Monday, June 28, 2010


Another adventure in the books here in Chile. There is a large island, the 2nd largest in Chile, very close to Puerto Montt and Rosie, my host mom, has friends there. So this past long weekend we went for a visit.

Our bus had to ferry across the sea until we got to Castro. Rosie's friends live in the country side (campo) and when we arrived, I was greeted by a very sweet older couple and was introduced to about 10 extra lbs on my body. We did nothing but eat in Chiloe! Tia cooked everything fresh, and when I say fresh, I mean that they owned a butchery right next door where the cows entered and after exited edible, if you know what I mean. We had fresh meat, fresh fish, fresh eggs and fresh bread smeared in pig grease to make it that much more delicious!

(PS: this sheep was stuck in the fence! I felt sorry for it, but also thought it was pretty funny.)

I looked around the house and saw lots of Bibles and pictures of Jesus. These must be religious friends of Rosie, so after introductions when the couple asked if "Tu Crees en Dios?" (Do you believe in God?) I answered, "Si, soy catolica" (Yes, I am Catholic). I left out the part that I've written a 50 page essay on my thoughts on religions and the power of belief systems, but I didn't want to offend anyone.

The grandparents had a granddaughter, Connie, who was very interested in English. She's 15 and couldn't stop staring at my blue eyes over lunch. We went downtown later and she wouldn't stop questioning me! One question after the other about English and pop culture in America. Sometimes I wish I were more into the pop scene so I could share a love for Britney Spears or something, but I couldn't break her heart by saying that I live in a small mt. town in Tahoe and dislike shopping, pop culture and everything that sparkles in the American culture. Kudos to her curiosity though!

Saturday Rosie and I took a bus to visit a state park. It was absolutely pouring buckets of rain and then the heavy wind blew it all around. The bus dropped us off at the national park at 10:30. Rosie said it was picking us back up at 1:00pm. Whoa. So I was a bit fussy about walking around seeing nothing in the torrential downpour, but after I got soaked, I embraced the adventure and enjoyed our walk in the rain through forests that reminded me a lot of New Zealand. (Notice that my pants look like they're about to fall down; they are heavy with rain!)

So Chiloe was a beautiful adventure filled with good people, good food and good views. And the old fashioned stove kept us all warm!! (Notice how much taller I am than everyone in this country! Cheers to being a foreigner!)

Monday, June 21, 2010

My First Field Trip

Now I believe I am in Patagonia! The past two weeks have been rainy and cloudy and so I have been unable to see the volcanoes that stand nearby. I kept telling everyone that I didn't think they really existed, but now I'm a believer.

The school had an optional field trip this past Saturday and so I went with my host teacher, the students and a few other teachers. We took a bus tour to an incredible Parque National and I felt like I was right back in New Zealand. The river was running glacier blue, it was lush and green and waterfalls were pouring out from everywhere. I was a very happy girl.

After, we took a boat cruise to Puella around a big beautiful lake and I could finally see (partial) views of the big Volcan Oserno. There are some beautiful views of mountains and lakes in this area. I am very excited to be here and finally see some of the sights of Patagonia!

My New Home: Puerto Montt, CHILE

Well I've finally settled into the South and have met my new family, which includes my host mom Rosie, my host teacher Rosita and my school Bosque Nativo.

I live in a 2 bedroom house with Rosie and she always keeps the fire going, so there is no need for central heating! She is a quirky character who plants flowers in the middle of the night, buys more plates and silverware than she has room for, and lets me live my life comfortably (vives tu vida!) She also has chocolate all over the house...we were meant to be roommates!

Rosita, my host teacher, is young (about my age), fun and super accommodating. She plans the material and tests and I follow up with speaking and listening activities. Sometimes they go well and sometimes the kids stare at me with absolute blank faces. And some of them are only interested in American swear words. I tell them to learn 10 useful verbs 1st and then maybe I'll clue them in on some bad words. (I think I will win that one.) And we've had some classes off lately in order to watch Chile play in the World Cup (2-0 so far!) It's been exciting!

Puerto Montt lies within the Lake District of Patagonia, Chile. Our port is the most popular in the region and so there are a lot of amenities downtown, like a mall and cinema! I just have to take a cheap colectivo (shared taxi) to get there! I still need to do some more exploring, but there's plenty of time for that later.

So one month into it here in Chile and it's going well. It rains almost everyday, but I'm in the school most of the time anyway.

Stay tuned for more!