Monday, April 26, 2010

The Language Lab, ANZAC Day, and my first trip to the movies

Late last week Claudia and I decided to check out the Language Lab that was supposed to be such a big deal at our school.  This year they changed the English classes from 5 hours a week to 3 hours a week of class and 2 hours in the Language Lab.

Well, I guess I'll start out by saying that it's not perfect.  There are 32 computers, and most classes have around 35 kids.  When I was in there during a free period there were 6 kids without computers.  Some computers were not connecting to the program, and other kids had problems with their microphones not being able to hear their voices (and were therefore unable to continue with the program).  Other kids were typing in translations of words and phrases, and the program was telling them that it was wrong when I knew it was right.  We even tried it different ways with capitalization and spacing but to no avail.  When they didn't do something right or there was some type of technical issue, the instructions were all in English.

The technician of the lab was busy running around putting out one fire after another, and even though they were 10th graders, they mostly seemed at the level of working on letters and numbers.  A few of them might be at that level, but certainly not all of them.  (They supposedly took a diagnostic test to determine what level they would start at, and would then work individually from there)  I think the best part (or worst depending on your point of view) is that the technician that runs the English Lab doesn't speak English.  Oh yeah, and the kids get a grade in the Language Lab too, so it will be interesting to see what grades the kids get that don't have a computer to work on.  Yup, I'm definitely in Chile.

So my weekend was pretty relaxed.  I will from this point forward refer to my room in my house as my cave, as there are no windows and I have a sole lightbulb that hangs from the ceiling as my lightsource.  I cleaned my cave and sorted through random papers and receipts that I had piling up.  And after that I went to a party that Chris and Tiffany were throwing in honor of ANZAC Day.

Basically ANZAC Day is a day to remember the fallen soldiers of Australia and New Zealand from the 1st World War.  Chris and Tiffany made up signs showing typical Australian slang with translations into American English that the rest of us would be able to understand, and there was good food too.

Here is fairy bread, which is bread with melted butter and sprinkles (and I learned that sprinkles are called hundreds and thousands in Australian):

And here is a dessert called lamingtons.  It is made by taking sponge cake, then covering it in melted chocolate and then putting coconut all over it:


And here is Chris showing off his buns:

The meat on the barby:

Me cutting my meat and Julie looking very excited about her Aussie burger:

And here are a few fellow teachers (Erin and Juila) and a guy named Arturo I met at the party:

As you can see, it was a good time.

Then on Sunday I didn't have much planned and was bored at home when I got an invitation to go see Shutter Island later on.  At first I wasn't going to go since it was all the way in Las Condes and didn't know how to get there, but since I didn't have any other plans I decided to go after all.  It turns out that I only had to take 2 busses and it only took about 30 minutes to get there. 

The movie theater was at the same mall that I was at a few weeks ago for lunch with Claudia and her family, and I started to get a bit hungry as I passed by Pasta Basta, the Italian restaurant we ate at together.  I tried calling David but he didn't answer.  I texted him about 10 minutes later and still got no answer.  I walked around to kill some time, and decided to go back to the movie theater one last time. 

As I got there David and Jordan were walking out.  It turns out they decided to catch an earlier showing of Shutter Island.  We talked about going to Pasta Basta for an early dinner instead of the movie, but then they realized that they didn't know if anyone else was going to show up or not.  As we were waiting a girl named Linda showed up.  We talked about all going to Pasta Basta, but Linda really wanted to see Shutter Island.  She also had a discount ticket for 2 people, so her and I went to see it and Jordan and David did their own thing instead.

Popcorn at the movies here is either salty or sweet, and there is no butter flavoring thingie to make it extra fattening.  I was a bit weary of seeing the movie since movies that get scary or violent still affect me a bit, but I was fine.  The movie really messed with your mind, as everything you thought it was completely changed as time went on.  The dream sequences were really strange but made sense in the end.  The one thing I still haven't figured out is the paper that Rachel wrote about "The law of 4".

I've also gotten on the ball with some little things I've been meaning to do: research for traveling to Easter Island, Machu Picchu, and Bolivia, I bought a camera case, and I also filled up some empty bottled waters with sand rather than buying dumbells to work out with.

This coming week will hopefully have at least one of the following: news of moving to a new place (the new roof is worse than the first with letting in wind and dirt and also leaks, I keep getting food stolen from the fridge even though my name is plastered all over it, internet is incredibly slow or broken, and some people just leave the place filthy) going to see How To Train Your Dragon, bike rides in semi warm weather to explore more of Santiago, and a paycheck on Friday.  We shall see what the future holds.

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