Friday, July 9, 2010

The halfway point

Today is July 9th, and tomorrow will mark 5 months since I left home.  Tomorrow will also be the day I leave for my trip to Peru, and this is also the approximate halfway point before I fly back home for the holidays.

Taking some time to reflect on the experience, it makes me realize how much I have accomplished.  Even though I moved, I was able to keep myself with Chilean roommates so I wouldn´t be tempted to only speak English.  I found a group to play Magic with, and I´ve made Chilean friends.  I´ve gotten to do a good amount of traveling so far, and I have made some great friends with other people in the TeachingChile group.  I had the original goal of joining a music group here so I could keep up my bass skills, but renting a bass and finding an orchestra is proving to be more difficult that I was expecting.  I can give it a renewed try for the second half of my time here, but if it doesn´t happen I know I have my bass and the Philharmonic of Southern New Jersey back home.

In other ways, I´ve gotten used to life here.  I now use Chilean slang when speaking Spanish pretty regularly and without much thought.  I am used to sticking my arm out to call the busses to actually stop, and I will keep my arm out if they are passing by until they stop.  Getting squished into the bus with my messenger bag hanging halfway out the bus door is a completely normal occurance now. 

The decision to leave my school was not an easy one, and I feel lucky to have had some really good friends here that I´ve gotten to spend time with and help me out.  Some of them are only here for one semester, so they are already to pack up and leave.  Here are some pictures of hanging out with them from the last few weeks:

So on the 4th of July I went to Fantasilandia.  It´s a theme park here, and it was pretty awesome.  It´s very American, as it has similar roller coasters, food stands, and even carnival games to play.  It was about the size of Dorney Park, so enough things to do in one day but not overwhelmingly too much.  Luckily it was not too crowded since it isn´t winter break yet, so in the 4 hours we were there we got on a lot of rides.  It was great getting to go on roller coasters again and feeling the rush of adrenaline while going upside down or falling at full speed.  Here are some pictures from the day:

The line for Pirates of the Caribbean was too long of a wait, so I will have to check it out next time I am there.  I think perhaps the best part was that it only cost $15 to get in, and cotton candy cost about 60 cents.  I even got my ticket validated and now have a discount to come back for $10 by showing my ID. 

In other news, I got a package from my dad as well as a surprise package from Maureen today:

As you can see, it has all of the essentials.  This includes Kit Kats, the hair gel I use (it's hard to find anything that compares to this brand), Airborne, chocolate chips that have melted together into one large mass of chocolate, and my binder of Magic cards from back home.  Apparently you can buy Kit Kats from the duty free area of the airport when you are coming in from an international flight, so I will see if I can get some on my way back from Peru.

Isabel arrives Saturday afternoon, and I am so excited to get to see her.  We both taught in the same World Language department in the San Diego area (her French, me Spanish and German), and we have been good friends ever since then.  She is my first visitor here, and so it will be a great experience to get to show her around and also travel with her to Peru.

And this post would not be complete without some pictures of food.  Here is a schwarma from a restuarant around the corner from my apartment and a chocolate mousse milkshake:

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