Sunday, July 12, 2009

Ohio-Erie Conference at Otterbein July 2009

So last weekend was the 3-day, 2-night conference for the whole of the Ohio-Erie rotary youth exchange district, which goes from a tiny part of Canada all the way down to North Carolina.
There are so many parts of the exchange experience that are hard to describe, maybe impossible; what it's like to be around other exchange students is one of them. We could go up to each other and become instant friends from 2 minutes of conversation. Highlights: the talent show- it was spectacular, and the night of the pizza/dance party. I want to give a shoutout to the other two awesome Chile outbounds that I met (ANNA and BENNY BECKER). Benny, I will never tire of saying your full name. Anna, yay for 't' not 'd'- hope that makes sense ;)

So I officially have less than 12 days left in my own home before I leave, since I am gone for vacation until August 11 and even when I get back from Oregon I will have to leave to go to the consulate in Chicago. I have started packing. What a scary thing to say.

Pic of Talca, my city-

Thursday, July 9, 2009


So I thought now's a good time as ever to start my blog because when I get to Chile my head will probably be too full of spanish to think about writing :D
I've finally finished my part of the visa process, many thanks to my dad who was willing to drive me to a lot of government agencies and sit in a lot of waiting rooms with a lot of sketchy people in order to get a lot of official-looking papers. So now
all of those papers are floating around somewhere either in the mail or maybe in the bureaucracy of the Chilean Consulate in Chicago. If my year abroad wasn't worth a thousand times more than the headaches and temporary blindness from squinting at so much fine print, then I would have thrown the HIV tests, the FBI background checks, and the certificate of a certificate of a certifying signature in the trash a long time ago...good thing I didn't, because it all worked out! My departure window is August 17 to the 24th, but I've been told that I am probably flying out on the 21st.
My city is Talca, Chile; it's about 150 miles south of Santiago, the capital. The picture is of my first host family (I am probably going to have a total of 2 families througout the year). My mom's name is Marisa, Dad is Jorge, brother is Koke (nickname), sister is Fran and I will have a host grandma too! I've been emailing with them in Spanish since I know that my mom at least doesn't speak English and they are incredibly kind and thoughtful. I can't wait to meet them!!!! and I feel a lot less nervous knowing my host family before I arrive. It is also reassuring that for the most part I can understand everything in their emails and I can also write back without too much help from Tessa! ;)
My host dad is a professor at one of the local universities, my mom is a forestry engineer, and my host siblings go to Colegio Montessori, which is the school that I will be attending- they have uniforms too so that at least won't be different coming from CSG haha. The temperature in Chile is around freezing right now so those of you who know how much I like the cold should be laughing right now.
Thank you so much to everyone who has supported me and asked me about Chile and told me that they think what I'm doing is really cool!! Needless to say, I am very excited.

*something I thought might be good to include in my first post- for anyone who doesn't know much about the Rotary Youth Exchange Program and what an exchange year is like, here is your chance to find out. I've heard it described as the best and hardest year of your life and I'm really not trying to be dramatic! It is not a "trip" or a "vacation"- it is an entire year of immersing yourself in another culture and living life as they do. So if you ask me a question like "how is Chile?" it is about as vague as asking "how is your life?" and you will probably get just as vague an answer. Regardless I would really love to be able to stay in touch with everybody during my year- hence the blog!