Tuesday, September 30, 2008


I got an e-mail saying The Rotary Club of Talagante would like to invite you to a meeting seeing as I have been in Chile for 5 weeks now this invitation is semi-late but I wasn't expecting to go to a meeting at all, because I was told that Rotary doesn't expect you to do anything. Compared to in North America where the exchange student has to go to every meeting and join in on all the Rotary Club's activities. So here I have an invitation as with the rest of the 3 other exchange students that are hosted by the same club. Phillip from Germany, Liz from U.S.A (Oklahoma), and Clea from U.S.A (Arizona).

I had to arrive by 8:30pm thinking that this is when the meeting would start but of course here in Chile nothing happens on time. My sister and I were actually the second group to arrive along with Phillip and his host parents and the president of the club. I wore multiple sweaters to the meeting thinking that it might be freezing but instead they had a fire going (in Chile you never know if the place will be freezing cold or sweltering) so I was dying of heat. The other exchange students eventually arrived and we made some awkward Spanish conversations with the other Rotarians. It does get quite annoying when someone asks you a question, and you answer it, and they re ask you it, and you re answer, then finally someone will say something lengthy just to cover all the basis, so the Rotarian will finally leave. As in I swear this lady was saying "How long have you been in Chile" so I said "One month" then she re asked the same thing, so I said the same thing, then my good friend Liz jumps in and says we arrived this date we leave this date, so we are here for almost a year, that answer is good enough to make them leave. Ahah after they leave I make sure I was hearing the right question, which I was ..... or so says the other students. Situations like these make you think you are really dumb but you arn't...just other people are really dumb.

Eventually we had our own circle of English going on, didn't last for too long seeing as how Sofia (our consellor) insisted that we had to speak in Spanish. So when I wanted to ask a question it had to be in Spanish. My first one to Tety was to ask Sofia if he had to switch host families because I don't want too. Of course Sofia said yes, but Tety started to argue just a little bit saying how I shouldn't have to leave ahaha. Sofia then joined our circle, so english vanished and spanish appeared. It is the weirdest thing talking to someone in Spanish to a person who is natively fluent in English. It just seems wrong. But, we were actually able to talk quite fast about certain things and understand eachother. It is a lot easier talking to adults in a quiet room than it is to teenagers who speak fast and with lots of slang and in a noisy classroom. At one point I thought that I wasn't learning Spanish fast enough but coming to the meeting really showed I was learning it and speaking it, it's just hard to make yourself understood with teenagers. Compared to Rotarians you can understand most of what they say.

We also asked Sofia the dreaded question if the rumor was true that we are going to have to switch schools after the summer. She said yes. We are all horrified. The fact that we have to move host families but also move schools!!! We were not happy. The reason is because the host families live too far away from the different schools, but still they could find different host families not just ones that have children on exchange, or they could just not switch us at all. We are all not happy about this arrangement seeing as how some of us are actually going to have to live in different cities which is not fair to us at all, when we were just getting settled. We are all going to try and protest it, i.e talk to people back home. Seeing as how we all thought the rule was that you never never never were supposed to switch schools. Maybe I could convince my host aunt and uncle to host me so I can still go to the same school ;) seeing as how they were very unhappy with the news that I may be leaving the school. Even though I am going into a new grade, I love my school, and I have friends in the next grade, and my school is family run by my host family so I know everyone in the school.

Eventually the Rotary meeting got started, a whole lot of reading, and ringing the bell. Whereas in Canada you ring the bell once to begin, and once to end, and perhaps to shut people up. Here it was ring to being, ring to end, eat some more and talk, ring to begin again, ring to end, then you could talk....this happened so many times. It was so different to back home because there was less people, and no exciting things like Happy or Sad Dollars (where if osmething happened over the week you pay a dollar to tell everyone) plus this gives you a chance to know what people have been doing and raise money at the same time. No jokes made about people or nothing. No one had to sing the national anthem or the 4 truths (Is it the truth, is it fair to all concerned, does it create good will and friendship...etc.) There was none of that. The food was delicious though and having it at night seemed odd compared to in Canada it is bright and early in the morning. And the wine on the table was a big joke with the exchangers seeing as how we are not allowed to drink, we thought this could be a test, and made sure at toasts we promptly grabbed the water and not the wine ahah. However I sat through it all and it wasn't boring since it was new to me and I got to talk in english with my friends that I hardly see. It was even cooler that my host sister could understand most of what we said (she did study in England for 5 months) but couldn't talk back quite as much (sounds like me here) but I was actually able to translate what she didn't know which was quite awesome since I knew enough Spanish to do that. However it was getting late as in 11:30 so me and Tety were allowed to leave "early" because Tety had to study ...of course we thought we could get away with just saying good bye to the exchange students and Juan and Sofia my consellors, but no this is Chile..we had to kiss everyone in the room. So it took forever to get away. Which we laughed about it outside.

The meeting overall was pretty awesome, it was so good to see the other exchangers and talk in english and make fun about things that happen in school, and whatnot. We are still not happy about having to move cities, families, and schools. It is like starting an exchange all over again. Except for the fact that we will know the language and the general culture. But the hardest part of an exchange I find is not the language or culture it is fitting in and knowing you feel comfortable somewhere and that you belong and that you are no longer that "gringa". That feeling will be gone when we all move I think.

So I think we will all do some researching and see what we can do about it. :)
Don't worry I am staying positive!

Thursday, September 25, 2008


"As I stepped out of the car, I realized everyone was watching....."

Since I have been in Chile I haven't had all too much exercise some random soccer games here and there with my brother and his friends. Of course I needed to do somthing in the afternoons as well. So, I went hunting to see where girls could play soccer.

Of course, nada.

Girls "just don't play soccer" here.

But, I saw a sign in the school saying soccer Mondays to Wednesday 3pm-5pm. So I asked my host-mom if I should do this. The next day she talked to the coach and she told me that I was allowed to go but I would be the only girl, since the rest of the team was guys. (She made is sound like "girls could play" but really it was an all guys team, meant for guys, and only guys. But seeing as how my host-family owns the school they can make exceptions plus the coach wouldn't say no. So I got in.) Of course this was only practices so I could have some exercise.

I started the next day. I didn't bring too much soccer equipment because of lack of space so this would include me not bringing proper soccer shorts. Mmm yeah. But I had lunch (which was really too heavy and I felt really sick) and I went to school, and found the teacher. We drove to the field, and most of the team was already there getting ready. As I stepped out of the car everyone was watching....

I can speak for most of the guys there that this was there first time ever playing with a girl, let alone just seeing a girl wanting to play soccer. So I got lots of looks. I just got ready like everyone else, and waited until I was invited to start passing with them (here it is kind of too "macho" for a girl to do anything equal to a man or to be just as strong) so waiting was my best bet. As I waited under a tree while hearing the whistles and kissing noises I was getting from the school behind me, I was eventually asked to come out and pass the ball around.

I am very sure they were quite interested if I could even pass, so I made sure all my passes were clean and precise, and that I received everyone perfectly. All was going okay. Until we started doing some real work. I had one person I recognized from class and was immediatly paired up with him (the other day he still thought I couldn't speak AT ALL) so we had a nice little chat while we had to run around the field for a while, man was I tired, no sports in two months really does a number on you. Mr Messier's words come to mind "It's easier to stay in shaope then to get into shape" ughh how right that is. At least I don't smoke, or it would have been worse. We commenced with numerous dribbling activites and running galore. I was exhausted. Needless to say at that moment I never wanted to come back to this ever. All I wanted to do was finish this up to at least make sure no one could say "haha we knew a girl couldn't make it through a guy's pratice" so my only goal was to finish with everyone else, and maybe with some dignity.

Eventually we had a break, and everyone started passing again. I was content to be the loner on the bench and relax perhaps, but no I actually had a friend and he wanted to pass with me. So at least I had a nice friend. Then we had a scrimmage. The coach not giving me a position still not knowing how I actually play or where I played. So I just cozied myself up to the spot of left defense. One of the players said something at the beginning of the game couldn't quite get it but I think it had to do with none of them playing with a girl before etc. I asked him to repeat it slowly but he repeated it just as fast, oh well. At the beginning of the game I didn't touch the ball, and the players were faster than any girl I ever had to chase down in Canada. But, I got my break. I went after someone and got the ball (of course everyone had to cooo at it because a girl beat a guy no less) so I earned my respect with that one moment and was then passed the ball. I even almost had an assist. Which the coach was very proud and was going on and on about how I almost had an assist. hahah

Eventually, it was over, I was sore, my calves were, sore, my hips, my ankles.....ugh. And my stomach hurt like no other due to the heavy lunch. But, I did leave with dignity, and my host mom told me later that the coach was impressed because he thought that I was going to be bad, and by the end everyone was asking what my name was of course I have to say it 5 times before they realize that "Taylor" that funny sounding word, is, actually my name. (Someone asked me my name during the game and I had to keep repeating it that the ball went past him...oops)

I got to the school, was giving some yogurt that I happily chugged down, kept getting comments on "oooooooh" your cheeks are so red "you actually played?" ...well yeah.

So I accomplished my goal. I finished it. I think I may go again. But we are creating a womens league Saturday mornings, so I will join that, of course that really does conflict was partying on the Friday night, especially when coming home at 6am is the norm. Oh, and I also had tea with sugar and a celery leaf to help my tummy (mi wata)...I think it sort of helped. It was refreshing though. And, this morning mymuscles ached a lot!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Never Until I went to Chile

I have never __________until my exchange to Chile.

seen soo many stray dogs
not worn a seatbelt in a car
had a fence, and a gate around the house
had a maid (Mom & Dad even though you think you count as one, you don't)
drank so much tea in my life
ate so much bread
taught people how to dance
danced to Reggaton
have been told that "I am sooo beautiful" by soo many people, everyday
had someone shout "Taylor, I love you!" in the middle of class
had an empanada
had no heating in the house
had to wear a uniform at school
had talked in Spanglish
wore long johns
wore two pairs of everything and a hoodie to bed
wore socks in bed
seen the toilet flush counter-clockwise
ate cow tongue
worked a gas stove
not had a microwave in the house
hung dried ALL my clothes
stayed up until 6am to party
saw the sunset and sunrise in the same day
worn my shoes in the house
had young siblings
learned how to start an asado
danced the cueca
had a mini fanclub when I play soccer
take more pizza at pizza hut then I could take at the buffet so my friends could wrap it up and give it to the people on the streets. 4 1/2 slices was my limit but I was given 8 slices to eat.
been okay with peole smoking around me
been offered to smoke so much
heard a peacock "cry" (it sounds like a cat meowing)
thought that 60 cents is way to expensive for a chocolate bar
been able to buy chocolate bars for 20 cents
had mayo, and yogurt and other products come in bags
had to listen to the teacher pray before class
not heard annoucements or the national anthem at school
had one day have mountians everywhere, and the next day look like there are no mountains due to the winter smog
lived near vineyards
lived in the country
had opposite seasons
thought that on a winter day it was warm and I better put on a T-shirt
had seen sooo many mullets!!!

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Sun Sets and Rises on a Month

The sun sets and the sun rises last Sunday, it marked the finish of my 4th week in Chile

How I saw the sunset and sunrise is a different story.

On the Saturday the family had to go to my Host-Grandma's House for a lunch with the Dieguez family to come together for the holiday. We talked around a little table drinking Chicha (Sweet wine that hasn't been fermented as long) and cheese empanadas. The empanadas were delicious. A cheese empanada is usually fried bread (whereas meat empanadas have normal bread) with melted cheese on the inside. We then all sat down for lunch. Everyone who came was;

Fernando & Consuelo - My host parents

Jose, Tety, Victoria, Jaime, & Rafa - My host siblings

Sonya & Tonio - My host aunt and uncle

Tonio, Nacho, Gabi & Felipe (the bf) - My host cousins + host cousins bf

My host Grandma, her boyfriend, and the Great Grandma

This is the Dieguez family, so my host mom's family

The whole family just sat and talked for the longest time, and having tea can take up to an hour.

The sun was starting to set (Jose was sleeping on the grass trying to get some snooze time in because he was going to go out that night, and he stayed up to at least 7am every morning for the past 3 nights) when the sun set we had "once" so more tea and some donuts!!! I was understanding most of the conversations in Spanish and was even speaking some Spanish. Although I do still talk in english a lot but sometimes it works because some of my family members are studying english in university, so they can understand when I talk they just can't reply back. Which sounds like my situation but in Spanish. Although I do speak spanish in school.

When we got home, Jose & Tety were going to the "Fondas" and they invited me along. The Fondas is like the Chilean version of a fair. Except you go there at night, and people drink a lot.

I was with Jose, and his friends that I play soccer with. We played lots of Fuzball and they were surprised that I have played it before. They all thought it was a Chilean thing, same with Churros they didn't believe that we had them in Canada as well. We sat down for a couple of hours and had meat kabobs and they had a few pitchers of terremoto, it looked like someone peed in their glass ahah. Needless to say I was supposed to take care of them, but another person I knew hung out with us Naima. We walked around a lot but eventually found a place we liked to dance, and they charged us $10 to get in for four people plus a pitcher of Chicha, we were in their for 20 minutes when they closed the place down, ahaha. We eventually started to head out this was around 5am. We had a guy come up to Naima and me and tell us that we were the most beautiful women at the Fondas that night (Naima is half Swiss so she looks like a gringa too) Even people that I meet (friends of friends) think that I am 19years old, and can't believe that I am 17! We were about to leave when Tety's (very drunk) friend wanted to leave with this (very creepy) guy. Tety has a very strong personality and wouldn't let her friend leave, it took 5 times but eventually her friend left. Tety was so angry.

Even when we were walking to our car, she had to hold onto my jacket because she was scared that the drunk guys would try to do something. We left just after 5am and we dropped a few people off, then had to check up on her friend, eventually she agreed to come with us, after she was at the guy's house. By the time we got home it was just after 6am.

At the house I could see the sun rise over the Andes, the same one I saw set in the ocean that night. I had realized that it was Sunday and that I had been in Chile for a month now.

Have I changed? I am sure I have....but I haven't noticed the changes yet.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Indpendence Day

Chile's Independence Day. September 18th.

It started out on a Wednesday afternoon with my washing patio chairs for our family BBQ.
The kids were playing with their kites (which many times got stuck in trees where I would fetch them out for them) my brother starting the BBQ (which works with coals) and the rest of the family making the lunch.

We cooked sausages and beef, had avocados, rice, potatoes, and bread. My host parents had pisco and pepsi. Picso is Chile's National drink, it is very similiar to rum.

We all ate outside at the table at my brothers house, and sat there almost until the sun set.
I was even "responsible" enough, and had the trust in my host parents to even have a glass of pisco and pepsi. (Cultural Learning) It felt so good to be trusted. Seeing as how I have always had the trust from my parents, so it felt very good to earn it from people who used to be strangers to me.

Later on, me and Jose had to go pick up some alcohol for his party that was happening at night, so we picked up his friends and headed for El Monte to this little hole in the wall (all places that sell alcohol that are not in the supermarket are little dingy hole in the walls) and we picked up 20L of Pinepedo?? some sort of wine/pisco mixture. It came in dusty glass jugs from like the pirates of the carribean. This "stuff" was to make a very popular drink here in Chile called "terremoto" translated it means Earthquake. And I can see why seeing as how its a mixture of everything put into a big pot. Pinepedo, pisco, pineapple icecream, pop, sometimes wine. It's pretty distrubing on the stomach I would imagine. We also picked up coke and a jug of wine why? to make Jote. Jote is basically Coke and Wine put together. The Chileans love their wine, and they also love their pop such as Coke. So I believe someone had the idea that putting their two favourite drinks together would make an ultimate super drink. I think not. I smelt it and I almost wanted to puke. Somethings just arn't meant to be together.

The party was really good, and I went to bed at 6am which is considered early....
and again "gringa can dance".......also people speak better english when they are drinking ahah
so it was a lot easier for me to talk to everyone as well as everyones spanish was slower and reduced to fewer words.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Piercings Chilena Style

How to get a piercing Chilena style.

First, you walk around downtown trying to find the cheapest place that will pierce your ears. Usually piercings can cost between 500 - 1000 pesos basically $1 - $2.

Second, the person who will pierce your ears will hand you a blue pen. Why? So you can mark where you want the earring. You do this by yourself in a tiny mirror with maybe some advice from a friend.

Third, the person presses a button on the ear gun and bang you have a piercing.

This Chilena Style is free of all the gimicks of North American piercing. Who needs hydrogen peroxide or any disinfectant whatsoever. Or any cleaning to the piercing gun isn't all too necessary either. (I saw the lady pierce two of my friends one after another and didn't clean anything)

The whole time all I could think of was how my aunt (who is an esthecian and used to pierce ears, and is very anal about cleanliness) would absoultely die if she saw this!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Just a Day!

Friday. Just a day.
This is just one of the views of a "hill"

I woke up at 6:30am as per usual to get ready for school. Did my usual routine got dressed in a uniform, and heated up milk for my chocolate/coffee drink, with bread. I got a ride to school but this time my host Dad Fernando drove me instead of Consuelo with the three little kids. We also had to pick up a few of the kids that we drive to school as well. We spoke in English so that Fernando could pratice some more before he goes to Victoria and gives a speech and answer questions afterwards. I was telling him on how English is a very indirect language and how everything is assumed and judged by tone. Whereas Spanish is a very direct language and there is a verb for everything and rarely do you say "I am going here" in Spanish directly translated it would be "I go here" in that sense it is hard for him to judge certain questions.

I got to the school, went up to my class 4 ME on the second floor knowing the the first two periods were going to be "English Class" ahahahha. It is quite a joke, but I help my classmates pronounciate certain words. As in "although" they just cannot make the "th" sound, or add it with another sound. "Although" usually ends up to be "Aldo" so trying to get them to say "thwart" was a whole other problem. Also trying to get them to figure out the difference between "keys" and "kiss". After english class Biology was supposed to happen, but instead some official guy of the school came in and of course all the guys started to cover their earrings and make their hair look shorter. But, he came in and told us that we were going to eat hotdogs and then leave the school (I am still not sure why we got to leave early)

We had our hotdogs and left. With my friends we walked to downtown Talagante and sat down in the centre plaza (this is basically a circle square in the middle of the city). We talked and tried to fix our friends "new earring" instead of hydrogen peroxide we used someones perfume to disinfect it. All I could think of was how my Aunt would die if she saw this!

We went to the supermarket and spent 30 minutes deciding what kind of cookies we wanted, I found oreos (hurrah!) but they are about half the size of the ones in Canada. I also found cereal that looked like Frosted Flakes but were in Spanish instead. Everything again still seemed really cheap.

We went back to the plaza to eat our food, the whole time this one stray dog was hovering around us for food. It was so adorable but of course it looked so adorable that everyone gave it food, which is also the reason the dog was so fat, insanely fat, whereas most of the stray dogs are very lean. I also noticed lots of whistling and honking that people made at girls, that I hadn't noticed before because I usually walk around with my older host brother. But benig in a group of girls and with one guy......well, you can imagine. This day was also a rather hot day. When the sun comes out here in Talagante it feels like a late spring in Burlington, and I rather hated the fact that I was wearing tights, socks, and Mary Janes, when I really wanted to wear long shorts and a T-shirt.

When I got home at around 1pm my host father told me that we were going to pick up his horse Ahrecife from his friends house in a town one over from ours.
Frankly I am quite scared of horses ever since I was almost bucked off one up on a mountain in the Yukon. So I decided this would be an opportunity to perhaps, get over the issue.

Well, a did pet it. But I would rather not...

When we arrived at the house I even had to lead it around a bit. Scary. Apparently I will ride him someday.

So this would be the horse...
I have also now officially been given homework thanks to my Chemistry, Physics and Spanish teachers. How wonderful. I did do my 20 chemistry questions with out a translator and my brother only had to help with 3 questions I think that is pretty darn good. I also understand a lot more Spanish that is being said to me, responding however is not so easy!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

ZOMG! A Gringa can dance?

Last night was my first party (Carrete) in Chile!

And lets just say the dancing is....different.

I got to the party at around 7pm when it started at 6pm....but no one was really there. We had to go to the supermarket and get some food to cook for the night anyways. By the time it was 8pm still no on was really there. We got the barbecue started...whichis really a brick area where you put hot coals on and the grill can move up or down. Not many people showed up until around 12am to 1am. That is considered early ahaha.

This would be the BBQ

So we ate grilled hot dogs, and sausages in bread basically a classier version of a hot dog.

I then went inside with the girls to get some music...this is where the dancing began.

Reggaton a perosnal favourite of most Chileans were playing so I started to dance, turns out I can dance! Also turns out it is a big surprise if I a gringa can dance, and also a bigger surprise that a girl can dance as well. Seeing as how in Chile apparently the girl does the awkward shuffle and the guy does all the fancy hip movements and actual dancing.

So, a gringa taught the Chilean girls how to dance. I thought it was going to be the other way around. I also did the "gringa dance" just for them ahah. And I got "ohhh yeah that is the gringa dance we thought you would do ahahha". So I taught them how to move their hips, and do certain footsteps and how to shake your butt (I was taught this in gym class by a bellydancer).

I also taught a small amount of guys that didn't know how to dance at all either, it was quite hilarious. I tried to dance with some guys that were apparently good dancers but I guess I freaked them out with my dance moves because they are so used to the girl being a swaying pole on the dance floor. But after the guys had a few drinks and loosened up by 2 -3 am I was able to dance with some of them. It seems quite weird to have guys that actually dance and move their hips and actually move when dancing seeing as in Canada the common dance is to move your foot from side to side, if you are a guy at least.

The dancing is also very close, but not ranchy at all....I think North America needs to be taught this. Seeing as how dancing consists of only grinding and very rarely to the beat. Ahaha

The gringa from Canada, taught latinos how to dance....who'd have thought that?

Monday, September 1, 2008


Youngins (Young ins) some slang I call young little kids I don't know why.

I live with a 6 year old girl, a 5 year old boy, and a 3 year old girl.

They can be ohhhhh....little (monsters) balls of fun hahah

(All the nicknames given are from the Dad not me)

Victoria is considered the introverted one, and quote "is pretty and stays quiet" ahah

Jaime is the "hurricane"

Rafa is the "monster" one day at lunch she desperately wanted an avocado, when she got it she cried because she didn't want it, then when we took it away she cried because she wanted it again. Finally we brought out some salt for the avocado and then she was happy. Haha

Yesterday, I was surprised by Rafa coming into my room with pink glitter smeared across her entire face, me thinking hmmm should we wash it off I get reassurance that this is a common occurence, so don't worry. Then Jaime enters as well and well, they find a roll of gum I brought with me (Hubba Bubba 2 meters long sort of gum) them being kids were enamoured by the thought of gum (chiclets) espcially since it came in this huge roll. I swear you could give them something bigger and fancier and gum would still be there favourite thing.

Children are curious.

And well, my room is full of unusual things. So, of course everything is questioned "Que es esto?" "What is this?" and I have to be more careful completely forgetting that kids are like cats they get into things and don't really know what they are doing at the time.

Cats jump into walls, kids will eat something and 5 seconds later realize it wasn't food.

Last night was hilarious! I showed them my camera and took a couple of photos of them seeing as I haven't really taken any here (don't kill me!). This turned into a frenzy of them wanting to use the camera, and then getting photos done, THEN I showed them that it took videos OMG what a big fat mistake! It turned into a riot. I had a one second video of me holding Rafa and bouncing her around and Rafa and Jaime kept replaying it on my computer over, and over, and over, and over somemore. They just couldn't stop giggling. I finally got a video of Rafa giggling because it sounds so funny, and it is so potent of happiness.

I forgot that kids were crazy!

Jaime & Rafa note the pink make-up

The videos I will try to upload somewhere on this page. One will be the one second one of me bouncing around, the other will be Rafa giggling!

Aliens Invading ... Chile?

Last Thursday we had a U.F.O sighting.
Ahahah but seriously we did.
A bunch of us were in the car and we were pulling into the dirt road that we live on and my host-sister Tety was just entering the road as well when she pointed to the sky and was saying there was an alien. Me thinking ahah, mmm okay?
We got out of the car and there was this green orb thingy circling around in the sky it was funny to watch and the little kids got hysterical.
But yeah, Chile has U.F.O's!