giving thanks

This past Thursday was Thanksgiving.  It was at least 80 degrees and sunny here.  I ate spaghetti for lunch and went to my last class of the semester, and afterwards, to El Oasis for the last worship night of the year.   Although it didn’t feel like Thanksgiving in the traditional turkey-eating sense, it was probably one of the better ones I’ve had.  I have a lot to be thankful for this year.

The opportunity to be here right now.

Families.  For my Chilean family, who has made my experience here incredible beyond words.  For my real family, who has kept on loving me from thousands of miles away.

Friends.  For being there for me this year.   For tucking notes in suitcase and sending me off with sweet memories.  For the friends I’ve made here in Chile.  You’ve been truly amazing.

I count the community I found at El Oasis among my blessings.  Today I celebrated Thanksgiving with them, turkey, pumpkin pie, and all!

And a few more things I’m thankful for:

My nana, who irons almost all my clothes…including my pajamas.  It’s been a once-in-a-life-time experience.

My crazy cat, who scales the windows outside my bedroom and never ceases to entertain/amaze me.

For the bathrooms here in Chile that have toilet paper, soap, AND hand dryers.  Few and far between, but when I find one, I always give thanks.

And finally, for my backpack, which has earned the name “super-mochila” (thank you, Trini), holds everything, has traveled two 2 South American countries, and is soon to see a 3rd – I leave for Peru on Thursday!

monday

I probably shouldn’t be writing this right now…

I have 1 test, 2 presentations, and 3 papers due this week…or something like that.  It’s finals week.  Oh well, I’m in Chile.

But it’s been a while and I have a few updates:

1. My host mom painted and rearranged my room last week!  The painting took all of 3 hours, start to finish.  When I came home from classes, all of the artwork was hanging back up on the walls, and my furniture was back in place…hmmm…

My "new" room

2. My aunt (who often comes to stay with us) bought a dog.  Meet Bruno:

Vicho, Trini, and Bruno

3. The Christmas decorations are up in front of the mall near my house.  And what exactly are these strange stacked spheres that light up, you might ask?  That is a very good question.  My best guess is that they were intended to be Christmas trees.

Christmas trees?

This morning I woke up and decide that I am ready to come home.

Tonight I’m going to bed trying to figure out when/how/$ to return.

I’ll let you know when I figure out how to live in two places at once!

pack, unpack, repeat

Pack.  Unpack.  Repeat.

That’s the update from my life in Chile!  I’ve been out of Santiago 4 out of the past 5 weekends.

1. Mendoza, Argentina with 3 American friends.

Brita and I, at Parque San Martín

Nona and I, wine tasting

Katie and I, at Parque San Martín

2. Santiago, my weekend at home!

3. Temuco/Puerto Saavedra, with my study abroad program.

At a bilingual (Spanish/Mapudungun- the language of the indigenous Mapuche people) school, making s'mores with the kids

Laying cement at the bilingual school

At the beach in Puerto Saavedra

The beautiful green countryside of southern Chile. It's so green because it rains a lot, but we were lucky enough to have sunshine the entire weekend!

4. Laguna Verde (my grandparents’ house on the Pacific Ocean, literally), with my family (pictures to come!).

5. And finally, this past weekend I went on a retreat with the Christian college group that I attend.

The women's soccer team. We played "fútbol flamenco" (aka flamingo soccer), where the men have to hop around on one foot, while the women play with both.

Playing a trivia game. Lots of laughter.

The whole group!

With all of my traveling, I’ve really been feeling the study abroad “time warp” (as my friend Nona calls it) in the past few weeks.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with this concept, it is a distortion of your sense of the passing of time, seasons, etc. that happens on study abroad.  There were 3 national holidays in the month of October, so the long weekends, although nice, definitely threw me off (sidenote: there are A LOT of national holidays here.  I think I’ve had at least 5 or 6 days off of school…)  Additionally, it is about 80 degrees here now, however, there are Christmas decorations in the grocery stores and Starbucks is advertising their “winter” drinks (even thought it is summer here).  For a Michigander, this is a very strange feeling…

Hope to be back blogging a bit more in the next few weeks.  Abrazos a todos!