Monday morning, you sure look fine

That’s the only song I could think of that has Monday in it. Besides Manic Monday. But Manic Monday is not appropriate for today because it’s not manic at all. I don’t have class until 2 o’ clock. The sun is coming out and it’s going to be like 70 today. Every Monday can be like this, thank you very much.

This is what it looks like out my window on a particularly brilliant morning.

Palm leaves in front, snow in the back. Welcome to Chile.

And this is what the mountains look like close-up after there’s been a lot of snow.

This was a really beautiful day.

Life has been moving along at a relatively normal pace.

JUEVES

Last Thursday I went to begin work at the service site where I’ll be basically every Thursday afternoon for the rest of the semester. I had been asked to come in for lunch and to talk more about how I’ll be helping out until December. When I arrived, it was cleaning day, and I was put to work cleaning one of the bathrooms. I actually kind of loved it- not necessarily the cleaning the bathroom part, but the fact that I was incorporated and expected to contribute immediately. The rest of the afternoon entailed helping the youngest group of kids, for whom I will lead a theater taller (pronounced tai-yer; workshop), with their homework, and then watching them rehearse musical numbers for Independence Day. Not much more to say except that I’ve got some characters to work with. It’s going to be a lot of fun.

VIERNES

I don’t have class ever on viernes. It’s great. After having to run by campus (that makes it sound like campus is nearby. It’s a 35 minute metro ride, plus walking time.) to get readings printed for a class, a couple of friends and I went to the mall. I finally got a pair of boots! I felt so much more stylish just having the bag in my hand.

I also had to figure out which bus to take to get home, and where to pick that bus up. In the process I managed to meet the supposed #15 tennis player in Chile. That’s according to him: the Internet has yet to verify that claim. He spoke some English and could hear my friend and I trying to figure out our bus route and offered to help. My friend got on a different bus, and the tennis player was on my bus, so we ended up talking the whole ride back. He made various comments about how he’s going to follow his coach to the US in a couple of months to try and find a tennis scholarship, and that he wants to practice his English. Then he asked me to friend him on Facebook (my privacy settings are such that he most likely can’t find me).

How do you handle these encounters? People talk about making some of their best friends and having some of the best international experiences through chance meetings like this. But think about how this sounds: I met him at a bus stop. At night. I want to be open. I also don’t want to be stupid.

In any case, I can’t actually find him on Facebook, so maybe that’s a sign.

SÁBADO

One word: chorillana.

Hoooooly crap. Chorillana. My very good friend at another university got some of her friends together, and I got some of mine together, in an attempt at extranjero mixing and exploration of Chilean food. The first part of the evening involved chorillana.

This is chorillana. I apologize for the blurriness.

The menu said “un montón de papas fritas.” They weren’t kidding.

Chorillana is a pile of french fries topped with a lot of other really delicious junk.

There’s chorillana clásica.

French fries with onions, egg, meat, and sauce.

And there’s chorillana vegetariana.

Don’t let the fact that it’s vegetarian fool you. There is nothing healthy about this.

These plates prompted my friend B. to ask if my camera had a “direct to blog” function. Go back up to the picture of the three plates. There were nine of us, including two who had already eaten and two who were fairly hungry. Maybe nine hungry football players could have finished all three plates. We barely finished one.

Afterwards we went to a birthday party. I had a good time. Really, I did. But I think the party was a decent illustration for me of how tightly knit Chilean social circles are. You really need a Chilean who is willing to introduce you and bring you into the fold. Could I have made a little more effort to introduce myself? Yeah, sure. But Chileans tend to have the same friends throughout their entire lives. They’re not necessarily looking to meet new people, let alone someone who’s going to leave at the end of the semester. This thought does not come from feeling uncomfortable- I did happen to be with a willing Chilean- or unwelcomed. It was just the first time I saw what I had been told: it takes a lot of effort to get in with Chileans.

It’s Monday, the start of another week. Really, though: the calendars here start with lunes, not domingo. I think we’ve got it wrong in the States. Remember how the seventh day of creation was the day of rest? That’s Sunday, the last day of the week, not the first! I like how the week starts with the workday. It makes Sunday truly part of the weekend.

I have not a clue as to what is coming up next, besides class and volunteer work and another weekend ahead. Tengo ganas de cocinar algo. And also to get around this city a little more on my days off- I’m getting a little wanderlust/cabin fever. We’ll see where that leads me.

Chao chao! Besos! Cuídate!

Gaby

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Monday morning, you sure look fine

  1. Edmund

    I love the reference to my favorite band…thanks! I got registration today so school is right around the corner! Talk to you soon…

  2. Sheree Sienkiewicz

    Chorillana? Holy french fries! My one true weakness…
    I had better stay out of Chile.

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