Saturday, 25 July 2015

Day.... in Chile (i give up with daily blogging)

Oh dear, I've been remiss haven't i?

Well, you missed a few days. I've had a cold, which I think I probably got from a sniffling Argentinian on the Amsterdam- Buenos Aires flight.....

Chile is gorgeous. The people are very kind, and really quite short on average. Learning Spanish is hard, but we're all progressing I think.

I'm going to give you a snapshot of a uni day.

In the mornings, I wake up around 07:00, lie there for 15 minutes, then I shower, dry off and put my (at first loathed) 'CHILE 2015' fleece on and have breakfast with my host mum and dad- Jaime (pronounced 'Hai-mer') and Claudia. Breakfast is usually bread with various spreads. I then get dressed and walk across the street to the bus stop...

Catching a bus in Chile is an unstructured art. In the early morning light you squint as hard as you can at the approaching buses, trying to read one of the twenty million little hanging signs in the windscreen which state varying destinations. You spot the sign you are looking for and so thrust your arm into the air, and hope that it wasnt too this point the bus either stops or doesnt (in which case you squint again). You are now stepping onto the bus... oh!! what's that? the bus is moving despite one of your feet still being on the pavement? Well- welcome to Chile, mi amigo. As you hold onto the bus- shocked that the door is still open and the bus is going at 40mph now- you are presented with a probably grumpy Chilean bus driver with whom you now have to attempt simple Spanish phrases which will enable you to pay him and get a ticket.  Done all that? Go on then, sit down, you've earned it.

The university, Technical University Federico Santa María, is up a million steps- which at first felt pretty awful but after a couple of days weren't so bad. The days are split into two: in the morning we have Grammar + Vocab with Mariana, and in the afternoon we experience Conversation + Culture class with Felipe. Mariana is good natured, sweet tempered and patient, teaching us the bare bones of Spanish as we blink at her with our bleary morning eyes. Felipe is also patient, but a little bit more physical in his approach... tables are slapped, voices are raised, and his Chileno eyebrows rise a little as he listens to us stumble through common Spanish exchanges. Both teachers are kind, competent and are educating us thoroughly in their respective areas- if through very different teaching methods. My only critique of these lessons would be that due to Chile's predominantly (but not always, crucially)  hot climate,  the university does not have any heating facility, and the architecture of the building dictates that the distinction between indoor/outdoor is pretty fluid- I suppose this would be good in summer, when you would want lots of fresh air and ventilation.... However, in July/Aug (winter for southern hemisphere, remember) this means it's ruddy freezing indoors, distractingly so. Again, shout out to the Greenwich fleeces.

At lunch/break time, all twenty-odd of us ascend to the roof top, where we get cups of tea and natter to the backdrop of a spectacular panorama of Valparaíso. It's a nice time of day and I look forward to next week where we have a three and a half hour break for lunch, we're planning to pop into Valpo for lunch.

Anyway, I'm tired now and we're going sandboarding in the morning so.... Buenos noches.

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