Monday, August 30, 2004

a wonderful weekend

this weekend was the best i've had so far. on friday i chose not to go out with other students in the program and instead went out by myself. luckily, it worked - that is, i made a chilean friend. it was so nice to converse in spanish in a real life situation - somehow school, living with a family, restaurants, etc. aren't quite what i consider real life. or maybe the idea is that i was using the language not out of necesity, as in if i don't talk to this person i won't get to eat, but instead because i wanted to, just conversing.

that being said, i now need to practice my purposeful spanish and write and essay about a pablo neruda poem for class tomorrow. not that it's challenging or has to be long, but it just needs to be done. at least i got to choose the poem. time to work . . .

Friday, August 27, 2004

language partners

today went well. i went to a "language partners" meeting - some students from the U.S. and some (more) Chileans who study english in the univeristy, eating free pizza. it was a nice opportunity to practice spanish with people my age without having anything in particular to talk about. it appears that our spanish is better than their english, but we have been living in chile for 5 weeks now, and i'd hope we've learned something. i'm looking forward to future meetings and more conversation.

hmm, weekend. maybe i'll go see a chilean movie or play. for now, it's about tea time, so i'm going to go.

Monday, August 23, 2004

viva chile

man, it sure is loud outside. people cheering, honking horns, blowing those annoying plastic horns you see at soccer games, playing drums, etc. i think i watched more tennis this weekend than in the rest of my life. chile won its first gold medal ever yesterday, in mens doubles, and a bronze in the singles. just five minutes ago they won the gold in singles too. chi chi chi, le le le, viva chile!

in singles, they beat united states guys, so i was in a win-win situation. fortunately, the people i'm currently with won too so i could join in their celebration. i wasn't quite as enthusiastic as my host brothers, that's for sure, but still it was fun.

hmm, que más. i started reading a spanish book yesterday, one my host brother just finished: la hermandad de la sábana santa (the brotherhood of the shroud of turín). it's not too complicated, written sort of like the davinci code, which i refuse to read, at least for the time being. i'm not really interested too much in this book, it's not literature or anything, but i have to start somewhere. the problem with trying to read good books in spanish right now is that the words lack connotation, they don't have any feeling, so i don't get anything out of the book but the story, which isn't why i usually read books. i tried to find che guevara's motorcycle diaries, since i am interested in that story, but couldn't - all the booksellers i asked had some sort of unidentifiable tone in their negative replies, as if i shouldn't even be asking for such a book. oh well - maybe after i finish this book i'll figure out where i can find that one.

let's see, it's sunday, so i guess that means i should do the little bit of reading i have for my spanish class tomorrow, and then continue reading hermandad. alright. off to read.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

feeling better

yes, thankfully i'm feeling better today. my stomach still hurts a bit, but not at all like yesterday. i hardly got out of bed yesterday. however, i'm still not supposed to eat anything that will upset my stomach. looks like crackers and more cinnamon water for lunch. i only have 2 classes today, so it won't be bad. and tonight, i'm probably going to go see machuca with my host brother and a friend of his. it is a good movie, or so i am told. well, off to class . . .

Wednesday, August 18, 2004


so. sick is me. bleh. couldn't hardly sleep last night. woke up at 3 or so with diharea, puked twice. all day i only got out of bed to go to the bathroom. still don't feel very good. my mom gave me some medicine, some water with cinnamon in it, and some pseduo-oatmeal - rice with water and cinnamon. i sure hope cinnamon makes me feel better. i also got to drink some carbón thing. it seems to have worked - i feel way better than i did during the night, but if i feel like this tomorrow, i'm still not going to class. sick feeling all over my body. my mom thinks it was the choripan (sausage on a bun, like a hotdog, but not) because she and her brother also had diahrea, and we are the only ones who ate it. good news is that they feel better, so hopefully i will tomorrow too.

Monday, August 16, 2004

my first trip

we (the students in the program) went to valparaiso and viña del mar yesterday. unfortunately, it was a rainy day - it didn't rain too hard, but it didn't stop until 20 minutes or so before sunset. because of this weather, the city, particularly valparaiso, which is probably the most important port in chile, was not particularly beautiful. the city is built on the 42 or so hills that surround the bay, and supposedly resembles san francisco. many of the houses are painted bright colors - if i lived there, and every winter day looked like yesterday, i'd paint my house bright pink and green too, just to see if it made me any happier. we visit one of pablo neruda's three houses - la sebastiana - which is built on top of a hill, and supposedly has the best view of the city. there are a lot of windows with great views, including the huge one next to his bed overlooking the pacific ocean - "El océano Pacífico salía del mapa. No había dónde ponerlo. Era tan grande, desordenado y azul, que no cabía en ninguna parte. Por eso lo dejaron frente a mi ventana" - what a view it must be right after you wake up. his house is architechtually amazing, and would be a great place to live. just seeing it makes me want to design a house, or maybe just read some of his poems.

the weather was a little nicer in viña than it was in valparaiso. we walked along the beach, and had tea in a nice little restaurant on the beach from which we could watch the surfers. how nice. on the bus back, we drove along the coast for as long as we could, and watched the beginings of sunset on the ocean, something i've never seen. while this was going on, in the east there was the biggest rainbow i've ever seen - we could see both ends and the whole arc in between. if only i'd remembered my camera . . . looks like i'll just have to go back.

oh, almost forgot. friday i went to see some international symphonic orchestra - it only cost $1.58 with the student discount. i wasn't going to go, but when i saw they were playing "a night on bald mountain," i just had to go - such a good song, and they played it well. there weren't many people there, but that just meant i got to sit on the ground floor. it was nice, probably not as good as CSO, but i couldn't see any difference. i'll probably go back.

for now, i'm watching the olympics - swimming, now gymnastics. and it's just about lunchtime, so i'm going to go.


Saturday, August 14, 2004

why isn't it friday today

ah, friday morning. no classes today, nor yesterday for that matter. i think i've finally set my schedule: algebra, spanish, great poets of the 20th century (we're reading ts elliot, lorca, neruda, and kavafis), and the state and politics in the 21st century. i'm not sure how much i'm going to enjoy that last class, but i'm intersted in the subject matter: what relavence does the state have when, for example, the revenue of general motors is greater than the gdp of denmark? (list) i don't know if this topic will be covered by the class, but it is certainly relevant.

i'm still enjoying being here, but still don't really have chilean friends. again, that will change soon. tomorrow i'm going with the program to valparaiso / viña del mar, twin cities on the coast that resemble san franciso (someday i'll go to california and find out if it's true). it won't be warm enough (probably) to enjoy the beach, ie swim, but at least this way i'll know the city so when it gets warmer i can go there and come back without any problems, like being unable to find the bus back or something.

today i think i'm going to go see machuca, a chilean film that won some sort of award at cannes this year. it's supposed to be really good, so i'm looking forward to it. i have to find a movie theater first, but after that, it should work well. since it's almost noon, i guess i should take a shower and get going.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

starting to feel like a student

i had to write my first essay for yesterday about statistics in chile, and, after today, i think i´ll have gone to all of my classes. the great poets of the twentieth century class looks interesting - we get to read elliot, neruda, lorca, and some greek poet whose name i forget. in a little bit, i´m going to go to a class about the state and politics in the 21st century. it should be interesting, especially coming from a chilean perspective. for now, i´m going to go to a bookstore and try and get some good spanish novels so i can stop thinking in english because i´m reading english (east of eden by steinbeck, such a great book, only 100 or so pages left). chao.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

such a nice, warm day

today the high was about 70 - so nice, being able to sit in the park with a tshirt and sandals, almost like the summer i left. i went to the park that's just a half block from my house and read some of East of Eden by John Steinbeck. after this book, i think i'm going to read Cien Años de Soledad por Gabriel García Márquez, the famous colombian author. it's supposed to be a good novel, and i figure if i want to learn spanish, reading would be a good way to increase my vocabulary.
the park i went to is right next to a really old dominican church, and there is a artisan fair there. there was also an art gallery with some amazing paintings.
well, i'm going to get going and let fidel use the internet - my computer works here (apartment) now, but only one computer at a time. but still, it's great.

Friday, August 06, 2004

keep on keepin on

today i went to a class - introduction to probability and statistics. the teacher was nice, but she is only teaching the first three weeks, then the real professor will start. that´s only a problem because i might not be able to understand him. more importantly, the goal of the class is to give the students a practical, not mathematical, knowledge of the subject. thanks to smokin´joe at st. x, i already have that. so i´m not going to gake the course. this means, though, that i might only take classes on monday, tuesday, and wednesday. that sure would be convenient for traveling. it looks like my classes are going to be the mandatory spanish class, abstract algebra, and two of the following: social psychology, cultural anthropology, great poets of the 20th century, the dark face of technological development, and latin american integration through trade agreements.

the other day i asked my family, at the promting of mo, what chileans think of bush. the first reply: él es loco. the second: es un maldito ladrón. basically, they think that he has done bad things for both the country and the world. somehow, i´m inclined to agree.

umm, what else, what else. everything seems just like daily life. i met up with sonal, a girl i know from the u of i who is also studying here. when went to catch the bus home, we hesitated; why, i don´t know - it was the right bus and we knew it. so we finally went to it (it being stopped at a stoplight) and i got on. just as sonal grabbed the railing, the bus started moving. what fun for her, jumping on to a moving bus. sometimes we make our lives interesting.

i will hopefully have internet in my house soon. the easy way would have been for me to bring my wireless router with me - i almost did, and i so wish i had. they probably cost around a hundred dollars here. i might just fool the cable company into thinking my computer is the same as my host brother´s . we shall see.

i´m going to head back out into the world now, maybe go home and have tea.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

maria paz, my host niece (solarized)

maria paz's barbie - she made me take the picture, i swear

a sunset over northern santiago

las clases empiezan

most of the classes start this week. this morning i went to an algebra class this morning - it is an introduction to abstract algebra, which is basically a review of an honors math class i already took, but didn´t really learn much in. so this should help solidify my knowledge of algebra.
on thursday, i went to another class - contemporary international conflicts. it´s a study of what has happened in the world since the formation of the united nations. i´m interested in a non-united-states perspective on the world, and this class will definitly provide it. it includes writing a paper about some conflict not covered by the class, so i can do a bit of research, maybe into sendero luminoso in peru or the continuing civil war in colombia.
i could understand the professors in both classes, so it looks like i will take them and not be lost in the language.

the family is cool - i had a ten year old, umm, host niece, i guess, for the past week, but now she has to go back to school in a different city about an hour south of here - she lives with her mom, and her parents are separated, her dad being my host brother. it was interesting to have her around - i even taught her how to play the supersheep training exercise of worms. i also watched a bootleg of shrek 2 (yes, filmed in the theatre) with her.

i´m learning my way around the city, with only 2 erroneous bus trips so far. i live about 35 minutes from downtown, about an hour during rush hour though. it´s not a problem, just makes getting places take a little longer. i don´t mind - i get to sit and read.

well, i´m going to go eat now, and later go to my mandatory spanish class. hopefully they don´t make us work too hard . . .