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April 5th 2008
Saved: December 23rd 2014EDIT THIS ENTRY


So first you have the Chilean mounties and the biker huasos

It's a saturday, I'm lazing around right now, gym class killed me yesterday, and I've discovered that black tea with honey is amazing

I'm definitely getting into a really relaxed phase of my exchange. I hang around the house with my host family a lot more. I like to cook. I study. I read. I salir on weekends. I've got school, but it's so much easier now. I understand a lot more, and they're not really passing much new material now. This year is more for getting ready for the PSU, which is like an ACT that gets way too much importance

I'm getting anxious to get back, but I don't look foreward to leaving. You live in a place for a year, and it becomes your normality, a second home. I go to el Colegio Ambrosio O'Higgins, it's my school. This is my city. And hardest of all will be leaving the people here, friends and my host family. My host mom.

last Sunday was a Chilean holiday called Cuasimodo. Not sure how to spell that. But anyway, it started like this. On the first sunday after Easter, priests used to go out and give

you have the priests
communion to the sick folks who weren't able come to the easter mass. They'd even go way out in the country. But the roads were pretty dangerous, so they'd have a band of huasos, Chilean cowboys, to protect them. And to this day, on the first sunday after easter they go up to the hospital on horseback, and ride through the city and all. With their honor guard of huasos and mounted policemen. And huasos on bicicles. But by their dress I though they looked more like a hoard of three wise men. Maybe this is a really antique huaso look.

Come to think of it, that iron plant from the last entry reminded me in some abstract way of Howl's Moving Castle

Some things to know about Chilean schools: In Chile, you want to go to a private school. Schools like this cost money, but give a good education. There are also schools that I understand as subsidized private schools. They get some government funding, but also cost some money from the family. These give a decent education, but not like the private schools. And then there are the public schools, which are just plain bad. You

and a hell of a lot of dudes on horses. I can't show it too well with these photos, but it's a long procession. Like, it stretches a good 3 or 4 city blocks
go to those schools, and nobody expects you go get into any university. There still are good students that come out of the public schools, by working hard and looking to learn more than the school asks them to.

There's a song that I like, but it's a sad one. Called "El Baile de los que Sobran." The Dance of the Left-overs. By Los Prisioneros, a very good Chilean band from the 80's, known for being very socially critical in their lyrics. I once asked how they kept safe from Pinochet, and the response was "they were too famous." Anyway, this song tells about students who go through "the 12 games" and hear lots of sunshiny stories about their future, and graduate only to end up shining shoes, sweeping sidewalks, dancing, and kicking stones. It was written in the 80's, but still applies today

How we look at college in gringolandia is very different than Chile. In gringolandia, in most public schools you will get a decent education. People who go to college usually study what they're interested in to have fun with it. Take a minor in something fun, even if it's unrelated to your career plans. You have a hell of a lot of options of what to study.

In Chile, according to my host mom, any family who can pay for the private school will, because it's really worth it. If you want an education, you go to a private school so you get a good PSU score, so you can get into a university and get a good job. Families look at this as a survival thing, so their kids can have good jobs. So kids who go to college study something that ensures them a good career. Most want to be some sort of doctor, lawyer, engineer. And with the career option that you take for college, your classes are pretty much set, as I understand. Music major and stuff like that are not common. If a kid wants to study music, the parents usually tell them to become an engineer so they'll have bread, and then try to become a musician.

Thank god it's a weekend. Y'all take care. See you in July


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5th April 2008

A couple comments on what you said about subsidized schools and all... my school is a subsidized school (the government gives the school money so that the kids' families only have to pay part of what they'd have to pay in a private school) and it's a really good school. And my classmates, at least, want to be all sorts of things; there are the lawyers and the engineers, but there are also cooks and musicians. Granted it's a music school. Though what I've heard about classes coincides with what you said - and they apply to a career in the university, which they get into based on grades. So they've got to know what they want to study before. Wouldn't "El Baile de los que Sobran" be more like "The Dance of the ones who're left over"?

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