Amongst all of the crowds, traffic, pollution, buildings and other wonderful city normals...Santiago, Chile has much to offer! It is a beautiful city.
Yesterday we had to cancel our plans due to a protest in the center of the city. Students often protest about the education system here, and although it is usually peaceful, there are sometimes people who are not students that come and ruin it for everyone. Although I was disappointed about not being able to stick to our schedule, it was a blessing in disguise. Christine offered to show me around the city, to some parts outside of Providencia that I might not otherwise get a chance to see. We went to a park uptown, Parque Bicentenario. It was so beautiful and surrounded by the mountains and volcanoes. Christine told me that Santiago is essentially in a "ditch." The city is surrounded by mountains on all sides. Thus, the pollution. It has nowhere to go because the mountains block it from getting out. One side are the Andes Mountains and the other mountains are on the coast. Still waiting for the rain to clear out the pollution so that the mountains become more prominent. FLAMINGOS! The park had flamingos. I was not expecting to see them, so it was a nice surprise.
On our way home from the park, we stopped for a completo. What is a completo you ask? It is a hotdog with tomatoes, avocado and mayo...yes, MAYO! I also added ketchup, mustard and hot sauce. The pictures say it all...(Shout out to Kim, what are your thoughts??)
Today we found out that next week we will be changing our spanish classes. I do not feel as though a week was enough or that I made enough progress to up and change classes. I was starting to feel a little more comfortable with the teachers and my classmates. But Dr. Patti says that it will be a good change to see the different teaching styles here in Chile. I trust her and I am optimistic! After class we visited a gorgeous public library with stain glass windows and winding stairways. We then trekked up Santa Lucia hill. Again, beautiful sights everywhere I turn. We learned that this was a very old hill and that the governor thought it was very ugly looking so he built a beautiful entryway (top right photo, below). We hiked up stone steps, which were very scary looking, to a tower overlooking the city and a castle (bottom right photo, below)! Muy bonita!
Tomorrow I take on the Andes Mountains. Challenge accepted.
My name is Natalie and I am a graduate student at Buffalo State College in the special education program. I have been given this amazing opportunity to really grow not only as a student, but as a teacher and a person. Through this experience my hope is that I get to know myself better as an individual; develop a deeper understanding of the Chilean geography, culture and language; and gain a different perspective on the possibilities within the classroom. I hope that you follow me on this journey and learn right alongside me.