Saturday, August 16, 2014

A Well Deserved Break

So I'm visiting my brother and sister in law in North Carolina as I type this.

The last 2 weeks went by quickly.  I was busy with my usual teaching load of classes for the week, but on top of that I had midyear reports to complete, some students that requested help looking over things outside of class, and an impending move of our office.

Things kept changing as to both when and where we were moving.  Everything was supposed to get moved on Friday after work, but things changed and so they moved up in the middle of the morning when I was in class. 

That normally wouldn't have been a problem, but my computer then wasn't hooked up for me to work on the midyear reports I had to finish for the next 3 hours.

Luckily my boss was understanding and told me to get done what I could and I could take care of the rest when I get back.  

In addition to that, I taught Tuesday and Thursday nights until 10 for a new class and until 8 on Wednesday.  

I didn't get my place as clean as I wanted to before I left, and there were 4 reports I didn't get complete before I leave.  Even though my boss told me it was ok I still feel bad not having finished something before going on vacation.

The trip back to the States was typical: waiting in line to drop off my luggage and go through security, the requisite airport snack before getting on the flight, the sleeping and listening to music to pass the time on the flight, and the luck of having an empty seat next to me from Santiago to Miami.

There are a few things that catch me off guard every time I travel.  The first one is talking with other passengers on the flight.  A woman two seats away from me point to the Chips Ahoy that were included with my meal and asked me "Do you want?"  I responded in English, then in Spanish, and then gave her a confused look.  From her accent I wasn't sure where she was from and what language to speak.  She thanked me for the cookies, and we went back to listening to music.  

Another thing that is throwing me for a loop is hearing everyone around me speaking English.. I've had a 4 hour layover here before getting my flight to Philadelphia, and each time I hear people speaking English my ears perk and then I remember that I'm back in the States.  When trying to get past people in the food court I unconsciously say "Permiso" instead of "Excuse me". 

I've been home for a week now, so I´m halfway through my visit.  What are my feelings and impressions on the trip so far?

  • The food from home has been great.  I only get to eat particular foods when I'm home, so having that for two weeks is a nice treat.
  • Spending time with family and friends has been great too.  Just sitting around watching TV or playing card games while we catch up a bit is a nice way to relax, and the conversation is always light while we enjoy each other's company.  And of course it's great catching up with friends over a meal too.
  • I love movie theater popcorn.  In Chile they only make kettle corn, so having the real stuff was a nice treat.
  • Going to the food store is an experience.  I was amazed walking down the aisles of Shoprite and seeing so many varieties of cheese, and even though it's only August they had PUMPKIN PIE.  I got one to take home an enjoy.
  • Similarly, going to Target and Walmart is also an experience.  Seeing so much stuff available left me just wandering around the store looking at everything.  
  • Things here are organized and they work.  When I went to the bank it was open at 4 PM (they close at 2 PM in Chile), and I received a thank you and a pleasant attitude from the woman who helped me.  I was in and out in three minutes.
  • People here are polite.  If anyone comes within 2 feet of your personal space, they will say "Excuse me" as they pass by.  In Chile people will brush up against you or even knock into you without saying anything.
That's all for now.  Hopefully the second half of my visit will be as nice as my first.

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