Published: April 24th 2012April 23rd 2012
I traveled to Talca again this weekend, but I spent most of the time at Cody's house with him and the others who live in Talca. I sucessfully took the micro (bus) by myself and found the place. Walking toward the house, I ran into him and Valeria coming from her house. We spent the afternoon planning and shopping for our great feast for the evening. Valeria, being from a Mexican family prepared quite an array of Mexican foods: refried beans from scratch, seasoned ground beef, and roasted tomato and pepper salsa from scratch. I prepped a lot of the vegetables and put together the guacamole which turned out delicious I must add! Cody - our sole man - did some grilling outside: corn - fresh from the family's farm, zuchinni, onions, and sausages. Justine brought some queso fresco. There were chips to go with the guacamole... a lot of food for our good company! The Chileans present were taken with the food. I pulled out some of my cookies that I had baked for dessert. They didn't turn out right at all - too much butter and not enough flour - but the flavor was at least good, and everyone
They were all taken aback when I said, "Now, we eat a little bit raw!" "It's bad for your stomach, no?" "Yes, but everyone says that and everyone eats it anyway!"
enjoyed the taste of home albeit a little different.
We ended up being a total of 8: Cody, Justine, Valeria, Kirby + two friends and her head teacher, and myself. Her head teacher was an absolute hoot! Very animated, a good singer, and extremely kind. All three Chileans were interesting to talk to. The two younger ones were the first Chileans I've heard say that they really do not like Chile at all. Everywhere else the nationalism seems abundant by the flags and cultural pride. These young ladies however hate how some things are just messed up - government, education, exclusive centralization in Santiago, womens' rights, difficulty (due to expense) of tourism, and attitudes of people concerning health, the environement, etc. It was kind of eye opening to me because I've been spending this past month learning to love this country. It's easy for an outsider to overlook those things that hurt the locals most. But I guess it can work that way for me in my home too right? The United States is quite glamorous to many foreigners, but some of us who live there feel like our society is totally screwed up.
evening, we were invited by some of Justine's friends to go out, and this time around, I decided to go - my first time going out since I arrived in Chile. We had a nice time - about 8 or so girls (Cody stayed home) at a club talking, singing karaoke, and of course dancing to some reggaeton! The party didn't really start though until about 1 in the morning. These Chileans are crazy late partiers! Unfortunate for me because by 2am, I'm ready to go, and the party has only begun! Regardless, I went home with a few others at 2:00. We got a nice sample :)
While waiting for the right collectivo to pass by for a ride home, we watched and listened to the cacophony of dogs barking. This corner was full of collectivos waiting for passengers and dogs barking at their humming motors. We ended up taking a collectivo with the nicest driver. We talked with him about ourselves and about what we're doing in Chile - sharing our doubts about the quality of English classes here - and he took each of us to our homes as if it was a taxi service. Earlier in the day, I had another experience with kind people helping me out. I got on the micro to go to Cody's place, and there was a little confusion with the bus driver, but when I sorted it out (well, he waved me out of the way to talk to Maria Gloria), a woman sitting on the bus motioned for me to sit next to her. She later told me that she would check with the bus driver on her way off the bus to make sure he had not forgotten my stop. He soon motioned for me to come sit up next to him at the front and told me kindly when it was my stop. Perhaps some of the Chilean attitudes are flawed, but I have been humbled by their helpfulness and kindness to me.
Sunday morning, Cody, Kirby, and I walked from Cody's house to the top of Cerro de la Virgen in Talca. It seems like every town has a Virgen relic on top of a hill. Anyway, most of the hike was between the house and the base of the hill. We passed a converging crowd of Colo colo and Ranger fans (futbol) for the game today, crossed the Maule river, and walked up the road leading to the top of the hill. The view from the top was pretty nice - many homes and a few high rise buildings on one side and mountains on the other. The mountains here are as difficult to see as those in Santiago due to the unclean air. We could however see the river and trees below - some of which are changing color. We relaxed at the top for a little bit. As hunger set in, our conversation of course shifted as it often does to foods we miss from home, so we decided to begin our descent. Kirby called home because her family had offered her a ride back. We joked about how difficult are phonecalls in Spanish - how we try to plan out what we're going to say, then the person at the other end says something really fast and in Kirby's case, hangs up! Luckily, we were able to communicate something though because we ended up getting a ride back home from Kirby's "Dad," Victor Hugo (yes. That's his name). I wasn't really feeling like another 2 hour hike to return.
I quickly savored our feast's leftovers for almuerzo before rushing out the door to return to the Talca house. I had messaged Francisca that I would try to return by 4pm, and it was already that time. I came in apologizing for my tardiness and not calling but soon realized that Francisca was still in her pajamas! Come to find out, she went out last night too! Of course, being a real Chilena, she stayed out much later than me and thus slept much later. No worries!