Monday, October 18, 2010

Chilean home

I'm more than half way through my time in Chile, and though I haven't had time to update a blog with regular posts I do want to share a little bit of the amazing things I've been able to do & see here. So, this is my attempt to bottle up everything I adore about Chile & send it to all my loves at home... Here goes!

I live with a host family! They are really great people, and have a ton of faith that they've poured out on me since day one. I've been learning lots from them, from their openness, generosity, and love for life.

Here's a peak at where I'm living.

the snazzy abode
I knew I'd love the place when I saw the Harry Potter chess set :D
Cutsie little room
Outside my window


Host sister, parents, brother & his wife - aren't they pretty?!
Host parents (left) & uncle
Host mom (Sonia) & sister (Evelyn)

Host brothers/sister/cousin

Initial challenges:

- Getting used to the chilean dialect and new vocab. There are tons of "chilenismos" ... words that are particular to Chile ... that I had to learn in order to understand what in the world people were talking about around here ;) Now that I've got it down more or less (though I'm always learning new things), the chilenismos are really fun. Here are some of my favorites, which may only be interesting to those of you who have studied spanish: bac├ín = cool, pololo/polola = boyfriend/ girlfriend, carrete = party, ¿cachai? = ya know?, fome = lame/boring, pucha = darn!, keke = cake or butt. And they add "poh" on the end of a ton of words for emphasis like "si-poh."  love it.

2 - Transportation. I've never lived in such a big city, so the public transportation (both buses & metro) was tricky at first. With "la micro" (the bus), you have to be able to recognize where you're at in order to get off in the right place. So, in the beginning I was always the silly gringa asking chileans where to get off. Luckily there was always some lovely person to help me out.

3 - The University. A new set of expectations and a whole different way of doing things, like registering for courses, printing, finding books/photocopies, all that good stuff. First couple of weeks = chaotic at times.

4 - Culture shock.  I thought I'd be prepared for this after my India trip but that wasn't the case! It's the strangest thing to settle into a new place, with different customs, comforts, & living among people with different senses of humor, and with SPANISH everywhere! Well, it was a tad uncomfortable for awhile.  I didn't feel super confident, always wanting to make a good impression and say the right things, and I've definitely made a ton of mistakes.  Yet, it's all part of this learning and growing process!

5 - God has been yelling at me: "ERICA! You can't always be in control!"  That one is hard for me to swallow sometimes because control is comfortable for me.  I'm taking a Tango class here, and on multiple occasions my partner has had to remind me that HE is supposed to be leading, not me.  HAH!  Just like with Tango, living here I've had less control over my circumstances than I would like: my food choices, transportation, grades, my schedule and my time in general.  It's been a good lesson, and I'm still learning. 

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