One of the inside jokes about AFS is that in place of meaning American Field Service is means Another Fat Student. (Side note: I'm sure my english grammar is not funcioning, in place of writing ing I want to write -ando, not to mention all the other little spanish words that my fingers have become accostomed to typing!)
Entonces (there goes another spanish word I use a lot, it means 'so'/'anyway'), those that go on exchange should be prepared to put on weight. It must be because exchangers are so open to trying new food! Yesterday I went into town with Krista and Giulia, other AFSers in Copiapó. What else is there to do in town than eat? We went to our second favourite completo-selling place, a little tiny cafe that sells completo italianos and bought a completo each. At that place they cost 700 pesos, which is a about $2 NZD, and at the más rico completo selling place (actually I think selling place means shop, as I said, my english is as wrecked as Hugh Grant in an action movie) sells completos for 600 pesos, with homemade mayonaise - which reeks of garlic but they are the best completos one will ever eat in their life. Completos del carrito.
Right, now that I've finished with my little completo essay, I'll get on with the story. With Krista and Giulia we smoked (well, I didn't smoke, I think another bad thing about exchange is that if you smoked before you came, you will smoke a lot more on exchange. Poor lungs.) and ordered completos. Then went to the s'mall (because it's a mall but it's small, ha ha) to take out money and recharge money on cell phones and buy perfume and make up, all the little downtown things that I actually had done the week before). After eating the savory completos we all wanted something dulce. Luckily in the mall there is a very delicioso bakery. Bought a cake called 'mil hojas' (1ooo leaves) which, when made well like my abuelita makes it, should have layers of homemade pastry with manjar and chopped nuts, and when made comercially is flaky pastry with a bit of manjar. But this mil hojas really rocked it. I though 'custard square in CHILE!' Because really is was like custard square on steroids. Lots of pastry with manjar in between, then custard, then more pastry and manjar. All for 700 pesos - and it was about twice the size of the NZ custard square. Perfecto!
I think cheap, good and exotic food is definitely the reason for durante-exchange weigh gain. So to really rub salt in the wound, we found a bench in the mall to sit. It was right outside a videogames place 'los gorditos' (the fat people). Justice.
Actually speaking of weight, I arrived to my theatre class on Wednesday and everyone commented on how I looked slimmer. Wow, and just that morning I had gone out for my first (very short) jog. Good to know the results show that fast! By the way, jogging and reggaeton mix so well its like magic. The steady beat of reggaeton encourages the jogger and while running it reminds me of good times in Chile - so I don't have to think about the road works people staring at the chubby gringa running with an iPod that probably costs more than they earn in a month - and because it's in Spanish I can also concentrate on distinguishing the words and widening my vocabularly. Gracias Daddy Yankee, Jadiel, Wisin y Yandel, Blindaje 10 y Makano.
What has made my (only two so far) jogging sessions possible is that the government in Chile ain't that good and the teachers of public schools are striking because they didn't recieve a payout that was due. So what do students of Liceo de Música do? We go to classes anyway.
A bit about my school. Three types of school in Chile. Fully private is expensive, top, snobby kids (although that's a bit of a generalisation, because I have met kids from the private schools here and they are nice!).
Mix of private and public - the government could pay only a little, so the schools are more 'top' because the parents have to pay a lot, or the government could pay a lot more of the fees, so they are less 'top' but still private because the parents have to pay a bit.
Public schools - the only fees that parents have to pay are this weird inscription kind of fee. Normally the kids that go there are from poor families (20% of the chilean population is below the poverty line, and there is a big gap between rich and poor). Some public schools are better than others - depends in which part of the city they are in. But generally they are 'flaite' which means gangster, problems with violence and bad grades. And unlike the other two types the schools are painted in bright colours.
So although Liceo de Música is public, is does have the advantage of being a music focused school, which means the students who go there are more 'sensitive' and nicer than students in other public schools. It's true. Not so many 'flaite' and if they are 'flaite' they're not scarily flaite, I'm friends with the ones that would be the most gangster students and they're nice. One of the downsides is that we don't have any sports teams. But the advantages, well...
The teachers are in strike. All of the other public schools aren't doing anything, but Liceo de Música, being a bit different with more motivated and sensitive students, has organised to to classes for those that want to come, every day at 11am (well really later than that, being in Chile). We have one class, done by a student in the final year, then lunch, then another class, then activities. And because of that, in came the news cameras and we got to be on the local news show. (There was a close up of my face in the segment that showed the coming news, how embarrassing!) Here is the video that I took of the news segment when it came on the news. See if you can spot me!
Photos from boredom
Supporting the teachers
Biology class. El Chavez appeared on the news.
Chile love: cheap things. Earrings especially. I have bought so many earrings! But wear to put them? I was in the market with my host mum a few weeks back and came across a man who made trees from wire to hag earrings. Perfecto! Now all my cool little earrings get so be on a tree, plus a few necklaces and butterfly clips. My favourite earrings are my giraffes and a bolivian couple. And this cute tree only cost mil pesos (1000 pesos, or $3.)
How do I pass my free time here? Friday = going to the movies with the exchangers. We saw a movie called Todo Incluido, a family drama made in Chile and México. It was really good, and so were the sour gummis that Fabian the German kept trying to steal from me. Before the movies, we all ate completos at the carrito. The cinema isn't in the centre of town, it's a part of the casino hotel, the tallest building the Copiapó has.
Before going out, with Krista
On Saturday I hung out with Krista, went out for icecream with my friend Emily, then on Sunday again we went to see a basquetball game. The days fly by when you're having fun. A day is not a day if I don't go out.
Currently I am reading La Pasión Según Carmela (Passion according to Carmela) by an Argentinia author, Marcos Aguinis. Latino literatura. previously I had read Matilda, Boy Meets Girls (A chic flic by Meg Cabot, but in Spanish) and Twilight (in Spanish), which were all translated into Spanish, and I understood pretty much everything. Now the difference between those and that, is that written originally in Spanish there are phrases and a lot of words I have never come across. It needs concentration. I'm also reading Cronica de un Muerte Anunciada by the famous Gabriel García Márquez.
I owe my life to the genius who invented dictionairies. Although I am conversant, reading literature (note, literature, not books) is another story. But I need to read and this is a satisfying challenge.
Thanks to Krista, I am in love with a Spanish band, La Quinta Estación (The 5th Season). There's more to spanish music than reggaeton. And the cover album art it so cool. Que Te Quería is one of my favourites.
Love that song! So much that I translated it on my blog, ja ja.
Got to go to lunch now. Bye all :)