While I have been home for about two weeks now. It is still so weird that I traveled to South America. I cannot believe I did that and was given that opportunity. When I tell people my favorite parts I talk about the mountains and the excursions. I also talk about the relationships we made with the other students from the University. Making connections like those are once in a life time. I would like to thank everyone who made the opportunity available. My family loved the gifts I brought back for them and I was glad because finding gifts for 10 people was pretty difficult. From this experience I have grown as a teacher, student, and person. I learned many things about myself that I forgot about. I also learned how I react to certain situations. The most important is that I learned is that it's okay to be uncomfortable at times and that everything will work out the way it should. This experience was once in a lifetime and I have learned that I like to travel and hopefully I will be able to continue that in the future.
Well today is my last day here in Chile. It was an amazing experience and I am so blessed to have had this opportunity. From, this I have grown as a person, student, and future teacher. Yesterday we had an amazing day with our friends from Unversidad de Mayor. They welcomed us from the beginning. This trip would not have been the same without them. Yesterday we had a good bye dinner at one of the professor's house. It was amazing there was so much food and we got to make our own pasta. The evening was filled with happiness and laughter.
Looking back at this three weeks it has flown by. I can't believe everything I did here. Seeing all of the amazing sites with the mountains to all the friendships that I have made or have made stronger. I truly can't believe I am going home in less than three hours. My host family was truly amazing and so welcoming. They always made me feel like I was at home. I had so many laughs and great times with them. I'm sure as soon as I get home I will even reflect more about this experience. It has given me a new confidence about myself that I never knew I had. I cannot wait to see where my next adventure will take me and what I will learn from it. Thank you to everyone who made it possible for me to have this awesome experience.
Well it is the finally week of the trip. I leave on Saturday. I feel like I just got here. This trip has been amazing. I have learned so much about myself, this culture, and my fellow classmates. On Sunday we went on a coastal excursion. Let's just say it was amazing. We went to Pablo Neruda'shouse he is a famous writer from Chile. It was one of his three houses here. The views and the inspiration were amazing.
After that we went to a coastal city. The art work and graffiti there was truly inspiring. The graffiti was full murals that told a story. The first city we went to was a port city and the food was amazing. The city was filled with so many hills. I have no idea how the people do that every day. I was exhausted by the end. However, the view was totally worth it.
After we were there for a while we went to another coastal city down the road. This city had the beach and was amazing. Hearing the Pacific Ocean waves rolling in and crashing, as well as the sun setting was a once in a life time experience. It was a nice little time to sit there and relax and think about everything that has happened on this trip. This was how my Sunday night ended.
On Monday I started going to the school here. I went three days this week. It was a wonderful experience. I saw the similarities and differences between the educational systems. The class sizes at my particular school were small with about 15 kids in the classroom. It was also interesting to see how students who have disabilities are involved in the classroom. This was the outside of the school.
On Friday we went to a BBQ with our friends from UMayor. They were celebrating English Week. It was a wonderful time seeing our friends again. We have also made many new friends since being here. It is a great Unversity and it is so great to see so many students wanting to teach English. This is a photo when looking up from the camp grounds.
On Saturday we went on a horse back ride in the mountains. It was so pretty. My horse and I became very good friends. I was so glad that I choose to go. It was an extra activity that was definitely worth the price. We were gradually going up the mountain and the view just got better and better the higher we went. When we got to our destination at the top we had a BBQ. There was steak and chorizo it was so delicious. It was nice to be on top of the hill looking at the view of all the mountains around. It was a nice bonding time with my fellow girls in the group. Looking out towards the city just further made myself really think where I was and how amazing this has been so far. The view makes you think of all the great possibilities there is in this world.
This week as been different than last week. Last week we did a lot of sight seeing and touring of the city. This week is more about growing our relationships we have here. This week we have done many things with the partner university down here in Chile. At the university we have many friends. Some of those friends came up to Buffalo back in February when it was freezing cold. It is so nice to see them again. Also, we have made new friends do as well. It is amazing how nice the people are in this culture. Everyone is so welcoming.
The relationship with the other girls from Buffalo are continuing to grow. This week I have learned a lot about not being so fearful of certain things. Some of the experiences we have done this week have truly made me a little uneasy, but in the end it is a wonderful experience and you truly see how you are and continue to grow.
I am so grateful and so honored that I was given this opportunity to have this experience. I have truly learned so much about myself in the amount of time I have been here. I can not wait to see the growth at the end of the trip. I know this trip has made my a better person. I can identify my strengths and my weaknesses. This trip has made me a better teacher and student. Sitting in class and listening people speak Spanish to me and sometimes not having a clue what's going on in class is very eye opening. This experience will help me teach English language learners. I know truly know how it feels to be sitting in a class or even out and about and not understand what people are saying around me. The growth that I will have at the end of the trip will be life changing.
My first weekend in Santiago was amazing! On Saturday we went trekking in the Andes mountains. I was so excited! I love geology and was so interested in seeing them in person, especially because in some of my science classes I have learned how they were formed. As soon as I got there in was in complete awe. I was speechless and that doesn't happen very often.
This was in the beginning of the trip. It was right before we started hiking. About five minutes after this photo was taken I was told the first part of the trip about 2 km was the most difficult part. That is when I started to get nervous. I am not an advide hiker. I prefer long walks with no hills. The leader was going very fast. I started to get frustrated with myself because I felt like I should be able to keep up with the pace of the rest of the group. I got upset and thanks to some of my amazing girls on this trip the assured me we could just go at a slower pace and that it would be okay.
I relate this to English language learners because I feel like some of the students feel like they should be able to keep up with the rest of the class. However, that's not possible. We are not all built the same way we all have our strengths and our weaknesses. As teachers we have to remember that. Eventually all the students will end up pretty close together.
That is what happened to me. I did not get to the complete end, but I got pretty darn close. I was so proud of myself. I did not think at the beginning or the middle I would be able to get where I did. Looking back it was a mental mind game that I was playing with myself. This is a picture that was taken about 1 km before where I finished.
After the long and strenuous day of Saturday we had a free day. I went to lunch at an amazing Italian restaurant with the rest of the girls and one of our Chilean friends. The portions of food were so big. After we had lunch the girls and I walked around Santiago. It was nice to connect with the girls and just chill. This was a photo taken in front of a fountain near our school.
Spanish school is getting better everyday I am learning so many things. I am getting more and more confident every day. Yes, I do have the trouble of pronouncing certain words. Those ones tend to be the long words and the one with the rr. For some reason I cannot roll my r's. I haven't been able to in high school and don't think I will be able to know. The teachers are so patient and really do want you to use your Spanish as much as possible if not always. Even if you make a mistake and I do a lot of the times the are very patient and will give me the correct pronunciation or word. This is very helpful because my affective filter is low in class. This means I am able to learn more in class. Also, if class is getting a little to tense the teacher makes the class fun by playing a game or telling a joke.
On Wednesday we went to Los Dominicos. Here there was a beautiful church as well as many artist shops. These shops had things made from leather, wood, and metal. They were absolutely gorgeous and they were all made by hand. It is just so amazing at all the wonderful places there truly are here.
On Thursday our original plans had to change so we had a rest day. Thanks to Natalie and her amazing pen pal Christine I was able to go to a park. It was called Parque Bicentenario. It was breath taking. Basically it was a park rig next to the municipal building. However, this park had walking and biking paths. It had ponds with different animals. There were birds, swans, pidgeons, and flamingos. I was so surprised! However the dormant volcano was in the background. I was so in love with the view. It was truly magnificent, however because of the pollution it was not has clear as it would normally be. Still, I was like a little kid looking at this huge volcano. It shows how beautiful the Earth can be and just how small we are compared to other things around us. I love the geography here. This is the one view from today.
Today we went to Sainta Lucia. It was gorgeous it reminded me of a princess castle on top of a hill. The park was built on a hill that used to be rocks in the middle of the city. Then one governor decide to put these beautiful place there. On this hill was fountains, a castle, and a tower. It was almost like you were in another world. Seeing moments like this truly takes your breath away. When I was on the tower it felt like you could see the whol city. You could see mountains on the east and the west.
Well I'm a couple of days into the trip. I am amazed at how much I do remember from high school. I have learned that I am much better at classroom Spanish than I am real life Spanish . This is such an amazing experience! However, I did NOT sleep on the plane. I was super tired on Sunday but once I got some rest I was fine.
This is one of the Spanish classrooms at Escuela our Spanish school. Well it is at least one of the classrooms. At the school there are other groups from the United States as well as other people for South America. We take two classes a day one is for conversation and the other one is for grammar. Personally, I feel like I am much better at grammar than I am at conversations. Here is all the girls that went on the trip from Buffalo State.
This was in the beginning in the school day. Everyone was so happy and even after our classes everyone was still happy. We were not all together in our classes in the morning we took a placement test to decide where are levels of Spanish are.
The strangest part is waking up in the morning and everything isn't where it normally would be. For example, my straightener would normally be on my one dresser and my makeup and mirror is next to my bed. Even thought I unpacked everything and tried organizing it, still it is no where near how it is at home. I am much more organized here than I am at home.
On Monday after school we went to a tea. It was hosted by Universidad de Mayor by our Chilean friends. It was wonderful to see all of our old friends we haven't seen since February and to make new friends. After the tea we went to a BBQ at Escuela. It was great the food was absolutely amazing. There I was really trying to practice my Spanish. I actually had a conversation about football in Spanish. I was very proud of myself.
Today we had Spanish school again. After Spanish school we went and hike to San Cristobal. It was amazing. The view was really cool to see. Unfortunately we could not see the Andes because of all this smog.
Personally, for me I feel like I am figuring out who I am. Not only am I growing as a person but as a learner. I don't not have my family and friends from home to rely on. Yes, I do have the other girls here and they are amazing, but it's a different feeling. You realize how you act in different situations and how it is when it is super crowded. I have realized I truly do like living in a small town and knowing everyone. It is a peace of mind that just comes with it. Yes, Santiago is safe but for a small town girl like me you can feel lost in this big city. I cannot wait to see what other adventures we will have over the next two weeks.
It is the day I leave to go to Chile. Today my events consisted of going to some stores and getting some last minute things for the trip and breakfast with the parents. However, I am not done yet! It is really starting to hit me like I am really going to Chile today.
This is the motto I am going to keep in my head throughout this whole trip. It is so weird to think that graduation was exactly a week from today. My life is really starting to be an "adult" life. This summer my mission is to have the best summer and concentrate on myself in order to become the best person I can be. A lot of my good qualities that I have, have been taught to me by my parents. My parents have taught me to be caring, try my best, and be hard working.
My wonderful family,well at least part of them. Missing is my older and younger brother. But, my family has been there to help me succeed and try my best.
I cannot believe in less than 24 hours I will be in Chile it is so surreal. All of the unknown fears I am questioning. Example, I will I be? Am I going to be able to understand the language? How frustrated will I be while trying to learn the language? All of these questions I will be able to answer in three weeks and that is crazy. Well its time to go pack for this crazy trip I am so glad that I am apart of!!
So, this is my first ever blog post so here it goes! It is 13 days until we go to Chile. I am super excited, but also nervous at the same time. I have never been away from home for more then 5 days and now I am about to go away for 3 weeks. It's crazy! I am a person who likes to stay in my comfort bubble and my goal for the year was to do different activities and experiences in which they push myself outside of my comfort bubble. This experience is one of those events.
This experience will be life changing. I am hoping to learn more about myself. I am hoping it will help me to become a better teacher, student, and life long learner. There are so many aspects of the trip I am excited for the: geography, culture, food, meeting new friends, and the experience in itself.
Last Monday, during class we were assigned different jobs for the trip. I will be the class's Navigator. My job is helping the group find their way around the city. I will map out the ways to get to different activities, this can be either with walking or public transportation. I feel like I will be great at this job because I have a strong sense a direction. I actually get it from both my mom and my dad. I also am very good at following directions once I am given them either from another person or in written form.
13 days from now I will be in Chile!!!!