Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Winter Vacation, Part III

Hi Everyone!

How are you guys?! Ok, I promise that there is just one more "Part" to Anna´s and my Winter Vacation. I told Anna that she can do "Part IV" since that was the best one (Valdivia). She doesn´t have as much access to the internet so that is why she hasn´t been able to post as often. Anyways, for your viewing pleasure here are some more pics of our time down south with our Chilean friends Jaime and Rossi (plus rug-rats).

Anna with the little guagua (Chilean for baby)

Anna and I took care of little Phillip to help Rossi out. Here I am trying to be the "baby whisperer" :). I put Phillip to sleep with a castle piece and sung "Baby Baluga". Not bad, eh!

The beautiful green countryside. Something we don´t have a lot of in Copiapó.

Sunday or Monday we all took a tour of the farm (which is huge!). Our first stop was the barn where all the young calves are kept. Rossi´s dad told us these cows are a mix-good for milk but also good to eat!

Anna with Jaime and Rossi´s oldest child, Ania (not sure on the spelling). She mostly stayed with her grandparents who she is very close with.

Meeting the locals.

One of the many pastures that Rossi´s dad has. He has each pasture divided up and rotates his cattle around so they always have good grass to eat.

Anna and I soaking up the sun and the greenery! It was a very relaxing day with a lot of good fresh farm food for all of our meals (fresh made cheese, beef, etc.).

Here is Rossi´s dad. I forget his name, but he was VERY nice and a great host. He was always making sure Anna, Nick (another volunteer who came) and I felt at home. It was very interesting talking with a man who looks American or European and speaks fluent German, but also speaks Chilean spanish fluently.

Rossi´s dad cut some saplings up and made a "horse" for the kids to "ride". They held a stick in one hand between their legs and with the other they had a leafy branch as a switch. It was creative and they loved it!

Here we all are watching the kids play with their stick horses.

It was amazing how agile Rossi´s dad is for a man about 76 years old. I guess good health comes from hard work and fresh all natural food.

Life and Death are much more apparent on a farm. Anna went outside to take pictures of the sunset and farm and ran into the farm dog´s chew toy...a calf´s leg! GROSS! Well, for us city slickers that seems gross, but the dog seemed happy! ;)

Here I am waiting at the bus stop to go to Temuco (about 1 1-2 hours away from Faja Meisen where Jaime and Rossi live). This was a day trip we took Monday or Tuesday.

We didn´t take a lot of pictures because it rained a lot of the day and so we did a lot of inside things that day- we got coffee, saw the "Harry Potter" movie in English, etc. We did walk around and explored some and here Anna is eating some fried sweet with Manjar inside.

Here is one pic of downtown Temuco. This city is in the heart of where the Mapuche live. The Mapuche are indigenous people native the Chile.

Well, that is about all for now. I hope you guys enjoyed seeing more of our pictures from our Winter Vacation. We had a great time with lots of adventures and wanted to share some of those with you all. Next time Anna will post about our time in Valdivia and wrap up our "vacaciones del invierno". Until then! Hasta luego!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Winter Vacation, Part II

Hi Everyone!

Ok, so after about 5 days or so of "Staycation" Anna and I got a call from Jaime and Rossi letting us know that they were traveling down south that night at 8pm. We had been planning on going down south to stay at Jaime and Rossi´s house and had known that their car was in the shop, but getting a call about leaving that night was not planned! But, that is how Chileans plan...last minute so Anna and I went home and packed in a flurry (we had 5 hours to get ready but we had clothes drying on the line, had just gone grocery shopping and had a lot of fruit to eat so it didn´t go bad, etc.). You just have to laugh about how last minute things are here :) ha ha. Anyways, we took a bus bound for Santiago around 9 P.M. Thursday night with Jamie, Rossi, and their four kids. It was pretty amazing how the whole trip down, around 23 hours of so, their kids behaved super well. I thought they were crazy to travel with all of their kids, but obviously it is possible because not only did we make it down in one piece, but we didn´t go crazy!

So, after arriving in one of Santiago´s main bus terminals we bought tickets for Concepción where a lot of Jaime´s family lives. That bus trip lasted around 6 hours or so and once we arrived we all crammed into one small Nissan Taxi. Below is a picture of what that looked like.

Anna had little Jean (just turned 3 years old) on her lap so that we could all fit.

Here is a picture of Stefan (yellow hood), Ania (7 or 8), Jaime (behind Stefan), and Rossi (back right).
I am not sure on the spelling of all of the kids names because they are all German names (Rossi is the daughter of German-Chilean parents-her grandparents came to Chile from Germany around 1910 or so).

A Chilean Estufa (stove or space heater)
This was a new sight for us northerners who don´t use estufas. Down in the southern part of Chile where it is cold everyone uses these. This picture is from Jorge´s house (Jaime´s younger brother). We stayed at Jorge the first night we arrived.

Me trying to warm up!

Me sipping a Café cortado downtown Concepción
The next day Anna and I took a bus to the downtown of Concepción. Well, actually what happened was Jaime told the Micro bus driver to take us to the university which once we arrived we had no idea why he said that. We wanted to go downtown and when I asked a person on the street they told us we were 30 blocks from the downtown!! So, we took another bus downtown but had to look for a public phone to call Jaime since I forgot my cell phone and Anna´s was almost out of batter. After running around like chickens with their heads cut off Anna and I finally got to grab a quick coffee.

Here is a picture of the Café that we went to.
Unfortunately we never had lunch and shortly after getting coffee we had to meet Jaime plus family at the bus station to take another long bus to Temuco where Rossi´s family lives. So, no lunch combined with lots of travel took its toll and that night I got sick with the flu :(. I was out for two days and even after my stomach was a bit ginger. Here are a couple of pictures of Jaime and Rossi´s house with their kids.

Jean and Stefan playing at the kitchen table.
These little guys are close in age and reminded me a lot of Tyler and I playing together when we were little.

The living room with Anna taking care of Felipe (6 months old).
After a day of being sick I still wasn´t 100 % so we hung out at the house playing with the kids and eating good food.

A picture of the countryside outside of Jaime and Rossi´s house.
Their house is located on the 70 or so hectacres that Rossi´s dad owns. It is located near a German settled town called Faja Meisen which is a good hour away from Petrufguen (half hour from Temuco). They literally live in the middle of no-where, but it is beautiful and there are green things (something we lack in Copaipó). It was really interesting seeing a family that looks european and speaks German, but also speaks Chilean spanish. The food we ate was all natural and a mix of German and Chilean cuisine. Very unique experience.

Jaime and Rossi´s country house.
Jaime and Rossi lived in this house for years and worked in the local area, but with the economy crisis and work hard to find they had to move to Copiapó for work. That is how we met them, Jaime works at the same High School as another volunteer who introduced us.
Even though I got sick our time with Jaime and his family was amazing. When I was sick they took great care of me and once better we toured their farm, ate lots, and explored the surrounding area. Overall a very relaxing time and a unique experience to see a German founded colony that, along with the other German colonies, have been an important influence in forming Chile.
Ok, well there are more pictures to come! I promised Ann that I will let her share the next and final part of our winter vacation. Until next time!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Winter Vacation, Part I

Hi Everyone!
Well, Anna and I are back in Copiapó! Thanks for praying for us that we would travel safe and sound! We were able to get a bus from Santiago to Copiapó that left only a half of an hour after we arrived, so that was a huge blessing. It made it that we traveled only 23 or so hours straight instead of waiting in the bus terminal longer and dragging the trip home into a much longer marathon. Okay okay, so 23 hours is a lot, but the buses are pretty comfortable, they play movies, and half of the trip we slept through so it isn´t as bad as you might think. Anyways, we are home and I thought I would share with you guys the first week of our Winter Vacation, otherwise known as our "Staycation".

Chinese Food! Anna and I haven´t really eaten out at a restaurant since we arrived in Copiapó (due to our tight bugdet) so the first week we enjoyed doing a lot of things that we have not had the money to do. The Chinese food was delicious!

Anna and I were stuffed! That is probably why we look kind of tired and sedated, the food coma was coming on!

Another fun thing we did during our "Staycation" was invite over our friends Juan Carlos and Rosa for an American style BBQ. We had hamburgers and Peach Cobbler.

After a delicious BBQ Juan Carlos and Rosa took us to this wine shop outside of Copiapó where we sampled different local wines. We liked the "Chicha" the most which is a cider made from grapes.

Here we all are at the wine shop.

Anna, Juan Carlos, and Rosa. Their friendship has been a huge blessing to Anna and I. They have helped us feel more connected to this city and helped us understand the Chilean culture more intimately.

Other things Anna and I did was go out and get "Cafe cortados" at Café Columbia, a little café in the center of town.

Torta de Tres Leches
This is a delicious cake with Manjar, whipped cream, almond slices, and drizzled in milk. YUM!

Café Columbia

Anna and I went and saw "La Era de Hielo 3" or "Ice Age 3" at the movie theatre at the Casino here in Copiapó. It was really fun even though it was all in Spanish!

Yours truly next to the Harry Potter billboard. We were planning on watching this too in Copiapó, but we ended up seeing it in Temuco (south of Chile).

Copiapó´s very own Casino! We haven´t gambled here and don´t plan on it, but they do have a nice theatre!!
Well, that is about it for our first 5 days or so during out "Staycation". Anna and I had a lot of fun sleeping in and doing activities that we have wanted to do for a long time. But, the best of our Vacation is yet to come so stay tuned!!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Feeling Better

Hey Everyone!

Well, I am finally feeling better (this is Jason)! I was hit with a pretty nasty flu bug while down here in southern Chile, but thanks to God I am back to full health. It was no fun being not only far from Anna´s and my U.S. home, but no fun being about 23 hours or so from our home in Copiapó. But, the Lord saw fit to let me get sick in the south while staying with an amazing Christian family. They prayed for me, gave me meds, fed me, and we all around amazing. Anna played nurse and after about two days I was on the mend. I still had to kick the stomach part of the flu (running to the baño now and then...sorry, too much info?), but by Tuesday I was doing good. Anna and I made it to Valdivia where we made up for being sick by staying in a 5 star swanky hotel. It was AMAZING!!!! For a VERY reasonable price we lived like a King and Queen :). I will be sure to send pics of the hotel and of our trip down here in the land of green and beauty.
Thanks again to all of you who prayed for me! Pray that we stay healthy now as we start our long treck back to Copaipó this evening. Miss you all!


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

We´ve got a Sickie on our Hands!

Well, we made the looooooooooooooong trek down to the south of Chile. The south where there´s trees, miles of lush green, beautiful flowing rivers, the sound of rain...and the COLD! Aaaah! Yeah, it´s definitely a bit cool. The funny thing though is that in some ways it´s warmer here than at home in Copiapo. In Copiapo it´s freezing at night and in the morning. In the day though it´s super warm. Becuase of this nobody buys estufas...or heaters for their house. Therfore at night and in the morning you are quite cold indoors. In the south though everyone has one of those wood burning stoves (Kind of like your´s, mom and dad). Therfore, being inside is super cozy.

We came down south with a super amazing Christian family we met through another volunteer. The wife is of German decent and they live out on a farm with a small colony of other Germans. Her mom and dad live in a huge farm house just down the way. We have enjoyed walking, relaxing in front of the fire, admiring the green, and hearing the rain outside. These enjoyments have only occurred as of late least for poor Jason.

The trip was very, very long coming down here. 11 hours from Copiapo to Santaigo. 6 hours from Santiago to Concepcion. 5 hours from Concepcion to Temuco. 1 hour from Temuco to the farm. All of this traveling in a bus, breathing everyone´s air, not sleeping well, not eating get the picture. During the last part of the trip Jason started feeling a little weird. By the time we got to the farm it was evident that he had the beginnings of the stomach flu (not the swine worries). He got a fever and the whole montty. Pobre hombre! Anyways, he´s doing a little better. The fever is all gone and he´s able to walk around a bit but he´s having some trouble kicking the stomach part. Please pray that he get´s better soon. He needs to be able to travel back home soon. We have a long trek ahead of us once again!!!!

Anyways, we will update with pictures of our trip and all that jazz when we get back to Copiapo! We prepared for lots of green! Woohoo!

Monday, July 13, 2009


Ok, so I confess that when I heard the word "staycation" I thought...hmmmm....LAME! I love to travel, I love to see knew places. So, the idea of staying home and giving it a weird name sounded kinda...cheezy. we are, having a stay-cation for the first part of our winter break. Yes, winter break in July. Quite bizarre. During the 2nd week we hope to go down to a place called Temuco in the south...where it´s cold and wet. We are going to go down with a super nice family we met. We hope and pray that it works out. Things in Chile are a little more...flexible? fluid? Not sure what the word for it is. Dates for things here change with out any notice or reason. It´s hard to get used to sometimes.

Anyways, we have done things that we haven´t had the op. to do before living on the strict budget we had. Like get Chinese food! Yum! So fun! Ok, I have 45 sec. Gotta go! We will post pics soon!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Celebrating the 4th of July

Hi everyone!
Wow, it feels like a long time since I posted anything! I can´t let Anna out post me! Well, I guess this blog is both of ours :). Anyways, I wanted to share with you guys what we did on the 4th of July. Last Saturday Anna and I woke up around 9 am or so and shortly after her coffee (a necessity to get her started) Anna went to work baking and prepping for our BBQ later that afternoon. We invited the other 3 volunteers to come over around 2 in the afternoon for an Independence Day BBQ. Anna baked an Apple Pie, made Pebre (a chilean salsa), hamburgers, cookies, etc. She was the cooking Queen! I on the other hand was in charge of some cleaning up, decorating, and running to the grocery store to buy some more food and charcoal. So, right away I went to work making some patriotic decorations!

Ok, so the U.S. flag doesn´t have all 50 stars or 13 stripes, but I did the best I could with what I had!

Here we all are enjoying our American style Hamburgers, chips, and Beer!

Anna made this awesome Apple Pie (with stars on top). There was SO much food!

Here is the Chef herself! I always knew that Anna had the potential, but I never knew she cooked so well! Even on a modest budget she wips up some great meals.
Well, after all that food we sat down and watched a movie. The party lasted over 6 hours and we all had a great time celebrating our nation´s Independence. It was funny that throughout the day we received several texts from our Chilean friends wishing us a happy 4th of July! I didn´t even know the day of their Independence day until I got here, how did they know ours! Their Independence day is September 18th and celebrations last for a week after that. Crazy!
So, that was our fun day. For us it was a rare day of doing things American because we normally try to live like Chileans (food, eating times, etc.). But, we had to celebrate a day that seems to mean so much more when you are outside of the U.S. and can really see how blessed we are and how we have so many opportunities that we often take for granted. Anyways, I hope you enjoyed the pics and that you all had a great 4th of July too!
Hasta luego!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

La it`s called here in Chile

Ok, so...

The "pig flu" is not even really on the radar anymore in the US. I don`t know if it was just better controlled or what. Well, it is crazy here. It started out in Santiago and has now made it up to where we live. It`s in our schools even...especially Jason`s. In Santiago they were shutting down schools when they had a case but for whatever reason they aren`t doing it now and it`s all over Chile.

Anyways, Jason and I have only a couple more days before winter break and we would ask that you pray for us to not get this crazy flu. Basically, if we get it we will probably have to go to the hospital. Going to the hospital at home is lame. Going to the hospital in another country where you don`t speak the language all that well sounds really lame...especially when you don`t really have health insurance (we only have travelers health insurance and I don`t know really what is covered on that). So, pray that the Lord protects our health and pray for the kids in our schools who have it. Honestly we are not freaked out...and we don`t want other`s to freak...we just thought that the more prayer the better! Thanks all! Love to you!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Oh, Chilean you make me laugh!

Well, yesterday was an interesting day. The kids were insane but there was one funny incident that Jason told me was definitely "blog worthy". haha. So, I will set the stage for you.

First off, I`m in the middle of teaching my 5th grade class. All of a sudden one of my students raises his hand. The short conversation goes as follows:

Me: Yes, Pablo (I`m excited thinking, "Oh yay! They are interested in the topic and want to know more!")
Crazy Boy Student: Que significa "Te Amo" en Ingles? (What does Te Amo in English mean?)
Me: I love you.
Crazy Boy Student: Thank you!

Uhg! lol! At the time I found it annoying and the class definitely thought it was funny. Upon telling Jason he thought it was amazing and said, "That´s the coolest kid ever! I wish I had that kind of guts!". Haha, I guess it was pretty funny! :) Another day in the Chilean schools! Gotta love it!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

A Birthday Party, Chilean Style

Hi Everyone!

It seems like a long time since I posted anything, but it probably hasn´t been that long. With the three day weekend packed with events it felt full and long (check Anna´s blog, she highlighted our holiday weekend). Here are some pictures of our time in Caldera including the 10 year old birthday party we went to.

We had dinner at "Empanopolis" which is a little joint where they deep fry 34 different kinds of Empanadas!
Left to Right: Far left is an English teacher from Caldera, next Loreto who is a coordinator of our program, then Anna, me, Joe (volunteer in Caldera) and Nick (volunteer in Copiapó)

Celery Salad! They pulled out the little ribs on the celery so it was smooth and tasty :). Add a little parsley, lemon juice, and walah! An awesome salad.

They told me what these were called, but like every new spanish word it takes several times before I can remember it. Anna and I helped make these little appetizers.

Mini-Empanadas! Anna and I are definately going to make these when we get home. They are easy to eat and delicious.

Brazo del Reina or "Arm of the Queen." Of course they are filled with Manjar! This is the cake the kids ate and the big more traditional one for us the parents ate.

A baloon arch that Anna and I helped make. The girls who made this arch were amazing! It is easy to make and looks very festive.

More balloons! I was blowing them up and Anna was holding them.

The big event. I don´t even know his name, but Joe´s host brother turned 10 and this was the big "Happy Birthday"-blow out the cake event. Overall, the whole party was very similar to one in the U.S.

A Piñada! I think the piñada came from México, but this one you don´t wack with a stick. The person holding it up drops it and then suddenly stops it so the bottow blows out and all the candy comes crashing down. Very entertaining to watch.

I was tempted to get in there and grab some candy, but I resisted the temptation ;).
The party was very fun and like Anna said Joe´s host family made us feel as if we were part of the family. It was cool to see how Chileans celebrate a Birthday and we got to eat a TON of good traditional food. I hope you guys enjoyed the pics! Hasta luego!