Sunday, August 4, 2013

Changes in My Life

It's hard to believe that I only arrived in Chile a just over a week ago; it feels like a lot longer than that. I guess that means that I'm settling in and getting used to life here. I mean, there're still a LOT of things to get used to: eating breakfast around 11 am, lunch between 2-4 pm, and dinner (called once here) between 8-10 pm;  the stray dogs wandering the streets (there have been two that I seriously wanted to ship back home for me... I feel like resisting their sweet eyes and wagging tails is going to be one of the most difficult parts of my time here); and of course being surrounded by the Spanish language every day and in every place, just to name a few differences between my life in the States and my life here.
My room!

I think one thing that really surprised me about here is the amount of English that I come into contact with during daily activities. A pet peeve that I've run into is that people here automatically try to talk to me in English while I'm here. Instead of trying to communicate with me or try to explain in Spanish, they instead try to speak to me in broken English --- which usually just confuses me more. Just because I'm not a native speaker doesn't mean that I can't understand Spanish; I may just need a little more explanation and/or time to process. Grr.

I've also encountered a lot of English in programs playing on TV. It seems like every day there's at least one American show or movie on the TV with a Spanish translation superimposed over the images that are obviously spoken in English. In fact, I was just joking with my family tonight that I might watch more English movies here than I do back home. In addition to the television, American music is also super popular here --- I've been hearing everything from Maroon 5 to Rihanna  to Queen. Sometimes it makes it hard to focus upon what's being said in Spanish around me and on the TV when I recognize the songs in the background and have the English lyrics flowing through my mind. I can't wait for the day that I won't have to focus hard and fight to tune everything else out in order to understand the Spanish shows.
Lots of storage for my treasures

But enough about that. Time to relate a little bit of what I've been up to and experiencing thus far. Last Sunday I got to move into MY room. It's extremely nice; I have my own queen-sized bed, a lot of storage space, a personal propane heater, and a bathroom --- all to myself! The only downside is that it's not on the same level as the rest of my family's rooms are, so I'm farther from them :( but this just forces me to leave my room more and be social... oh darn.

Also this past week, I was able to go to the local market twice with the other GV study abroad students. I really love the market --- so many colors, trinkets, and pretty things to admire. Pretty sure I'm going to be back there many times, and a lot of my purchases are probably going to be from there. I actually broke down and bought a scarf (thanks to Hayley) when there the first time, and I absolutely love it. Hayley and I actually got little handcrafted clay pigs as gifts from the scarf vendor. It's so adorable and currently has a place on my nightstand.

Clay pig!
Today I went with my family to Concepción for my Chilean sister Natalia's handbol games. It was a really interesting sport to watch, even though after two games I haven't quite figured out the rules. The game is played inside a big pavilion with a court larger than a basketball court, and there are soccer nets at each end. Each team has six player on the court at once, and the object is to make goals by throwing the cantaloupe-sized balls past the goalie. It almost seems like a game of soccer, except that you seem to be able to almost tackle people like football. I've never heard of this game being played in the States (it's obviously much different from what I'd considered to be handball, haha), but I definitely have a respect for the high school girls that I watched play for an hour straight in this grueling game.

Well, that's all for now! I have to head to bed because I have a long week of classes ahead of me, which I'm sure to write about soon! ¡Adios a todos!

Gail (:

Mi estufa... finally figured out how to work it!
My pretty scarf (=

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