Sunday, August 30, 2009

---> Aniversario

Have you ever passed an onion on to another person using only your mouth? Heard of competitions 'Mr Legs', 'Miss Butt' or 'Sexy Dance?' Seen a game of soccer being played on dirt in a dry river bed? I can proudly say that I have!

Over the past week was the school anniversary. Every school in Chile has an anniversary, and it's a week full of activities for the students. In the mornings we has classes, and in the afternoons are the activities. It was a competition between 4 aliances, the 60's (green), 70's (red), 80's (black) and the 90's (white). My class, plus two more classes, made up the aliance of the 90's. 

On Monday we had the 'show'. Each aliance had to present, well, a show, using music from the decade, and it had to be 10 minutes long. Each dance was really really good. The 70's won, but I thought our 90's show with the Spice Girls and Backstreet Boys was pretty cool. After the shows, they had competitions for things like Gala Couple, Beach Couple, Miss and Mr Cake (Butt), Miss and Mr Legs, Strange Couple, and impersonations. The competitions were really interesting to watch, although I was a bit shocked by the promiscuity of some of the dances, especially with the teachers watching.

One of the dances

During the week were soccer games, the boys' soccer game was played on the dry Copiapó river bed, and the girls' on the the basketball courts in the school. People went down to support the teams, with drums and balloons of the colour of the aliance. There were competitions for human tables, passing an onion from person to person using only the mouth, passing water back in a line while sitting down to fill up a bucket.

The onion competition

They had a dancing competition, and each aliance danced to some songs of the era. The 90's dance won that one - I helped a bit with the choreography of the YMCA song by The Village People. The guys in the dance wore leather jackets and helmets and looked really good in their costumes, the Backstreet Boys part they had jeans and singlet tops. It was a really polished dance, opposed to some of the others.

Supporting the aliance

Although supposedly we had classes in the morning, everyone was practicing the dances and preparing things for the competitions, so we didn't actually do a lot of school work that week. One of the most fun 'classes' was with a few people from 3ºA who were sellotaping everything to everything. Good times!

The anniversary also was a chance to hang out with different people, because school was treated as very optional that week by some of my friends. I helped backstage for the show and the dances, straightening hair and gossiping during class with the people that did come to school, making videos at lunchtime with my friend Mauro and taking photos with other friends.

Soccer game in the riverbed

The anniversary officially finishes with a prizegiving ceremony, not only the winners from the aliances but also to award the students with the highest grades and presend student acheivements. There was a special assembley in formal uniform on Friday for this. Then after, on Friday night, was another ceremony, to crown the Queen and King, and the Fiesta Gala, which is basically a social but with formal clothes. Starting at 11pm and going until 2am on Saturday morning!

Host sister and I before the Fiesta Gala

I loved how the aliances had not only colours, but decades, it really made the dances and shows really cool, for the 60's Show, they had the Man on the Moon. There were lipsynchs to Blondie for the 70's, Britney Spears for the 90's and unfortunately I can't remember the rest! The anniversary is also all organised by the students, the week before my class voted on a Queen, who acts as a house captain and organises everyone. The ambient in the school was very relaxed, the teachers seemed a lot cooler and the students friendlier than normal, although there was a very competitive attitude out there. It was a good week to complete my 6 month anniversary of being in Chile too.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

---> A tad sick

Up until now I'd been fairly healthy healthy here in Chile. One cold, and the usual adjusting-to-the-different-food kind of tummy problems that practically every exchange student experiences. Nothing horribly horribly bad that has resulted in me needing to go to the doctor and get an injection. Not that I mind injections, it's where they put them I do mind. Unlike NZ, where the arm is a perfectly non-embarrassing site to have a needle inserted into your body, Chile finds a buttock equally effective. Luckily I didn't need an Injection!

But on Saturday morning I woke up and got out of bed, got dressed and went downstairs for breakfast, but was feeling tired and headachy. I wasn't my usual self at brekky (on Saturdays everyone eats breakfast at the table together). So I went back upstairs to bed and slept. My host sis asked if I wanted lunch but I just wasn't hungry. I got myself up at about 7pm, I think I ate an orange or a mandarin or something. Then later we watched a movie, Sunshine Cleaning, but my tummy started to hurt more, and I was yawning my head off altough I'd slept basically the whole day, so I went back to bed and straight to sleep.

Sunday was the day my host sis and I had planned to make empanadas, a traditional Chilean food, it's a pastry turnover with a meat filling. They had bought all the ingredients, and although I was feeling sick I helped make them, because I said I would and I love empanadas. I went back to bed while they were cooking though, but ate one for lunch, along with a fruit salad which my host sis had prepared. Meanwhile, my other host sis had also started to feel sick.

On Monday, us two stayed at home and watched Fringe, a TV series, on the computer for part of the day, and slept. My host mum made raspberry jelly (and I'm not a jelly person but this was good jelly!) and bought home my FAVOURITE peach juice! Today we also stayed home from school, but will be coming to school tomorrow. No longer do I feel tired, sick and dizzy and I miss my friends. I have been told that being sick makes you miss home a lot more, I guess it did a bit, but not as much as I imagined. Which was nice. I had enough homesickness at the start and I don't need any more. 

So the culprit for causing the illness? Nobody knows, maybe Dr House but he's not real. I'm leaning towards the idea of pastel de choclo (corn tart). It once was my favourite food here but now not so much. On Friday, me, one of my host sisters, my dad and host brother all ate one, and it seems to have only affected us girls. But they were bought from the market, so you never know. Although I have eaten food (aside from fruit) from the markets before. Who knows? It doesn't really matter. 

Now for other news! Last week on Tuesday I went to see Harry Potter with my friends Andrea and Nicole. It was in Spanish - they pronounce 'Harry' differently! I felt proud that I understood everything. We took a few photos while waiting outside the casino (where the cinema is) for Nicole. 
Andrea and I

On Friday was the AFS welcome for the two new students, Giulia from Italy and Krista from Finland. I also met the students who are postulating to study abroad next year, one of which I am happy to say hopes to come to NZ! The host parents of each of the students said a few words, then we got to eat and talk. Conversations with other exchange students always go well, time passes fast!
Two of the postulating student, me, and Giulia

By the way, cool fact I learnt - the moon is owned by a Chilean!

Shout outs: (I don't know why I'm taking a leaf out of The Edge, but I am. If you read this guys please let me know here or on my facebook!) - To Robertine who I heard scored the meanest basketball goal AND write me letters! And to my Aunty Catherine and Uncle Roger - for the hunky-dory birthday gift I am stoked with!  (inside joke).

Thursday, August 13, 2009

---> how long have you been 17 for? . . . a while . . . (10 days)

Sorry for the Twilight quote. I'd been waiting until I could honestly say that. Not that I'm a fan (or fan club, as one of my friends says here).

My actual birthday was Sunday the 2nd. That day I was jumped on in my bed by my host sister with whom I share a room. My other host sister came into my room and wished me happy birthday too. I went downstairs and there was surprisinlgy nobody home . . . so I made myself a cup of coffee and some cereal with yogurt and ate that.

Later arrived my host dad, from playing tennis with the neighbour, then my host sis and mum from the supermarket, and we got to work setting the table for brunch. I didn't have to do anything to help they told me, but I had already started peeling (yes, peeling, why cut in half when you can peel?) and avocado, which is strangely satisfying and I was happy doing. Then I mashed it up which yeah, again strangely satisfying.

We put everything on the table and the neighbours arrived, Tío Oscar, Tía Marina and Ignacio (they're not really aunt and uncle, but it's polite to call them that). The brunch was huge, lots of fresh bread, avocado, salami, ham, cheese, apple cake, and not to mention birthday cake! I swear in Chile I have eaten desert for breakfast far too many times. It was a very jolly breakfast that's for sure. 
I'm 17 in this picture!

Then on Friday I had some friends around for a little party. We were fewer than I expected but it was a good party all the same. We ate completos. (Completo = hot dog with avocado and tomato and mayonaise), chips, watched the start of Transformers 2 and I taught everyone how to play the Chocolate Game (when you have to roll a six with a dice, put on silly clothes and use a knife and a fork to eat chocolate).
Andrea and I eating completos

The bar of chocolate ran out way too fast and we all still wanted to play but everyone changed their mind when the only food item we had to play with was the frankfurters from the completos!
Playing the Chocolate Game
Amigas para siempre!

So that all went pretty well.

I am more than halfway through my exchange and like I have been told so many times, the 2nd half is the better half and so far it's proving to be very very true. Having a better grasp on the language makes such a difference, and I am far more independant now. I can go out after school as long as I'm in some kind of transport (micro or colectivo) by 8pm. Going to the post office does no longer make me nervous. Friends really feel like friends. 

And not to mention I have been really busy lately. Last week, every single day of the week I was doing something. Which makes time go by a lot faster!

I have also started a drama class, something I have been wanting to do for a while. I was the second youngest person there though, everyone else aside from me and my host sister were adults! 

So that's enough for now. Thanks to everyone who's reading this blog, and I'd like to copy The Edge a bit and give a huge shout out to Natalie, Simon and Grandfather, who all have had their birthdays recently. Happy Birthday!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

---> Bay bay Conors

(Bye bye Connor)

Last week my friend Connor, here for only a semester, returned to the United States. We had an AFS meeting to farwell him, which alongside with yummy food also included dancing of Chile's traditional dance, the Cueca. Two (Chilean) students danced first for us, then the boy came up to me and the girl up to Fabian and we were forced to dance... or try to dance, as I still yet have to a) learn how to dance the Cueca and b) actually dance well! So basically I was standing there waving a paper napkin and smiling while everyone was laughing, but all of us students had to do it so it wasn't so bad.

Obviously pro at the Cueca

Then the next day I went with my host brother to the bus terminal where all of Connor's friends had gathered to farwell him. It was surreal, to think that this would be me before I knew it. 

AFS had given him a hoodie and also his class, with the classes names embroidered in the back. When the bus left everyone chased it as far as they could go. Tears were shed.

Bus terminal

Along with Connor, who lived in Copiapó, a lot of my other friends for semesters also left, mainly from the USA and Austria. Aside from a few, I think they all would have liked to stay for a year. 

But a few days later, arrived the new students. Here now in my city are two girls, one from Finland and one from Italy. On Wednesday, Fabian, Ananda and I met with them in town to show them around town, talk about Chile things and eat Completos. We all got along really well and hopefully will be making a tradition of our Wednesday meet-ups.

Sorry this is a short post, but I've been really busy lately. I have a lot to update but it will be sometime in the weekend hopefully.

Connor, Ananda, me and Fabian, at the AFS farewell for Connor. Now we're three girls and one boy in Copiapó.

Thanks to everyone who's been reading this and commenting/emailing me about this! It makes my blog worth writing. If there's anything particular anyone would like to know, do tell me and I will include it.