Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Cravings and weight gain...

My life lately has been FULL of cravings (It´s me anna) Ugh. I feel like a pregnant woman...but I´m NOT so don´t get any ideas. haha. Anyways, here are some of my cravings as of late...

-sour cream
-Starbucks peppermint mochas
-cheddar cheese
-Chile Peppers burritos
-Old Country Deli ribs
-Custom House fish and chips
-Bali´s frozen yogurt
-Gus´s veggie sandwich (not a vegiterian but love THAT sandwich)
-Woodstocks pizza (though I now make homemade pizza which is not too bad at all. I also found a great recipe that´s easy for homemade flour tortillas...SO much cheaper! This has helped to curb the Mexican food desire)
-Jamba Juice
-Novo´s...pretty much anything from there though currently the calamari sounds amazing!
-Good chinese food
-Sushi (Jason doesn´t share this desire, haha)
-Brown sugar (doesn´t exist here and so makes a good batch of cookies a little difficult. Just not the same without it.)

Anyways, that´s the short list. haha. I also have a lot of craving to DO things to. Like run a new route...where there are actually trees, go clothes shopping, go to Target, the beach, hike, ride my bike around town, sit in a coffee shop and read...and on, and on. I´m a little interested to see how the clothes shopping will go. haha. I´m thinking that maybe, just maybe I´m a solid size one now! haha. So, before we left I couldn´t wear a size 0 at Old Navy, Gap, and places like that. It was too big. I had to by designer jeans (that I found at Ross for like $20) becuase everything was too big. Anyways, so a VERY high carb diet and little exercise (at least at first) made me put on a little bit of weight. I used to think that I was totally immune to gaining weight becuase I ate whatever the heck I wanted at home. Really, I think I just underestimated how active I was and how many calories I probably burned a day. Anyways, at about month 4 my pants were feeling a bit snug. haha. So, I quit INHALING the bread and tried to not eat QUITE so much manjar (dulce de leche). The pants fit better now. I stepped on a scale at a random school a couple of days ago out of pure curiosity and it said 53 kilos. 116 lbs...that´s a good 6 or 7 lbs. heavier at THIS point. Who knows what I was a couple of months ago. Nice! So, currently, I actually FILL my pants. I´m sure once I go home I will go back to normal.

Anyways, so there´s my wieght status becuase I´m sure you ALL were dying to know. It will be interesting to see everyone else at the end of the year. Apprently there is a 5 kilo average that everyone gains...which is about 11 pounds! People in Chile just live a much more sedintary life. No me gusta!

Also...tomorrow is October and my last day of teaching is in Nov. ahhhhhhhh. Crazy, crazy stuff!

Friday, September 25, 2009

A BBQ and a Jungle Gym

Hola Todos,

I hope you enjoyed the pictures from the Fiestas Patrias. Now, for you viewing pleasure I have some pictures of a Chilean BBQ or "Parilla" and our new "Jungle Gym". First, I included some pics of me starting our BBQ. Why would that be interesting you ask? Well, for me the Chilean "Parilla" is interesting not only because it looks different, but because you start it differently too.

The Grill is literally a half of a barrel without a top or cover. The charcol here in Chile is the natural kind which is harder to start because it doesn´t have all that extra stuff included (lighter fluid, etc.). The first couple times I tried to light the BBQ were...well TERRIBLE!! I was so frustrated because no matter how much newspaper I used I just couldn´t get the darn thing to light. I decided to ask a Chilean friend who taught me the following method.

Ok, so you start with a bottle in the grill and you roll a sheet of newspaper and then curl it into a circle.

One by one you layer the bottle in rings of newspaper.

Once you get the rings of newspaper about half way up you pour the charcoal or "carbón" around the bottle and make the shape of a volcano.

Then you light a match, set the rings of newspaper on fire (that form an inner tube in the volcano) and watch the charcoal catch fire!!!


I have yet to not get the BBQ started since I learned this method.

Some other interesting things about the chilean BBQ is that the charcoal sparks like CRAZY! I don´t ever stand near the BBQ once it is lit because of the shower of sparks that come off of it. The other interesting thing is that barbequing this way, without a cover, makes the meat take longer to cook. So, barbequing here is like re-learning how to grill all over again!!

Now for the "Jungle Gym"
So, our dear little kittens have decided all on their own that climbing up my pants is a fun thing to do!

Here is a close up of the little rascals digging their claws into my pants and scurrying up my legs. It doesn´t really hurt with Jeans, but man does it hurt when I come out in my flannel pajamas!!!!
The cats have been fun but they are kind of a pain sometimes. I have booted them a couple times out of Anna´s plant and other things that they shouldn´t be getting into. It is like having little kids....I think Anna and I have already failed at parenting!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Fiestas Patrias

Hi Everyone!

How are you all? Welp, here are some photos from last Wednesday of my school´s celebration of Chile´s Independence Day (the 18th of September). The whole day was a huge celebration, starting with an "Acto" or presentation in the morning on the soccer field with lots of dancing. Kids from each grade had to do a dance from each region of Chile. My co-teacher´s home room, 6th grade A, did a dance from Easter Island. The poor girls looked freezing in their grass skirts, but they did a good job. Other classes did dances representing the south of Chile (they were dressed as fishermen), another danced Cueca dressed as Huasos (cowboys), etc. Afterwards the High School kids had booths around the school where they sold traditional Chilean food. And THEN we had a little get together with all of the professors with of course tons of good food. So, here is a little peak into another crazy chilean celebration!

Here I am dressed as a Huaso (chilean cowboy) with some of the kids from my 6ºA class. They LOVED the fact that I came dressed in traditional chilean garb :). They just started clapping and running up to me, telling me I was chilean.

Here I am with my Básica co-teacher Mariela. I switched to teaching Elementary after the winter break and that meant a new co-teacher. It took awhile to adjust to a new teacher, new kids, and a new way of teaching but I am really enjoying being with Básica now.

Here are some parents who came and danced Cueca during the Ceremony.

Here are two boys from my 2ºB class (2nd grade). They are super cute and very motivated to learn English.

Like I said the High Schoolers had stands where they sold traditional Chilean food. Here are two high schoolers barbequing.

One of the High Schoolers that I´ve got to know wanted me to get my face painted. He thought it would be cool if I had the Chilean flag on one cheek and the American flag on the other.

And here is the final result!

The professors thought it was cool that I had the flags painted on my face. Several told me my chilenization is almost complete! haha.

On September 18th we were invited to eat lunch with some friends at their house. This pic is of one of their sons working the BBQ (in their covered patio).

Here is just some of the awesome food that we ate. You can see some empanadas on the outer edge of the grill and the meat in the pic is pork ribs. Like most chilean meat the pork was cooked with only salt for seasoning and the result, like always, was amazing.

Here I am chowing down on a homemade empanada. YUM!

Question of the Day...

This morning, as I drank what I believe was my second cup of coffee I said to Jason...

"How do people who don´t drink coffee actually LIVE and FuNcTiOn effectively?"

Hmmm. As I sit in the professors room at my school I ponder this question a little more. Currently I would do pretty much anything for either a latte´ from Linnea´s or a grande peppermint mocha from Starbucks. Ugh. Oh coffee...I will return to you soon.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I don´t Like street Dogs!

So, it´s official, the jury is back and the verdict is that I don´t like street dogs. Bah! Yesterday I was a good girl, in the morning, in the cold, and trying to get the days run in that the marathon schedule told me to run that day (i´m not a morning exerciser). I was at the end of the run and ran the same route that I always the same dogs that I always run by. This time though the dogs had their owner nearby which makes the dogs here a hundred times braver, more territorial, and aggressive. Out of no where the two dogs run at me and act like they are going to make me their breakfast. So, I jump out of my running shoes practically...which I´m sure the owner noticed and thought was slightly funny. Then as they are lurching at me I tried to stand my ground and actually confront them. Usually this works and the street dogs are chicken...they skulk away afraid...USUALLY. Not this time. Instead it provoked them and they really had the look of hunger in their eyes. baaaah! Stupid dogs. Finally I WALKED slowly away feeling rather defeated as the owner with little to no sway attempted to call the dogs away. So, like any mature adult, what did I do? I cried during the last part of my run all the way till I got home...and yes, I ended my run 2 minutes early. And this is my street dog story and why I HATE street dogs.

I don´t usually use "hate," or like the word "hate" but this time...I think it´s a legitimate and accurate word of description for these yucky animals. blah.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Fiestas Patrias

Hola Todos,
How are you all? Well, Anna and I are officially on vacation for the next 4 days. Tomorrow is Chile´s Independence Day and since they celebrate for practically the whole month most people get at least today and Friday off. Anna´s school had activities Tuesday and Wednesday and my school had activities all day yesterday. I dressed up as a Chilean Huaso (cowboy), which the kids loved! Anna and I will try to post pictures of our school´s Independence Day celebrations on Saturday, but today I wanted to finish up with the Independence Day Celebration at our friends´school San Francisco de la Selva (we went on September 5th, so about a week and a half ago). Anna started to post about what we did and I will finish up where she left off. So, here we go!

El Acto

We got to school around 11 am and the first activity was to watch a presentation that the kids gave celebrating their country and its diversity.

La Bandera Chilena

At the end of the presentation these girls came out and formed the Chilean Flag. I thought it was pretty clever :).

The Judge
So, I was given the honour of being one of the 5 judges to decide whose stand was the best. Each grade had a booth that they decorated and from which they sold yummy food. Of course, Chilean style I was never told I was going to do this. They just announced at the end of the presentation who would be the judges and I had to get up and stand with the other judges in front of everyone!!

And of course there was a lot of Cueca, the National Dance.

The Judge hard at work.
Well, judging turned out to be a lot of fun because several booths gave us food! We were all more than willing to accept bribes!

Me, Davis, and Anna
Davis is a professor at my school who teaches Violin. He is super nice and really wants to learn English. He has traveled to the U.S. (studied somewhere in the east coast) and lived in many countries. Anyways, we were surprised to see him there, but I guess he was helping out because he has a son who goes there.

Anna took this picture because she thought it was really funny how we looked under an arch of palm branches. I guess it made her think of a wedding or something :), silly Anna. So, Davis and I decided to hold a Ka-bob I was eating. Not sure why, just to be silly I guess.

Well, that was a little bit about of fun time at the San Francisco de la Selva´s Independence Day Celebration (that´s a mouth full!). I hope you all enjoyed it! Chau!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I want a Bike...

Well, my bike was stolen maybe a year ago...don´t know. It was traumatizing enough that you think that I would be able to remember the exact date...but I don´t. It was really hard losing it but eventually I did get over it and pretty much moved on. Well, now I want a bike and feel rather discontent. Hmmm. Lame. Not that I can use one here, obviously. But, I think that because there isn´t much to do here as far as physical activity I have been thinking about a lot of the things that I used to do at home. Mountain biking was one of them. I do have my nearly brand new commuter bike at home and I am SOOOO excited to be able to jump back on that thing and ride all around town again once we are done here. Too bad that it will be Dec. when we get home. I´m hoping for a few of those freakish hot streaks that we always seem to get in winter in SLO. Like the one that happend the week BEFORE our wedding last year...yeah, I still remember that. Everyone said, "Oh, how wonderful, hopefully it will last till your wedding." I figured it wouldn´t...tried to be optimistic...and it rained. haha. It was a great day none the less.

Soooo, complete ramblings eh? We aren´t teaching classes this week and so I have some time to jump on the internet. It´s Chile´s Independance Day this week. So...any excuse to not teach and have a party Chile seems to jump on. haha. Love it! So, we are having a ton of activities this week. Fun stuff.

Anyways, in other news...I´m training for a marathon. I´m on like my 4th week on the schedule. Crazy stuff. I have always had "run a marathon" on my list of life goals. I have the time here to dedicate to it and sooooo....I´m a trainin´. If all goes as planned I will run in April the Big Sur Marathon (not sure why I decided on one so hard but...I did.) The marathon is super expensive though and so I can´t pay for it till we get home. If it fills up then I will run a different California one around the same time of year...there are a ton of them. Basically, I run three short runs a week and one long run. My schedule is Mon: 30 minutes, Tues: 45 minutes, Thur: 30 minutes, and Sat is my long run. The bulk of my miles will be added once I get home and can really measure what I´m running (I know the "feel" of up to about 8 miles....from my past running experience so that´s the most I will do here). Also, there is two weeks between the end of the program and when we come home where we will be traveling. I probably won´t run much then. So, yeah. It´s been nice running...although I´ve been running almost the whole time we´ve been here. It´s been nice to run with a purpose though. So, yeah. Thought I´d put it in the public realm. It´s accountability! haha. If I fail than I will be seen as a big weenie! haha. oh well.

Welp, that´s all for now! -Anna

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Costume Partay and Indendence Day...I mean Month

So, it´s me...Anna. How is everyone doing? I feel like it´s been forEVER since I´ve blogged. Well, here I am! So, I´m going to tell you about dos cosas! The first is a teacher´s costume party that we went to in honor of Jason´s school´s anniversary. I guess there are three parties. One for the students, one for the teacher´s, and one for the parent´s of the students. Kinda nuts. So, we went to this party two Fridays ago. It started at 9:30pm...and we ate um, "dinner" at about 11:30pm. Yes, oh, yes, in TRUE Chilean fashion. Jason and I of course dressed up becuase I LOVE to dress up. We were actually given Huaso costumes which are Chile´s version of our cowboys. So, we dressed up in their traditional garb. Jason pulled it off well but I felt like I was ready for a casting call in Gone With the Wind. haha. It was super fun.

The second bit of pictures are of some Independence Day celebrations. It´s not one day´s literally the whole month. We were invited to go to the school that some friends of our´s owns. Well, the husband is the "owner" and his wife is the principal. They had a huge shin-dig at their school where the parents of each grade set up a booth and are judged on creativity, time spent decorating, food, and etc. Before hand there was a presentation done by the students which was super cool. After the presentation Jason was honored (haha, they LOVE Jason. Where´s the love for me though? I think I´m chopped liver.) and he was one of the judges who walked around and picked the winning booth. Fun stuff. It was a great day and it was HOT...which was wonderful. So......BRING ON the PICS!
NOTE: So...actually, these first two are from the celebration at the school. I was going to post about both things that I described but the computer is being really lame and not letting me move things. I´m running out of time on the internet so, here is a teaser. I will post more about the celebration at the school next time. This first picture represents Chiloe and the fisherman. The second one represents Easter Island. They represented each part of Chile in their skit. So, below these two first pics are pictures from the Anniversary Teacher Party. Got it!?!!!


Jason, his old co-teacher (he s doing elementary this semester), some other random teacher, and me. We had so many pictures taken of us that night it was crazy. I think they enjoyed the crazy gringos in their traditional Chilean clothing.

The "woman shot" of the teacher´s. There were some pretty creative costumes.

The "man shot". The cow, interesting. haha. He was definitely the funniest costume.

The tables and room were all decorated. They served us a big, nice dinner.

Why, yes. That IS Jason´s principal. hahahahha. Hey! That´s MY man!!! :)

Oh yes, the FULL effect!!!

And a closer shot!!!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Hi Everyone!

Well, this week has been pretty busy for me but I was able to jump on the computer and FINALLY get a video to upload (i have tried over and over, but the internet connection isn´t real great at my school). Anyways, I hope you enjoy a really short video of Anna blowing out the candles on her cake at her B-day party. Chao!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Feliz Cumpleaños Anna!

Hola Todos!

How are you guys? Well, here are some pictures from Anna´s "Birthday Weekend!" I must admit, I was a little jelous that she got a whole weekend of activities for her birthday but then she is pretty special. Enjoy!
Anna´s b-day fell on a Wednesday so the night before I decorated the house (streamers, etc.). I made her a "birthday girl placemat" and a little "happy b-day sign." Just a friendly reminder that she now is OLD!!

Saturday we had Anna´s b-day party with the 8-month volunteers, a couple of the new 4-month volunteers, and some chilean friends.

Anna cooked a ton on Friday and all day Saturday and the food turned out amazing! She made Mexican food or as close as she could get to Mexican food (don´t worry I helped too! I cleaned the house FOREVER and decorated).

Here Anna is opening some of her gifts.

Anna´s "Carrot cake." Everyone liked it, but for some reason it lost it´s "carrot taste" somewhere during the baking process. I was impressed she was even able to make it using just a pie pan to bake the cake layers.

BIRTHDAY SURPRISE!!!! It was either Wed. on Anna´s birthday or right after it that a mommy cat and her little kitty baby showed up at our house! Chile is FULL of street dogs and cats and it was obvious that this one hadn´t eaten anything in a long time.

So, we fed the mom and her tabby baby and the next day there was another baby! This time the kitty looked more like the mom who is a Siamese. They were SO hungry we just had to help them out.

Well, the third day after the first two showed up another (the 3rd) kitten appeared! This one was the runt of the litter and pretty sick. With Anna feeding the other three (mom plus two kittens) I fed the little one to help her get better.

And of course Anna named them all! The mom is "Mamá Cat", the tabby "Tolby", the more brave-aggressive kitty I named "Rocky", and the little timid kitty Anna named "Lucy". Anna has a soft spot in her heart for Lucy because she likes to sit in the sun and is a bit clumsy (like Anna :).
I´m not sure how we are going to afford feeding these cats, but we just couldn´t let them die (in the beginning Lucy looked like she wasn´t going to make it). We have seen several dead dogs from being hit by cars and a couple bags full of a dead dog or cat that someone dumped. So, we have decided to help these cats as much as we can. We made them a soft bed in the back yard, a food and water bowl, and even a scratch post and play toy!

On Sunday we were invited to go to an Asado or BBQ. It wasn´t really for Anna´s b-day per say, but they did buy a cake for her and we sang happy birthday. Here some of the people there are making "pan amasado" which is AMAZINGLY good.

A close up of the pan amasado. It is usually cooked on the BBQ, but they had an outdoor clay oven that they baked them in.

We ate way too much! We had chicken and steak (which they only season with salt here in Chile), potatoes, salad, bread, etc.

Here is Ema and Sergio´s outdoor oven.
(They are the couple who own the company that manages rental property - we rent one of the houses they manage).

Another pic of the pan amasado. This time a close up of it cooked and warm. YUM!

Here everyone is enjoying the feast.

Ema and Sergio´s Asado was at their country property. They don´t have a house built there yet, but they have a sweet weekend set up with a cabaña, tables, bbq, fire pit, etc. In the background you can see the sand dunes and mountains that surround Copiapó.

Here I am with the "weekend" birthday girl.

At the end of the Asado (which went from 2-7pm) it got cold so they lit a warm fire. It made me miss camping.

At the end of our time at the Asado Ema pulled out a cake, stuck a candle in it, and we all sang happy birthday (in a mix of Spanish and English) to Anna.

Well, that was a peek into our weekend. It was a lot of fun but I think that we are still full from all of the food that we ate! I hope you enjoyed the pics!