Monday, June 28, 2010

World Cup Disappointment

So just about half an hour ago Chile lost its World Cup dream against Brazil.

To be honest, after the first two games my World Cup fever wore off pretty quickly.  After each game I asked to find out what happened, but I was pretty indifferent to it all.

There hasn't been much newsworthy lately.  I saw Toy Story 3 in Spanish, and while I didn't understand every single word or every joke it was still pretty cool.  The movie was cute and adorable and true to Pixar's style of movies.

I also enjoyed catching up with some friends over the weekend, and it was refreshing just walking around town together and exploring the markets and getting a bite to eat.

As students are busy taking semester exams and the semester is winding down, I am looking forward to Isabel visiting and exploring Peru together.

It will hopefully be a nice escape from the rain here.  There is not very good drainage, and it is not uncommon to see huge puddles and water almost up to the curb, so you need to be careful when waiting for the bus or walking on the sidewalk in order to not get soaked:

And here are some of my recent meals: Cazuela (soup with rice chicken and pumpkin), a California burger, and a tortilla espaƱola with tomato inside.

Monday, June 21, 2010

More World Cup Fever

So today was Chile's 2nd game in the World Cup.  They played against Switzerland, and they won.  I heard stories about riots in Plaza Italia and the police using teargas in order to keep the crowds calm.  Part of me wishes I was there, but part of me doesn't.  Then I found this article online:

Then I was glad I wasn't there.

At school we watched the game in the gym since it was on at 10 AM here.  Here are some pictures:

Now it will be interesting to see how Chile does when they play Spain on Friday at 2:30.

In other news, I am loving teaching English classes to business people.  I started working for an institute here that sends teachers to companies to teach English to their employees, and they all have been very motivated to learn.  I am currently teaching at Johnson and Johnson's headquarters in Santiago, and the institute also has clients like LAN airlines, Chiquita, BanChile, and even the Chilean government.  I started one class already and will have another two new classes this week.

I am also contemplating joining a gym.  While I am walking to and from school, I feel like I need more exercise.  There is a gym that is about a 20 minute walk from my place, and it's open 24/7.  It has the standard classes and enough equipment to work out, and there's an online special of about $24 per month if you sign up for a year.  I am planning on being here for next year, so I am really considering it.  Oh yeah, and when you work out on the 3rd floor you have an amazing view of the Andes.

And becuase I'm a dork I had to take a picture of this as I was leaving class at Johnson and Johnson tonight:

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

CHI CHI CHI LE LE LE VIVA CHILE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That is a famous national chant in Chile that was heard over and over again today.

For anyone who has been living under a rock, today Chile won its first match in the World Cup against Honduras.  It's a particularly special event since Chile got back into the World Cup after a 12 year hiatus.

I knew it was going to be a big event, and so I went shopping for some World Cup things to get in the mood to watch the big game.  I was considering some hats and shirts, but I didn't want to spend a lot of money.  After visiting a bunch of stores with different things, I settled on a few horns and flags and a face paint set with red, white, and blue.  Since Erin and I wanted to go out and find things together but didn't manage to follow through with it, I got a set of things for her too.

I usually get to school around 7:50 or so (classes start at 8), but seeing the match was starting at 7:30 I had to drag myself out of bed earlier than usual.  As I walked to school a few cars were honking their horns, and some people were hanging huge Chilean flags out their windows.  I got to school around 7:15 and promptly dropped off my things in  the teacher's lounge and made my way to the cafteria (they call it the casino here in Chile).

I would say that about 100 kids were there, and also the faculty and staff.  There was artwork out front, and the windows were all covered over so that when the lights were off we could see the game on the large projection screen.  Some of the kids were in uniform, but most of them had some combination of red shirts/scarves/face paint etc.  There were also a lot of flags and horns.  They set up bleachers in the back of the casino and chairs. 

Enough of the text, here are some pictures:

When Chile scored, the place erupted.  Then it erupted again once Chile won the game.  After talking with students and teachers, I headed back to the teacher's lounge.  There Claudia and 2 other teachers were calmly sipping some tea and grading papers.  When they saw me with the flag and face paint, they told me I'm more Chilean than they are. 

Unfortunately I couldn't be at Plaza Italia where the big celebrating was happening, but they did have the news at my school, and I might be on the Channel 13 news. 

On Monday Chile plays Switzerland, and at school they are having some competitions and games leading up to us watching the game together.  It should be pretty exciting.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The question isn´t what we are going to do, the question is what we AREN´T going to do!

In case if you don´t recognize that quote, it is from the classic 80s film Ferris Bueller´s Day Off.  I am watching this at school now.  Why am I doing this and not helping with English classes you ask?

Well, Claudia and I were preparing to give our class their oral tests first thing this morning.  Then one of the math teachers came in and announced that there was a math test to be given to the entire school to determine their math level.  They were taking the test right then, and it was scheduled to take over 2 hours. 

Claudia didn´t need my help giving the test, so I had free time.  Luckily I had brought Claudia´s copy of Ferris Bueller´s Day Off with me, and Claudia had her laptop at school with her. 

So you might still be wondering why I am watching it.  Well, the 10th grade students are finishing up a unit on crime and getting into trouble.  This movie is so perfect for that theme.  It has playing hooky, impostering others, joyriding, lying, and more.  It´s actually one of my favorite movies.  I´m working on a study guide so the students can follow along to the movie and understand it.

On a different note, World Cup Fever is in full swing here.  Kids at school have purchased books that list all of the players for each team, and there are cards that they are collecting to fill in each blank for each player.  Next Wednesday will be Chile´s first match at 7:30 AM here, and they are going to broadcast the game in the gym on a large screen so everyone at school can see.

But that´s not all.  Some schools have actually cancelled classes for that first game.  Other schools are letting students come in after that first match is over.  The Ministry of Education has allowed students to leave school early (at 1:00) Friday the 25th so that they can make it home in enough time to watch the game that starts at 2:30.

It´s really interesting to see all of the World Cup memorabilia on display.  I am going to try to get an official shirt and maybe a cup and book to bring back as souvineers and also as something to show to any Spanish classes I will have.

Another interesting grammar point: When do you use say, and when do you use tell?

You use say when you say something to someone.

You use tell when you tell someone something.

It´s a very subtle difference but a difference nonetheless.  I found the lyrics for ¨Hello, Goodbye¨ by The Beatles, and we will probably sing the song in class next week.

That´s all for now.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Sledding down sand dunes

So this weekend was an adventure I wasn't expecting to have.
I arrived in Valparaiso (Valpo for short) around 11, and it was good to see Donny and Allison again.  Erin (one of many in our program, I hadn't seen her since my 2nd week here) was also visiting, so we were a group of four.

After we got back to their place and got some lunch (for me, for them it was breakfast) Donny asked me "So do you want to sled down some sand dunes today?"  My answer:  "Sure, why not?"

The bus ride to Concon (where the sand dunes were) felt more like a ride in a getaway bus from Grand Theft Auto.  We were passing cars, taxis, and other busses left and right, and the sudden lane changes added to the excitement.  We all squished against each other as we went around the curves, we felt like we were on the Tilt A Whirl.  I was wondering if we would tip over at the speed we were going.

We made it to Concon in one piece, and then we saw the sand dunes.  Now I thought they would be some hills of sand that were cool to check out, but these sand dunes were MASSIVE.  After renting some sleds, we made our way up to the top of the dunes, and Donny put his waxing skills to good use:

Once the boards were waxed up, we were ready to go.  Erin and I went first.  She hopped right on and flew down the sand dune, and she didn't even use her feet as brakes to stop.  I wiped out and ended up with sand in my face, hair ears, jeans, shoes, socks, and jeans pockets.  I'm suprised it didn't make it into my nether regions.

It was an awesome ride down, but the hike back up was rough.  Unfortunately there wasn't any ski lift to make the trip back up easier.

After returning the sleds (we rented them for an hour) we decided to explore more of the sand dunes.  Along the way we found people sandboarding (like snowboarding), a motorcycle parked along the way, and surprisingly even more sand.  Donny and Erin decided to run down some sand dunes at top speed to see how they would land, and I decided to do the same but with a smaller one.

We saw a nice view with some cliffs and rocks out by the ocean, so we started to make our way out there.  After wandering down more sand dunes, through some brush, and crossing the road right along the coast we made our way out to the coast:

Sinc we were right along the main road we were able to take a bus from there back to Valpo.  After knocking the sand out of allstuff we rested up and got some Peruvian food for dinner.  There was delicious bread with some sauces, and here was my dinner of rice with chicken:

Our plan after that was to go to a kareokee bar, but it turns out that they weren't doing karokee that night.  So it was a low key night back at Donny and Allison's place.  The following morning we went out for some breakfast, and I got some panqueques (which were more like crepes than pancakes) with some hot chocolate.  After that I decided to make my way back to Santiago.

It was a really nice visit, and a nice escape from Santiago.  Next time I visit I will go to the empanada place twice (they were closed each time I tried to go this weekend), check out the Easter Island Museum, and also go to a comic book museum for a famous comic strip character that was also closed.

Besides traveling, life back in Santiago has been good.  I am feeling more included with the teachers at my school, and I feel like I now have my free time filled with social activities and with teaching extra classes to bring in some more money.  I went to a German-speaking event at a local pub, and it was nice getting to practice my German and meet some new people.