Monday, August 31, 2009

English Debates

Hi Everyone!

Wow, what a weekend! Anna and I had a full and fun weekend and really want to share some of the things that we did with you all (some of which are pics from a Chilean BBQ, Anna´s B-day Party, and our new pets). But, before we get into those things I wanted to make a quick post about the English Debates that I participated in. I don´t think that I mentioned it yet, but the past couple of months I have been helping my English co-Teacher put together and prep an English Debate Team. It was hard work and tiring trying to plan when we all could meet and practice (every student has a different schedule), but in the end it was a lot of fun and worth it. Plus, we got 1st place the first round and barely lost the second round (if we had won we would have gone on the the finals in Santiago!!!!). Anyways, here are a couple of pictures from two weeks ago when my team debated.

Here we all are from left to right: Flavio, me, Lorena (my co-teacher), Patricio (kneeling), Liliana, Bianca, Felipe, and Ninoska.

Here Ninoska is debating.

Here we are just after losing the second round. Lorena and I were bummed, but the kids were stoked to get 2nd place in our region for their first try at English Debates.
I have really enjoyed getting to know these students on a deeper basis (I have hundreds of students and it is hard enough just memmorizing their names). They are super smart, funny, and kind kids and it makes me realize how similar we all are despite different cultures and languages. I wish you all could meet these students and some of my other ones to see just what I mean, but that´s not possible. Anyways, I just wanted to tell you guys about one of the extra-curricular activities I have been involved in. Hasta luego!

Friday, August 28, 2009

El Aniversario del Liceo de Música

Hi Everyone,

Hola! Well, as you all know Anna turned the big 25 this Wednesday! I decorated the house, gave her a little gift, and we went out for ice cream, but the big B-day celebration with friends will be tomorrow. I will be sure to post pictures next week so you all can see Anna´s "Chilean Birthday".

On another note, my school celebrated it´s 41st anniversary this week so this whole week has been about celebrating birthdays. I was AMAZED at how big, loud, and important this event is....I learned that it is a common thing in Chile to celebrate one´s school´s anniversary and the celebrations involve a lot of games (each class competing against the rest), food, and the coronation of a class king and queen. Believe me when I say that there is NOTHING like this (to my knowledge) in the U.S. schools!!

2nd Graders pumped up and ready to compete!
Ok, so Básica is made up of 1st grade - 8th grade. For every grade there are two or three classes (i.e. 2nd grade = 2A, 2B, and 2C). During the anniversary each class competed and had its own team color, chant, flag, and mascot!

The Shuffle Race!
Each class competed in several races, but they didn´t pit the little ones against the older ones. That wouldn´t be fair! So, here are some of the younger kids competing in a catapillar crawl race.


Of course Soccer was one of the games played and it was a very serious matter! Soccer, or Fútbol, is THE sport to play. You would be amazed at the skill these little guys have.


Well, this photo is out of order and I can´t seem to move it to the it will just have to stay put. This was taken yesterday night (Friday) during the Coronation Ceremony. A King and Queen was chosen from Básica (Elementary School) and Media (High School).

Another game played of the big event day. Here the Orange team is competing against the White team...not sure the grades that each team was made up of.

La Cueca
The National Dance here in Chile is the Cueca. At the end of the day of events there was a dance competition. Each class had a couple that competed and some of them were very good!

La Cancha
La Cancha means "court" or "soccer field" and my school has two of them. This is just about a quarter of the students that were on the Cancha. I couldn´t really get a picture of all of them because there were so many.

I have loved switching to Básica because the kids are so sweet and are always waving to me, saying hi, and running up to me to give me hugs and help me with whatever I am carrying.

I am sure it is hard to picture just what this one day was like just from the pictures that I posted. Let me just finish by saying that this one day of activities was nothing like I had ever experienced and made me wish that we did something like this in the U.S. It was so much fun and it is the number one thing that the kids look forward to ALL school year long!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

"Smile! You´re a 1/4 of a Century Old!"

Well, this is what I woke up to this morning! HaHa. It was a sign that Jason had made and stuck to the front door. It´s been there to remind me of this fact all day today. Yes, yes, today is the big 2-5. This probably sounds very young to everyone older than 25 but I feel old. Oh well. I still have a few more years till 30. Once I hit´s all down hill from there! hehe. Ok, well maybe not.

Yes, Jason decorated the house, made coffee, and even created a "birthday girl placemat". It was complete with a place for my Bible and a place for my coffee mug. haha. What a good guy! I will try to post pics later.

We celebrated today by getting off from school and having a birthday icecream. There is a place here called Don Gelato. It has INcReDIbLe icecream. Ugh, it´s so good. It´s been pretty warm the last few days (is winter over? I hope so!) and so it was a wonderful treat. My favorite combo is chocolate and pistachio (you always get two flavors here, no matter the size you order). Today I went big and ordered a medium instead of a small and had it dipped in that yummy chocolate coating. Oh, it was heavenly!!!

Now we are going home and I´m making meatloaf, mashed potatoes, gravy, and peas. Well, I´m not making the peas...I´m opening the can. My mom makes mashed potato boats with peas and gravy and we pretty much all love it in the fam. So, I chose to have that! It´s a nice yummy, comfort food meal.

Anyways, here´s to being a 1/4 of a century old!!!! Whoopee!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Pisco Sours, Cocimiento, and Apple Pie

Hi Everyone!

¿Cómo están? Well, here are some pictures from last weekend as promised. Anna and I were invited over to Zack´s host family´s house on Sunday to have a traditional sea food dish called "Cocimiento." They live in Caldera which is a little beach town about an hour drive from Copiapó. They asked if Anna could show them how to make an Apple Pie because they wanted to learn how to make it. Their son was sick with cancer in the late 90´s and so they moved to Tennessee and lived there for four years so that he could go to a children´s hospital there. Anyways, so they were missing Apple Pie and once they heard that Anna can make an excellent pie they asked Zack to see if we could come over and have a food exchange-they teach us to make Cocimiento and we teach them to make an Apple Pie.

Here Anna is hard at work.

Pisco Sour

Suzette, you asked about what a Pisco Sour is? It is Chile´s famous alcoholic drink made with Pisco (hard alcohol made from grapes), lemon juice, powdered sugar (or a sort of sugar syrup), sometimes frothed egg whites, and chilled. I think that you guys would like them!

Here is Glenda, Zack´s Chilean host mom, making Pisco Sours.


Here is Zack, Anna, and Glenda in Glenda´s kitchen.

Here Anna is finishing up her Apple Pie.

Ta Da! Cocimiento made with a varitey of sea food, beef, chicken, and potatoes. I liked it for the most part, but Anna loved it and it is her favorite Chilean dish so far.
Me right before digging in!
And after eating a delicious soup we had Apple Pie and coffee! Well, not real coffee, but NesCafé...almost coffee :).
Well, I need to go now, but I hope that you guys enjoyed the pictures! Food from another country is always interesting to me since it says a lot about a culture and it was very fun to exchange recipies and share an afternoon with a really nice family. Ok, well until next time!!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Sandboarding and a Disco

Hi Everyone!

Well, it seems like a long time since I last blogged! I think my last post was about the "high tech." bathroom at the fancy hotel Anna and I stayed in while in Valdivia. Hmm, well the last three weeks have been crazy for me. The first of the three weeks I observed Básica (Elementary School) and that alone wore me out! The little kids are so cute and love to run up to me and give me a hug, but they sure take a lot of energy to keep in check! I keep telling Anna "they sure are cute, but by the end of the week they will eat me alive and chew on my bones!" :). Anyways, the second week I started teaching my classes (14 total) giving them the class rules, having them make name cards, etc. This week I have been teaching all new material and once again it is Wednesday and I am worn out. I guess staying late and helping with English Debate prep. and playing a soccer game did play a part in why I am so tired :). Ok, well here is what Anna and I did two weekends ago.

Some Chilean friends invited Anna and I to go Sandboarding with them just outside of Copiapó!

Here I am strapping on the Sandboard. They made their own boards and they were WAY NICER than anything I ever made in CA!

Here I am tearing it up :)

And of course the long treck back up the hill.

Ok, this is kind of embarrasing, but Anna and William (whom I am next to) got me to try on William´s glasses. They thought it was so funny Anna took this picture. Let´s just say I don´t do "Gangsta" very well.

After Sandboarding we went over to William Sr.´s house (the dad) and had dinner with them. This picture is of our lunch with them the next day! Yeah, they invited us over three times in one week to have meals with them and do fun activities.

William (the dad) said that the "Disco" is the specialty of the house. It involves a tank of propane, a large burner on a tri-pod stand, and a metal disc.

The "Disco" or disk is very simple- just add oil, all kinds of meat and veggies, pisco sour, lemon juice, and spices and TADA! A delicious meal!
Anna and I have been very blessed to get to know William and his family. They have invited us over several times to eat with them and share their Chilean culture. They are so generous and giving it is hard not to feel bad for not giving much back. But, that is how Chileans are...very generous!
Well, I hope you all enjoyed the pictures! See you next time.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Endless Year

So, very weird but in like a week and a half or so I will be turning 25. Now, that´s not so weird in and of itself but I have to say that I actually had to subtract my year of birth from the year today to really believe that I´m only 25. The reason is becuase I feel like I turned 24 about 3 years ago. haha. I have no idea why...maybe just a TON happend in this one year. Way more than has ever happend in one year before for me. Another part is that Jason is 27. It´s weird to think that currently I´m 24 and he´s 27. He was only one grade older than me though in school. He was old for his grade and I was young for my grade. So, here is a quick shot of this last year...
  • I turned 24 years old :)
  • Became engaged a week or so later
  • Lived in my Studio until my lease was up. Then moved in with the Jeffrey´s until the wedding. I have moved WAY too much in the last two years.
  • Not long after was "let go" aka FIRED from my first full-time job!!! haha. That´s a hard one to swallow for sure.
  • Started working for LLD--and also the best two bosses EVER! :)
  • Decided to do the Chile thing
  • We applied for Chile and got in.
  • Planned a wedding
  • Got married!
  • Had a honeymoon
  • Packed ALL of our stuff and stored it at our parent´s houses
  • Moved to the Morro Bay Cottage a week after getting hitched
  • A month later or so moved out and packed the rest of our stuff in a crazy fury
  • The next day flew out of LAX for Chile.
  • Moved to Chile
  • Once again...MOVED into a another different house (in Chile of course)
  • Started a new job as an English way over my head but like it that way!
  • Started learning a foreign language, a new way of life, a new culture...pretty much everything...NEW!
  • And soon...will be 25.

Man, what a jam-packed year. A great year though that is for garsh darn sure! :)

In other news we have been crazy busy down here in So-Hem! We should get a fatty sticker and put it on our rear window in the truck when we get know, like Nor-Cal...but So-Hem (Southern Hemisphere). Yes, yes, I´m so clever! haha. Ok, maybe not. Anyways, we´ve been having dinners and BBQ´s with new people we´ve met, juggling school, and everything else. Jason has started playing soccer with his teacher´s at his school. I went to a soccer game yesterday where my girls at the school were playing for the championship! They got second. Sad. sad. They did great though. Tomorrow we are traveling to the beach and having lunch with a fellow volunteer and his family. I´m also going to teach his host-mom how to bake an apple pie! haha. Oh yeah, fun stuff. Anyways, that´s all for now.

P.S. Does anyone want to overnight me a bean, rice, and cheese burrito from Chili Pepper´s with an extra big portion of sour cream??? :)

Saturday, August 8, 2009

My Take...

Well, Jason´s dear father-in-law :) asked me what I thought about living abroad. This is Jason´s third country that he has lived in. Some things are the same, some things are different for him. I am a newbie at this whole thing though. So, I thought that the question would be a mighty fine blog post!

So, here it goes...

First off, I have always wanted to live abroad. I have done some traveling abroad. Seen a part of Asia, and a tiny part of Europe. I will admit that there are parts that were glorified in my mind about living abroad. I think you imagine that you will love everything! Really though, I´m a born and raised American and so there are just things about The States that I will always prefer.

I also imagined the whole language learning thing to be easier. It´s very hard. It´s also very frustrating at times to not know how to say some of the simplest things. The part that makes me the saddest is that I really can´t get to know my students as well as I would like. I can communicate a litte with them but it´s not at the level that I would like.

There are a ton of things that I have loved about living abroad. I love how every day is a challenge. I love how there are little victories (like having a random conversation with a stranger and ACTUALLY communicating with them). I love how because every day is a challenge my reliance is steadfastly set upon the Lord and I am constantly in His Word. I love the people, the kindness, the great and above the top hospitality, the new friends, and so much more.

There are quite a few little things that I don´t exactly love about Chile. I won´t list them now...I´ll do that at the end of this whole adventure. Normally the things that I don´t like aren´t a very big deal. What´s hard though is there ARE days that I have a hard time with my students or just feel generally cranky or tired. On these days I feel weak and these little things that I don´t particularly like turn into GREAT irritations. This is when the "USA is better" feeling creeps up and I start to think "What is wrong with this place?" I hate, hate, hate when I feel this way. Thus, you can see why I have to depend on the Lord so much. haha.

Overall though I have loved the experience. The Lord has been so very, very faithful and it´s so amazing to see in such a tangible, obvious way. I love working with the kids and being here with Jason. It´s been good for us to kind of step aside and become "one" in a place that is challenging and difficult at times, and where we knew nobody (at least at first). I am thankful that the easy days far outweigh the hard days. I am excited to come home and miss it at times but I know that I will miss Chile a ton. I recommend anyone with the desire and ability to live abroad, at least for a little while. It does wonders to you and´s just plain fun! :) haha.

Monday, August 3, 2009

A Bathroom with a View

Hi Everyone!

Well, did you enjoy Anna´s post? I think that the last part of our vacation, Valdivia, was the best part. I think what made it so fun was 1) how interesting and beautiful Valdivia is and 2) staying at the fancy pants Hotel :). Anna mentioned that there was something I needed to tell you guys about that is in the Hotel and so that is what this blog post is all about. Ok, so the picture below you have already seen in Anna´s post which is a pic of the 5 star Hotel that we stayed at. EVERYTHING about his hotel was fancy and high tech. But, it seems that sometimes the creators of these luxery hotels get a little weird in their designs, trying to be too inovative and different. And that is what I found when I went to use the restroom up on the 12th floor of the hotel (called the Sky Bar).

Fancy Hotel we stayed in.

The 12th floor "Sky Bar and Restraunt".

The Restroom on the 12th floor´s Sky Bar where we had breakfast.
Ok, so what is different about this bathroom? Can you see that when you use this toilette you get a great view of the city? ;) Does that not seem weird?! Well, for me this was a little creepy to use the bathroom and feel like I was on display. Maybe this is a little weird to blog about, but I thought it was hillarious that they would design the bathroom like this. I know that most likely nobody could see me way up on the 12th floor, but I guess the experience was too much like being a fish in a fishbowl. :)

Here was my view from the bathroom stall on that foggy morning. Kinda weird, huh?

Well, I hope that you guys found this architectural "ingenuity" as interesting as I did! Here´s too modern architecture! Haha.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Vay-Cay Part 4

So, here is the last part of our winter vacation. First, I would like you to examine this lovely bed below. So small, so lumpy. haha. The matress was like two oversized pillows stuck together. Jason and I both slept here during most of our vacation. It was either on a bed this size, or on the bus. Just keep this in mind as you read the rest. haha Below is a picture of Jason and Nick (the guy we traveled with), and me waiting for the bus out of Temuco to Valdivia. Where is it that we are waiting for this bus do you ask? On the side of the freeway! Swweeet! So, normally we buy tickets and catch the bus at the big, official bus stops. But, sometimes we pick these random people up on the side of the freeway! Oh South America! I always wanted to catch the bus on the freeway! Yay! We got too! The only thing is that you have no idea when they come and you have to wait for the right one and flag them down. This one didn´t end up having room to sit so we had to stand. After an hour we got to sit down though becuase people got off. And yes, the wait was rather cold.
So, we finally arrived in Valdivia after a few hours and it was time for us to find a hotel. We didn´t really spend as much money as we planned becuase Jason was sick. So, we decided that we wanted to stay in something a little nicer than a hostel. We walked and walked and could find nothing. When we arrived in the city we saw what was pictured below but figured there was no way we could afford it. It´s a five star hotel. Anyways, after a long walk we decided to see how much it would cost. $112. ha! Not bad at all! That´s like the Holiday Inn Express in the States! So, we went for it. Man o´man! It was amazing!
So, we went from the bed at the top to this bed below! King size and glorious!
The room and hotel was fantastic. It had every enemity (sp?) you could imagine. I have never stayed in a 5 star hotel and we felt like kings and queens. There were free movies on our flat, big screen TV. A gym, indoor heated pool, hot tub, sauna, hair and beauty salon (haha). Everything you could imagine! There was a swanky bar/resaraunt on the top floor where they gave us a free "welcome" drink. wow-o-wow.
Jason is excited over the two remotes!!!
Here is the upstairs bar/restaraunt where they served our buffet breakfast that was amazing. It was 12 stories up but there was no view becuase it was soooooo cold and foggy outside. This is where we had our free drink the night before too.
Our delicious breakfast and below we are enjoying it!!!
So, becuase it was so cold and miserable, and we wanted to get our moneys worth, we stayed at the hotel until noon when they kicked us out. haha. We then met up with Nick who we traveled with and went to a chocolate shop. Valdivia is know for it´s chocolate becuase of all the German influence. Yum. So good! I wish we had bought more!!! I wish it wouldn´t have gone bad my Dec. too becuase you would have loved it mom!

After chocolate and a cup of coffee we walked around the outdoor market that they have along the river. We saw tons of produce, fish, and even some women cooking fish on a cool little BBQ type thing.

After the market we decided to go to the cervezeria...or beer plant. They have a German beer that they brew in Chile and the place has a resteraunt and a mini-beer museum. We hopped on a mini-bus and crossed over onto the little island that it´s located on.

We had a good meal and also had some beer of course!!! Jason had a typical Chilean meal...shown below. It´s very you can see. haha

We also took the opportunity to goof off a little bit outside of the museum. Jason likes this picture. haha.
So, we then said good-bye to the beer place and went back to the main-land of Valdivia. Later we said good-bye to our lovely hotel and hopped back on the bus for a 23 hour trip back home.

Being on the bus so long makes me Aaaaaaangry!!! Angry eyes! haha. just kidding. I think we got bored or something.
Aaaand...that´s our winter vacation! I hope you enjoyed it. There is something else about the public restrooms at the hotel that must be posted about. I will let Jason do that though! hahaha