Sunday, November 25, 2012

Vña, Lady Gaga, Social Gatherings, and Thanksgiving

The two weeks since my last update seem to be a big blur of teaching and social events.

Last weekend I took a day trip with a few friends to Viña del Mar.  The forecast said it was only going to be 70 and overcast, but it turned out to be almost 80 and sunny.  We tried to go to the Italian restaurant that I went to on my last visit, but they said that the entire restaurant was reserved from 12:30 til 2 with tour groups and to come back after then.  It was about 12:15 then and we were hungry, so we decided to find another place.  As we walked along the coast the restaurants cost more than what we wanted to pay, but we took some pictures along the way.  Back in town we settled on a place with a good menú.  The food was halfway decent but due to the slow service it took us over an hour and a half to eat despite the place being almost empty.  Afterwards we explored some more and sat in a park and just talked before grabbing a bus home.  It was a nice getaway from Santiago for the day.

A big event here in Chile was the Lady Gaga concert on November 20th.  People apparently waited in line for hours to get tickets, and it was a sold out concert.  Seeing that my apartment is so close to Estadio Nacional and I can open my windows to hear the concerts there I decided to have a party.  I got snacks and a cake, and then people brought their own drinks.  We ordered Papa Johns and anxiously awaited the concert.  It was supposed to start at 8, but the opening acts only started at 8:45 or so.  Lady Gaga only started well after 10, but we were able to hear her loud and clear.  Unfortunately most of us had to work early the next morning, so almost everyone left by 11:30.

Classes are winding down for the year here.  Kids are getting spring fever and are ready for their summer vacation, and adults are also looking forward to the summer weather.  I´ve had a few classes decide to end their classes for the year earlier than I was expecting, and the result has been less lukas coming in but more free time.  I´ve never seen myself as a very socially adept person, so I´ve been making the effort to get out and meet people.  This has included showing a new friend around to some of the restaurants I like to eat at as well as making some new friends that I met at the English Day event earlier this month.  Just yesterday I was at a farewell barbecue for two English teachers that I met a little over a year and a half ago, and I was also invited to a Thanksgiving Dinner.  I usually find myself preferring to be by myself rather than being social, but I am glad that I´ve gotten out and spent time with people.

And then of course there was Thanksgiving.  It isn´t a holiday here, but Chileans know about it.  I had work until 9 at night and it seems like people didn´t do anything to celebrate on Thanksgiving Day for the same reason, but I decided to go out to get some dinner with a friend.  I introduced him to Golfo di Napoli, the Italian restaurant near my apartment.  It was a nice meal and a good way to end the day.  

Even though it was celebrated a few days late, I was invited to a Thanksgiving Dinner on Saturday.  There was good food (turkey, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, pumpkin pie, and more), good company, and it was a good time.  Although I didn´t know the majority of the people there very well, it was nice spending time with people and sharing a meal together.  The host took pictures but I haven´t gotten a copy of them yet.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I realize that I have a lot to be thankful for: good health, family, friends, steady work, students that value my time and want to learn, a modern and comfortable apartment, and a comfortable lifestyle are among them.  I could keep on writing but I think you get the idea.  It´s so easy to get caught up in what´s wrong with our lives or things that are honestly so trivial in the grand scheme of things, but I´ve found that I´ve become much happier expressing gratitude for what I have and what is going right not only on Thanksgiving but every day.  I´ve found that I get less stressed out and can handle situations more calmly than before, and I can let go of the things that aren´t worth my time or energy and can focus on what does matter to me.

I hope that everyone reading this also had a Happy Thanksgiving and also has just as much if not more to be thankful for.


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