Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Blah

So I have something to do besides play Solitaire and study Spanish now. I bought a guitar! Its pretty nice too, its a acoustic guitar with a pickup (just in case I get really big in the local scene and need to buy a amp). I dont remember the brand of the guitar, but its a CT based company, and the guitar was made in Korea and I bought it in Chile..hmmmm....So I am rather happy with my purchase.

School hasn't been too bad. Next week, my schedule will be getting full, with all of my classes starting (this will be about 25 to 30 hours a week). So that awesome. In those hours, I have some overtime classes as well, so that means extra money for me.

It has been extremely cold in the apartment this week as well. Just to give everybody an idea of how cold it is, I usually sleep with my blue Columbia jacket, a tee shirt, long johns and fleece pants. Now this is on top of a sheet, 3 blankets and a comforter. So, lets just say that I have a hard time of getting out of bed in the morning.

I also haven't been using my MP3 player on the streets either. I thought that it would drive me crazy without it, but I don't notice it, which is nice. Its probably caused by all the interesting things going on the street. For example, most busy street intersections have street performers who to a routine in between traffic flights. I see jugglers and other people with various talents, showing off their stuff in order to make some tips. Its pretty interesting to watch.

I also saw Batman, the other day in the Cine. The movie was awesome (I could see my old work in the picture). We opted to see the movie in English with Spanish Subtitles because I didn't want to see a dubbed version of Batman......

Thursday, July 24, 2008

One month in Chile

Today is the one month mark for me in Chile. That is crazy to think about! 3 weeks in a hostel and 1 week in my new apartment. Things are pretty good here, I really enjoy my new apartment and roomies. They are very cool and they show me around and I see things that I probably wouldn't see on my own.

Yesterday I was angry in the morning because I thought that we didn't have any hot water for my shower. That's the last thing I want, when after a cold night. I want a hot shower and I turn it on and the water is ice cold! So I didn't take a shower that morning. I later find out it was cold because you actually have to turn the gas on before taking a shower...That pretty much sums up my time in Chile, figuring everything out by trial and error. Ha

On Sunday, we went to this huge market, which happens once a week and that is where everybody buys their fresh produce. Its amazing to see, and really cheap. For example, I could buy a kilo of lemons for about 50 cents. You also can by everything else as well, clothes, bootleg cds, etc..

I really have learned that I have to cook from scratch a lot more too. (there are no Salsbury Steak TV dinners, boo!) From my roomers, I have picked up a few things to make. Soups, etc. Because it is always cold in the apartment, I drink tea all day too..

Spanish is coming along, with me learning more vocabulary everyday. I try to read a lot too. Currently, I am reading the Spanish version of Jack and Beanstalk....or whatever it is called. I still cant understand anybody though.

Classload is starting to pick up. I have classes in the morning, then a break, then a class in the evening. The only thing that stinks about that is I have a huge break in the afternoon. I usually don't go home because it wastes time and money. This time is where I usually fit in Spanish class or meet up with one of my roomies. Just for the heck of it, I walked home the other day to see how long it take me. It took me a little over a hour (so probably about 3 or 4 miles), so its something I not going to do everyday. In the summertime, I think that I want to get a bike.

I found the best place to eat Chilean food as well. So I have a local place to take people when they come and visit me...Right? Right?

I also have decided to buy a guitar. I think that I am going to buy a acoustic one because its more portable and I dont need to buy a amp (it probably would piss off my roomies as well). I probably will buy it on the weekend or early next week.

Oh something really cool. I actually found out I get 4 weeks of vacation, not a week like I thought. I am going to come home to Chicago and Michigan on Dec 22 through the 28th. Its short, but I can only get that much time off work. But that leaves 3 weeks to explore Chile before next July. So I was happy to figure out that!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Que Frio!




So I have moved into my new apartment, finally! Its nice to have a real place. My roomies are really cool. Mostly Spanish is spoken in the house, but they are great about teaching me and correcting me. They have even placed a bunch of sticky notes around the house indicating what things are in Spanish. Its pretty funny. I am living in Nuñoa (for those who know Santiago).


I like the apartment too, my room is small, about the size of a jailcell, but it has a attached bathroom which is nice. I have a different commute to work (a few buses) but its not too bad. I went out with them too last night, we ended up going to a huge house party and stayed out way too late. The party was huge, the cops dont break up parties like in the states.


Tonight, I think that I am going to a party at a old Manison, I guess they have 5 parties a year and they are suppose to be a good time (live music, tons of people, etc). Should be interesting.


One more interesting thing, Chile has lots of street performers. The only difference is that these performers actually get on the bus and play a few songs before getting off. Its pretty entertaining!




Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Day Off

So we didn´t have to work today because it was a holiday, something like celebrating the Virgin Carmel...who knows what that is about. Week has been good so far. I finally have my first class assigned, its one on one with a student, who is pretty advanced. He signed up for a lot of classes which mean that I will have him til December! Other than that I have been filling in for other teachers which means extra money in my pocket. Not much, but enough to have a few more drinks on the weekend or something.....

Since today was a holiday, a few of us went to a karaoke bar in a nieghborhood called Nuñoa. It was fun, but everybody was really good and signing all these deep spanish romantic songs to each other. But here and there an American song would be played. I ended up staying out til 4AM and I had to get up at 9AM for Spanish class! Grrr.....So after my class, I ended up sleeping til 4PM.

Tonight is my last night in the hostal (thank god). There has been a lot more people here this week which sucks, because all the hot water for the shower is used up quickly! Not to mention that the plumbing seems to have taken a turn for the worst. Yesterday they were knocking like crazy (I thought that the pipes were going to come through the wall)!

After work tomorrow, my new roomie is going to stop by the hostal with her car and move my stuff into my new place. I´m excited because tomorrow means 100 percent spanish in the house all the time! Lets just say that I might not get to know my roommates for a few months because I won´t be able to understand them. But with me still taking Spanish lessons 3 times a week, plus this. I hope to learn much faster.....

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Even More Pics!!






The weekend was great. Today, I went Skiing in the Andes Mountains! It was awesome, the pictures that are below do not even capture how awesome the mountains were. Friday night was fun too, went to a bar (which the 80s are still alive and well) and watched, there will be blood. The first 3 pics are from when I was walking around Santiago after it rained (thats the best time to see the mountains) and the other pics are from skiing today.


Thursday, July 10, 2008

More Pics




These pics include, the kitchen where I cook by a lamp, where I hang out at night and the view of the street from my window

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Only 7 more days in the hostel

So, I finally decided on a apartment. I ended up picking the apartment with the 3 girls (yeah I know), but the place is really nice and my roomates are really nice. The place has a nice homey feeling to it.

But the thing is, that I can´t move until the 17th because the other guy has to move out still. So that means that I am here in the hostel for another 7 days. Reasons why that I am looking forward to moving out

1. No more "home" repairs late at night. Last night, the workers decided that they wanted to fix the broken bunkbeds at 12PM. Seriously....

2. No more living out of 3 suitcases (not like I didn´t do that before).

3. No more wondering if somebody is going be in the shower when I get up (not to mention hot water)

4. No more waiting for for the caretakers to come downstairs and let me in the hostel (esp when there is a scary guy walking towards me down the street at 3AM)

I also think that I need to buy a bunch of sweater vests. Everybody wears them. Its probably caused by all the cold weather and no offices without any heat.

Eariler I mentioned that pickpocketing was a frequent problem. I was thinking about running a experienment to see if this is really a issue. I was thinking about carrying a old empty wallet in my back pocket (I carry a front pocket wallet now) to see how long (if at all), it gets swiped. I might have a good chance though, as I saw a guy getting his phone stolen out of his hand as he was talking on it while I was walking home....hmmm.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

More Photos



Ok, I actually lied, I have taken more than 2 photos. Here are some of my hostel and my street which the hostel is on...

Saturday, July 5, 2008

2 pictures



Here are the only 2 pictures I have taken so far......

More Observations

During my days here, I have noticed some more interesting things

1. A ton of dogs on the street. Its funny when a pack of them chase cars down the street (and to think in Chicago, dogs actually get stolen).

2. Public affection is huge here, when I walk through the parks, all the benches are packed with young couples making out.

3. A word on public transportation. The Metro (train system) here is very efficient here. Its very clean and upkept. The trains don´t make a lot of noise either and they come every few minutes with few issues. The only bad thing is that the train stops at 11PM. How is that a developing city like Santiago has a better train system than Chicago? Its embarrasing that Chicago´s cars are 50 years old, noisy as hell, and frequent breakdowns and stops. My current commute is about 10-15 minutes and I am probably going as far as Addison to downtown. The bus system has gotten worse in the last few years. I read that 2 years ago, all buses were privatized and so buses kinda ran like cabs competing for fares. But the govt decided that they wanted to intergrate the bus/train system, so the govt took more control and a ton of bus routes were scrapped. A friend of mine was saying that 13 different buses went next to his house, now he is down to 1 bus. So all the buses now are packed. But still, waiting 20-45 minutes for a bus here is unheard of.

4. Even McDonalds taste different! I can see how in a few months, I will start to miss some of my fav foods and brands......

So I am still looking for a apartment. So far, I have looked at two different ones. The first one would be with 2 other roomates (both Chilean), and they are a little older about 30. The downside about this apartment is that her brother sometimes would be living with us. So, crashing on the couch, etc. That could get a little bothersome at times. Plus, since they are a little older, they are a little more chill, than I would like. So, probably a no, on this apartment.

I looked at another place today, that would be living with 3 other girls. All of them are really nice (2 chilean girls and a US teacher). They aren´t girly at all. Benefits of this place is they only speak Spanish in the house (they know English), so it would give me 3 times to practice Spanish and it gives me 3 different outlets to meet people which is nice. The place is nice too, clean and I would have my own master bathroom too. Its cheaper than some of the other places. Its going for about $250 bucks. The downside here is the location, its not as close to the train as some of the other places. Its probably about a 10 min walk to the station, so we are probably looking at a 30 minute commute. Not bad, but if my classes are all over the place, it could be bothersome.

I am looking at one more place tomorrow and then I will probably make a decision. Tomorrow is a 22 Chilean girl who is a student, who speaks no English. Should be interesting!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Something funny

1. I ended up blowing my alarm clock because the voltage here is too high for small electronics (luckly it was a cheap clock and so I bought a transformer to have no more issues).

2. A few of us teachers were talking and one teacher said, "you guys had to take the pychological testing before they offered you the job right?" All of us said no! Haha.

Still trying to sort through all these apartment ads to find a place. And tomorrow I teach my first class. Its a conversation class, so there isn´t a lot of preparation needed, all we need to do is talk. Easy enough. I also am starting to take some private Spanish lessons tomorrow as well (muy bien!)