Thursday, August 5, 2010

Arrival in Pucón and Random Thoughts

So I am in Pucón now.

I got to the airport in Santiago in enough time to stop and enjoy Dunkin Donuts this time, which was nice since Isabel and I had to bypass it when I was there last time since we were running late.  It was only an hour and a half flight, and when I arrived in Temuco I had no idea how small the airport would be.  We walked off the plane down the stairs and then into the airport from the tarmac.  There was only a small store with some snacks and a few gates.

After that, it was a 2 hour bus ride from Temuco to Pucón.  The hostel I am staying at is run by a family, and they have a cat and dog here.  It is very homey and log cabin like, and I chatted with some people from the States and France over dinner.  It has been raining here all day, so it is nice staying in and relaxing.

So it is funny how people try to take advantage of you as a foreigner living here.  When I was coming back from Peru with Isabel, a guy at the Santiago airport offered to help carry my bag to the shuttle bus.  Then he proceeded to ask for a tip, and he told me that he would take any currency and started listing a bunch of them.  I had  some Peruvian soles with me, so I gave him  a 2 sol coin.  (That is equal to about 70 cents)  He thanked me but then when he saw what I gave him he turned to another person there and  started complaining to him about it.  Then he turned to me and started to complain to me about it.  I told him if he didn´t want it I would happyily take it back, but in the end he decided to keep it after all.

The idea of personal space and having a personal bubble does not exist here.  If you are getting on the bus and there are people in front of you, people will still push into you so that they can get on, even if there is clearly no space for you to go.  I have been pretty fortunate in that when I take the bus and metro around rush hour that I have not had to be squeezed too badly between people and the door yet.

Teaching my students has been a really cool experience.  They have some awesome and really interesting questions.  For example, one woman asked me about hyphenating words at the end of a page.  She didn´t think that you could do that in English, but I showed her what it would look like with dividing a word by the syllables.  At first I thought that something like that would be common knowledge, but now that I think about it, it is becoming less and less common.  When we type on the computer the words wrap around to the next line if they don´t fit on the line, and I think the same thing happens in books in English too.  With how much of what we do being electronic now, she wouldn´t really have had an opportunity  to see how hyphens are used  in English.

I thought I really had English down before I began teaching it full time, but I am realizing how complex of a language it is to learn and teach.  I really think about the verb tenses and why we use them when we do, and I am also realizing things like pronunciation with silent letters in words and so many other nuances of a language.  It is challenging, but exploring how to teach it and figuring out the rules of linguistics and such are really intruiging for me.

Tomorrow it will be a day of biking or horseback riding and then relaxing in some hot springs to make up for missing them in Peru.  Hopefully the rain will stop so that the day will be clear by afternoon.

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