It is 5:58 p.m. according to my clock, which means that in exactly two and a half hours I will be in my new host family´s house eating dinner with the family that will then be my old host family, and in approximately six hours I will be sleeping in the bed that will be mine for the next 7 months. It is so weird to see my room (which I really think of as MY room) all empty, ready for Emily to come. Well maybe not THAT empty, my packing skills are rather lacking, so I still have a few things pending...
I can´t believe I´m switching houses already! At first thought it seems that just a few weeks ago I was arriving, but when I think again I realize just how much I have done in Chile and how much I have learned and it does seem pretty long ago.
New Year´s was a blast. First we went to a family friend´s house and had dinner at about 11, then went outside and counted down with the radio and they popped streamer things and then everybody hugged everybody. Then we all ate 12 grapes each so we would have food every month of the year, and then we all got a piece of crystal wrapped in a bay leaf that we are supposed to keep the whole year for luck. Then we danced- everybody; young, not as young, and old! At about 2 Chanel and I went with Coti, the daughter of the family who we know from school, to ¨Elevate¨ which was a big New Year´s party/disco in Talca. Here, the quality of the New Year´s Party depends on the price of admission. Elevate was 13 luca or about 26 dollars, so that meant that better people went to it, meaning no nutters, or at least less of them. It still seemed pretty nuts to me! It was held in a stadium, to give you some idea of the size and the amount of people, considering it was jam-pack by 2 o´clock. Anyone could buy a ticket: you didn´t have to be over 18 (Chile´s drinking age) and yet there was an open bar. The only thing stopping underage people from drinking was a sign over the bar that said ¨drinks for over-18s only¨. How very effective. I danced to insanely loud music with an insane amount of people for an insanely long time. We left at 6:30, though the party wasn´t over until 7:30. It was an interesting experience to walk out to see the sun come up, and then go back to Coti´s house and sleep until 12 with my cigarette-smelling hair and my feet that probably smelled no better from all the booze that had been spilled on them. And the most bizarre thing of all? My host mom suggested I go! This is not normal behavior for her. I hadn´t even thought to ask if I could go. But she heard Coti was going and thought I would have fun, which was actually really touching. I know it worries her a lot to let me go to discos, which is why she normally doesn´t. Also it made me happy that she trusted me enough to go.
On Monday I went over to Chanel´s and hung out with her and Matt, who had already switched into her house on Sunday night. We played some epic basketball in the pool with Nico and Diego, Chanel´s host brothers.
On Tuesday Chanel and I took the bus to Santiago for the going-away party for the five exchangers leaving in January. Since they are all from the southern hemisphere (Brazil, Australia, and New Zealand), their exchange follows the calendar year. It was at one of the many parks in Santiago and it was just a blast. We talked and danced and then when the policemen on horses kicked us out after our time slot was up, we all took the bus into the city to...um a restaurant. Chanel and I stayed the night and the next day at her host-aunt and cousin´s apartment. We went swimming with Fernanda (the cousin) at 1 in the morning when we got there. The next day, in a truly admirable display of good behavior, we went to two museums. After lunch at the apartment we went with Fernanda and her boyfriend to this train thing that goes diagonally up to where the statue of the Virgin Mary overlooks Santiago, which has an incredible view of the city. On the way back to the apartment I stopped for sushi to go, because it would be a crime to be in Santiago and not take advantage of the opportunity. Fernanda and her boyfriend sent us off from the bus terminal at quarter to seven. I ate my sushi on the bus while the attendant dude laughed at me and the little girl sitting behind us stared from over the top of the seat at me using chopsticks and talking to Chanel in English. But it was delicious even with all that and the fact that it actually wasn´t even good sushi, I am just severely deprived.
So today I´ve just been packing mostly. Matt and Chanel came over for a while and went swimming with Fran and me, and now I am looking at the clock and thinking wow I think time has something against me. We´ll see how it goes!
Love to all,
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