Thursday, July 30, 2009

Orientation Chaos

(Don't forget to check out my pictures on the right hand column: "Viva Chile")

This whole week has been rather chaotic with orientation at the university along with my program's additional tours throughout the cities. However, today we were finally able to sign up for classes. How this works: you sign up for as many classes as you want and explore all of them for about a month... then you decide. It's wonderfully flexible, but a little nutty for an indecisive girl who just loves to learn. So here are the following classes I will be exploring in the wilderness called PCUV:
With foreigners:
1. Advanced Grammar (delicious)
2. Advanced Writing
With Chileans:
3. Development of the Oral and Written Spanish (scrumptious)
4. General Literature
5. LatinAmerican History & Geography
6. Analysis of Poetry (yummy in the tummy)
7. Social Dancing (tasty) - tango, salsa, merengue, cumbia
Pretty much, my top four choices have adjectives describing their glory. :)

How else can I whet your taste buds to continue falling in love with Chile from a distance?
  • I have never drunk so many hot things in my life - hot water with cinnamon, hot water with lemon slice, fifteen thousand types of tea. I'm likin' it.
  • I am taking the micro buses (a form of public transportation here) by myself. Today was my first complete day flying solo. What an adventure! The agressive St. Louis side comes out when having to flag these suckers down.
  • I am sleeping with 1 sheet, 2 blankets, & 2 down covers... not to mention I wear two sweaters while sleeping. They call me "fríalenta" - meaning my ice cube transformation rapidly.
  • Visited Pablo Neruda's other house yesterday. I love literature and relating to the author in such ways. I finally was able to buy his "Odas Elementales" book. All I can say is that he loves his colored glass, his watermelon, and obviously his women.
  • So I saw a couple devouring each other in kissing yesterday. I shall never accustom myself to such frankness. This kid's mouth was open more than when I eat a monster Subway sandwich.
  • I am loving my Chilean family, especially the mother.

Gracias a Dios, I was given the opportunity to spend five months in a country and a continent I have always wanted to go to, speak a language I love, and spend time with a culture I adore. It is an honor to be here in Chile. Mucho gusto.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

First Week, CHILE

On Sunday, we left Santiago to finally meet our families in Viña del Mar and Valparaìso. Valparaìso reminds me of the city of San Francisco, with the hills and overall setup. And then we have the Pacific coast that greets my eyes every morning. Quite a beaut. I have always loved the sea, like Pablo Neruda (but do I really want to compare myself to him? jeje) Then, finally Sunday night, I met my family. They are all very sweet. The accomodations are VERY small but highly do-able. The mom is super patient, the little girl is a chatter-box, and the son is soccer fanatic. I was a little scared upon arriving about the Chilean accent, but it really isn´t much different than a fuse of a Spain and Argentine dialect.

On Monday we started our orientation week here at the university. Choosing classes is chaotic. But they give us a month to class hop and figure it all out. Sweeeeet. Right now, I am trying to decide about taking classes: 3 with foreigners, 1 with Chileans, and then get involved in other ways -- such as the language exchange with Chileans (practicing our foreign languages) or sports or numerous volunteer opportunities. With the way the program is set up, there are a variety of ways to splash in with the Chilean community. Me gusta asì.

I am sorry if this is more information than comical. I am a wee bit tired from the large group traveling, the climate change, and just transitioning to the meal schedule. By the way, the food is still good. :)

My love, ISA

Thursday, July 23, 2009


After my five flights to get here (St. Louis-Chicago-Toronto, Canada-New York-Chile), I have landed in Chile. ¡Qué lindo! The first thing that caught my eye were the Andes Mountains. As I stated on facebook, I cannot believe that I am here confronting them face-to-face, instead of merely labeling them on a geopgraphy test. The people here are very nice so far. You know that you are off to a good start when BOTH the airport personnel AND the people in the capital are patient and accommodating. Usually, those places are quite opposite.


  • We will be in the capital (Santiago) until Sunday afternoon. We just finished exploring parts of the city this afternoon. The food is bastante rica. Tomorrow we will be going downtown.
  • I can understand the Chilean accents (shall I say "so far" again?). It is very expressive and rhythmic. I already have five new words that I've learned today. Yes, I am keeping a journal of all the words. :)
  • Chilean winters mean WINTER. Four layers (including two sweaters), scarf, winter hat, and gloves. Just sayin'.
  • Have I mentioned that I am in love with the Andes?

Tune in next time to hear how Kerrie Isabel transforms into Chilean overnight...

Monday, July 20, 2009


Chile here I come... ready or not!

I am officially 95.31% packed. The seams of my red and purple suitcases are screaming. And yes, I feel like I packed the kitchen sink. Usually, packing is not such an adventure. However, this time I had to pack for 5 months and 3 seasons -- not to mention all my medicine that makes me look like a gringa druggie.

I was able to visit Cape Girardeau last week and tie up some loose ends. Moreover, I got to see some of my really close friends in the area. Whew, we had oodles of fun. I really do love that area -- the people, the scenery, the river, the food. I am still praying whether I should teach there for Block 4 in the spring semester. This summer finished my international studies minor; this fall finishes my Spanish major; and the spring will finish my education major. Graduate of 2010.

I have been taking Benadryll since Sunday to help clear up my nasal cavities (whew, that's a vivid sentence). It makes flying easier, and the anticipation leading up to the trip smoother (zzz). It still has not dawned on me that I leave in less than 35 hours! ... not that I'm counting.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

My Chilean Family

Family Members:
Nancy - Housewife & my Chilean mom, 57
Emelina - Grandparent (F), 94
Humberto - Grandparent (M), 84
Felipe - Son & Civil Engineer Student, 23
María Jesús -Daughter, 9

Description of Home:
The apartment is located very close to downtown Viña del Mar. It's rather small, but very cozy and comfortable. The student's room (that's ME!) is also small but has a private bathroom. The house is very close to transportation. There is also Wireless internet in the house.

Description of Family:
They are a very communicative and loving family. They love to talk and meet as a family, especially for dinner and during the weekend when the eldest son, Sebastian, visits the family. They love to do family life, go to church on Sunday, take a walk to the beach or a park. The children are very communicative and welcoming as well. They have a good group of friends to which they can include the ISA student.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


Get a load of this. Simply visualize.
On July 22nd, I will arrive in Chile for my five-month study abroad exchange with:
It will scream, "I am oozing colors from every pore, yet I am elated to have my feetsies upon the Chilean soil."
(I have still to decide upon my color-coordinated outfit.)

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Not Just Teaching

Patience. Flexibility. Empathy. Ingenuity. Motivation.
How is one teacher supposed to be in charge of 5-7 different class periods each having 20-30 students whose academic success rests on your shoulders? Not only are we accountable to the school system, the state, and national standards
but the teacher has students in her class dealing with
intellectual disabilities,
behavioral disorders,
emotional disorders
not forgetting those with ADD, ADHD, LDs, Bipolar problems
physical hindrances,
foreign language barriers,
abusive families, and
poverty-stricken circumstances.
Adapter. Police. Counselor. Parent. Social Worker. =TEACHER.
am I ready?