a quick hi and goodbye

Life here in Santiago has been so good.  It’s springtime and the weather’s getting warmer.  It was sunny and 75 this weekend.  I spent Saturday at a park about an hour outside of Santiago with my study abroad program.  We had an “asado” (Chilean equivalent of a cookout) and learned how to dance the cueca (the national dance).

Me and Nona

dancing the cueca!

On Saturday night I got to play big sister, as my parents went to a wedding and left Trini and Vicho home with me.  We rode bikes, went out for ice cream, and made birthday cards for my mom.  Sunday was my host mom’s birthday and we spent the day at her parent’s house here in Santiago, and had an asado there with all of her siblings and their families.
This weekend was just the beginning of a week that (I’m predicting) is going to be filled with asados (lots of eating and family time!).  Tomorrow morning I’m going on vacation with my family for a week.  First we’re going to San Carlos to stay with one of my mom’s cousins and then on to San Fabían to stay with a different cousin. Sunday is Chile’s Independence day and Monday is also a national holiday.  So, I’m leaving my computer at home, bringing my camera with, and will return next week Tuesday, hopefully with a larger Spanish vocabulary and lots of good stories. Hasta luego!

el oasis

I’m think I’ve alluded to “El Oasis” in my previous blog posts, but I’ve been meaning to write more about it…it’s been a big part of my life here in Chile!  El Oasis is a gathering place for Christian university students/young adults.  It meets twice weekly at a house which has been converted into a space to accomidate the 60+ people who come to be fed, physically and spiritually.  There are 8 staff members/interns who run the show, one of which is a Hope alumni!  And my connection to El Oasis!  It’s almost all Chileans, except me and a few of the interns, so I get LOTS of practice speaking Spanish there.

The Monday night gathering, called “Donce” (I’m not sure why…), consists of dinner, a short Bible message from one of the staff members or interns, dessert, and always concludes with a wacky game.  Last Monday we played “extreme pictionary.” We split up into teams and which ever team loses has to “lavar la losa” (translation: wash the dishes).

On Thursdays I show up to El Oasis early for “Café a lo Gringo,” where I get to drink REAL coffee and talk in English/play goofy games with the students who are studying or want to learn English.  It feels good to be on the other side of the language-learning every once in while! We also have dinner together on Thursdays, followed by an informal worship service.  There’s singing (it was a bit rough at first, but I’m getting better at singing in Spanish), a skit, and a message from one of the staff or interns.

Going to El Oasis has been one of the best parts of my experience so far in Chile.  I love being plugged into a Christian community and the people there are so so so friendly!  I always get lots of hugs and besos (kisses) when I come and go.

A few of the people at El Oasis have asked me why I chose to come to Chile.  And I never know what to say, because I feel like Chile chose me!  But that’s part of the adventure, finding out why I ended up here, but I have a feeling that El Oasis has something to do with it…