30 julio 2007

...So I'm Home Now...

So a month has passed.
I've(obviously) made it home safe and sound.
It was weird coming home. I hated it, actually. I was surrounded by Spanish and people who were not Chileans.....which is what I had become utterly used to, so it was kind of a shock being thrown back into an old life I seemed to have forgotten a good amount of. I don't mean to make it sound like I forgot my old life, I didn't at all. It was just strange to be in an old environment with a head full of a foreign language, and doing foreign things that suddenly made no sense at all.
It was wicked weird. On one hand, it felt like I had never left, but on the other hand, it felt like I had been gone forever and a day. I picked right back up with some friends. I got a job, which has been keeping me busy.....5 days a week, hurrah! I've actually kept fairly good communication with my host family. Ignacio's not doing very well at all, which is worrisome....I'm hoping to get a chance to see him again. :(
Oh. I did manage to get everything packed. One suitcase came in weighing 17 kilos, the other was 25. I was wearing my blazer, and wasn't charged anything. My weight limit for both suitcases was 23 kilos each, by the way. haha. I know, I know, I'm fairly amazing.
Saying goodbye was utterly hard and full of tears. Then it was a long bus ride to Santiago. Mauricio and I were picked up by a friend of his and we then got utterly lost looking for the airport. Made it there eventually though. Checked my baggage, then hung around until it came time for me to go. It was hard.....I've never had such a horrible feeling in my entire life like the feeling that I had as I sat on the runway in Santiago. It was horrible, made even worse by the crew on the plane, who flat out refused to speak anything but English.
Buuuut I made it home, and I'm safe. Happy? Well, I haven't quite figured that out. I suppose it's really more a matter of giving myself time to fit back into life here. It's hard because I created an entire life for myself in Chile that I really really really liked, and was then forced to leave all that behind. It's harder because I've come back changed, and most people refuse to see that, and just want me to be the old Kelsey(sorry. NOT happening.). For the time being, I'm okay, I suppose. I just feel....foreign and out of place most of the time. I can tell you that the most uncomfortable feeling I've had my whole life was the feeling I had while waiting to board my plane in Dallas/Fort Worth. I was sitting there, in the United States, my "home", surrounded by Americans and English, but honestly, I have never felt so foreign in my entire life. Even being in Chile, I never felt as foreign as I did then. In my own country. I still have a habit of referring to myself as a Chilean. Often I talk about Chileans and use the word "we". Somehow it just makes more sense to me.
Anyway. I'm OK. Dealing. Working hard to return back to Chile, hopefully for an even longer amount of time. I think almost constantly in Spanish, so please excuse errors I make or have made in this entry.
Hmmm. Not sure what else to say.
I guess *sniffsniff* that this is goodbye. I don't really see a reason to keep this up, since this blog was about me going to Chile, I've gone, I've returned, it's served it's purpose. So I suppose, to all you faithful readers (haha) that this is The End. Thanks for reading....I know I'll see some of you around. Most of you, really, since you had to have met me in some form or other in order to have stumbled upon this page.
Anyway. Thanks. I hope you enjoyed reading my blog and all of my outrageous happenings in the best country by far, La República de Chile(why yes, my keyboard IS set to Spanish). Bueno. Gracias. Thank you. Chao. Goodbye. Adiós. Peace.

25 junio 2007

Just stopping by...

So it would appear this would be my last entry until I'm in the US unless something utterly exciting happens...which I doubt.
I've started my packing....which is quite a process, which involves making a disaster out of my room. It's okay though, I've already warned mamá not to go in, in order to avoid having her have a heartattack with all the disaster. I would take a picture, but unfortunately, my camera has finally died. When it manages to turn on, it tells me the batteries are depleted(despite them being new batteries) and turns off. Or, if I take a picture, as soon as I press the button, it turns off. So....if anyone wants to get me an AMAZING welcome home present, I'm in need of a new camera. I will def. be calling HP though, because for the past few months, my camera has had my pictures hijacked, and also the fact that one of their products can last only a year and a half is more than concerning. Oh well....atleast it made it this far, although I really would have liked to have pictures from my last week. Damn. Excuse my French, but trust me, that's the most subtle thing that comes to mind right now.
Anyway. Started packing, and just about finished with my shopping. Just need to take out more money and buy a clock that I've been eyeing all year. Because yes, Kelsey manages to spend a good $30.000 pesos in gifts in one day. Go me, basically. But hey...you people at home better not be complaining, because I've bought some pretty sweet gifts, if I do say so myself.
My last Rotary meeting was quite nice, though. I thought it would be held at the club like all the others, but no, this was at a restaurant. A girl just came back from Denmark, so I figure it's both a goodbye-our-favorite-exchange-student and welcome home thing. I got a wicked nice plaque from them, with my picture and such on it. Too bad it's heavy. Blegh. Oh well. I love my club either way, and my counselor is wicked sweet. Told me I've set the bar very high for others...that it's rare to have a student as nice, responsible, and respectful as me, and they're all proud to call me "theirs" :D But, considering my competition, it's really no surprise to me. Oops. What can I say? I'm amazing.
Anyway...my head's killing me...I do believe I'm getting sick...atleast that's what my head, stomach and throat have been telling me. For the first time this year, I've resorted to painkillers(kind of?) Aspirina....I'm not sure if it's Aspirin persay, and I know that's bad for under 18, mom. But honestly, I need SOMETHING and all my ibuprofen's gone....and that's all there is here. Didn't work anyway. I'm just hoping it's gone by Friday....I really don't want to travel a good 20 hours or more feeling like this. Blegh.
Anyhoo. See (some of) you soon!

23 junio 2007

Kelsey's Wanderings....Revealed!!!

So I just got back from an adventure....
to SANTIAGOoooo!
It was quite exciting, and horribly adventurous.
'Twas a good time, and really nice to see such a different place...from La Serena(with Coquimbo) at about 175.000 people, to Santiago, with just about 6 million. Yeah....different. Although, by the third day I was kind of longing for the familiarity and comfort of La Serena, to be honest. And coming home was really nice....it smelled like home! jaja...well, Chile home, that is....
I went with Mauricio...we left Monday morning at 9:30. Six hours later we got to Santiago. At first I was horribly overwhelmed, and my body did that stupid overwhelmed thing it does, headache and stomachache, but thank God no puking this time. Hurrah! We had something to eat in a mall and took the metro(subway!) to my "aunt"'s apartment. We bought a Bip! card too....you use it when you use micros and the metro, it's this whole thing with trans-Santiago(which is actually a disaster). anyhoo. During the week I saw Santa Lucia, a biiig hill with pretty things on it, San Cristobal, a giant hill with a big Virgin Mary statue, a mall, the Andes, random places in the city like the centro, La Moneda(which is the Chilean version of the White House, but a lot more open). La Moneda was pretty cool...made me realize how different the cultures are....their white house is in the middle of the city and you can walk into the courtyard of it(granted, there are cops everywhere telling you not to cross invisible lines...which I did, but whatev.). Very cool. There's lots of cool old architecture and such too. I wish I could say more in detail about it, but not now with my current English, and it's also kind of a lot to put. Oh! And I got to see a protest! Granted, it was small and pathetic, but still. Chileans looove to protest...they'll do it over anything. Last year there was a huuuge protest like, all over the country in high schools and such, and it would appear it could happen again, not long ago a high school like, took it? Cops were involved and everything...and the U. de Chile(I believe) had signs all over it. They never stop complaining about their education, honestly.
Trans-Santiago. Oh my. The transportation of the city was like, re-done, but it's kind of a disaster. They have those Bip! cards, which are kind of annoying, but cute and make a funny sound, so it's okay. The metro is very reliable and clean and organized, and i like it, but the micros are horrible! They hardly ever pass, and when they do, they're filled up and together, so you end up waiting a good 40 minutes for a micro. There used to be a whooole bunch that would go all over the city, but with trans-Santiago, it's redone so that there's less, and they only go in certain parts, aka, in order to get to the centro, you might need to take TWO micros, whereas before you could just catch one. AND, they only stop in bus stops, no more sticking your finger out for them, like in La Serena. So why not take a colectivo, right? Well, they're always full too, and it costs MIL PESOS to go ANYWHERE. MIL! that's 1,000!!! in La Serena, and most places, it costs 350! I used to think people were being stupid about all this Trans-Santiago nonsense, but now that I've experienced it myself, I completely understand. It was ridiculous....one day we ended up walking home because every micro that passed was too full...and by too full I mean, faces squished up against the glass, and doors not even closed full. It's ridiculous.
Anyway, now on to some eye candy.....

Santa Lucia:
University and signs.
and now....I'm off to my last Rotary meeting! chao chao!

17 junio 2007


Freja left Friday night for Santiago, and it was horribly sad and slightly dramastic.
We went to school on Thursday to say one last goodbye to everyone. Freja's classmates were really nice and talked with us. Mine....did not. One of them waved to me.....and that's about it. I got well wishes when I stuck my head in the classroom and said Hey! I'm leaving.....butttt....my classmates were....well, my classmates. I was a bit disappointed....I guess I stupidly believed they would be different. Oh well. The music teacher was sad to see us go, along with all the teachers and people who work there, so I guess that kind of made up for it.
After we said goodbye, Freja and I went to the centro to get some gifts and have lunch. By this time, it was pouring. It had sprinkled a little earlier while we were in school, but we didn't expect anything else.....I've seen "rain" here in Serena three times, and never for more than 5 minutes. This rain.....was quite the downpour at times, and lasted all day. It was a Christmas miracle! either way, we enjoyed it, despite getting quite wet....we even bought an umbrella so that we could manage our way through the centro....yeah....lots of rain.
Today, being Father's Day, I cooked lunch! Hurrah! It was quite exciting. Or rather....slightly annoying. I made chicken parmesan. But I also went out last night, and so I was NOT happy about waking up early to make lunch(after going out, I require lots of sleep since the night ends so late....I usually sleep up until just before lunch is served) Let me tell you, despite what you may believe, cooking while feeling half dead, is not very exciting at all. Either way, I did it, and my host family liked it. I learned a few things along the way as well....the most important being that I need to marry a man who will cook for me, because me and this cooking thing? Yeah, not so much a good match. I dont' particularly like the raw chicken thing, and I'm very surprised I'm not burned from the oil I had to...er, fry? it in. I'm also surprised that the house is still standing. haha....I did however, learn that you should NOT leave the lid on top of a pot while you're making pasta because it tends to overflow. and, among other things, I made a big mess. hehe, oops. I'm quite glad my family found it entertaining and like me so much. :D I also cooked in my PJs....my host mom at first was all !&@¼ about it, but I told her I like to cook in PJs, and she was fine. hehe. Host moms.....
I'm about to embark on an adventure. Unfortunately, I can't say what it is quite yet. I will, however, have an update about this time next week where I will reveal Kelsey's Wanderings to the world. Hurrah! Until then....enjoy this feast for the eyes.
Ornela. My only nice classmate. She's the one I usually go out with. She's going to South Africa on exchange July 8th.
I was really happy for this. See that box? That would be RAW chicken. yummy.
The aftermath.
More for the parents: RAW chicken. And my hands. touching it. EW.

13 junio 2007

Fotos from end of school, and a countdown.

Music teacher! This man is our best friend..we are in the music room whenever possible...playing the piano, stealing his computer, drinking his coffee and tea, watching his movies, making noises on trumpets, playing the drums, or dancing to really loud music. and he puts up with it all! And actually doesn't want us to leave! Really nice guy. :D
The kiosko! It's where you can buy snacks and such. We were usually there during English or Italian classes and such....buying tea to keep warm. This woman's reallyyy nice, and when she found out it was our last day, gave us each a free candy bar!
An Italian. Also really nice....wicked blue eyes. The cool thing is, we have to communicate through Spanish!
With the principal of the school, and our diplomas! Hurrah!
The inspector general.
Giovanni, Ornela, and Nicole, from my class.
My filosofía teacher. Apparently getting a picture with him is rare.....He also thinks he's John Lennon....

07 junio 2007

Fotos(as promised last post...read if you haven't!)

Yeah, that's right. I've got spirit for a school I strongly dislike.....or maybe just Denmark?
Just before the whole thing started. That's a volcano! The opening is so the fire breather could get in....it looks better from the other side.

The inspector general. He's not allowed to show favoritism for either alianza...but he agreed to wear this sticker in a place where you can't really see it. He's a nice guy, actually....def. loves us :D
Oh babyyy...
Human Tables.....this is what sent a kid to the hospitalOur art teacher. There was a competition for who could make their teacher change the most. Obviously, roja won this one.
Opening dance....just after the flame breathing action. The girl in the corner is holding the fire still
This little boy is super adorable and not so strange looking in real life. We gave him a Danish flag sticker...and he drew a picture with "Asul=mala! Roja=buena!". It was über lindo :D

Alessandro and Giovanni...two of my classmates. I told you they really got into this....

Aniversario de Scuola Italiana...Vamos Alianza ROJA!

so surprise surprise
I'm not dead.
I have, however been EXTREMELY busy. At the end of exchange, everyone wants to suddenly do things with you, and i've been trying my best to cram as much as possible into the little time I have left.
Had orientation en mayo. El 18 hasta el 20. 'Twas a good time....nice to see everyone, but sucked to say goodbye. we rated Rotary and such and just hung out the rest of the time. It was also REALLY nice to get out of Serena.
Jenny left the 27th from Serena and de Chile el 28 de mayo. Tears were shed. Maureen's the next to leave, the 9th from Serena. So you can only imagine how busy I am now.
My time has been spent doing final shopping, going out in the weekends(gotta get the partying in....can't go to discos in the US....) and spending as much time with the remainding La Serena Girls(LSG woot woot!)
This is my last week of school. My last day is Monday, when I will get a diploma of some sort from Scuola Italiana. Hurrah! Anyway, it is also the 16th anniversary of the school. Which, in Chile, as is with most things here, is a HUGE celebration. The school is divided into two alliances(alianzas), blue(azul) and red(roja). It's based on courses and such(1º and 4º are roja, 2º and 3º are azul, and younger grades, I don't know how they divide them). Anyway, I'm in the alianza roja. Yesterday was the big opening kind of thing for the aniversario events....we had a big dance competition type thing, little games, and a final dance. For each thing, the teams get points, and whoever has the most points on Sat. wins. There's a huge thing at the school with a king and queen and such. I'm sorry, it's hard to explain to people who haven't experienced it, esp. with my current English(I forgot the word "silverware" yesterday. oops). Anyway, this whole thing is HUGE in the school, VERY competitive. One kid, after doing a human table(which is when four people kind of lay on each other, but with legs bent, again, hard to explain), a kid went to the hospital. He was sick earlier, and shouldn't have done it at all, but did for his alianza.
So yesterday, it was huge. Red had one side, blue had another. Banners, drums, everyone dressed and painted in their colors, really cool. The school had even hired a DJ, and found judges to judge each team. Red started off first with their dance. It was ridiculoussss. We had cage like things, with people dancing in them, painted people, and a volcano. Out of the volcano came a boy in Freja's class who then breathed fire. It was CRAZY. Really cool. blue...well blue sucked :D
Red lost a lot in the beginning(like an eating competition that included eating and ONION...our kid puked), but we won a few afterwards. It was a good time....Freja and I got decked out in black and red(our colors) with Danish flag stickers on us, and wrapped ourselves in a giant Danish flag(there was another one and a Polish one...because they're red and such...). We handed out Danish flag stickers to people. It was a real good time. I'd type more about it, but my hands are FREEZING, and it makes it hard to type, and also I need to get ready for a top secret surprise going away party for someone special(aka Maureen.)
Posting again after this entry for some fotossss so this one isn't too long
chao chao

13 mayo 2007

Fotos de Mi Cumpleaños

As promised in the other post:
The cake
Yo y mi mamá
With the jewelry.
Just being really hot. Obviously.
Mamá tries to steal my presents.
The La Serena Girlssss in my room before going out:And...last but not least! A video:

Día del Alumno y Mi Cumpleaños!

Now that I actually have time to do so(this weekend's been wicked busy), I can actually update about what went downnn when Kelsey turned 17.
It was a pretty awesome day, I'd def say. It was Día del Alumno, so instead of uniforms, we got to wear regular clothes to school and do absolutely nothing. Hurrah! Everyone had a breakfast, but my class was über special, and we got to eat in the cafeteria. There were flowers and everyone got a bar of white chocolate. We had tea, a cake with manjar, and little sandwiches. It was so niceee. My class sang happy birthday to me too...and I actually felt noticed and it was way nice. Plus! I got an amazinggg suprise...two of my classmates that I've been going out with recently(a former and future exchanger, sisters) gave me a birthday present! It was so unexpected, considering that most of my class barely notices that I exist, and it def. helped make my day.
After doing nothing, Freja and I left school and met up with Maureen and her friend(who I've met once), Chewy on Balmaceda. He bought me a cake! It was waaaay sweet. We went to a place called On The Run, it's like a cafe thing at a gas station. We bought some juice and sat down and ate our cake. We didn't have plates, so we just ate it, haha. But we didn't eat a whole lot, so we cut some pieces and gave it to people who worked there, an Argentinian woman, and my colectivo driver friend! It was sooo nice. They were all so surprised and happy :D
Then Freja and I went to my house, had lunch, and hung out. I got a call from the US hehe :D
Then Freja went home to change clothes and check to make sure she could leave. Jenny and Maureen came, then my counselor(with cake!) and a woman, Lucía from the club. My host parents made pizza and when Freja came back, we all had tea and pizza, and they sang happy birthday, and it was looovely. After tea I opened presents. I got PJs from my abuelos(they've noticed I like PJs....), a jacket from mis papás, a white cardigan from Ignacio, reallyyy nice lapiz azul earrings from my counselor, a scarf from Lucía, and a waaaaaaay nice lapiz azul from my Rotary club! They're so nice!
Lucía and my counselor stayed for a bit to talk, and left at about 11. Then the Serena girls all went to my room, turned on some reggaeton and danced and got ready until two classmates(who gave me the presents) came and picked us up at about 12. And then....we danced the night away in a disco. It was a looot of fun. I saw a lot of people I knew, and got many birthday hugs, AND I got in free since it was my birthday. All in all...it was probably the greatest day this whole year. Absolutely NOTHING bad happened all day...and I was surrounded by people I love and care about and who love and care about me, and it was just....amazing. I can't believe how incredibly lucky I've been here, to have such an incredible host family, amazing exchange friends, wicked nice and reliable counselor, and not to mention how awesome my club is. I'm going to miss them all SO much when I leave. Bah. I can't think about it.
Here are some fotos from Día del Alumno, and I'm going to make another entry for my birthday pics:
The breakfast:

08 mayo 2007

In other news....

So. It's been a bit, and yet, nothing of much interest has happened. I did my presentation for my Rotary club, and must say, I was amazing. haha
The La Serena girls have just celebrated nine months together! We're going out for pizza probably this Thursday to celebrate celebrate. It's our last anniversary together....Jenny from Finland goes home the 28th, and then the rest of us leave....it's actually really sad.
School...nothing special. This Friday is Día del Alumno....or something of the sort. Basically a day of nothing. But, no gym, so that's special. ALSO. In case somehow you've forgotten or simply didn't know...Friday is also MY BIRTHDAY. :D It's quite exciting....and I can't wait to celebrate. With my host family, with the exchangers, and then at night with the exchangers again and two girls from my class, and possibly an Argentinian I met in January...who's coming back this weekend just for my birthday(what can I say? I'm easy to fall in love with...).
Then...the next weekend is Maureen's birthday....but also THE ORIENTATION. Yes, that's right, orientation is back on! I'm wicked excited...esp. to get out of Serena. I love it here, but when you've been here for awhile....gah, it gets quite fome.
anyhoo....I'm off for tea time!
chao chao

26 abril 2007

Nothing extremely special

Not much has been going on. ATM card stopped working for who knows why. Counselor will be helping me out until I can get a new card. Blegh. Atleast I have him though....I love my Rotary club.
Coming up on two months exactly left in Chile. This next anniversary, nine months, is the last one the La Serena Girls will have together...Jenny from Finland leaves at the end of May.
My birthday is coming up...two weeks till I'm 17.
It's crazy and slightly scary how fast this year is coming to an end; how fast it's flown by. I always knew it would, I suppose, and yet somehow part of me didn't think it would. I can still look back at the beginning of my exchange and I feel like somehow those were the longest days of my life.
It's crazy to look back on myself then.....I was a whole other person. Slightly crazy, all over the place, always talking and moving around, trying to see and experience everything I could.....I've grown up a lot and calmed down and shut up. I see more now than I ever did before, I think. I've learned to be quiet and observe. I'm really introverted. Mauricio told me once that I remind him of a gazelle. Big eyes, just sitting and watching everything around me in complete silence.
That's right parents. Silence. Kelsey's learned how to be silent this year.
It'll be interesting to see how things end up when I get back....how the new Kelsey will mesh with the environment of Old Kelsey. We'll see.
Some photos, in the meantime.
My host family(Mauricio, me, Ignacio, mamá, y papá):
A scan...me with Ele on her birthday:

And finally....a sky shot. I took this Monday morning as I was getting ready for school.

20 abril 2007

A week.

So....a week has passed(ish) since my last post.
and let me tell you.
absolutely nothing has gone down in that time.
school is....boring.
Today in school, we had a test in gym and we had to run for 25 minutes without stopping, and atleast 8 vueltas(I can't remember the word in English, I'm sorry). I passed with a 7,0(the highest grade) and ran 10....that's 4 km, or 2.5 miles.
Went to la Recova with Freja to buy some things. We met something like 10 gringos! All from the states, mostly California. It was really cool. me gustó. I didn't end up buying anything though(although I desperately need to because the end of my year is rapidly closing in on me...), because today seems to be a day when my ATM card won't work. It's happened before...no matter where I go, I can NOT take out money. Not even mil peso...I don't understand why, but it should be better tomorrow.
still, I hate technology.
Freja's coming over tonight to watch movies.
It's weird. Almost 9 months into my exchange, and I'm still discovering so much about this culture. I really feel like I understand it more. In the beginning, it's easy to see what's different when it comes to appearances and weather and such, but now I feel like I really understand how Chileans think and are(for the most part, erm. kind of). And talking about it with Freja has made me realize just how much this culture has actually affected me.
Like the...classism(?) that exists here. I really didn't see it at the beginning, but I do now. And the way I think about people in other classes is different....I never even noticed it happening. And from an American point of view, how I think is bad and wrong, but from a Chilean point of view, it's fine. I didn't even realize how I thought until it somehow came up in a conversation with Freja. It's just....weird. I don't think there's such a division between classes in the US as there is here. Here I'm obviously in the mid-higher class, and it's just....obvious. I guess that's changed how I think too...but I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not yet.
And the other thing. In the US, on the streets, you know how if you make eye contact with someone, you just....smile, or say hi? Well, I was talking with my host family about how Chileans really aren't as warm as they all think, and used that as an example. And I found myself thinking(about what we do in the US) why on EARTH would you do that? When people have said hi to my friends while I'm here with thme, I always think, "Do they know each other?", and it always turns out that they do, because I think you'd be crazy to say hi otherwise. Even people who work at stores, like you just...don't do that. In colectivos, yes, occasionally(like me and my colectivo driver friend! He brought me home today for the 7th-ish time...and when we see each other we smile and wave, and he's very nice! jeje) but for the most part...no. And I've just gotten used to it....I don't make eye contact with people on the street unless they're staring or doing rude things towards me, in which case I stare them down(or sometimes yell. oops).
I don't know....it's just weird. In the beginning of my exchange, it was fairly obvious that I had changed, but now, not so much. I don't feel any different, and I guess it's because I've gotten so used to the changes....I don't think it'll be obvious until I get home.
Also, it's weird to think about going home and seeing people and not doing the cheek-kissing thing. With the Americans today, they shook my hand, and I just felt uncomfortable. And it comes off as rude when someone doesn't kiss my cheek when we see each other or when someone leaves, even if they're foreign. It's just...strange.
I'm sorry for any spelling mistakes or weird grammar. Now I'm better, towards the end of the entry, but at the beginning, I was thinking in Spanish, and EVERY word came to mind first in Spanish, so it was kind of...difficult. I suppose that's a good sign though!
chao chao!

15 abril 2007


So last night. I was just chilling, checking mail and such, when the phone rings and oh guess what, I have a Rotary meeting in like, an hour.
But I'm wicked skilled now and managed to get ready with time left over. Anyhoo.....a new guy was being....erm I'veforgottentheword into the club, so that's why.
Here are some fotosss:
My entire club:

Me and Alyssa(we're the only two with Coquimbo, she's Canadian):
Me and my counselor(who doesn't noramlly look like that, but was talking, jaja):

And last but not least, me with the club president:
That's all for now!