officially. Oh and guess what! I didn't flunk out of dance class. Whoot whoot (that's the celebratory noise). I actually passed with a solid "A." Secretly, just between you and me, I think she gave that to me because of my ridiculous enthusiasm for her class. The other grades are still shaping up, TBD.

I cannot believe this is my last month here in CHILE; almost 5 months have already passed. December 31st is approaching rapidly, and my sentiments are all in a swirl! AGRIDULCE is the word, meaning bittersweet. I am tickled to see family and friends again, and yet part of my heart will remain here in Chile, amongst such a beautiful culture and language. Agridulce.
Bueno, I'm off to go experiment with some lemons, vanilla, and brown sugar -- something along the lines of lemonade. I'm dreaming of a spicy hot Christmas here in Chile…

Monday, November 30, 2009

A Bailar!

For our Thanksgiving Dinner Show,
I decided to do 9 genres of dance
in a five minute time frame.
Super informal and super FUN!
For those of you who don't have facebook,
I thought you might need to add a laugh to your day.
This is really how I dance in my room alone...
"http://www.facebook.com/v/525467443368"

Sunday, November 29, 2009

My fire by night, My cloud by day

Whew, may I just say my life is never boring? No, honestly. I insist upon this declarative statement. This past Friday night I was at a friend's house preparing for an event we had coming up on Saturday. Well, as we were dropping off the people from our group, I knew by the first stop I couldn't go any further. There were storm clouds brewin' within. I have always had a sensitive stomach, but I can count on two hands how many times I have thrown up in my life. From 2am until 10 am, however, I was at my friend's house doing nothing than just that.

I won't get too graphic, but I was rushed to the emergency room to rehydrate my body, with an intravenous. Also, a shorter lady came into my hospital room with this honker of a needle and said, "I need to put this in your gluteus. Please turn around." I looked at Dove, my dear friend, and with an appalled look on my face, said, "Is she for real???" So, for the first time, my butt was attacked with a needle. Wowzers. We were in the hospital for about 6 hours, recuperating and waiting for results. At the end, they said I had an infectious bacteria -- meaning it could have been food poisoning or that I caught it from someone else.

Either way, I have been in my bed for the last 24 hours, just relaxing and sipping on my long-lost love, Yellow Gatorade. Yet, I would also like to reaffirm how God has been so faithful in it all. Even to the point of blood, bile, or whatnot, I know that He cares even about the small things in my life. That's what makes our Heavenly Father so different, so relational. The following song keeps coming to my head:

********
Luke Wood - A Picture of Your Love.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ztXW36wazBM
Your love is the rock that I cling to.
Your name is the tower that I run into.
Your strength is what lifts my head when it's bowed low.
Your song is the light that shines through my window.

And like the sun after all the rain is gone,
The morning without any cloud comes.
With a picture of your love.
And when I think of the stars so high over me,
The moon in the darkness lets everyone see
A picture of your love.

After the Rain has fallen.
...the sweetest name remains on my soul.
After the rain has fallen, after the clouds all role away,
...the sweetest name remains on my soul.

Cause you're faithful, you're always the same.
You're faithful, know you never change.
You're faithful, you're always good. Always good.

Though I walk through the valley of shadow of death,
I have no doubt, you have already gone ahead.
My fire by night, my cloud by day.
Though ten thousand fall to my right and my left,
under the shadow of the most high, I find rest.
My fire by night, my cloud by day.
*******

I'm still lovin' life and taking everything one day at a time.
I cannot believe that in TWO weeks, I will be in PATAGONIA.
Let the good times roll.
Sending a hug from CHILE! :)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I Give Thanks

In a nutshell, the city of Mendoza, Argentina was one of my favorite trips I've taken here; I never thought I would enjoy it so much. For pictures and more stories, I refer you to the link "Argentine Adventure" (remember, you can click on the thumbnails to see in a larger format)
Fall is one probably my favorite seasons -- perhaps because of the leaves, the bonfires, or maybe because of Thanksgiving. Each time I travel, I become more grateful for my country, my family, or other things I tend to take for granted. On the other side, seeing other ways of life also allows you to appreciate the simple things of life, loving both the host culture as well as your own. Therefore, just imagine what 5 months in another country can do to a person. :)

HAPPY THANKSGIVING! A verr... It shall be in a Chilean version, I suppose.
I am thankful for:
-my ears to hear whatever genre of music on the micro bus, the cats screaming outside my window at night, the ocean waves, a laugh, a voice.
-my nose to smell fish markets, lavender, perfume/cologne, bakery goodies.
-my arms to hug.
-my feet to dance, to skip merrily about, to hike up killer hills, to walk out of obscene classroom discussions.
-my eyes. my eyes to see. to see all the beautiful and majestic creation God has given to us, simply overlooked.
-my health, only three flea bites and a few bruises from different "adventures." nothing more serious than that.
-my comfy bed where I sleep every night, avoiding extreme cold or heat.
-eating three times a day, if not more. not having to look through the garbage cans on each street hoping for the next meal.
-security. trust. I love how in America we can ask a friendly stranger nearby to keep an eye on our stuff while we go to the bathroom... or leave our laptops openly out in the library as we go grab lunch in the next building.
-warm showers in general.
-nondripping faucets.
-wearing a backpack as a backpack, not hanging and protected in the front.
-always having toilet paper fully loaded in the stall in the bathrooms, in restaurants and random stores alike. the end.
-buying fish without the bones, not having to worry about politely taking out the 73 mini-bone structures found in a fish.
-my own car and little scooter. although I don't mind public transportation at all now, I have come to realize what a privilege it is to sit down in a car and be driven directly to a place. ever thought about it?
-the ability to read and write. boy, we take this for granted.
-being raised with old-fashioned ideals, to be a lady (although I don't seem to always achieve this)
-everything my parents have done, said, given, and shown to me -- such trust, respect, freedom, wisdom, maturity, love mutually given. thank you.
-to be in Chile for 5 months, to reunite with dear friends and my family upon return.

Above all, I am so grateful for my intimate, precious relationship with Christ. He not only gives me a purpose & hope in living life day-to-day but a pure joy & satifaction in doing so...

de tal manera me amó
de tal manera me amó
cristo en la cruz
del calvario murió
de tal manera me amó

I GIVE THANKS.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

¿Viste?

CHE.
My next trip calls me to the Argentine soils. Mendoza is the city.
We are taking a daytime bus there to see
the Andes Mountains up-close and personal
separating the two countries of CH and ARG.

Artisan markets, canopying, paragliding, thermal springs...
delicious meat, singing accents, chocolate factories, wine trails... who knows what might be in store?
Stay posted.
Nov 19 -22
CHE.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

El Tiempo Vuela

It has been a month since I've last blogged! Golly Moses. You must know that I still love you, dear reader, but I was diverting myself entirely too much here in Chile to put my adventures to pen. :)

In the past month,
**I have camped out overnight at the beautiful Laguna Verde ("Green Lagoon") -- a green cove at the end of Valparaíso along the beach's shores.
**My program and I traveled to Santiago to learn more about the torture techniques and affects of Pinochet's dictatorship in Chile -- heartbreaking and life lessons. Please take the time to look at the following article: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091101/ap_on_re_la_am_ca/lt_chile_dirty_war_draftees_2
**Also, last weekend I went with my program to Pucón, 12 hours to the south of Viña del Mar & Valpo. I fell in the mud flat on my face, went advanced white-water rafting, and soaked in some thermal springs. Such stress, no? (see "Pucon-ish" photo link)
**Lately, I have been working on a 6 page paper that analyzes and comments on the 8 stanza poem by Mistral, "La Bailarina." Although Gabriela Mistral doesn't romance a reader to her poems like Mr. Neruda, she has a certain profound sting portrayed. I would encourage you to read a sampling in your free time.
Then last but not least, the theme that inspired me to blog, is my hiking adventure to La Campana ("The Bell") yesterday. This has been on my list of things to do before I leave Chile, a 4-5 hour hike to the summit. APERRADA, hard-core is the ideal adjective. Nonetheless, I could not have gone with a better group-- 3 patient, hilarious Chileans and a beautiful fellow gringa, 5 of us in total. We explored mini-caves, made trails where only rocks existed, played with tarantulas safely, and sang children's songs in Spanish. As far as the hike itself, it was one of the most intense hikes I've done in my life, not counting the hike up the Costa Rican volcano this past summer (whew). When you get 80% to the summit, the other last bit is a one hour hike up pure rocks, at a 45 degree angle. I can see how it could be super dangerous. Yet there were children hiking this - what?! And that was the only thing that gave me motivation, my arrogance, "Well, if these little kiddies can get to the top, so can this pathetic 21 year-old gringa." When you reach the top, it is ALL worth it. Every last panting, sweat ball, tripping, dirt spot, thorn, and extreme thirst. Vale la pena, amigos. I saw the Andes Mountains in a whole new way. (P.S. For those who have known me longer, I had my "hysteria attack" of laughter in our hike climbing down. Nobody knew what to do with me.)

I will leave you to look at the pictures: "La Campana." However, without a doubt, a person should be at the very top handing out buttons as prizes when you finally arrive... something like, "You're a winner", or "Look at this hard-core hiker", or "You wanna talk about sweat?", or "You came with ONE bottled water?", or "Falling on your butt can be sexy", or "You're a Campana champion". Obviously, the buttons would have to be multi-lingual, but it would be a worthy business.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Alcachofa

Never had seen a raw artichoke until Chile.
Never had eaten a whole artichoke before.
Never thought I would enjoy the artichoke so much.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Cuentacuentos

Story #1 We took over 25 buses during this past trip. Obviously we don't have our own car, so it was the easiest and most convenient way of getting back and forth. That has nothing to do with our story. Just thought you should know. Needless to say, one of those many buses we took carried us away to Cucao on the Chiloé Island. We went to a lookout point in the National Park, and there we saw an earthly wonder. In the distance, we could see about 8 condors hovering over the forest. These are one of the largest birds, and their wing span is beyond comprehension --not to mention the end of their wings are like "dedos" (fingers), the easiest way of identifying the bird. Back on track.... Karla, my traveling partner, and I were trying to persuade the flock to come closer by loudly trying out our possible condor-calling skills. (That in itself was worth seeing) But nothing compared to what happened three minutes later. Five condors decided to respond to our calling and flew no more than 15 feet over our heads. We were in shock. Pure joy was spilling over as we just stood there in amazement. Wild condors. A must in life.
-
Story #2 Many years ago, God created the heavens and the earth. He filled it with such creativity and majesty, one of which included this complex thing called the human bean. But them human beans were always so busy and caught up with their own lives, that they never stopped to breath in the beauty of the nature around them. It made God somewhat sad because it was a special gift He had prepared for them. Someday them human beans will just realize that boredom is not an option with so much beauty constantly swirling about. Someday. Isaiah 40:12-31
Story #3 The island of Chiloé and its people are so tranquil. The landscape with its diverse coloring is a fillet for the eye gates. However, we only had five days total so we divided up our time into 2.5 days on the island and 2.5 days on the mainland. After the island, we spent the next few days in Puerto Varas, an hour north of Puerto Montt. One of the days we explored the German towns in the area. Imagine seeing how German and Chilean cultures intertwine. I ate it up. Oh and speaking of eating, shall I whet your taste buds? In our five days the top dishes were as follows: shrimp & crab casserole, fresh salmon at least once a day, kuchen (a german cake), chocolate stores, wild fruit smoothies, and spectacular red wine for $3 a glass. Yeah, you can wipe the drool off now and go get a snack before you continue...
-
Story #4 People are ready and willing to talk to strangers in the south. In my time there, I talked 2 hours with our hostel owner, 30 minutes with a villager artesian, 30 minutes with a Valdivia dance instructor, 20 minutes with our waitress, and any other random victims that crossed my path. I love talking to strangers. (well, after they pass a few decency tests)
Story #5 In the United States, we practice what is called direct communication, meaning we are more open and honest with opinions, responses, or thoughts. Meanwhile, in Latino culture and many other cultures, they practice indirect communication, where they are more prone to beat around the bush, be more subtle, or drop hints to give their opinion, response, or thoughts. For example, even though it seems outlandish to us, people would rather give you incorrect directions than tell you they don't know or can't help you. It's about keeping the "friendly" atmosphere in the moment. Sometimes in indirect cultures, Americans are seen as entirely too blunt. I think the ideal point resides in the middle of the two poles.
-
Story #5.5 Karla and I wandered in the cold and the pouring rain for about 30 minutes on a road, thanks to poor directions. At that point, we were thinking, "Indirect communication needs to become extinct." Usually, I can catch on when someone is just making it up, but this time = failure. Finally after we reached our destination, we found out we would have to walk another 2 miles in the rain for the closest bus stop. Thankfully, the rain had let up a little. With our sublime luck, after about 5 minutes of walking, it started to spew cold rain from the heavens. That was the last straw! (P.S. "Esto fue el colmo" FYI in Spanish) I told Karla we would "hacer el dedo" (HITCH-HIKE) I have never hitch-hiked in my life - neither in my first language nor my second. I put out that killer thumb, and from a distance I could see that a truck was about to stop. It could be good, and be filled with a family, or bad, and filled with a bunch of boys. It was good news! However, I resorted back to stage one of my Spanish skills. My request came out something like, "Uhhh...hi...need downtown...we...in back??" The dad looked at me like a LOCA, but he let us climb in the back of the truck. Got er done, safe and sound. Everyone should try hitch-hiking in their second language.
Story #6 With my program, I had the opportunity to see a SouthAmerican fútbol game. I have decided to put my thoughts into bullets:
1.) Northamerican football fans have nothing on Southeamerican soocer fans. The games have barbed wire, policemen in every other 5 aisles, and security guards in stunning yellow outfits. Oh, and the fans are required to go through 4 different checkpoints to make sure that the ticket is not false, you are not carrying weapons, or you have any fire-related objects with you.
2.) Alcohol is neither allowed nor sold in the stadium. Trust me, it is already a hazard without that influence present. However, people smoke like there´s nothing to live for. I learned that the equivalent for "chain smoker" in Spanish is "pucho con patas" (cigarette with legs) or "cenicero" (ash tray). The more I am here, the more I believe that this country struggles more with smoking than the USA.
3.) No trash cans in the stadium. Please take a moment to visualize that one. *pause* Did you see the cigarette butts, the water/soda bottles, the papers, and the other remains? Not the most sanitary aspect.
4.) As far as cheering protocol goes, it is very outlined. Stand on chairs before game starts. Before first kick commences sit down. Only stand when poor call is made or your team approaches a potential goal. Jump like wild men and women when goal is made. Possibly light the illegal fireworks that the guards did not find at the checkpoints. After the cheers (which I learned three), the "whoooooo" part under the name of soccer. Stay silent after cheers and utterly focused. An Ecuadorian doll was being chucked among the fans during the game.
5.) When among such passion and enthusiasm for the game, it is almost impossible not become a nutty fan yourself during the process. Watching soccer and seeing it live are two distinct subjects. Great experience!!

**Please see link to RIGHT "Casi Patagonia" for more pictures and stories from the trip.**

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Chiloé

Tomorrow night, my friend KarlOCA and I depart for our 5 day trip to Puerto Montt & Chiloé Island. We will spend 3 days on the island exploring: Castro, Ancud, Queilén, Dalcahue, Curaco de Velez, and Achao. I am looking forward to the old churches, the little villages, a tranquil population, and the breathtaking ports. Then, we will travel back to the mainland for 2 days to explore: Puerto Montt, Puerto Varas, Frutillar, and maybe Lago de Todos los Santos to the west. There we will explore a beautiful lake, German influence in Chile, and volcanoes in the distance. Please see my maps in order to follow the adventure better. And as you should know by now, many pictures will be taken.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Miércoles

I have my second dance exam this Wednesday.

Here in Chile, the education system is different: specialization, taking classes only within your degree. Usually, USA universities promote a "liberal arts" education approach -- meaning we require a more holistic realm of knowledge in literature, language, math, history, philosophy, and science. Both have their advantages and disadvantages.

In my dancing class, therefore, every Chilean student has a physical education major and has taken other dancing classes before this. It all makes sense now why the majority are stellar, and I look like junk at times. But Isa still enjoys dancing to the fullest, don't you doubt it!!
***
This Wednesday the genres in the 5 min time frame include:
Disco ("I Will Survive")
Rock N' Roll ("Shake, Rattle & Roll")
Reggaeton ("Llamado de Emergencia")
Tango ("Por una Cabeza")
Rhythm & Blues
Hip-Hop
***
I will be recording the performance but not necessarily sharing.
Thanks for your prayers. :)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Una Loca (pause) Muy Especial

It always starts with the introductory statement,
"So I climbed on the micro today..."
THEREFORE,

So, I climbed on the micro today and gave the driver my $150 Chilean pesos (=$.30) for the “escolar discount.” Here in Chile only the people with the “special” student cards get the scholar discount. By law, unless I have this card the chofers are not required to give me the discount. They have every right to refuse. Nonetheless, the scholar discount is 1/3 the regular price!! With an innocent, honest gaze and a paper signifying that I am indeed a student, normally I can receive the discount with a bit of persistence.

Back to our story… After I handed the man the money, he looked at me, and I showed him the paper proving that I am a student, but since I was part of the exchange program I was not given such a card. He looked at me again, this time looking at me directly in the eyes, and stated aggressively, “If I were in YOUR country, they wouldn’t give me any discount of any sort.”
I was dumbfounded. Although thoughts flowed through my mind, I decided to stay quiet and see if he gave me the discount anyway. He did.

I sat my duff down in the micro seat and started thinking (always dangerous, the thinking that is). I thought to myself, “If he is making that sort of statement, he has some sort of bitterness towards the United States, whether consciously or unconsciously.” Made me sad. Made me really sad.

Not being satisfied with the outcome, I decided to write him a little letter that I could give to him when I got off for my stop. It went something like this:
Dear Sir,
It makes me sad to think that you do not like my homeland, the United States. Yes, it is true that you probably wouldn’t be given any sort of a discount. However, I just want to encourage you to not have the perspective that our government or the media that we produce is a good reflection of our people. Quite different subjects. I am sorry if you have had a bad experience with an American. But, I hope that today my smile has given you a new hope about my homeland. Thank you for the lovely discount. I really appreciate it. See you soon. Chau.
The American,
Isabel


You should have seen his face when I handed him the folded letter and said thank you. Although some Americans have SERIOUS issues (that SHOULD be addressed), I still am proud of my country. That man deserves the chance to know the other side of the USA. Honestly, I would have loved to see his face after he read it. I would have loved to see if his brain changes somehow. But knowing my beautiful luck, there is a good chance I will see him again before I leave in December. Así es.

(CARADURA, ya sé ya sé)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Baking! (Hornear)




I think I have finally mastered the words HORNEAR (to bake) and ORINAR. :)

Once upon a time I wanted to spend a whole day in a Chilean bakery. So I got up my guts, talked with an owner of a bakery, made of fool out of myself, bought all white clothes, and my dream became a reality today. "Why the heck would you want to spend a day in a bakery?" That is the common question I have received from most. Honestly, baking is an ART form here. In the USA, most of the time we have our bread packaged or in a small, neglected section of Wal-Mart. Not so here. Almost every corner offers the smell of fresh-baked bread, with over 6 types to salivate over. This particular bakery is known for its bread, while others are known for its pastries. Another day for that one.

This was one of the first steps in making the French bread. It was a tie between being a trained juggler and a professional baker. So fast!

I could not help but laugh at the violence involved in this process, the pan de pañuelo. Jaime honestly should join a volleyball team, front center.

There is so much to learn in life. Honestly, no matter how much you think you know, you always are missing out on some part of God's creativity. Baking is such an intricate process, not nearly as easy as most people think. Today I learned not only the different types of Chilean bread -- but I made friends with the amazing baker, had some laughs with the owner, almost had a flour fight, and had a bundle of fun baking all morning.

One of my goals in life is to help people realize that you don't have to go partying all night while drinking alcohol from dawn to dusk. There is so much beauty and diversion swirling around us and within our grasp that we miss on a daily basis. CARPE DIEM, be a life long learner.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Glorious.

Nunca me imaginé que el desierto estuviera tan lleno de nada y lleno de belleza al mismo tiempo.
I never imagined how a desert could display
such nothingness and such beauty all at once

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2033396&id=149701984&l=a3146dcfb0
Please click on the link or see photo album "El Desierto Atacama"
Check out the captions beneath for more of an explanation.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

San Pedro, Chile









******
The ATACAMA desert is, according to NASA, National Geographic and many other publications, the driest desert in the world, 50 times drier than California's Death Valley. No wonder then it's sparsely populated. However, about five hours northeast of Antofagasta lies the village of San Pedro de Atacama. And that, my dear readers, is where I shall be gallivanting September 16th - 20th. *big smile*

Monday, September 14, 2009

Fiestas Patrias

This past Saturday, my program had a trip to Pomaire, Chile -- about an hour drive from Valparaíso. Pomaire is an artisan village, known mostly for its pottery and massive empanadas (=2.2 pounds worth). don't forget to check out pictures in "Viva CHILE"Then after Pomaire, we headed to Isla Negra (which is neither an island nor black), where Pablo Neruda's first house was built. We have visited them in reverse order. Even though this man had some serious issues, I find his life fascinating -- much like other artists, including Frida Kahlo. I believe out of his three houses (Santiago, Valparaíso, Isla Negra) that this one was my favorite. Although the construction of his house in Santiago is the most creative, the view and location of this house was out of this world.
Pablo Neruda was originally buried in Santiago in 1973, when he died from prostate cancer. However, in 1992, they got permission to move his body to Isla Negra, where Matilde Urrutia (originally lover then third wife) is also buried with him.
This week (18th-20th) is Independence Week ("Fiestas Patrias") in Chile; therefore, there are flags everywhere you look, heaven on earth for a person obsessed with flags. One thing I love about the Hispanic countries to where I have traveled: they all show such pride in their country. They know they have problems, but that does not keep them from uniting to celebrate the freedom and blessings that they DO have in the country.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Don't Worry, Be Happy

You know... joyful, crazy people experience the same emotions as other human beings do. Just in case you were not aware of the fact.

And don't even think that I love and adore Chile any less now -- I would stay here for a year if I could. My Spanish professor makes a good point when she says that when you study abroad, you are not only learning a language, you are learning how to live in the culture. It is such a blessing to be in a country where I get to see, hear, smell or experience something new daily. It is a treasure for my anti-monotonous personality! There are hippies on each corner, goths & punks, gangstas (not in the sense of gangs), wanna-be-Americans, wild little gypsies, & normal Chileans to behold. The micro buses are now nothing to me. I flag down and climb onto the micro, assert I am a student, and wait for them to give me the discount. If they still refuse to do so after I show them my student ID#, I say "Okay, well I would like to get off now. Thank you." I jump to the next one and get my discount.

Oh, and if I go back to that market in Valaparíso I plan on having some words with that vendor. I had talked and bought products from him no more than 60 seconds before the potential theft occurred. He was one of the passive onlookers. Therefore, if he tries to interest me in his particular kiosk again, I plan on getting in close and saying, "I was almost robbed and you did nothing. I do not buy from cowards." Try that on for size bubba.

Watch out world! Love you all. All with time and God's unending faithfulness. Don't worry, be happy. :)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Post-

---
Thank you Lord for Sebastian who prayed with me so sweetly. Thank you Lord for Amelie who invited me to her house and drink tea at my lowest point. Thank you Lord for Dove & Courtney who let me be dramatic and complain. Thank you Lord for all those people who wrote me encouraging messages. Thank you Lord for my classmate who hugged me and let me hysterically cry on her shoulder.
---
The trauma of it all didn’t really hit me until one day after the incident (Tuesday). Trauma works like that. Whenever I first wrote the initial blog “Macha,” it had not completely soaked in what had happened. The next morning when I woke up sore, it started to dawn on me. Also, Tuesday morning a friend of mine (who didn’t know what happened) played a “joke” on me by pretending to rob me on the street. After that “joke,” I lost it completely with tears. My heart and mind were absolutely paranoid in that moment. The rest of my day was “pesado” (burdensome, heavy). It is my perspectives now that bother me. I tend to be a bit more pessimistic and firm when I walk the streets. Some people have told me I have to toughen up when out in public. What if I don’t want to? I still want to remain tender and lighthearted, just very smart and alert. Whether or not you agree with my opinion is up to you.

Let me just say with situations like this, God always allows us to learn from them in order to better understand and relate to others with similar experiences. So let me give you a heads start on the matter

DOs and DONTs of relating to those experiencing trauma…

1.) Stop waiting for people experiencing trauma to initiate their needs. That is stupidity on our part. Sorry but it is. After feeling so vulnerable in the attack or violation, they want someone else to initiate the empathy, conversation, or other forms healing. Be courageous and caring enough to start the hug or the prayer.
2.) Don’t ask the person the empty question, “How are you?” Be more specific. Be sensitive and calm in your tone of voice. If you are just asking to get the latest news, the trauamtized person might want to smack you.
3.) Don’t be so busy that the person feels like a burden taking up your minutes. Make yourself available, or at least look like it.
4.) Give them an outlet to express, complain, or be dramatic. And don’t make them feel guilty in the process, encourage them to do this – it is part of the healing process.
5.) Continue to follow up with them each day for the following week. The situation does not just happen one day, trauma the next, and the third day bada-bing-bada-boom you are 100%. Be an overachiever in compassion.
6.) If the victim finally gets up the nerve to tell you about how he is physically or emotionally hurting, do not respond with, “Just imagine the sufferings of Jesus Christ. That was even more painful.” Absolutely true but unacceptably insensitive. (Christians, honestly, we need to have more genuine empathy. What are we thinking? Or are we thinking?)

Time is the hardest element with any matter of the heart. But God is faithful in every second, don't cha know? MUCHO GUSTO.

*And if you ever see someone being dragged half a block, please don't play the PASSIVE role*

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

BaileEntretenido

I started dancing about two years ago for the first time -- not counting my ballet classes when I was five or the years I've grown up with the Germanfests of polka. Since then my curiosity for the art form has only grown. I danced for about 4 hours today, preparing for my first dancing exam!
I have to say, my knees and shoulders were really sore from the incident on Monday. However, in a matter of 2 days, we choreographed 7 tropical dances (salsa, merengue, cumbia, rumba, chachacha, samba, zouk) in a five minute time frame. Harder than you would think. It brings a smile to my face to think how in the USA I am a relatively decent dancer, with rhythm and enthusiasm. But by Chilean (Latino) standards.... well, that's another story.
My hips do lie cross-culturally. Take that Shakira.

Monday, September 7, 2009

MACHA

arrastrar = to drag

At 5:20pm tonight, a friend and I went to the Valparaiso market close to the university to buy some avocados and tomatoes. Since the market is kinda open, I decided to go around the corner to the next street where less people are (still open but safer) after my purchase. I had set my backpack down to place the produce in my backpack, having a firm grip on my bag that whole time. My right hand was on the left shoulder strap. The next moment someone grabbed the other shoulder strap of my backpack really forcefully, but I had a strong hold onto it. It was just my natural instinct to not let go... he grabbed it so hard I was on the ground immediately, reminding me of my past volleyball dives. I was not so worried about the $30 I had with me, BUT I had important school papers with me. I know, I am a nerd.

Anyway, the robber dragged me across the market for about 10-15 seconds, my body twisting like a fish out of water all over the uneven ground (a funny/serious sight all at once I am sure). At last he shouted "¡ya suéltala mujer!" meaning, “woman, let go of it already!” (Later, I was giggling about this part – duh dude, if you have dragged me this far I ain’t givin’ in NOW!) When he finally stopped dragging me, I was about ready to kick him in the privates, but he ran away quickly before I had the opportunity. He was unsuccessful in robbing anything. However, he got my beautiful $14 white coat dirty, not to mention my fingers were bleeding a bit. And I have some stellar bruises on my knees. Nice battle wounds. After the attack, everything just felt like a blur. Then I had this intense aggressive rush, where I just wanted to sprint or have a boxing match; I guess that would be the post-traumatism...

Some people naturally freeze up when attacked.
Some people naturally just resist as long as they can.
Thanks to the Lord, I am fine.
Thanks to the Lord, nothing was robbed.
Never a dull moment.
For better or for worse.
Still cannot believe it happened.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Not Just Any Perfume

I love my church here. Wouldn’t you know that God worked it out so that I would love my family not to mention love the church that my family attends? The Pastor of the church knows these random, little phrases in English and busts them out ever so often. Like one Sunday he was giving his sermon and he shouts, “NO WAY!” (in English) to emphasize his point. My American friend next to me and I laughed so loudly that 1/3 of the congregation turned around to scrutinize the wild, little gringas.

This past Sunday, Pastor had me chewing intensely on some meat, aka his sermon. He read one of my absolute favorite passages and BOOM my mind started rolling. I tend to get distracted with bunny trails in church. Confession made. The passage is from Luke 7:36-50, beautiful story. (the first part of the passage is posted at the very end of the blog, take a look) I have read this passage many times before; however, with any great piece of literature [especially the Bible], something new is always concocted the more thoroughly read it is.

He read how the sinner woman purchases this very expensive perfume. But where did she get the money to buy it? BOOM. I'd never thought of that (bunny trail commences). The prostitute had this luxurious perfume which she had bought with the money gained by her sinful acts of prostitution … and then is gutsy enough to wipe the holy feet of Jesus with this tainted liquid. WOWZERS. The Pharisee is probably thinkin' that Jesus has gone off the deep end, the beaten path by not asking any questions. But, Jesus saw more than just the tainted liquid. He saw her humility, faith, and heart in this daring act.


Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went to the Pharisee's house and reclined at the table. When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee's house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them. When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, "If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is — that she is a sinner."

I am not sure; it is possible that she had renounced the prostitution for quite some time, but nonetheless what an interesting thought.

Monday, August 31, 2009

The Poetic Lunatic

Why do I always adore donating to the “artists” that jump unexpectedly on the microbuses? Let’s see, there was the Congo drummer who rapped loudly in Spanish, the guitarist who sung flamenco beautifully, and then today there was the poetic lunatic… He recited four long, romantic poems on the microbus – one of which is a favorite of mine by Pablo Neruda. In between poems, he did a comedy show by doing a weird voice with a green clown nose. Once again, I had to put my hand over my mouth so I could smile and laugh ever so quietly. At the end, he took the time to flail his arms about each row, either giving a “blessing” or to encourage donations; I never did figure that one out.

You know, I reckon if such a simple act can bring joy to my microbus travels, why not donate a wee bit to the cause? It takes quite a bit of courage and talent to do that nutty of a routine in front of an audience.

YEAH, for the microbus lunatics!
I’m ready for the next one.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Llamada de Emergencia

Finally uploaded!

This clip is 23-seconds of pure talent, to the song:

"Llamada de Emergencia"

(such a popular song here -- even mamá hums it in the kitchen) 99% of the time I refuse to dance reguetón... The other 1% is called dancing with three 9-year-olds on a Saturday night in Chile. This is merely a snippet of what the 45 minute dance session was like! :)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Ode to the Sea Lion

ODE TO THE SEA LION

Oh, to be a sea lion!
To chat with the pelicans
about the day's catch.
To lie around on buoys
as the waves take you to and fro
and the sun gleams upon your tummy.
To mouth at the passers by
if they dare disturb any of the aforementioned.
Oh, to be a sea lion!
-pablA nerudA-

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Es Más

Song from our praise & worship band at church:
(you really ought to learn Spanish; it opens up your life to a whole new world -- much like that of Aladdin and Jasmine)

Siendo Dios
Being God
Cristo decidió tomar forma de siervo
Christ decided to take the form of a servant

Por esta tierra caminó,
Throughout this earth he walked
Como hombre vivió
Like a man he lived
A sí mismo se humilló
He humbled Himself
Por su amor el hijo su trono dejó
For love the Son left His throne
Y por amor el Padre al hijo entregó
And for love the Father's love turned over His son

CORO:
Triunfaste en la cruz por mí
You triumphed at the cross on my behalf
Anulaste toda deuda mi Jesús
You wiped away my debt my Jesus
Clavado en la cruz
Nailed to the cross
Del pecado y la opresión
Of sin and opression
Me libraste con tus brazos de amor
You liberated me with Your arms of love
Nunca más seré igual
I will never be the same
Por eso Dios le extaló
So God exalted Him
Nombre sobre todo le otorgó
And bestowed upon Him the name above all
Para que ante el nombre de Jesús
So that at the name of Jesus
Toda rodilla se doble a exaltar

Every knee shall bow to praise

Friday, August 21, 2009

Beautiful Vulnerability

Why do Americans tend to be portrayed as idiots in other countries? I mean there is more than just one characteristic than which is about to be unraveled, but this one concept is the one glued to my mind presently here in Chile:

We as a culture tend to be very trusting, friendly, and open. I live in a country where I would feel comfortable trusting most of the strangers I come across. Therefore, that same beautiful vulnerability can make us look like idiots when we enter through a cross-cultural door. For example, I walk down a street here, see a prim-looking and presentable person, and give them my camera to merely take a picture of me and the city life. With enough distance between us, this seemingly respectable person runs off with the camera. Thus, sometimes onlookers assume we have no brain. Think about it though … in the USA you could ask a person to take a picture on the street, in a garden, or in a restaurant. You can leave your stuff in most places while you go to the bathroom (or ask a friendly-looking stranger to watch it), instead of having to pack up every object. Heck, if you are studying in the library on campus, you can grab some lunch and chat with friends with an almost 100% guarantee that your laptop, wires, books, and even your pencil will all be in the exact place you left them. That is a treasure!

So honestly, Americans are not 100% idiots; we just need to accumulate the “USA button” and the “outside the USA button" to be aware of our cultural surroundings and norms. Maybe a little training here and there. There are other reasons why we look like idiots abroad, and that, my dear friend, cannot be explained through the venue of cultural anthropology...

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Make 'Em Laugh

I cannot stop smiling.

It’s almost sad how much I thrive on social interactions. Like a dear friend says, “I think the worst form of punishment would be without the light of day and without a hint of social interaction.” I must concur. The good news is that I finished the 150 page book today. The not-so-great news is that I have to write the report tomorrow (shaky nerves support this declarative sentence). The fabulous news is that I explored Valparaíso today with a dear friend, Paloma (Dove). We spent about 3.5 hours together eating and roaming the beautiful Chilean streets. Gosh, get two nutty girls together and a camera and graffiti – and you’ve got it made in the shade with some lemonade.

So much is starting to pick up here on my end! And yet, writing has always been and still continues to be such a form of relaxation for me. Back on track, I would love to write a blog, holy cow even an essay, on the differences in education here versus back in the United States. Each is quite different – maybe another time. However, the funnier side must not be withheld from your knowledge bank… okay, so when I was in Costa Rica, I was in the middle of a mass with one of my close girlfriends, Irene, and in the middle of the aisle there was a scuffle. Two stray dogs had entered the service, growling and wrestling with all their might. But the show went on! The ticos continued singing the songs, meditative and all in the midst of the grrrr.

With that being said, I visited a history class last week. I kept hearing a cell phone go off in the middle of class – the strangest ringer I’d ever heard. It was a like a distorted meow. After about 5 minutes of this discourteous cell phone ringing, I looked to my left … and there was a stray cat meandering about our classroom. My mouth dropped ever so widely. I looked around frantically – not even the teacher was perturbed. I just smiled the whole class. Oh and then in my crazy poetry class, the last five minutes or so the prof decided to show a youtube clip to emphasize his point on Ezra Pound. In the process, he yanked out a cigarette and lit it up the last 5-10 minutes of class. Teaching and smoking. Teaching and Smoking. I couldn’t help but giggle subtly. It is not the action that produces the laughter as much as the thought of the REACTION of how this would be seen in an American classroom… Enough about the funnies. More to come later I suppose.

My English is starting to stink.
Maybe, just maybe, that means my Spanish is improving.
MUCHO GUSTO.

*More pictures have been added. Takers a lookers.*

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Por Fin

Por fin, my classes are finally starting to come together.
I will have two classes with foreigners and two classes with Chileans -- TRANSLATION: advanced grammar, advanced writing, poetry with Chileans, and dancing with Chileans. Yes, I said dancing. Nerviously, I attended my first dancing class. Thankfully, yesterday there were only four of us, all girls. It was stinkin' amazing!! We will be learning salsa (my fav), tango (oh yeaa), merengue (all hips), samba (from Brazil), hip hop (whoot whoot), rock n' roll (bringing it back), and disco (who knows what this will include?). Yesterday, we had a taste of everything within one class period. During the American dances, the Chilean instructor busted out the moves better than any of the Americans in the class. I was giggling so hard -- I believe the class will be a mixture of intense aerobic workout and an addictive dancing class. Tomorrow the class meets again. Ready.Set.Go.

Houston, we have hit the winter rainy season here in Chile! To the right, you will see people getting splashed with waves of water by the speeding micro buses. To the left, you will see people trying to survive without owning a pair of rainboots or an umbrella. Directly in front of us, we have a gringa named Kerrie Isabel who usually loves rain but not when the cold is part of the formula. That concludes our uncomfortable commentary on Chilean winter rains.

I have been eating fruit like no other. Actually, I just engulfed a bowl of bananas, clementines, and kiwi (one of the main fruits of Chile). The picture of this blog features my 9-year-old sister eating kiwi "the American way." Truthfully, I think it's more my way than anything, but I just couldn't break that to her. Therefore instead of peeling the skin off (like most normal people do), I just cut it in half and go diggin' with a spoon = "the American way." When mamá asked Mariajesus if she wanted a kiwi last night, she replied, "Yes, but do not peel it like normal. I want mine the American way." I busted out one of my American flags to make it even more official...

Off to go read another chunk of that poetry book...

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Kiwi Kisses & Cookie Crumbs


*Finished "The Ode to the Artichocke" by the one and only Pablo Neruda. Surprisingly enjoyable. What a warlike vegetable. (My goal is to finish his book of odes before December = 65 in all)
*Got kissed passionately on the cheek by a kiwi vendor. Gag.
*Giggled entirely too much on the micro buses this week. The Chilean man to my right was jammin' out to "Bad Boys" on the bus. What am I supposed to do with such a circumstance, be stoic? Yo creo que no.
*Start my dancing class this coming week. Yeah, we'll see about that. I went to a dancing place with a bunch of friends this past Wednesday to go Salsa dancing. It was a BLAST ...even though my hips don't function very well.
*Bought ingredients at JUMBO (like Wal-Mart except on steriods) yesterday to make chocolate chip cookies. Supposedly we're infamous for our cookies in the USA. I made about 60 this morning. Only 20-some remain presently. (I had like 8...gorda)
*Started the rainy season yesterday. Decided to go to a free concert last night in the midst of all the rain and cold. It was rockin'.
*Bought a beautiful off-white winter coat for $14. Oh happy day.
*Been fed well this week. See CHILE pictures for more of an idea.
*Required to read a 150-page book (of course in Spanish) for my poetry class by the end of this upcoming week. On that note, I must depart from thee... (AYYY!)

!! Check out all the new CHILE pictures by clicking the link to the right-hand side !!

Friday, August 7, 2009

BeAcHdAy


Dear Lord,

Thank you for this outright honor of being in Chile. Right now I am seated upon the Pacific shores marvelling at how majestic You truly are. How did you know the sand and the hues of blue in the ocean would be almost more than the eye could behold? How did you know the exact sound to give the waves coming upon the shore to emit such tranquility? I am amazed at how you have prepared me for this exact place, especially in this last year. Oh my, yes! Your ways are indefinitely higher than anything I could imagine. Truthfully, Lord, I feel undeserving of the richness swirling around me. I pray that in the coming months my heart will stay tender, my eyes will remain open, my mouth will spew with Your joy, and my soul will rejoice knowing I am right where you intended.

Amen.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Pucha

Pucha. There's never a dull moment in my life.
Would you like a mini-run down on my day? Hold on to your britches.

This morning I resembled a 92-year old grandmother getting out of bed, being sore from the intense Pilate workout. Thankfully, I arrived on time to my first activity where I visited a nursery in the poorer part of Viña. I was able to meet the mayor of Viña, and tomorrow I think our group is actually going to be on T.V. Not joking. I froze up because cameras tend to make me super nervous.

On the thirty minute bus ride to Valpo (where my uni is), I had to go potty bad -- how ironic since "I love to go pee" and all. Therefore by the time I used the girl's room and found the crazy classroom, I was fifteen minutes late to my first class. I peeked into the window, seeing about 35 Chileans looking intently at the professor in the front. I thought, "Do I really have to go in there?" But ANIMO Isa. So, I tapped lightly on the door and tried to sweetly explain that I got lost. Everyone in the class started to giggle. I sat my duff down and wanted a little brown bag to put over my head. Oh and let me just state that there is no way on God's green earth I will be taking that class. There were three pages (TRES!) of the different works we would have to read. Are you for real dude? Pass.

Then, to reward myself for my braveness on entering the class (yes, I do believe in external motivation) -- I bought myself some coke and a chocolate bar to accompany my lunch.

Next, I had my “workshop of developing the written and spoken language.” This professor is hilarious and the students are very welcoming. I was the only gringa, which was exciting at the start. But let me tell you a secret, I barely understood anything. She speaks like a rocket ship about ready to explode. I was laughing to myself while thinking, “I’m feeling rather idiotic right now.” So then, we divided up into groups of 6 within the classroom. Thank the Lord Almighty that I was with a group of five amazing Chilean girls. However, we had to read a fine-print, two page article in matter of seven minutes. Someone read it outloud to the rest of the group, but with all the background noise, you can imagine how my sentiments of idiocy augmented.

Let me tell you, though, nonverbal communication is a lifesaver. Pretty much the whole time during our group discussion, I made intense eye-contact, nodded my head passionately, and agreed wholeheartedly with the points being brought up by the different members (even though I had no clue what the heck was happening half the time). They thought I was just the sweetest thang on two legs. (I told you, nonverbal all the way).

My “adventures” don’t stop there. But quit if I bore thee to tears.

After that brain drain, I skipped (I wish) to my next class which was two blocks down. It was on the fourth floor – but the building didn’t have a fourth floor! WHAT? So, I asked. Oh little gringuita, you have to go to the third floor, find the secret hallway, go to the secret stairwell, and find the classroom there. Oh okay. I take note of that for next time. What a riot! My next class was the grammar class with foreign exchange students. My unquenchable thirst for grammar shall not be filled within those four walls. The professor straight up told us that his focus will be more on cultural linguistics than the preferred delicacies of direct objects, subjunctive, or verb conjugations. Although I was a wee saddened by such news, we will see in the week to come what pros might reside here.

Next, I hopped on the micro bus that stated clearly the street I always go to. Nonetheless, somehow this bus driver knew not to ruin the pattern of my adventurous day. Therefore I found out that it was changing routes for the day. I ended up having to walk an extra mile or so. Good exercise for the stress.

Arrived home. Had time to eat a “completo” – a jumbo size hot dog packed with avocado, tomatoes, and of course the infamous mayonnaise. Left rapidly for my night class at 7:00pm.

This particular class is held at a local branch here in Viña. Yet again, I confronted the case of the secret stairwell to arrive at the secret classroom. I met some really nice Chileans, one of whom I almost attacked in the bathroom thinking no one was in there. That is another story though, my dear reader. My poetry class started. His introduction was sweet. He was telling us that we needed to memorize some poetry for the final. He asked us the importance of memorization. He referred that in English to memorize something “by heart” – interestingly enough, the word heart is also associated in such a way in three other languages when in reference to memorization.

After that intro though, turbo Chilean lost me. Although I could sense his enthusiasm for the subject, I was again left clueless like a lost child seeking her mother in a Wal-Mart superstore. Therefore, I resorted to reading the syllabus, which includes studying a variety of poets from all over the world. I think this class (even with turbo Chilean man soaring) is a check mark.

I decided I needed another walk after my day. A brisk 30 minute walk back did some good to the grandma bones. Tomorrow brings two new classes. Oh boy.

My complex right now is:
Do I take hard classes to refine my Spanish, have no life, meet Chileans, and totally destroy my GPA? Or do I take easier classes to free up time to spend with my family, do volunteer work, protect the GPA, and learn Spanish in different ways? A balance I suppose is necessary.

You have to understand my thought process. I am not complaining about any of these circumstances. I have moved past that in my life. Most of the time, I cannot help but laugh my head off about what life throws at me. God is always there laughing with me, or so I believe. He did create humor afterall.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Take Note

Take Note: No matter what level you are in a language, you will ALWAYS have cultural brain farts... especially if you are already prone to do that in your first language.

*Mamá chilena asked me in the kitchen tonight if I liked or knew how to cook. As I was multi-tasking (first mistake) and heating up my hot chocolate, I replied "Pues, no tanto pero a mí me encanta orinar." Which translates as, "Well, not a lot but I love to go pee." No more than a second later, I yelled, "NO! NO! HORNEAR mamá. HORNEAR." (No, no BAKE mamá, BAKE!)

But by that time, no dignity could be recuperated.
Roars of laughter.
True story.

P.S. Classes start tomorrow!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Five Senses

Mayonnaise omnipresent, like no one's business.
Spinach and asparagus soup with unending lettuce.
Bakeries tempting the good ole olfactory at each corner.
Vendors yelling in the miles of market.
The rawness of life displayed at the market.
Walking everywhere. Everywhere.
Mamá randomly saying "to be or not to be" in the kitchen.
Playing UNO with the entire Chilean clan.
Hearing the recorder everyday.
Cuddling with my six blankets in the bed.
Men whistling or honking their horns at me.
Window shopping for a Chilean winter wardrobe.
Friendly Chilean grandpas coming and talking to me.
Sweet Chilean moms giving directions to the lost gringa.
Waking up to Spanish each day.