Hola de Providencia!!!!
Chile is absolutely amazing so far! The long hours of travel were totally worth it. We had a mishap when our plane landed later than expected and the van that had been arranged to pick us up left the airport before we landed. We quickly came up with a plan b thanks to a very helpful man from the airport and I couldn’t have been more thankful for Dr. del Prado’s Spanish and experience to help us out of that one! After traveling for over 24 hours, no ones brain was working properly!
I was the first to be dropped off with my incredible host family. I live with Mery, mi mama, Ignacio (21,) mi hermano, y Javiera (15,) mi hermana. They live in apartment building on a fairly busy street. I have a nice room that has been very comfortable so far. Mery is very accommodating and loving. I am really enjoying getting to know them. Yesterday we arrived, met our families, and napped before meeting back up as a group for lunch. It was very cold yesterday and we were all bundled up! It has been difficult for us to get used to being so cold in our houses because they do not have heat. My family has a small portable heater that they occasionally move from room to room but indefinitely had to sleep in winter socks, slippers, sweats, a hoodie, thick gloves and wore my beanie. My bed is right under a window and I was freezing!
This morning we all met at ECELA. Ecela is the school that we study Spanish at. We take two classes from 9-1 there. The first class is a conversation class and the second is more about grammar. In the first class we had Profesor Javier. He was very friendly and taught us a lot. We started with basics: Soy Daniela. Soy de Nueva York. Tengo vente y cuatro anos, etc… We also had a large lesson about directions, which is helpful since we do a lot of walking in this unfamiliar city but very confusin to learn! In the second class, we had Profesora Silvia. She taught us vocabulary and the alphabet, as well as, the verbs ser and estar. We have already started to make some new friends (all thanks to Sam and her outgoing personality!) We met a girl from Scotland, a girl from Colorado, and there are many people here from Brazil.
I feel like I did really well in my Spanish classes. A lot of my Spanish is definitely coming back to me. It is exhausting to have the constant language barrier though! Now that I’m in bed, I just want to turn my brain off!
After school they had a really nice welcome lunch/meeting for us. They served us Chilean empanadas, salami, olives, and chips and dip. From there we decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather that we had today and take a walk to San Cristobal. It is a nearby mountain with a large statue of the Virgin Mary and they also have a zoo there. It was a long walk to San Cristobal, but it was very enjoyable to make our way through the city in the good weather. We rode a funicular straight up the cerro (hill) to see the views. Once we reached the top, we still had many steps to climb before reaching the statue. We saw beautiful views of the mountains and Santiago. Sam and I spent a lot of time talking to more new friends- an economics student from New York City and a student from Switerzerland. The people you meet while you are traveling are incredible.
After visiting cerro San Cristobal, we had to be back at Ecela for a BBQ! This was a really nice evening with the staff from Ecela and other students. They had a large grill that they cooked a ton of asado on! They also had corn, potatoes, rice, and salad. The meal was delicious! There were many conversations all around the table. I sat next to girls from Germany and France who both spoke excellent Spanish, I was very impressed. I admitted to Dr. del Prado and Dr. Patti how surreal the experience felt. It looked like a movie to me. Everyone was participating in rich conversations, enjoying the company of others, the meal was very informal, everyone took their time and ate while they chatted and at the same time I couldn’t shake this uneasy feeling like I was in a hurry or had somewhere to be. It was so stereotypical American of me but I really had a hard time just enjoying the moment. I had no where to be, I am here to have these types of meaningful experiences, and there I was checking the time and feeling like I needed to get home. I hope that by recognizing I learn to change this natural feeling in the next few weeks and appreciate the time I spend here and the people I am surrounded by.
When I did come home, I was finally able to FaceTime Knicholas. He was so happy and I couldn’t help but continue to speak Spanish. He said, “Stop speaking Spanish! Use your words!” Hahaha I also got him to count to ten in Spanish for my host family, which they really enjoyed getting to “meet” him. I feel like I have so much to write but I’m so tired! I hope we have more nice weather! I couldn’t have asked for a better host family and already love them.