It is evident from my last post that I have been going non-stop! I am thrilled to inform you that this weekend I was able to catch up on some much needed rest and relaxation. As lazy as you may think I am for saying this, I literally did nothing all weekend. IT WAS GREAT! Friday was declared a beach day and I was able to go to my favorite local fish joint for lunch, Saturday, my friend John and I spent all day laying around watching NCAA games (the Butler game was beyond depressing, but I am still proud to call myself a Bulldog forever!), and today I spent time catching up with friends and family and attempted to study (note the emphasis on attempted). I can now confidently say that I am well rested and ready to tackle the challenges that this week brings.
During my hours spent staring into space this weekend, I was able to do a bit of reflecting. The personal time was nice as I have hardly had time to catch up with thoughts. Due to the fact that most of my recent posts have informed you about the places I have been and the things I have done, throughout this post you will get a a snippet of the things that have been running through my mind.
To start off I am going to talk a bit about my class schedule, as I haven’t talked much about it! I am currently enrolled in a Spanish grammar class, a conversation and culture class, a dance class, and an economics class. All of my classes, except for the economics class, only have other exchange students in them. I absolutely love these classes as I am learning a wealth of information in them. In my advanced grammar class we focus on discussing why we are using certain tenses instead of merely applying grammar rules. The class is very interesting and I am glad to finally have the opportunity to grasp more in-depth grammar concepts.
My favorite courses are conversation and culture and dance. My conversation and culture class is very hands on and we often leave the classroom and walk about the city. All of the historical information about Valparaíso included in my last post was knowledge that I learned in this course. It is awesome to have a professor who knows so much about the city and can teach us about the extensive history of Chile in addition to allowing us to practice our oral and writing skills. My dance class may be one of the most fun courses that I have ever taken. In the course we are learning how to dance traditional Chilean dances. Thus far we have learned the Huayno (a dance from northern Chile) and the Cueca (the national dance of Chile). Dances that we are going to learn in the future include the Cacharpalla, the Morenada, the Diablada, the Caporales, the Sau-Sau, the Tamuré, the Aparima, the Ranchera, the Cielito, Salsa, merengue, and Afro-Perú.I have two male teachers who are absolutely hysterical and can move their hips better than anyone I have ever seen!
While I am enjoying all of my Spanish courses and am learning A LOT, my economics course is proving to be very difficult. Unlike the courses I described above, my economics course has other Chilean students in it. My professor is originally form Germany and speaks a slur of Spanish with a thick German accent. Needless to say, I cannot understand a word that he says! At this point, I am praying that I will eventually pick up on his rambling and learn about Chile and its insertion into the global economy. Riveting stuff… let me tell you… :)
In addition to taking classes, I am in the process of setting up a business internship with a Navy company in Valpo. Thus far the process has been highly frustrating and difficult. Everyone seems to be on vacation all the time! I am hoping to get things ironed out by the end of this week. Even though working out the details has not been fun, I am very excited to have the opportunity to implement my business and Spanish skills in the same environment, I would love nothing more than to one day acquire a job that incorporates both my marketing and Spanish degrees, therefore this internship will be a great opportunity.
Aside from class, I spend most of my time dreaming about traveling. Studying abroad has officially given me the travel bug. All I want to do is travel the world and see everything it has to offer. I have started a list of all of the places I would like to travel (which is virtually everywhere) and hope to one day have the opportunity to take a world tour. It is funny to me how much my abroad experience has changed my outlook on life. Before my trip I was highly invested in and preoccupied with the brands of the clothing I wore and what my friends were doing. Now, I would be happy with a backpack, a pair of shoes, a pair of hiking pants, a white Hane’s v-neck, my passport, and enough money to get by. A traveling companion would be nice to have too! There is just so much to see and do, and I want to enjoy it all while I have the ability to do so.
While I cannot pick up and travel the world right at this moment, as I understand the importance of a college education, I have big travel plans while I am in Chile! In addition to traveling back Bolivia (La Paz), this past weekend my friend John and I booked trips to Buenos Aires, Argentina, Iguazu Falls, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil! Literally counting down the days to each one! This weekend, John and I will be traveling to the charming Castro, Chile. Castro is the third oldest city in the country and is known for is beautiful scenery, great fish, and kayaking. It should be a fairly laid back weekend and I am glad to have the opportunity to get to know Chile a little better. Next week I will have plenty of pictures to show you from the trip!
That’s about all I have for you! Tomorrow I am going to the Chile vs. Uruguay soccer game in Santiago. Once again, I can’t wait! I desperately need to begin studying for my grammar quiz on Wednesday due to the fact that I will not get back to Viña until very late tomorrow night. I have recently come to the conclusion that studying abroad is nearly impossible, but I always seem to find the discipline and the time to do so.
Chau for now!