The life of an exchange student is never dull. In between a week in Punta Arenas and a week in Quillota, there was still time to fit in being the date for a friend of a friend to a graduation ceremony.
Let's go a few months back. While visiting my friend Cony after having sushi in town for lunch, she commented that she had a friend that needed an 'invite' for the Cuartos (year thirteen/seventh form/senior) graduation dinner, and if I would be interested. Never one to give up an oppurtunity, I said why not, and didn't hear anything of it until my second day in Punta Arenas. She phoned me to ask if I was still interest. I had two days in Copiapó before going to Quillota, which was time to meet him and go to the graduation, so another, sure why not? And I organised to meet him before the dinner.
On Friday afternoon we met and now we are engaged. Kidding! No shakespearian sonnets and shooting stars, although it was nice to meet new people and he was a nice, albeit shy guy. Being around shy people generally brings out the chatterbox side of me, I wanted to keep the awkward turtles to a minimun. He accompanied my into Falabella (department store) to get a new phone after we talked over ice cream (yum, chilean ice cream) and then off home to get ready.
Luckily earlier in the day I had bought some high heels to wear - I did not own any high heels up until then! My host sister was very excited to do my hair and make up, but I ended up doing the make up myself because time was running out. Instead of buying a new dress, I wore one I bought from New Zealand, with a bought black shawl and my new high heels. (A complete transformation from stripy fisherman pants, baggy AFS tee shirt and messy hair!)
Roses, what a way to win a girl's heart! I'm relieved my dress was blue and white and not red - red roses carry a specific meaning.
His mum was waiting in a car outside my house, we drove to their house first, got into a taxi and then went to pick up Cony and her mum, then onto the school, where the event would be held.
When we arrived, there was a lot of lining up outside (people in the school foyer had to check the entry tickets). It was amazing seeing some of the people I know from that school completely transformed, everyone looked stunning and handsome. I was even more stunned when we entered the school grounds. The dinner was in a ginormous tent (think 120 students, plus two parents and a date, it had to be big!) with tables set up, a space to dance, balloons floating from the centre of every table, and waiters carrying drinks. Alcoholic drinks to. This was a school event in Chile, remember. (But the chilean attitude towards drinking is generally very different than the NZ one).
Chile's Next Top Model! Cony is on my right.
After the headmistress gave her speech, everyone started to dig in. It was a bit dumb that we couldn't choose who to sit with at the tables, I feel sorry for those families who got paired up who didn't get along well. The mums at my table kept up a pretty good conversation though. After the meal the dancing started. Students, parents and even teachers were up there dancing.
Embarrassing moment: discovering your host mum is taking pictures of you dancing with your date! Papparrazzi much!
At the start the music was mostly cumbia (which the oldies prefer over reggaeton) but after most of the adults left, there was a lot of reggaeton, however there came a really cool part when the DJ put on music from Grease and everyone was dancing 50's style. It was awesome! I had until 3.30am which was when my host brother (it was his grad dinner too) would call a taxi. The dancing at that point was getting really motivated and the music really good too. Although I think any more time in high heels and I would have been unable to walk!
It wa a really fun night though, and I'm glad to have been able to go to a Chilean style ball/graduation!