Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Ok so I´m finally writing! I´ve been so busy doing so many things...which means that I really needed to write about them but also that I didn´t have the time, it all just snowballed. I suppose the most recent thing is that I went to the beach this weekend, which was a blast because my host family went with Chanel´s family. Her host brothers are so funny. Nico is 14 and Diego is 11 or 12 and they goof off all the time and Chanel and I just laugh at them. Like today during lunch we had lentils, which they are not big fans of, so while Eva (their mom) was turned away Diego started frantically scooping lentils into Nico´s bowl. Anyway...after school on Friday we drove to Pichidangui, which is 5 hours north of Talca. We stayed in the summer house of a tio of my host mom´s, which was like being at camp because it smelled weird and we slept in bunk beds. Also the tio is a character- I loved walking around the house because he has all these clippings up with little jokes. In the kitchen he´d taped up a photo of the president of Chile (Michelle Bachelet) and Obama talking, and written in that la presidenta is saying ¨just imagine, if we had a kid they´d be pretty like me and smart like you¨ and Obama is saying ¨but what if they turned out stupid like you and ugly like me?¨ That is just one example of the machismo in Chile, which, coupled with the homophobia, is the thing that ticks me off the most here. When I went to the Rotary meeting to give my presentation about the U.S. they told me that some of the Rotarians think that women shouldn´t be allowed in the club! Maybe I´ll start a feminist movement in Talca. However my presentation went really well, and it´s always worth it to go to Rotary because the food rocks.

The Chilean beach reminded me of Oregon except the waves were a lot higher, the water was a lot bluer, and the rocks were freakin huger! Saturday night was the big soccer game between Chile and Columbia. And when I say big I mean big- because Chile won, they´re going to the Mundial in South Africa next summer. Now I´ve never cared in the least about soccer before, but at least in one aspect I have become completely Chileanized- I was just as excited as the real Chileans. So that leads to our fun little patriotic excursion...halfway through the game when Chile was tied and it was still iffy, Nico swore that if Chile won he would swim in the ocean that night, and Chanel and I promised that we would too. Ok swimming in the ocean, what´s the problem with that? Well the Pacific down here, just like in Oregon, is FREEZING! And it was NIGHTTIME! So after Chile won, there we were driving through Pichidangui after dark past the cars full of people yelling and waving Chilean flags and honking up a symphony, and then stripping to our bathing suits on the beach in the dark with our parents standing there huddling against the wind in their COATS mind you, and then running into the water and screaming bloody murder. It was so much fun. Our parents were a lot more concerned than we were about getting us out of there. To tell you the truth the water was so cold that after I got out the wind felt almost warm...
So the majority of the weekend consisted of going from lugar to lugar and thinking that the next place couldn´t be more beautiful than the last and then being proven wrong. At dinner on Saturday Marisa passed around the photo album
that I had given them
of my family and friends to show Chanel´s host parents, and it made me sad.

We´ve had so many activities at school lately. First it was the aniversario of our colegio, which meant of course doing a lot of strange things I didn´t understand. Part of celebrating the aniversario was completing ¨misiones imposibles¨ such as going to the centro and dancing thriller. Random?? Another part of the aniversario was that we were split into ¨alianzas¨ or alliances- there was Hippie, Electronica, and Disco, which was the one I was on, and they competed in tons of different activities. People from each alianza danced and sang in these elaborate self-choreagraphed shows, and on the main day there were a bunch of bizarre competitions that were very entertaining to watch. One consisted of two really long lines of people, one line of each alianza, which competed to see who could pass various vegetables to each other from mouth to mouth. The onion was pretty funny because the layers kept coming apart so by the end of the line they only had this itty bitty onion sliver. I decided to just laugh at how silly it looked instead of thinking about how gross it was. And, of course, what kind of rotary exchange student would I be if I didn´t participate...so I did a ¨yincana¨ which is a race in three parts. First part was with segundo medio, my grade, and was against partners from the other alianzas. Miri, a guy in my class, had to run with me on his back toward a bowl full of flour, a little water, and a piece of candy at the bottom that we had to find using only our mouths by taking turns grabbing flour with our mouths and spitting it out onto the ground. I couldn´t help but think, wow, I can´t believe I am thousands of miles away from home taking turns ingesting slobbery flour with some random guy in front of the whole school.
The dance was the climax of the aniversary celebration, and there are only two dances the whole year so it was a big deal. Dress code ranged from pants and heels to floor-length dresses, and was held in our school gym. If you think that sounds lame, I´ll say right now it was a lot cooler than any school dance I´ve ever been to in the states. It was actually inside a pavilion tent thing inside the gym and had a stage with professional dancers who at one point during the night led the whole crowd in a bunch of dances, one being the Cotton Eyed Joe which made Chanel and I really happy. There was also a bar (soda bar), strobes, disco ball, and smoke machine. But probably the thing that made it cooler than the U.S. was that people are such good dancers here! And they dance differently- it´s not obvious at first but since the dance music here is
¨reggeton,¨ all the songs that they dance to have a different beat. Also the dance was from 9 oclock until 2 in the morning, and no one actually shows up at 9 so by the time we got there it was around when the dances in the U.S. would have been ending haha. The night after the dance I went with Chanel, Carolina (our head Rotarian´s daughter), her boyfriend, and an amigo to the disco!! We didn´t get back until almost 5, and then my host mom woke me up at noon to go to a rodeo with Javi and Sole, two friends from school. The rodeo was really neat. The teams consist of two cowboys who get points according to how well they make the cow run around this one area in a circle, and then they chase it around the arena and slam it into a padded wall and get points for where they pin it. I got a lot of stares at the rodeo- I stood out even more than usual at such a little rodeo out in the country. Also my friends were loudly explaining the rules to me and didn´t mind telling people, ¨oh she´s extranjera¨. Thanks guys. The son of the man selling empanadas asked if I could take him back to the U.S. with me haha.

I am happy to say that I´ve read two books in Spanish! And I understood them! One more than the other, but still. I finished the first Harry Potter book in Spanish a while ago, and then this weekend I read the book assigned for my literature class, which was slow-going because it had all this old Spanish that no one uses anymore. Now I´m starting ¨La Ciudad de las Bestias¨ by Isabelle Allende (Chilean author, woohoo). I bought the second Harry Potter book in Spanish but they are crazy expensive here so I´m going to borrow the rest from Pedro Pablo (classmate). Unrelatedly thing that I wanted to write about was that the other day I bought glue from Lider (Walmart in Chile) and I got home and read on the label ¨Prohibited to sell to minors under the age of 18.¨ Gotta love South America.

Next week I´m having friends over to cook Italian food, which I´ve been craving. As well as normal American pizza. Here there is no such thing as just regular cheese and pepperoni, and also the pizzas don´t have tomato sauce. Chanel and I want to throw an American party for our classmates...should be fun!