31 agosto 2006

More pictures have been uploaded!

So. As you can see, I took my camera to school today(that´s me with Christian, by the way). Today....was a wasted day. I got to school, only to find out from Freja(who found out from someone else) that we really didn´t even have to be there. The rest of the 3º medio kids were taking tests. All day. And....we weren´t. So we wandered into the library, stayed there for a little over an hour, and wandered back outside. I took some pictures. Freja layed in the grass. A janitor took a picture of me with Freja in the little courtyard thing. Absolutely nothing of interest. We talked, a lot. It was a good(but painfully boring) time. We talked with Christian and Rodrigo when they finished with their tests. And then. We discovered. A door. On the basketball court. We were looking at the mountains, when I mentioned how incredibly easy it would be to escape. All of a sudden I hear a tumbling sound, look, and there´s Freja, sitting in the grass on the other side of the wall. I, of course, documented this. She made friends with a horse, feeding it grass and petting it. And I watched. Okay, so I escaped from the school too, but only momentarily. I figured it would be safer if someone stood watch for the inspector general guy. But no one came. This school is so laid back...haha, I love it. So Freja was outside for a bit, while I stood watch and took in the scenery(I believe the exact quote from Freja is "It´s like escaping from a prison!"). She came back in, safe and sound, and we talked with two cuarto boys, Nicholas and Alejandro about whether we should run away legally or illegally. We decided on legally, figuring that we´d probably stand out in our uniforms and be caught before we could hit the main road. Oh well.
We hung around some more. Took more pictures. Went to biology class with the cuarto kids(where we did some more nothing), and then called my host mom to have her pick us up after lunch. We left school at about 2.
When we got to my house we went on a walk around the neighborhood, the first I´ve been on since I´ve been here. It was really nice....really pretty, really cool. But I didn´t take any pictures. Now that I know that I even can go on walks, I´ll go on some more, and make sure to have my camera with me.
We came back home and watched some TV. We watched the Motorcyle Diaries, and danced to Atrevete-te on the radio(def. one of the best reggaeton songs ever). Ignacio came in the room and played magnetic darts with me. It was a good time.
Today was actually a pretty good day, even though I didn´t do much of anything. Freja and I got to talk, a lot, and we got to know each other better. We talked about wanting to see all the countries in South America, our country choices other than Chile(we have pretty much the same ones), and how we could manage to see the desert. (we´ll find a way). Not bad.
And plus. I have pictures. Lots and lots of pictures. They should be all loaded onto Yahoo tonight, but I can´t promise anything since when it comes to loading picturse online, this computer is pretty slow.I'll finish it mañana!
I did however, get a poquito sunburned on my face. Oops. I really wasn´t outside for too long, either. I guess they were right at the orientation....the sun seems to be stronger here. Oh, and I found out that my host mom has been asking people who work at the school if I´ve been eating all my lunch(slightly creepy, but explains the looks I´ve been getting from the lunch staff, and why it feels like they´re watching me....because they are).
Love and miss you all!!!!!!

30 agosto 2006

Today....not quite as interesting as yesterday. I did a whole lot of nothing, mostly. I did get a paper back in Language class, the first assignment I did there...a vocabulary worksheet, the same as everyone elses. I got a 5 out of 7, which is pretty good considering I don´t know the language...and most kids in my class got 4.4s! My teacher seemed pretty impressed that I did it on my own(well, with a dictionary and whatnot). So that def. made me feel better about grades this year!!
Freja and I didn´t go to our elective philosophy class, since they were talking about a Pablo Neruda poem we didn´t understand. The teacher said we could go to the computer lab, but it was filled, so we went to a little courtyard and talked instead. It was really nice....we relate on so many things....I´m so glad she´s at my school. And I don´t talk to her all too often, since she´s in the other class. Only during our elective classes, and usually during our breaks, but not always.
Italian class there was a test, and the teacher pretty much made me leave. I checked my mail, and then wandered around aimlessly, which seems to be happening more often lately. I talked to a boy named Benjamin, who´s English is amazing....barely an accent at all. He´s been to the US a whole lot, and he used to go to an International School, hence the good English. And, he´s tall and blonde. He makes me feel not so alone as a gringa, even if he´s Chilean, and not a gringo at all. Then I talked with another boy, Christian, who finished the test early and came outside. He speaks really good English too, which is good since my Spanish isn´t good enough to fully hold a conversation yet. He´s been to the US and Australia, and a handful of other countries. We talked about what we like to do on the weekends and where we want to travel. He´s actually really nice, and we have a lot in common....and I´m hoping he´ll end up being my friend(as corny as I´m sure that sounds). The girls in my class don´t really talk to me, they kind of sit in groups and speak only Spanish. The boys are more understanding and more willing to slow down and repeat things for me. Not to mention, nice to look at, and very entertaining(aka paperball wars). When I came home, I practiced piano a bit. There´s a keyboard here in my closet, and every once in awhile I take it out and play. I´m trying to figure out how I can print of some sheet music, but I have books too. I´m pretty determined not to fall too far behind....and I´m pretty sure I promised Mrs. Henderson I wouldn´t.
My host mom went to Coquimbo to try and fix my visa/Chilean ID fiasco. But....they can´t fix it here....so now we have to send my passport to Santiago, and have people there resolve it. Harumph. So much for not being an illegal immigrant for pretty much forever.
My host family and I talked for a loooong time tonight. I told them about my lack of pretty much all paperwork. They´re going to talk to Rotary about it(my host mom´s on the phone with my counselor right now). I love being screwed over. Yay for no travel permission, packet with rules, or several other quite necessary things. Oh well. As long as I don´t get sent home, I´m fine.
They also told me that I can go out and have friends over and whatnot. I´m sure there are rules in this house....but I can´t seem to uncover them. And my host parents told me tonight, they have questions they were supposed to ask(much like the ones I had to ask them, but didn´t), but figured it would be useless if I didn´t understand. I love the laid backness here...it´s really nice to be away from the stress that´s in the States that I didn´t realize existed until I came here. Deadlines....are flexible. 10 minutes usually means 20, and people are just so....laid back. Relaxed. Understanding. Friendly. Take the whole kissing cheek thing. In the US, you just kind of wave. Or shake their hand if you´re really formal. I like the warmth here. It´s really nice.
anyhoo. I´m off.
Love you all!!
Tomorrow....pictures! Hopefully!

29 agosto 2006

¡Terrimoto! ¡Earthquake!

Today.....was a good day. I woke up about 20 minutes late....which kind of sucked, and I was convinced that it would be a bad day....but decided to change my mind. It rained today! But only for a total of about 10 minutes. Nothing of much interest happened until religion class. We had a paper ball fight which moved outside, and partially into another classroom. Oops. The teacher didn´t even attempt to stop us....and I took part in it somewhat. But it was fun. And, when in Rome.....
Then we had C. Classe, which is bascially when the class just talks about what needs to be done, like student council. One boy tried to stand on a piece of soap, and fell....that was funny. And then Rodrigo started making little movies on his cell phone. So I helped out...I was a dead person in a pile of people in one part, and a blonde version of the girl from The Ring in another. Then at the end of the class, they actually started doing something. I guess my class needs or wants a new president, so a boy, Raul, was writing four names of candidates on the board. And my name was written first. The whole class started clapping and chanting "Kelsey! Kelsey!"...it was quite entertaining, especially since I had no idea what was going on. And then....I had to get up in front of the class and make a speech. Raul was wicked nice and told me what to say. All I said was, "I would like to be the president of this class." But in Spanish. We ran out of time, so no one got to vote....but I´ll let you know how it turns out, haha.
Then in language class, we went to the library. I had my own version of the assignment, which was looking up and writing the definitions of 16 words. But at least I had something to do. And then, in the middle....there was an earthquake!! A small one....I heard a rumble sound(I was listening to my iPod), but my feet weren´t really on the floor...so I didn´t feel it. But everyone just kind of went "Oh!" and continued what they were doing. It was a little earthquake....but pretty cool. They´re so common here that no one really pays attention unless it´s a big earthquake.
After school I went and bought the rest of my uniform. A sweater, three polos, 3 pairs of socks, a skirt, and shoes. Of course the shoes took forever...figuring out my size(39) and then getting a pair that fits comfortably with my freakishly awkward feet. Try explaining wicked wide and high instep in Spanish. Without a dictionary. I got money out of an ATM, but only on the third try....the first two machines said my card was invalid for that service. Go figure. Dropped off my skirt to be cut and hemmed because it went waaaay past my knees. So I think I´ll be able to wear it on Friday. yay!
....and that´s all. I talked more, I understood more, and I actually had a lot of fun in school. A good day. yay!
Love and miss you all!
P.S. If you´re reading this...please comment. I do like to know who´s reading...and comments make me smile!

28 agosto 2006

Slightly Interesting Day

Oh, today. Not much happened today. I did, however, buy a lollipop and some candy thing ON MY OWN! In Spanish! Go me!
This morning I was attacked by stomach cramps or something of the sort. I usually don´t sleep right through the night anymore....I usually wake up anywhere from 2-5 in the morning, check the time on my cell, and go back to sleep, and I´m a wicked light sleeper now. Well today I woke up at about 4.30 am feeling sick, was up for maybe 15 minutes and went back to sleep. I thought I hear the door open, and I turned and saw the door opened and someone standing there, so I turned back on my stomach and tried going back to sleep, thinking it was my host mom who had heard me or something. Then I thought "eh, whatever" and turned back over....but the door was closed. And I never heard it close. I don´t know if I was hallucinating or not....and I think I dreamt that I woke up on the bathroom floor and told my host mom I was sick. But I don´t know. All in all, it was a very confusing morning. But I felt fine by the time I went to school.
Math is still utterly confusing....I have no idea what´s going on in that class. I take notes in every class, but don´t understand what the teacher is saying. Well, sometimes I do, depending on the teacher and how fast they speak, but math....sometimes I think this guy is just making it up as he goes along....the signs he uses!!! Craziness!!!
We watched Pink Floyd the Wall in Filosofia. How it relates to philosophy....I don´t know. The teacher´s kind of a loony. He likes saying things like "Peace and love"(in English). And he looks like one of the Beatles. Quite strange. But nice. So he´s okay.
Today....I proved that I am in fact a doof. I was walking with Freja on one of the steps after lunch, and, okay, a little bit a lot distracted by the boys playing hacky sack with a soccer ball in the middle of the....courtyard area. And I stepped sideways, and then the next thing I know....
I´m falling down.
I mean, it was one tiny little step, but I fell completely to the ground.
In front of all the cuarto kids....which are all Gabi´s friends, and they know who I am.
But I was okay. I laughed with Freja, stood up, and couldn´t stop laughing for about ten minutes...and Freja and I exchanged stories about walking into things(I told her about my going away party incident). She once walked into a glass door too!!!
I think I had an allergic reaction to something or other yesterday....I had little bumps on the back of my hand, around my knuckle. I noticed them on my left hand and didn´t think anything of it, until my right hand started itching a few hours later, and there were the bumps. But when I woke up this morning, they were gone. And they stopped itching after about an hour. So I have no idea what happened. Maybe I ate something funny....
Pretty much....today has been confusing and slightly embarrassing. But okay. It´s back to being cloudy and cold though. Ho hum. What can ya do?
Love and miss you all!

27 agosto 2006

I have pictures! ....kind of

So....I went around the house today and took some pictures. I have a yahoo account, so you can see the pics if you want....the address is:
Not much happened today. Went to the supermarcado with my family to get bread. Had lunch. I could understand most of the conversation...they were talking about Gabi and the differences she´s seen so far in the US. I think I´m going to write to her soon to see how she´s doing.
Oh, and I´ve discovered what everyone does during the day....they really do take siestas!! They all sleep! That´s why they´re up so late at night, I guess. So during the day, that´s why I´m utterly bored....everyone else is sleeping.
Anyhoo. That´s all for today.
I love and miss you all!!!!
P.S. Padres.....I just heard that there´s an Ecuadorian exchange student in Tiverton....why were we never told of this????

26 agosto 2006

So....I think it finally hit me today. I know I´ve been here for 3 weeks and all, but it still hadn´t hit me that I´m actually in Chile.
Today...I´ve been alone with my host grandparents. And after lunch, they were going to the supermarcado to buy bread, so I tagged along. And I got some school stuff, three notebooks, pens, pencils, an eraser, and a pencil sharpener for a little over $3.000, which isn´t bad at all, I don´t think.
Then, we went to Coquimbo. The only words that I can think of to describe it is Oh my God. Just....seeing La Serena across the water....and Coquimbo, with the giant cross, and the houses all up the hill, and the mountains, and the boats. It was just....wow. We went to a place called Barrio Ingles. It was the coolest thing ever...these old buildings that for some reason made me think of Europe, and palm trees. That´s when it hit me that I´m actually here. I wish I had brought my camera.....but I didn´t know that we would be going to Coquimbo. I do plan on going back with Freja and maybe Jenny though, and I´ll most definatly take my camera. I had heard from a Chilean that Coquimbo was kind of dumpy, but the place we went today wasn´t at all...not even close. It was sooo cool.
Then I got to see where my host mom used to live. I love just driving around here and seeing everything...it´s so different. The little farms, and the graffiti. Ahh I love the graffiti here. It´s not like the US....I see a lot of Swastikas crossed out, and political stuff about war. President names, and stuff about music. I mean, there are some useless tags here and there, but a lot of it is more meaningful. It´s really cool.
I love and miss you all!!!!!!!
Barrio Ingles....I did not take these pictures!!!
The Cross:

25 agosto 2006

I have been in Chile for exactly three weeks today. It doesn´t seem like it´s been that long at all. I realized that dad, you´re right. While Gabi being gone is sad....it´s only going to help my Spanish. My host parents and Ignacio are still gone, supposed to be coming home tonight I think. So last night, I had cena with just my abuelos. Neither of whom speak English. It was quite confusing...but we agreed on one thing. We can´t wait until I speak better Spanish so that we can actually talk.
Today in school, no Freja again, so I was kind of lonely, but it was okay. I didn´t do anything major in any of my classes....which is getting to be a common thing here. In chemistry, there was a big scandel. A boy, Salvador, was told to leave the room by the teacher, and on his way out he said something along the lines of, "Atleast I don´t look up the skirts of the girls.". He left the classroom and booked it, while the teacher ran out after him. But no one could find him(he did appear later on, in the lunch room). Everyone in the class couldn´t believe that he actually said it, but everyone knows that it´s pretty much true about that teacher.
And then later on, two boys in my class grabbed a hose that was water one of the (palm!)trees, and brought along the back of the building, and stuck it through the window of a class room. It sat there for awhile, since it was only my grade that was left in school. And then they burned some leaves or something that they had found. They´re pretty out of control here....but it´s entertaining.
During art I did nothing, as usual. I talked with Rodrigo and showed him the pictures on my iPod, which he was actually really interested in. He said the pictures made me seem more wild, and that in Chile I was shy. Which I guess is true. I´m a lot quieter here, but I don´t know if it´s just because I don´t know the language...which is a good possibility.
My abuelo picked me up from school and we went home and had almuerzo with my abuela and Janet,who I think is the maid. She comes every Friday and does laundry and the dishes and vacuums and whatnot. And she has lunch with us too, which I think is really nice. I´ve never heard of that happening anywhere before. I had lunch here too because I didn´t like the one at school...it was some giant hotdog thing(over a foot long at least, portions here are giant) with tomatoes(maybe) and some Chilean...food thing, that´s green and not too good. Everyone eats it here on bread...but it kind of creeps me out....so I don´t, jaja.
And tonight...there´s a party at this boy, Martín´s house, but I don´t know if I can go. It´s for another boy, Christian´s birthday, but I don´t know where Martíns´s house is, or how I´d get there and back. Things here are so last minute...and I never get any information. I might also be going to a Rotary meeting...but I don´t know. If not...I´m fine with just staying home and chilling tonight. Although I would like to spend more time with my class, even if most of them don´t speak English. That´s the really surprising thing about school here, everyone´s friends. There´s about 40 people total in 3ºmedio, about 20 in each class. And they all hang out, and talk during and after school. It´s different from the US, but I like it.
anyhoo. ¡Un besito!
I love and miss you all!

24 agosto 2006

Another fairly useless day at school. No Freja, so it was kind of lonely too. Gabi left this morning...it was sad to say goodbye. But surprisingly, no one in the family seemed sad. My abuela took pictures of it all, lol. And then Ignacio, my host parents, and Gabi left for Santiago.
So I wasn´t exactly in the best mood during school. Gabi leaving made me think about when I left, which made me a little homesick. And then...I was saved by art. My art teacher just lets us wander around the school, sit where we feel like, and draw what we want. So I pulled out my iPod and drew. I drew my hand, the sculpture of the Italian guy that my school´s named for, and the view in front of me. And then I wrote a little bit too. And I felt so much better.....I was fine the rest of the day. So I´ve decided to bring my sketchbook everywhere now, jaja. And my art teacher seemed to like my drawings too!
My math class took a test, so I sat and read some book my teacher told me to read. It was about some guy who solves math problems I think. I could pretty much understand it, and I only had to read about three pages. So I was kind of bored. History, we did nothing. Absolutely nothing. Language elective we watched part of the Devil´s Advocate. And gym...the teacher was on a trip with all the athletes to Argentina, so we got to do whatever we wanted. I went to the store and got a lollipop and some chocolatey candy thing. Freja and I are slowly trying all the snack food here, in search of something good. So far I really like these weird cookie things, and the lollipops, which cost $50. The lable says they´re yogurt flavored....but it´s not as weird or gross as it sounds.
Then all the boys played fútbol and all the girls watched. I really like watching the boys in my class play soccer....they´re so good at it. It´s not like boys in the U.S...like, these boys are really good. And it´s better than sitting with all the girls, because I can´t understand much of what they´re saying, although lately it´s been getting better.
Still no break in the weather here.....it´s SO COLD. And it looks like it´s going to rain. Not cool.
I think I´m going to try and upload my pictures today! But it´s only pictures from the orientation and of the house...I haven´t brought my camera to school yet, because it hasn´t been good weather...and I want to take pictures of the view.
Love and miss you all!!!!
This is me with Simon, the boy from Denmark:

Me with the Canadian boy, Jules. Um....it was late, jaja

Me, Maureen(she´s in La Serena too!), and half of Sierra in the Santiago Airport

As you can see, Santiago´s a busy place.

My wall!!!

...My bed. Being really messy.

I have some more pictures(obviously)...but I don´t think I should just post all of them on here.....because that would be a lot. So....I´m going to be making a site to post my pictures on. Like, a photobucket or something....and I´ll post the link in here when it´s all set!

22 agosto 2006

Today....was absolutely useless at school. Fisica was spent shooting soda bottles filled with water through the air. it was an experiment of some sort. You fill the bottle a little bit up with water, attach it to some hose that´s attached to a canister filled with air, and the air fills up the bottle, and bam! it goes flying. It was pretty cool. and the boys in my class liked it so much, that later on they stole a tire from somewhere and used the air in that to shoot off the bottles.
Religion class....my teacher didn´t show up until we had 10 minutes left of class, and then she didn´t even know which classroom it was. So we went to lunch early. But she said that next time we´re watching The DaVinci Code! And Rodrigo told me that it´s in subtitles....so I´ll be able to understand it! yessss!
After school, Gabi, my host mom, and I went out to get some last minute things for her. We went to Coquimbo too, which was pretty cool, but it was definatley not as nice as La Serena. And some creepy person was standing behind me in a store, and it was creepy. haha. I hate being blonde here sometimes, people just stare at you, in the rudest, creepiest ways. And it´s not very nice. I wish I knew how to tell them to just cut it out. But, alas....I don´t.
Gabi´s all packed. It´s going to be SO weird without her...and a lot harder. She always explains things for me. And if I really need it, she´ll tell me in English, although she hasn´t done that in a loooong time. No one else in my house here speaks English. And my host brother´s my age, but not really in a way. He´s actually a month older than me, but you´d never know it. But I already started making some friends, so I guess I´ll be okay. And Freja´s in the same position...her host sister leaves Thursday too. But she´s going to Santiago with them...I think they´re staying with family there.
Today....was really really cold. It´s been cloudy lately...it looks like it´s going to rain, and I always think that it´s going to, but I have yet to see any rain in Chile. And I´m pretty much in the desert here, so I don´t think it´ll happen any time soon. Oh well.
and....that´s all.
Pictures soon I think. I´m going to bring my camera to school and try and take some pictures. i don´t really have many right now. My house here has this fence type thing around it, totally blocking it in, and it´s all locked and whatnot, so it´s like once you´re in, you´re in. It´s so different...but I guess you have to be careful since it´s pretty much a city, right? Oh well.
un besito!
love and miss you all!

21 agosto 2006

Today...fue aburrido. muy aburrido. School. I had to take a Spanish test. Even though I didn´t know what I was doing. But my teacher said I could take it home and try and finish. I still don´t know what most of it means though.
Today a boy in my class lit a marker on fire and let it burn on the steps outside our classroom. And the guy who should have been doing something about it....just said, "No". And then came over and watched it burn too!! It was really weird. That never would have happened in the U.S. And then there was a shoe on the roof...and someone was knocking it down. With a shovel.
Quite different.
Oh, and dad. Today there was a special....thing. I can´t remember the English word, ceremony maybe? because yesterday was apparently Bernard O´Higgin´s birthday. But...I missed it because I was in English class. The rest of the school was there though...and apparently they had all the exchange students go up. oh well.
Gabi´s pretty much packed now.

It´ll be weird without her.
I´m trying not to think of it.
Freja´s going to Santiago with her family.
So I´ll be alone on Thursday.
oh well.
I´m feeling a lot better now.
Not coughing as much. And I can breathe fine too.
love. and miss you all!!

19 agosto 2006

So....I´m updating. Again. Oh well.

I´ve given it much thought, and have officially decided that I am sick. Atleast, I think I am. I´m kind of all snuffly and tired and coughing a lot. I´m kind of wicked glad I got another inhaler before I left, because I´ve been using it every 4-6 hours like the box tells me too. It´s a little bit dificil for me to breathe. ho hum. Everytime I cough my host mom gasps and says something in Spanish. I think earlier my host dad told her that she got me sick, jaja. Then he said it was because of "mucho carrete".
So I guess it´s a good thing I´m not doing anything tonight. I think I just need to sleep.
ho hum.
The radio....is playing all English songs. The radio is always on here, I´m not quite sure why. I think that things would be easier if it wasn´t. Everyone´s always yelling because my host brother doesn´t have ears(for serious). But if the radio wasn´t on constantly....maybe they wouldn´t have to be so loud...?
Gabi leaves Thursday. Which is sad. My host parents and brother are going to Santiago to send her off. I have to go to school. Grrr. I kind of wanted to go to say goodbye, but...whatever. School works too I suppose.
Anyhoo. I think I´m going to go to bed soon. When I can. Can you believe that it´s now midnight(the clock says 0:04 because they do the 24 hour thing here), and my host family is stil awake?? Gabi´s out with Christian, they went to the Casino. Everyone else is playing cards in the kitchen.
Things here are very different. Everyone´s up until the crack of dawn. And the house is immaculate. I think that´s why it´s taking so long for this to feel like home. Or because I haven´t been here that long, but still. I´m used to things in the house. Papers on desks. Books out. Shoes or something on the floor somewhere. Magazines and newspapers on the table. A blanket on the couch. Some kind of sign that people are living there. This house here feels like they´ve just moved in. Minus the art on the walls, nothing is on display here. There are a few framed pictures of my host siblings here and there, and the picture I gave them. But nothing really. Like, in my house in the States, there´s art work hanging, report cards, loads of family pictures, meaninful little knick knacks here and there. Here, nothing. It´s just.....different.
Anyway. I´m off.
un besito
love you all
So, yesterday was Friday...thankfully! I got out of school at 3.15, and my abuelo brought Freja and me back to my house, with Gabi and Freja´s host sister, Lina. During school, Freja and I hung out with the cuarto kids a lot(the grade above us), and they told us that there was a surprise party for Lina and Gabi, because they´re leaving.
We went back to my house here, and Gabi and Lina finished some school work, then my host mom dropped off Lina, Freja, and I on some street while she took Gabi to get a vaccination or something. Then the three of us took a collectivo(taxi) to Lina and Freja´s house. Pretty soon Freja and I will have to take them alone....and I´ll have to take one alone at some point too!! Anyway. Freja changed out of her uniform, and we took another collectivo to the mall. Except it was just Freja and me, because Lina had a doctor´s appointment too. So Freja and I kind of wandered around aimlessly. We got some helado....it was sooo good. You choose what fruit you want, and they make it right in front of you! It´s really cool. I ended up buying a jacket too, which I needed really badly, haha. All I had been wearing was my sweatshirts, but I was still cold when we went out, and when we go to parties that are outside. So I got a jacket...it was $9.990, down from $29.990. When I first arrived in Chile, $1US equalled about $550 Chilean Pesos. I think things here are pretty cheap....but I still have some trouble with the math. But Freja and I were able to buy some weird Chilean candy, a pack of gum, and a thing of Mentos for only $580. Craziness.
anyway. Freja left the mall with Lina, and I left with Gabi and her boyfriend, Christian, who we met up with. Gabi´s friend Catarina came by our house for dinner, and we all got ready to go. Gabi thought we were going out to a disco....and we all played along, making sure we had IDs and money to enter with. haha, she was clueless!
The party was at Lina´s boyfriend´s house, Bruno. We pushed Gabi to the front of our little group, and she opened the door first...and all I could hear was SURPRISE! but in spanish. She was sooooo surprised, it was pretty funny. So yeah. I pretty much just hung out all night. There were two boys from my class there, Giovannia and Raul, so I talked to them. And I hung out with some girls I just met that night...but they never told me their name.
We left at about 2 am, and went to another boy´s house, Diego. He lives right on the beach, on the seventh floor of an apartment building....it´s such an awesome view. You can hear the waves crashing....it´s so nice. Diego and another boy, Lucho, tried to teach me to dance, haha. That was fun. and then.....we went home, and Catarina slept over. We got home five minutes late, at 4:05 am. But neither of my host parents said anything. Last time we went out, we got home almost 20 minutes late....and they didn´t say anything then either. I guess it´s a lot more relaxed here.
Anyway. sorry this isn´t very exciting..just letting you all know I´m okay(Brittany), jaja. I haven´t had much access to a computer lately...sorry.
I don´t know what I´m doing tonight yet, but most likely going out. Hopefully. I like going out a lot..it gives me something to do, and when I get back from being with other people, I feel like my language skills are better...which is so nice. People have started introducing me and saying that I understand Spanish, so that´s wicked nice. And I can almost understand everything my host family says, as long as I pay attention, which is hard sometimes.
Anyway. Chau!
love and miss you all!

16 agosto 2006

Today. School. Wasn´t too interesting I suppose. Abuelo brought me because my host mom´s sick.
Freja started school today!!! I was so happy to see her there.....it´s so nice not to be alone anymore...even if she is in the other class. We still have electives together, recreaziones or w/e they are, and lunch together. I was really happy.

My classes today consisted of mostly me sitting. In the back. Daydreaming or doodling or something of the sort. I don´t really understand what´s happening in my classes, and all but one of my teachers seem to care less about me, and don´t do anything to help me get settled or anything. I don´t even have any books. For anything. My linguaggio teacher(it´s a spanish class, basically) had me write a little introduction type thing, so she can see how much Spanish I actually know. And all I know about that class is that I need to get another notebook for only that class.
My lunch was huge. There was this pasta thing with beef, it was good...but I couldn´t finish it, it was a lot. Some weird papaya juice, bread(which I added, jaja), an apple, and some cereal thing. I don´t understand how Chileans eat so much!!! The kids at my school are always eating....it´s crazy!! Every break we have, they´re eating. And they constantly talk about how hungry they are. Craziness.
A boy in my class, Jobani, has named me L.C. People still have problems pronouncing my name....but there´s one boy, Rodrigo, who can say it perfectly, which is nice. Atleast there´s someone. He´s pretty funny, but kind of confusing. My type of sense of humor doesn´t really exist here....they don´t understand me a lot of the time, even when I´m not trying to joke around, which I´ve given up on doing. Some words translate badly. Like creepy. I said to someone ¨You´re creepy.¨But I think when it translated, it wasn´t the same kind of creepy that I had in mind. I guess it´s a US cultural thing.
I talked with a boy named Felipe today about the US. We talked about the difference in salaries in the US and Chile. He told me he hated all Americans, but then when on to explain that it wasn´t all Americans, just the government. I tried explaining the electoral college...but couldn´t. It´s hard to defend myself here...I never know what language to use. I just want to get across the point that I´m not a Bush lover, and that I am separate from the US government, you know?? Hopefully it´ll get easier as my language skills improve..although I´m understanding so much more each day. It´s just the responding part that trips me up.
Oh well.
Love and miss you all!

15 agosto 2006

Hola! Sorry I haven´t updated(brittany....).
I went to my first disco on Saturday(I think) It was sooo much fun! Dancing, and REGGAETON...haha, I loved it. I danced with some boy, Mauricio the whole night...who I´m sure only noticed me because I´m blonde..which happens a lot, but atleast I wasn´t stuck learning how to dance with people who would see me again and again, and probably remember how dorky I´m sure I looked. Whatever. It was fun.
Then....on Sunday, we went camping on the beach! Which wasn´t as warm as it sounds, because it´s winter here and it was freezing. I had long sleeves on, a sweatshirt, another sweatshirt, my fleece, and a boy named Sebástian´s sweatshirt. And I was mostly warm, but still slightly cold. jaja, who knew that Chile would actually be chilly? Anyway, it was fun. It was only the cuarto kids, the grade above me, except for me and Freja. But they´re all so nice! I wish I could switch classes....they actually seem interested in holding a conversation with me...and the tercero girls don´t seem to like me much. Whatever. Filo.
Came home from camping on a bus. Then....had almuerzo. And slept.
For 20 hours.
Oops. I guess I was really tired....that´s what happens when you only get like, 2/3 hours of sleep..you have to make up for it, right?
Didn´t have school today, or yesterday. So I just hung out. Went to the supermarcado with Gabi and my host dad to buy pan. Bread. They´re all so confused by me. They want to know what types of food I like, since I don´t seem to like everything they eat here. I don´t think they understand that it´s okay, I´m picky, not really hungry, and can survive on bread and butter, jaja. It´s so hard to try and explain myself to people who don´t speak my language!! I´m kind of hoping they´ll catch on....
I´m understanding more and more everyday. It´s actually not the understanding part I´m having problems with. I know what people are saying. I just can´t respond. I don´t know how, almost. It´s hard to explain.
In the supermarcado, we were walking out, and Gabi started laughing. When I asked why, she just said that everybody was staring at me. I try not to notice it...but I don´t think it´ll stop this whole year. La Serena is too big, if it was a little town, people would get over the fact that hey! there´s a blonde haired, blue eyed person here! But not here. Oh well.
Tomorrow is Freja´s first day of school!! yay! I´m so glad I´m not the only exchange student at my school, even though it hasn´t been that bad so far...but I don´t like being cut off from everyone else, you know? And, rumor has it that there´s another girl coming September 30th, and she´s being hosted by my Rotary club here! Which is really good,because right now I´m the only one being hosted by them. Oh, and I ended up not going to that meeting. My host mom said something about me not understanding much, so I´ll go to another one another time. Esta bien.
Anyhoo. I think it´s time to eat dinner. Well kind of. It´s not really dinner, but it´s good. So...adios
love you all!!!!!!

11 agosto 2006

My host mom woke me up. With a bowl full of Trix. Breakfast in bed....ay dios mio! jaja it was kind of weird.
Then.....school. We had English first, and I was really excited because, obviously, I speak English. But...it was a nothing class. They´re doing yet another somethingorother about their trip to Italy. Italian....was a joke. I don´t think we did anything in that class either. The teacher really had no control over the class at all.
Math. It was horrible. He wrote some problems on the board, and clearly this math class was more advanced than anything I´ve ever taken. I had no idea what was going on, and everything was in Spanish. The teacher realized I didn´t know what was going on, and tried to explain it to me, but I didn´t get it. I just kind of nodded and sat there the whole class, trying to think of anything I had ever learned that was remotely like what was on my paper. I couldn´t. He collected work from the other students, but not me. I think he understands that I don´t understand. Which is nice.
Chemistry. Well. I had been warned about this teacher from several girls because apparently, he takes an interest in girls in the class. I sat in the back of the room with two boys who are sooo nice and quite entertaining. I could almost understand what he was talking about, but not really. He came over to me and asked me questions about who I was, and told some kid that ventana means window in English. It was really strange. I don´t like him. By the end of the class I realized that we´re doing stuff I learned Freshman year....if I only I could remember it. I kind of do, but not really. oops.
Art. Art as my elective, we drew what she put in the front of the room. You don´t even have to try here, it´s kind of sad. Art as a class, I thinkthinkthink he wanted us to draw some block thing....but I didn´t. I sat with a group of kids and we listened to music and played games like Tic Tac Toe and Hangman in English and Spanish. It was sooooo much fun. And today we got out at 3.15!! yay! And I don´t have school until Wednesday. Some holiday or something.
When I first got here, I was told about a Rotary meeting tonight. But no one has said anything to me about it....and I don´t really know what´s going on, so I guess I´m not going to it. I guess there´s always next week....? I think that´s better though, because hopefully my Spanish will be better by then anyways.
So tonight.....I´m not doing anything I guess. Watching TV? No sè. But tomorrow I think I´m going out with Gabi and her friends....and I think we´re going camping at a beach on Sunday....? Sounds like fun.
So. Yeah. that was my day. Exciting, huh?
Love and miss you all!!

10 agosto 2006

So. Today....was my first day of Chilean school. Dad, take a lesson from my host mom, and wake me up at 10 of 7 now, not like, 5.30!!(which, when I told my family that´s when I wake up, they all gasped and said "ayy!!"). So yeah. Woke up. Showered and whatnot. Got to wear my spiffy new uniform, which as of right now consists only of sweatpants, t-shirt and sweatshirt. All bright blue. Yay! Gabi´s letting me use her old school bag, thankfully, because mine is WAY too big. Forgot to bring one of those, oops.
Got to school at about 8 ish. Sat in the administrative office for pretty much forever. Then...we went to a few more offices. Spanish was spoken. I was asked simple questions like what my name is and whatnot. I answered. Go me!
Then the headmaster, my host mom, me, and some woman who speaks English went and sat in a conference room type place. They basically told me that I have the same rights and responsibilties as the other students, Bienvenidos a Scuola Italiana, I was being placed in Tercerio(?) Medio A. Which I kind of already knew. Anyhoo. The woman was there to translate for me, even though i was pretty much understanding what he was saying, and she was really unnecessary. Como este:
Headmaster:"Mi nombre es yaddayaddayadda."
Woman:"His name is yaddayaddayadda." But with EVERYTHING. Què aburrido.
Then I got a tour, was introduced to my class, who gawked at me. And then, it was time to be left on my own. I was terrified. They all kind of came over to me, and started speaking really fast, until they saw my confused face, then started speaking really bad English. Asking me my name, my age, where I was from. They have no idea where Rhode Island is, so I just gave up and say Estados Unidos, jaja. And no one can pronounce my name. I got, Kilsy, Kasey, Kelly, and Gringa. By the end of the day though, they pretty much knew my name.
Art was first. We made little sculptures out of soap. Soap. I made a snail.
Then, linguaggio, which is Spanish, like our English. Yeah, not close at all. Apparently all they do is watch movies and answer questions. The movie for today was Good Will Hunting. So I thought, Oh boy! I can do this! Until I got the question paper. And remembered that it´s in Spanish. All of it. It took me the whole hour and a half just to translate it, never mind come up with an answer to all 22 questions in English about a movie I haven´t seen in forever. I don´t know what I´m going to do. I´m just hoping that the profe will accept, I don´t speak your language and don´t know what´s going on, as an acceptable answer.
Lunch was fine. I sat at a table with some people I had met. But didn´t talk. Because, again, I don´t speak their language.
History was a joke. They all sat on desks, and goofed around the whole class. But I got to know them better(especially los chicos, jaja), so it was cool. And they all know who I am too. yay!
Gym. Well, what can I say. Gym sucks no matter what language it´s in, pretty much. Although I hate it even more when the teacher is explaining some complicated thing you have to do with a basketball and I don´t know what she´s saying. Oh well. Atleast I´m entertainment, right?
It´s very relaxed here....kids answer their phones...listen to music. Don´t pay attention, talk back to their teachers. It´s crazy. And the teachers...could care less that I was there. They didn´t even look at me.
After school, my host mom took me to the supermarcado to get food that I like. I keep forgetting that I´m going to be here for a year, and as she says, that I´m her hija now. Cool. But strange. I figured I´d be okay, just look for stuff I know, right? Well....I don´t really know anything. I don´t know what cereal I like, what ice cream I like, what milk I like, what cookies I like. All of them are different. Milk, I decided whatever, I´ll try what you have. Cereal, I recognized Trix. Yogurt I gave up on and found something that looked okay, Cookies, something with chocolate, nothing from the U.S was there. Craziness.
But all in all, a good day. I´m SO TIRED though. And hungry, which should make my host family happy, jaja. But...yeah. So that was my day at a Chilean school. Tomorrow...I go back. And then tomorrow night....I have my first Rotary meeting! Oh boy! In Spanish! Yay!
love you all!!!!!!!!!

09 agosto 2006

Last night....was fun. We went to Gabi´s friend´s house, Lina. And Freja is staying there. They talked to us in Spanish and English. We taught them English words, they taught us Spanish words. We ate pasteles(?) and had milk and whatnot. Then...we all piled into one bed, with Lina´s cousin and watched the endings of The Sixth Sense and The Girl Next Door, with subtitles. And they had chips! Like Lays! It was the first "American" thing I´ve seen so far, so it was cool. Freja´s host dad also said that her host mom was really surprised at my Spanish, like, it´s good. As long as people slow down, I know what they´re saying.
They kept asking though if we were hungry....which we weren´t. Chileans eat ALL THE TIME. It´s crazy....and they still can´t get over the fact that I´m really not hungry. I get so scared when they tell me I have to eat everything...because it´s a lot...very often. jaja

Today we went back to some place to try to get my Chilean ID, but we couldn´t. Mom, remember when we noticed that the consulate spelled Edwards like Edwads? But we thought it wouldn´t be a problem? Well, it is. We have to somehow fix my visa or something....so right now I´m technically an illegal immigrant I think, until this is somewhow fixed. Gabi told me that they can fix it, but I don´t understand what they were saying, so I´m not sure how this will happen.
We went to the mall today too with Jenny, Maureen, Freja, and their host siblings. It was a lot of fun....and the host siblings told me that I have the best Spanish out of all of them! So that was good....it made me feel better about actually learning the language. Oh! And we had this crazy cool ice cream...made from fruit! You tell them what fruit you want, and they make it into ice cream for you. SO GOOD. Very strange but cool.
I start school mañana though....and I´m a little nervous, but not really. I think I´ll be more nervous once I´m there, and people are speaking Spanish to me.
It´s strange being here....it´s starting to feel more familiar, and I´m starting to understand conversations, and recognize places in La Serena. But I still feel very different. Mostly when we´re walking around the city....people just take a second glance. There´s no one here with my skin tone, nevermind my eye color or hair color. The way I look, the way I dress, it gives me away as an American. I haven´t been talking much, mostly sí or qué, just to let people know I understand or need something repeated. I´ve been listening a lot though, and observing everything....noticing trends in the fashion(a little bit behind the U.S) and different words and conjugations. I have to concentrate a lot in order to get by every day. And if I space out for even a second, I´m lost completely.
My host mom took Gabi and me out to lunch today. I thought it´d be easy, considering I learned the whole food thing in school....but it was completely different. I had no idea what the menú said, or what to order. Gabi was so helpful though, helping to translate....and I finally decided on something that seemed pretty safe. And it turned out okay, considering we were at some place called Pilla de Vaca, or something like that.
I used an ATM today too! Which is good, because I was gettin worried about money, since I only had $15.000 left after paying for part of my uniform. But now I have about $35.000 again, which isn´t a lot in US$, but it´s okay I guess.
And....what else is different...well there´s stray dogs EVERYWHERE. Like, everywhere. I feel bad seeing them. And they have these weird metal box things on the sidewalks, I guess they´re for trash, since I always see trash in them. And when you park somewhere on the side of the street, and leave afterwards, you have to pay some person. I think that the person´s job is to watch your car, and make sure nothing happens, but I´m not sure. It´s almost like a live parking meter, but they walk up and down the street, so I don´t know.
Things here are very different....you don´t notice it at first, but then you slowly do. It´s kind of cool though. I´m starting to like the differences, but before they bothered me. I think it was just that I was overwhelmed...I wanted English, I wanted to understand, I wanted familiarity, but now things here are starting to feel familiar. And my host family is really nice. They repeat things for me and whatnot, although I´m starting to understand. It´s good.
Oh, and dad....last night...I still dreamt in English, but at the end of the dream, when people in my dreams said a word, they translated it into Spanish. It was really cool! Like, someone was sitting in a chair, and they said "silla". So yeah, my first Spanish-ish dream!
Hasta mañana, despues de la escuela

love you all

08 agosto 2006

Today...we went to some place to get my Chilean I.D card, but the police people yesterday spelled my name Kesley, so we have to go back mañana, after it´s been fixed.

I felt sick today, but I was actually able to tell them that, which is good I suppose. But I ended up throwing up in the street outside the police station, which isn´t so good. They made me eat lunch though. Food seems to be really important, and I think I´m kind of really shocking to them, I´m never hungry. The first night and day, they were all really surprised, and I think a little worried because I didn´t eat everything on my plate. So I´ve started trying to do that, because I think I may be being rude, even though I´m really not hungry anymore.

Everyone here smokes, but they all smoke outside. The first night they were smoking outside, and Gabi wanted me to go outside with her, and my host mom was just like, ¨No! Ella tiene asma!¨jaja, so don´t worry, mom.

The house here is very clean...my host mom said she likes cleanliness and order. She had me unpack everything the second day, and my bags are all put away. She cleans everything, she told me that she would clean and iron my clothes too. It doesn´t seem like people do much around here, just her. Which is kind of strange....and I don´t know what to do with myself, especially with the language barrier. It´s kind of uncomfortable. But the language is getting better each day, I´m understanding a little bit more now.

I´ve been sleeping a lot....today I slept till 12, yesterday I slept till 2.30. I don´t know what they do for breakfast, since I miss it, but they eat lunch at like, 3/4 pm. And dinner is just some bread and tea at around 9. VERY different, but kind of cool.

I have a TV in my room too! I´ve been watching shows in English with Spanish subtitles, which I like because then I learn what means what in Spanish. The TVs here are alwasy on, it´s strange.

Anyway. I´ll try to update more later....we´re going to someones house, and I´ll get to see Freja I think(the girl from Denmark).
Love you all!

07 agosto 2006

So....I´m in Chile now. Oh, and excuse the backwardness of the ´sign. Becuase I can´t really figure out this keyboard yet.

My plane from Boston to Miami was delayed 2.5 hours, and the one from Miami to Santiago was delayed about the same. But I got there okay. From Boston, I sat next to a man from Santiago....he was really nice, but we didn´t talk much. When I got to Santiago, I met up with all the other exchangers...and met another girl going to La Serena, but not to my school. I slept on the plane to Santiago...the flight was SO LONG. And uncomfortable to sleep on. I got to see the Andes when we landed!!! It was a clear day, which apparently is kind of rare for Santiago.

Immigration was scary.....the woman didn´t speak spanish, but said something about police in La Serena, so I looked confused and someone translated for her. Customs was a breeze....they just pushed our bags through x-ray machines. Then we turned some corner, and there was this clear glass giant window thing, we walked by, with people all against it...we had to walk through all the taxi drivers, which was scary. They were all staring at us...and I heard someone say, "United States come to Chile". I guess he saw my US flag patch thing. And then some guy put his hand on my suitcase and said something that sounded like something about a leg. It was weird. The Rotary people pulled us to the side, we waited for the other people coming from Dallas...and then we went out to the parking lot and got into vans.

They took us to Villa Alemana for the orientation...it´s about an hour away from Santiago. We stayed in cabañas. Three girls came from Finland, two girls and a guy came from Denmark. A Finnish girl, Jenny(pronounced Yenu) is in La Serena too, and a Danish girl, Freja is going to my school.

The orientation was cool....lots of talking. And sitting. We had a carrete en cabaña seis our last night...so I only got like, 3 hours of sleep, but whatever.

We almost had to pay a reaaaallll lot of money for overweight bags, but the Rotary people helped us out. Thanks a lot, Bokof Kaplan, for letting us all know that LAN has completely different baggage rules.

We left Santiago and landed in La Serena(Maureen, Freja, y yo) at around 7 pm las night. my family here picked me up and brought me to their home. it was really overwhelming. lots of pictures, i got flowers. too much Spanish.

They call me "La Kelsey" here. I feel like they´ve slowed down a bit....but I think I´m just understanding them better. It´s hard to understand them...they speak quickly and don´t pronounce their s´s . And have different words for everything. They try to make me eat a lot, but I´m never hungry anymore. Every time I tell them I´m not hungry they gasp and say something I can´t understand. It´s very strange. I get really tired quickly...and my head really hurts...but other than that I´m fine. Everything´s just slightly off, but I´d like to think I´m adapting. When I speak English now with Gabi, i have a little bit of an accent. I can´t seem to spell anything anymore, and when my parents called last night, I wasn´t sure what language to speak in. It´s really weird.

Anywho. I´ll try to update mañana..but my head hurts and if I tried to put down everything that´s happened, this would be way too long.

Miss and love you all