Wednesday, March 4, 2009

---> The first few days (+ photos!)

Yesterday was my first full day in Chile, and there was plenty to do!
I was woken up early, because I had to register my visa. When Andrea and I arrived at the Policia de Investigaciones, all the other new exchangers were there, and it was great to see them again. We waited for ages, but eventually we were one by one, taken into an office, where we had to hand in our passport, and the person there typed some things from it into the computer, then took a photo of me, and printed out 2 copies. I had no problems with my visa, but unfortunately Ananda did, and couldn't go on to get her CARNET (Chilean ID card).

The rest of us piled into Alvaro's car (Connor's host brother, and a volunteer) and drove to the civil (?) office to apply for our carnet. Instead of lining up, you take a number out of a roll from a red dispenser, and when that number appears on the screen over your booth, you take your turn. (This is quite common here). So instead of waiting around, at first we went outside and talked, but Connor was hungry, so we walked to a cafe to get something to eat. The food here is great, and toast (which we all ordered) isn't just thin slices of bread, it's a huge bread roll, with avocado, cheese and ham, or jam. Yum! After our snack we walked back, but Fabian's host mum was there and had parked downtown, so we piled into her car and drove back to the civil registry, where our numbers were still not near to coming up (even though this had taken the good part of an hour).

Finally my number came up on the screen, and I went with Andrea to apply for my CARNET. You have to have your passport, documents that show your visa has been registered, and it cost 40050 pesos (about $12 NZD). After that, we took a colectivo home. A colectivo is like a taxi, but it follows a route, and you try to get as many people in as possible. No seatbelts!

We had lunch once we arrived home, and after lunch Valeria and Pablo and I went round the house, writing down the words for things in Spanish, and I would write the English. Surprisingly, we did this for quite a while! The Chilean accent is quite strong, so even when I know the word, it sounds different, which is another reason we wrote things down.

Once my host mum arrived back from work, she drove me back into town to meet up with the other exchangers in CopiapĆ³, which Dominique, an Austrian who has been here for 6 months already, organised. There were about 10 of us, and 4 were newbies. We met at a hotdog/burger place, and I had a hot dog with avocado and tomato. The food here is amazingly good! After we ate something, we then went to the Plaza and talked, then to the shops (really crowded at 7pm!), then to another plaza to talk. The students who have been here for half a year seem so old and wise to us youngun's, and in 6 months, I guess we will be like that to the half year arrivals! 

My host mum picked me up at about 8:30, and we returned home, watched TV, and I explained when we wear sandals for the school uniform (in Spanish!) and about terms and national exams here.

And at last, some long awaited photos! 

activities on the 1st day of orientation

Ashleigh, Nic, Tamika, Chris, Me, Stu and Stephanie (Kiwis and Aussies) in the girls' room

In front of the orientation place, you can see the mountains in the background

My orientation group
Analisa, Ashleigh, Stephanie, Lexi, Stu, Allie, Alvaro (volunteer), Molly, Chris, Emily, Me, Erica and Leah

The Kiwis - Stu, Stephanie, Chris, Ashleigh and I

(This is at the NP airport, but you can see my cool AFS tee shirt!)

Sela and I
Brazil, France, Finland, Finland, Denmark and Finland


April said...

That sounds really ... wow! And by that I guess I mean awesome!

: )

I'm glad you're having such a great time.

claire said...

Hi from Mum,
My laptop is very sick, and i cannot get it fixed till tuesday as monday is a public holiday, so am writing this at work.
Great to see photos!



AFSer said...

Hi Anita,

Great blog! I'm Tony Calvert the marketing guy from AFS NZ and I was hoping we could get you to link to the new AFS New Zealand blog.

Cheers Tony