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Brown and Yellow FlowerFlower in Cajon Del Maipo


So now that I’ve started my first week of classes, I have found out one major thing about college here in Chile: you do not have to spend much time on campus to be a good student here.  I will be taking four classes this semester (most likely) and will only have school 3 days of the week.  Many of the classes here only meet once a week, although it is for a 3 hour stretch in some cases.  This allows for a lot of free time on campus, or off.  The sunny, well laid out San Joaquin campus, where all of my classes happen to be located, resembles a bee hive that is being attended to by a beekeeper and a smoke flume: there is a lot of students, and a lot of activity, but at the same time there are just as many students laying around under trees, talking in medium to large groups, playing soccer, ping pong, foosball, and just generally doing a lot of “non school” things.  To me this is a big change from the U.S. where most people on campus barely have time to stop and talk for more than 5 minutes during their cross campus hikes.  


While I’m down here, I do not plan on overloading on credits like I did my previous semester in Madison.  Instead, I want to take a lighter schedule that will let me concentrate more on a few classes, those being Flora Nativa (a class on the native plant species of Chile, includes 3 excursions to different lush areas in Chile to observe different species), Chilean Folklore (which apparently has a pretty cooky, multilingual professor), the intensive Spanish course for extranjeros (exchange students), possibly a course on Chilean poetry, and possibly a class on Latin American Culture and Society.


Well, that’s really all that I can say about classes for the moment considering that  it’s only the first week and about half of the students chose not to show up for classes this week (I guess that’s a pretty common theme here, or at least to be late.)  


On another topic, we have a number of new residents here at the Casa Blanco.  At the present moment we have 1 American (me), 2 Mexicanos (Two guys, one from Guadalajara and the other from D.F. (Mexico City)), 2 native Chileans, 3 Francesas (a group of 3 French guys from the same university), and 1 Brasileno (1 year younger than I am and goes to the same university (La Catolica)).  Overall it’s a good mix of cultures, and everyone speaks at least one romance language, although Spanish is usually the dominant language in the house.  It is not uncommomn to hear the French tongue rolling through the halls of the house.  Tonight we will be having a welcoming party for all of our new friends, and that should be a pretty good time.  I am going to invite people over from the program, although it seems like they can be pretty lazy at times.  


Tomorrow, I believe that we will be going to Pomaire, a nearby town that lives a more traditional lifestyle and specializes in creating pottery and ceramics of a wide variety.  I’ll make sure to take plenty of pictures and put them up.  Also, the two newer photo albums are now up (Puero Varas and Cajon Del Maipo) and I will be putting captions on those photos when I get a chance.


That’s all for now folks, I’ve got business to attend to, but I would just like to give a shout out to a new program that I have found to be quite helpful in facilitating my writing progress: it’s called Q10 and creates a nice distraction free writing environment and really makes one feel more creative and at one with the page.  It blacks out the rest of the monitor and there are no on-screen clickable menus (it’s all done via keyboard shortcuts).  Another nice little feature is the built in typewriter sounds that are actually quite soothing, especially when combined with the right kind of music.  (You can check it out here, or read about it here on OneManSpeaks)



Ciao, Ciao amigos,

Te vaya bien.

Ian J