Well I´ve been in Chile almost 4 weeks!! The flight was absolutely terrible! I got on the plane in Chicago and they were out of room for carry on bags, so they had to check my bag. -_- When I arrived in Atlanta I realized that I had left my blazer in the carry on bag! So when I found the other students I had to explain that I didn´t have it (because I was the only one without it >.<) Then when I got on the plane to Santiago my seat ended up being in the middle section between to people...For 8 hours...In the very last row of the plane...D: Finally after arriving in Santiago we waited around for over an hour for our luggage, and then our bags were ex-rayed and finally we got to enter Chile! (and that´s where the bad ends! :D)
The first thing after we got into the public section of the airport was meet all the Rotarians and the the other exchange student that aren´t from the USA. Then we went to a resturaunt for breakfast. I wasn´t hungry so I just ordered a coffee. Then we went to a city called Los Andes for a meeting with the PDI (Policia De Investigaciones) I thought it was a funny way to introduce us to Chile because they told us about the Drugs and crime and what not. That was the first thing we heard about in Chile haha! Then we got back on the bus and went to Valparaiso. This is where we stayed the rest of the Time during the orientation. The hotel was really nice and they fed us WAAAAAY too much! The rest of our time in Valparaiso was some meetings about Chile what we might expect etc...and allot of sightseeing.
Sunday, August 7th I had to get up at 5am in order to catch my flight to Arica! A rotarian took me up until we got to security and then I was on my own! It was kind of scary because nobody spoke English and I was lost but I ended up figuring it out with the help of allot of pointing haha. The flight was about an hour late but I had a window seat so all was good! When the plane stopped I got off assuming I was in Arica (I didn´t understand the speakers) It turned out that was Iquique (not my stop) When my luggage didn´t come someone, who knew english, explained and we ran back to the plane. That was kind of scary but pretty funny at the same time xP My first view of Arica was not what I expected!! It was just allot of dirt and nothingness...but that was about 5 miles outside of the city at the airport.
So Arica is nicknamed ´´La Ciudad De Eterna Primavera´´ or ´´The City of Eternal Spring´´ I don´t know why since it never rains here (only 1 or 2 times a year) I think it might have something to do with the Valleys but I don´t know. Arica is located in the Atacama desert, one of the driest in the world. The only reason people can live in Arica is because of the Azapa Valley and the fresh water that runs through the streams. The tap water is really bad, so if you are walking around and thirsty you have to buy a water, you can´t just stop and get a cup of water or use a water fountain (I havent seen any since I arrived) By the way if you have to go to the bathroom and you use a public toilet make sure you have money -_- they charge you!
The first few days in Arica I was exactly what Rotary told me I would be, a tourist! I took so many pictures, enjoyed everything I saw! The beach, the centro (it´s like a shopping center in the city, Like a giant mall but the hallways are outside and there is way more!!), and one of my favorites is the Morrow! The morrow is -important to Arica because, during the war against Peru Chile left all there campfires running while peru was watching there camp from the morrow and Chile snuck around and surprise attacked Peru. I just like the view!
The school that I go to here is called Colegio Andino. It´s a private school, and acording to my host family, it´s the best in the city. The first week I was in Arica I didn´t have to go to schoool, but I did anyway. I slept in and would go in at around 9 or 10. It was the schools 25th birthday and so all week was just a bunch of celebrations!! They had soccer games between the different classes, each class had a color and a mascot (purple was our color and of course our mascot was none other than BARNEY!!) there was also tug-o-war. One day everyone was at the beach and we had volleyball, sand castles, relay races, that one game where you have to find a certain thing and be first (i can´t think of the name but it´s on the tip of my tongue D: gahh) The last day of the week we were at the school until after 10pm. There were singing competitions, dancing competitions, acting competitions, and one of the dances the guys dressed up as girls and did a dance. It was a great week to start and meet everyone.
The school uniforms are pretty sweet! A pair of sweat pants and a t-shirt! That´s what I always wear anyway. My school day schedule is like so: Wake up at 6 go for a run, 6:30 shower, then make my bed, eat something for breakfast, drink instant coffee, i miss real coffee :(, and 7:20 ride the school bus. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, the school day is over at 2:30. Tuesday and Thursday it´s over at 4:30. On the days it ends at 2:30 I go home for lunch. the other days I eat at the school. I haven´t memorized the schedule (it´s allot harder when you don´t have any Idea what is going on in the class) but the classes start at 8am and are an 1:30 minutes each with a 15 minute break in-between. We have all of our classes in the same room and the teachers come to us. The only classes I even attempt to try in are math and english because they are the only classes I understand whats going on.
Here in Chile lunch and supper are flipped around. You have a nice meal for lunch at around 2. Then at about 7 They have tea, bread, etc. The bread here is a million times better than in the USA. The bread they eat is the kind you normally go to a bakery for but it´s so much cheaper here. Also, the loafs of bread that they have are even better as well!! They always eat together at both meals. Allot more family oriented!
The public schools have been on strike for quite a while, and recently the Universities as well. The reason is because they want a better education. A nationwide strike was organized, and the private schools were in on it. There was still class in my school but nobody went. There was a walk around the city with a ton of people after about two blocks my host brother came up to me and said his dad called and didn´t want us to be there. that kind of sucked because I enjoyed it :/
And no exchange student that goes to south America can pass up the parties! Especially when the parents approve of it! Here Im old enough to legally drink but most of my friends aren't, they can still walk into a liquor store and buy what they want and leave without being carded. The parties usually begin around 10 and end at 5 or 6am never on a school night obviously. There is this drink called Pisco and it isn't in the USA :( but it has become my favorite!! It makes up for the fact that there isn't real coffee. By the way if you ever come to chile bring some recess! They don't have penut butter OR recess pieces/cups! (if you want to see the party pictures theyre on facebook, I'm not putting them on a public page)
While I'm here in chile I want to learn to surf! I live in a great city for surfing and the plane ride form Santiago had about 5 Germans going on vacation to arica for the surf!
There Are a lot of stray dogs, They walk the street like stray cats in the USA but with the dog personality. They are unusually calm though. I still get a little nervous when I see a mean looking dog but usually they just walk around. They don't seem to be unhappy either.
Things happen later! When we go out for a meal we leave at about 9:30 on a school night!! And I get about 5 hours of sleep. Thankfully my grades dont count! haha
And finally Spanish!
I studied Spanish for a year with an excellent teacher as well as studying ahead on my own. I Studied the grammar on my own because I knew we weren't going to cover it all. The only vocabulary I know is from school and about 25% of them have different meanings or a different word is used. The first time someone told me I understand "alto" I had to ask what that meant. I learned alto as tall and it's true but here it also means allot xP and then the word carro (car) isnt used here, instead they use the word auto. When I first got here everything sounded like blah blah blah and I thought Spanish was going to be inpossible! Now after almost 4 weeks I can make out all the words, understand about 60% of a fast conversation and about 75% of a slower conversation! A one on one slow conversation i understand about 95% of!! I still talk slow and have to use a lot of hand motions but in another month I think I'll be better and in about three months I think it'll be sooo easy!!!
I have a ton of great pictures! All are on facebook. If you want to see them add me! But. I won't except if I don't know who you are! Teachers, remember I'm not your student anymore ;P
If there are any questions or something you think I should add write A comment. thanks for reading!!!! :D