Buenos Dias Amigos, 

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Sun behind pole

The afternoon sun beaming down on us during  a hike in Pomaire.


Classes have just recently started here although we’re really just having our first week of actual classes this week. They are all long (one module is 1 hour 20 min, and every class is at least one module, sometimes two.) Also, some of them are extremely boring because the format for teaching down here is without notes, without presentations, without following along with any book in class. Instead it’s an hour and a half conversation heavily dominated by the Profe. And when this discussion is coming from a guy that could be my great grandpa talking vaguely about Chilean Folklore with no direction, purpose, nor logical at all really in a stuffy, standing room only, it can be a bit, well, dry.  In contrast, however, the other class that I attended today proved to be much more interesting and easier to follow: a class on Chilean Poetry.  The professor is animated and realizes that more than half the class is made up of extranjero students, and readjusts his Chilean Spanish accordingly.  The hour and twenty minute session went by without feeling like it was dragging on, which could not be said for the previous class that I had, where even after it was obvious that the professor had nothing left to say with 3 minutes left, as the class packed up it’s things and were standing to leave he decided that we must all really want to hear him babble a little longer.  Not so.  


However, I have utilized one method for making class sessions more productive – discretely recording the lectures and then going back over them and describing what happened minute by minute.  This really helps me to get a better overall idea of what the class period was about and I think will come in really handy for studying for tests, or finding good class material to incorporate into papers.  I plan on creating another blog so I can share the lectures and lecture notes with some of my buddies in the class.  I feel like I can help spread the knowledge and get a pretty big benefit, too.


Anywho, I am beginning to form my beloved routine here, and think that I will strive to make daily (or almost daily) writing sessions a part of this.  Also, I am going to try to discipline myself to do exercises in house everyday and try to stay fit without paying for a gym membership (the fitness facilities at our campus are apparently not stellar).  I think that this will be a good way to challenge myself and be able to see results.  I find myself harkening back often to things I’ve learned before, but not utilized – for example, that a person is most happy when they have two conditions met in their daily life: they are challenged on a daily basis, and also that they get to use their skills on a daily basis.  I am working on building upon these two conditions.  One way to challenge myself is intellectually (classes, rigorously staying on top of the lecture recordings, writing, finding an English teaching position.)  The other main way to challenge myself is physically, which will include exercise and also trying to get on a soccer team somewhere around here in the city or on campus.


On a more concrete note, I had a good weekend.  On Friday night we hosted a party here at our place and had a turn out of about 25 people, which wasn’t so bad.   Early the next morning, our group was making it’s way onto a bus to go to Pomaire, a little dusty town about an hour and a half outside of Santiago that specializes in artesan pottery and clay work.  However, yours truly was busy sleeping through alarms and nursing a hangover.  Fear not though, dear readers, for I rose from the ashes and made my way on my own, to the surprise of many of my friends.   Others that were in the same position decided to stay at home, but not me, I knew that I couldn’t pass up a free lunch!  Which was totally worth it, by the way.  We had huge empanadas filled with meat, mushrooms, and cheese, vegetables of all varieties and sizes, as well as chicken, and dessert.  It was glorious.  A small group of friends climbed up the nearby hill in the scorching afternoon sun through a bunch of prickly plants (having no clean socks when I awoke, I was rocking the flip flops – yet another test of my will that day.)  The views were worth it though, and the heat made the afternoon shade and cool of the indoors that much more pleasureable.  


Night before last (Sunday night), I went to a party put on for waiters and waitresses here in Santiago.  A friend in the house got us all on the guest list, and we got to enjoy free beer (Tiger beer, which was Asian) and Rum and Coke’s all night long.  The main attraction was a rocking Chilean band called Chico Trujillo.  They are really well known here in Chile, and from Villa Allemana, a small town in Central Chile.  Here is there Myspace, definitely worth checking out to hear some Chilean upbeat and catchy Latin Rock.  They are very lively and made for a pretty great concert.  One of my favorite moments was one of the last songs that they played.  Starting off with a quick and lively guitar riff, everyone knew it right away and started doing the crazy dance associated with it.  This dance entail dancing around like an absolute maniac while spraying beer on yourself and everyone around you.  About 50 people on the floor were going about this madness for the 3 minute song and after the floor was awash with beer, and everyone’s clothes and hair was drenched with Tiger beer and Rum and Coke.  Needless to say, I had a great time.  You can check out a video of the song that I’m talking about, called the Escoba played here in Santiago.  You can see people going nuts in the crowd.


Well, I will leave you with that.


Ian J 


P.S. If there are any bits of Chilean life that you are curious about, leave me a comment and I’ll do my best to pick a few out and do entries on them.


P.P.S.  If you want a postcard written and sent to you, let me know.  The first seven to respond will be the lucky ones – just make sure to leave me your address in the comment.


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