May Wright

Emelia May

May Wright

My name is May, and for four months of 2012, I'm going on an Adventure: teaching English in Chile!

Riding from Iquique to Calama was a pretty nice ride since I, by luck, chose a seat on the left side of the bus which looked out on the beach rather than dirt hills for about 2/3 of the journey. The final 1/3 was back to barren desert: brown earth, blue sky… and white clouds? What!? So supposedly San Pedro very rarely has clouds. And by bad luck this time, it was cloudy on the one night I would have the opportunity to go on an astronomy tour – the thing I was looking forward to most in San Pedro. The rest of the week, the moon would be too bright to view the stars very well. The strange thing was that the clouds came and went all throughout the week. I guess if that never ... read more
Open Spaces from the top
Cling for your life!
Altiplanic Lake

South America » Chile » Arica & Parinacota July 27th 2012

The trip started in Santiago as we would be flying from there on Sunday evening. We spent a leisurely morning at Tia Raquel’s place until we made our way to the airport. Everything was an absolute breeze since the airport is divided into domestic and international flights and apparently, there aren’t very many domestic flights – at least when you consider how many domestic flights there are within the United States. As we had plenty of time, I did the usual: walk around, buy a cup of coffee, etc. Francisca was taking lots of pictures to commemorate her first time flying. She ended up doing very well! Maria Gloria also did so well flying that I assumed she had flown before, but come to find out, she hadn’t! I was the cause for these two bus-travelling ... read more
Francisco, our guide
Us three with the Morro behind

South America » Chile » Maule July 21st 2012

I started my journey to winter camp on Monday afternoon after a nice gathering of family over pollo a la marinera at our favorite beachside restaurant. My favorite relative, Tio Sergio, the one I met in Vilchez was there and he dropped me off at the terminal. I was so afraid that I was going to miss the bus… anyway, the little bus started up it’s old engine and we putted (like 5 miles per hour maybe?) up the hills of Conti. The journey was a new one for me so I got to see scenery I had never seen before: lots of forest and countryside with chickens, cows, horses, and sheep, old rickety homes, and some homes that were partially collapsed and abandoned. At one point, the view broke open to reveal the ocean – ... read more
Chocolate Chickens!
National Reserve
Mushrooms in the Reserve

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
Librarians made a nice display

South America » Chile » Maule » Talca July 10th 2012

Well – I thought that last week was my last trip to Talca, but like many other times here in Chile, my expectations were unfulfilled. As I am here in Chile for over 3 months, I have to obtain a visa. The program that I’m with helped me start the visa, but they certainly don’t help finish it. I hadn’t heard anything official about my visa, and the paperwork I did have was expired. I began to imagine showing up at the airport in a few weeks only for them to say I can’t travel. So, I asked around, and the first 3 people I asked did not respond. I finally was able to find some counseling on what I should do from the people in Santiago. They advised me to go to Talca – where ... read more

South America » Chile » Maule » Talca July 2nd 2012

I’ve been working with the 2nd year class on a self-introduction which ends, “In the future, I hope to ____.” We went over a variety of options for this: occupations and desires for the future, and I asked them to fill in the blank. The next class, when I looked at their notes, many had neglected to fill in the space. First I thought for not paying attention, but the more I asked individuals, “What do you want for your future?” only to be greeted by a blank stare, the more I realized that many of these kids do not have desires for their future. What I thought to be a very basic practical skill lesson uncovered some deeper truths for me. Many of these kids are indeed poor, so I hear. Luckily I cannot tell ... read more

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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