Blogs from Constitución, Maule, Chile, South America

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South America » Chile » Maule » Constitución July 16th 2012

My last days of school continue to teach me so much. Some people are never going to appreciate the work I do for them, and they will never respect me as a teacher, but those that do express their gratitude both every day in class when they do their best and at the very end, make everything worthwhile. The love that I have received from so many here at Politecnico surpasses anything I could have asked for. One class of sophomores made a slideshow presentation complete with cute broken English phrases (thank you Google Translate) and photos of the students set to “Everyday it will rain” by Bruno Mars. Of course, they didn’t know what the lyrics meant, but hearing “if you walk away, everyday it’ll rain…” really broke my heart. They and their head teacher ... read more
farewell gifts
Chile!
Librarians made a nice display

South America » Chile » Maule » Constitución June 18th 2012

Last Wednesday I officially finished seeing all of Constitución. I went shopping with my host sister, Francisca, and while I didn’t buy much, I was intrigued by some of the things we encountered in the department store: an assortment of probably 20 different electric kettles, at least 6 different wood burning stoves for cooking, and many tiny appliances as opposed to the huge ones you find in Texas. The kettles of course are popular because everyone drinks tea and/or instant coffee. Francisca told me the stoves are often used in cabins for the dual purpose of heating the room and cooking. We also perused some shops that the people here call “ropa Americana,” or American clothes. These shops are a little too chaotic for my taste – like the clearance section of Old Navy. It’s probably ... read more
low clouds seen from Train ride
the train
Cueca show - northern Chile getup

South America » Chile » Maule » Constitución June 8th 2012

I learned some new vocabulary: Huelga means strike. Early last week I was informed that the biannual negotiations with the administering corporation for the school were happening now. Satisfactory offers were not made and therefore, Thursday began the strike. Everyone showed up, but the teachers did not enter. They stayed outside (luckily in the sunshine) making signs, standing around, and later in the morning, eating breakfast. The cooking teacher made bread dough at home and cooked it over fire at the school. Always bread no matter the occasion! And boy, this hot dense bread with a generous dose of butter was delicious… Besides for the bread, I showed up to get a glimpse of what exactly was going down. I had the opportunity to talk to a bunch of people that I hadn’t talked to before, ... read more
biking past great boulders
lovely weekend in Talca
cooking in my freetime

South America » Chile » Maule » Constitución June 4th 2012

I’ve experienced over 10 minor earthquakes or actually “temblores,” much less intense than an earthquake, since I arrived in Chile, (and my time here is about half over). Most have just been subtle movements. The most memorable ones were first in Santiago, I was sitting outside and had the sensation of being on a boat – a wavelike motion. Meanwhile, Talca and Conti shook pretty hard. The second most memorable was extremely brief but the movement was fast, and the only one that has scared me yet. I was at Cody’s place and all there hopped up and ran out the door since it was close by. Nothing bad happened, but it was a fraction of a taste of what many Chileans experienced at the end of February 2010. The night of the earthquake was the ... read more
what remains of many beachside buildings

South America » Chile » Maule » Constitución May 28th 2012

I’m so fortunate to have such a great bunch of friends from school. I am having a ball with Sayuri, her boyfriend Juan, and the rest of the guys: Luis, David, Milton, Gonzalo, Sergio, Cristian, and Narciso. I’ve gotten to go out with them a couple times now, and I always learn a lot. Over some pollo marinera (delicious chicken, sausage, and shellfish cooked together and served in a massive family style casserole dish) we discussed my life’s love story and then the state of Chilean education. I know – intense dinner conversation. I got a little more insight to the brokenness of the educational system… for example, Politecnico has many resources that go unused – 2 smartboards and a handful of laptops for one! They sit in storage for fear of damage. This country has ... read more

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South America » Chile » Maule » Constitución May 16th 2012

Meeting Sayuri’s Mom Talk about an amazing mom. I was invited to take once tonight with her at her home. We pulled up into the driveway beside a garden full of head high rose bushes. After entering through the door, I met the nana of sorts. She has essentially lived with the family since she was about 9 (now about 60) and she now lives and works with them for no pay other than insurance and room and board. Unlike many other nanas, she is welcomed as one of the family. She even dined with us later that evening. I can believe it though that this family would be so welcoming. It’s a large one – 4 sisters and 2 brothers Sayuri has, but I only met mom and one sister tonight. Mama walked into the ... read more

South America » Chile » Maule » Constitución April 23rd 2012

I have one class that is extremely reminiscent of my 8th period boys choir at HMS... all guys (because this is a mechanics specialty class), all very noisy, and a handful that are really interested in learning while the others would rather be goofy the whole time. Only difference is age - 12/13 vs. 16/17 - and desire to please me... sometimes. I can at least get these Chilean boys to shut up by threatening to not return. They seem to relish every compliment I give. When I assign a task and a couple people start to do it, I praise them by name aloud, and the others start waving their work in the air seeking compliments too. If one student answers something correctly, and I give him a big "excellent! That's exactly right!" Then there ... read more

South America » Chile » Maule » Constitución April 21st 2012

On Thursdays, I don't have any classes in the afternoon, so I took a nice long much needed siesta. After that I was ready to prepare dinner for the family and guests. We've been talking about me preparing something, and Francisca suggested I do it on the day we had 2 guests to sample it too. I needed a couple things at the grocery store first though so I gladly spent a little time there. It's seemingly never busy! I did go at a later hour though today and as a result, I ran into several students. One of them was picking up a shift of bagging groceries. The highlight of my trip however was walking down the aisles singing and dancing to my favorite Latino pop star, Juanes, sing over the speakers. I tried to ... read more

South America » Chile » Maule » Constitución April 19th 2012

I visited the Presbyterian Church that both Cristian and Narciso attend. Cristian gave me a ride and introduced me to literally every single person there - like 50 people. The church was small, so we filled it up pretty well. It was a nice little building: one large room with wood paneled walls, wooden beamed ceilings that came together at the center aisle, and wooden pews. At the alter was a poster of sheep in a green field with mountains in the backdrop. I was observant of my surroundings because I had a really hard time understanding anything that was said. Narciso tried to help me understand the message, giving me bits and pieces in English. He even owns a bible with both Spanish and English translations which he lent me. The music however, was perfectly ... read more

South America » Chile » Maule » Constitución April 13th 2012

Despite being perturbed that I was basically stood up for a meeting with the principal, it was again a pleasure getting to speak with Cristian for that hour. It seems like whenever I have a little downtime, he's always there to chat. He told me that there are two other blondes in town that look exactly like me, but we speak very differently. Apparently they have a very strong American accent that Cristian replicated for me - hilarious. We also talked with a few others about Religion. Apparently religious practice is quite common here. I have been asked on multiple occassions, do you have a religion? And I have been pleasantly surprised when they recognize Metodista. On my way out of school, I ran into Narciso with whom I visited for probably an hour. When they ... read more




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