Half Done? Also: Daily Life
I realized today that I have about two months and two weeks left in Chile. Half of my time here has already gone by, like a breeze really, but thinking about it has made me realize how much I still want to do, how much I still need to work on. But two months is a long time! So we’ll see how I feel at the end.
Not much exciting has happened lately (bar everything of course, as simply being in Chile is incredibly exciting), so this post will most likely take the form of a rather random assortment of cuentos and anécdotas. I’m going to tell you a bit about my most recent adventure last weekend and a bit about my classes here. Also, I want to make good on my promise to talk a bit more about my host family. But let’s not get too crazy here.
Last Sunday, I originally wanted to go to the Museo de Santiago, which I had read about in the guidebook I bought in the frantic days before I left for Chile. Unfortunately, at the Santiago Tourism office (Short story: I asked the man working there for a map, in Spanish. Then he asked me where I was from. I responded, in Spanish. And then he explained everything in halting English. I was a tad peeved) I learned that it, along with the Museo de Arte Precolumbiano (which I also wanted to visit) was closed for renovations this year. So I went to the Museum of Contemporary Art (Museo de Arte Contemporáneo or MAC in Spanish), instead. It was very nice, but not all that big. The area around it is simply extraordinary, though.
And speaking about extraordinary, after I had wandered through all the galleries the MAC had to offer, I went to Cerro (hill in Spanish) Santa Lucía, near the museum. I had actually wanted to go to the Museo de Artes Visuales, but the cerro, which was on the way there, simply caught my eye. I’d passed it a few times before, but never with enough time to actually go exploring. On a whim, and because the day, which had started very cloudy and rather cool, had gotten much better, I decided to leave the Museo de Artes Visuales for another day and check out the cerro instead. And boy am I glad I did. The view of Santiago from the top is quite astounding, and offers a better panorama than that on offer at Cerro San Cristóbal, even though the latter is higher (and even though the latter offers a better view of Santiago as a whole. But let’s not get into semantics here). In terms of the hill itself, San Cristóbal doesn’t hold a candle to Santa Lucía, though saying that is a bit unfair because Santa Lucía is actually also an official park. It’s really beautiful, with a lot of quite old and worn down stairs (seriously. A bunch of them are actually blocked off due to safety risk) leading toward the top. For a hill in the middle of the city, it’s also very nicely wooded, with a lot of beautiful plants as well – though I did learn that it wasn’t always the way it is now. In 1872, the hill was renovated and made more accessible as part of the general beautification of Santiago initiated at the time by the then mayor of Santiago, Benjamín Vincuña Mackenna. It was also at this time that the chapel at the top of the hill, which, due to the deteriorating state of some of the stairs, is no longer accessible to the public, was built. I took a lot of pictures walking around the hill! I hope you can get an idea of how pretty it is up there.
This Wednesday I have a test in my Doctrina Social de la Iglesia (Social Doctrine of the Church) class. Tuesday the 16th of October I have another test in my Matrimonio, Familia y Sexualiad en la Bibila y en la Enseñanza de la Iglesia (Matrimony, Family and Sexuality in the Bible and the Teaching of the Church) class. And this past Monday I had to present an idea for an essay to my Política Exterior Contemporánea de Chile (Contemporary Foreign Policy of Chile) class. I didn’t actually know about the latter until I came to class, which made it rather … exciting. Well, I knew I had to have thought of a topic for my essay, but not that I would have to present it to the class and give the sources I would use. As you can see, things are picking up quite a bit, much like they do in the United States at this time. There are about two more months left this semester, and the professors seem to want to get some work in. I’m not complaining too much, it keeps me busy.
All of my classes, except for my Spanish class – which is offered through IFSA-Butler – and my soccer class – for obvious reasons – are lecture based, which also means they are not that difficult, unless you get a professor that is very hard to understand. My Chilean foreign policy professor, for example, doesn’t stop talking throughout the whole class time, which would be difficult enough to follow even if he didn’t also have a very, very strong accent. It’s hard to pick out what he thinks is important. I have no problem understanding my two Theology professors, however. But I did have quite a shock about two weeks ago in my Matrimony class. I had my first test about the material we had covered in class (I had earlier in the semester taken a test that covered just the readings, something that seems quite popular here, because it happened in my foreign policy class as well), and the question simply did not reflect what we had talked about in class at all. I think part of the problem is that it is the professor’s teaching assistants who actually make the test, and they make that test from the professor’s notes, not from actually being in class. Thus it was that on test day one of the TAs looked at all 80 of us very perplexedly and asked, “So you never actually learned about the rules of human communication?” I’m really dreading the results of that one.
I’ve settled into a nice rhythm in my house. I’m independent and can generally come and go as I please. At the same time, when I want to – which is more often than not – I can do things with my host family, but I don’t have to, which is good too. I really like my host family, and they, especially the two boys, really do treat me as a member of the family. The three of us watched the Real Madrid vs. Barcelona game today, which was a whole lot of fun. Benja and I are Barcelona (and therefore Messi) fans, while Seba is a Real Madrid (and therefore Cristiano Ronaldo) fan. Luckily, the match, which was a quite an enthralling affair, ended in a 2-2 draw, with both of the aforementioned players scoring a brace, so both sides were happy. Talking about soccer, it is really, really popular here (which is good because it’s my favorite sport). All the collegios seem to have some form of soccer pitch, even if they are small and made of concrete.
Quick side note: Today it is raining quite seriously, and has been since yesterday morning. I checked the weather forecast, and it’s actually not supposed to stop raining until Monday morning, which is very surprising. It hardly ever rains here in Santiago. Most of the time it’s either sunny or cloudy, and when it does actually rain, it’s usually more of a misting or sprinkling. I was going to go the Ekono on the corner of the street to buy myself a chocolate bar (I have a real hankering for chocolate at the moment), but I’ll probably save that for a nicer day.
That’s all for now! ¡Hasta la próxima vez!