Wednesday, June 04, 2008

The Wanderlust Strikes Again

I know I haven't made good on the guest-filled blog yet; the truth is I started writing it a week ago and just haven't finished it. I've been pretty busy with school - the end of the semester is nearing - working for Apex, and also doing lots of other, more fun things, so blogging has taken a back seat. I will post it soon!

In other news - this may come as a surprise to some of you - I recently decided not to return for the second semester here in Valparaíso and (most likely) move to Buenos Aires for the rest of my time here. Phew!

It's no secret that haven't been totally enamored of the Chilean culture. Honestly, I've been somewhat bored here. The language barrier is extremely frustrating and even after 3 months I still don't understand most of what comes out of Chileans' mouths. I mean, other Latin Americans have a hard time understanding them, so I was doomed from the beginning. And, the Spanish I have picked up are modismos - that is, words or phrases that will serve me in Chile and nowhere else in the world.

I do enjoy teaching and, after recently conducting class in a bar, I've connected with some of my students who could be theoretical friends once the semester ends. However, the though of teaching for a second semester isn't entirely appealing; English is sort of the ugly stepsister requirement at my school and as such I am a low priority for most of my students. Also, my schedule this semester was amazing because it was originally intended for a teacher with seniority who took extended maternity leave. I have gotten used to waking up at 10 and having three day weekends, and I know my schedule next semester would not be so appealing: most gringo teachers at my campus have class until almost midnight and then again at 8 a.m. on Saturdays! Not that this was really a deciding factor, just one more drop in the bucket.

Although Valparaíso is amazing and I have had a lot of fun here - admittedly I will miss this city and the few friends I've made - I want to take advantage of this time while I have it to do as much as is humanly possible. This will also allow me to travel a great deal more , so by the time I get back I will have done much more than if I stayed put.

So, timeline: I'll finish the semester here, of course, which ends on July 11. Then I'll travel for a month from July 13ish to August 11ish to northern Chile, Bolivia, and Peru, and come back here to Santiago in August to collect my giant suitcases and head to Buenos Aires, probably around August 15. (Speaking of, I'm so excited for this long vacation and can't wait to see Robyn and Matt at Lake Titicaca and then head to Cusco! Inca Trail, high altitude and coca leaves to treat us for it, here we come.) I should note that if I fall in love with anywhere in Bolivia or Peru, I will consider moving there instead. But when I visited Buenos Aires, it was love at first sight, so it will be hard to top.

Buenos Aires is a very happening city, I understand Argentinians when they speak, and I already have a friend and therefore a social network there; all good things. I can support myself working for Apex from there since it's a much cheaper country than Chile (also a good thing). All in all I'm really excited about this chance to do something totally different.

I still plan on coming back to Seattle on or near December 19 unless anything else changes. And... that's my news! Everyone I've told here has been really supportive, especially our incredible TeachingChile director, Bruce. This is us at an amazing wine tasting he and co-coordinator Andrea organized for us a few weeks ago:

Did I mention he's great?? He calls me Arch. I love it.

Also, today I finally sucked it up and told my "buddy" (i.e. it is a constant struggle to convince him that he is NOT my boyfriend, or pololo as they say here, but he's such a fun guy it's worth the effort to keep him as a friend, especially having so few of them here) that I'm leaving in a month. He sulked, left, and called me 30 seconds later to ask me how I was, which is not entirely uncommon among Chileans and drives me insane. I mean, you just saw me less than one minute ago. I'm exactly the same as I was then. They also have a habit of constantly asking if you are having a good time, which to me is an obvious 'fun-killer' question, especially when asked a dozen times in the span of a night out. But, I digress...

Now the only person left to tell is my landlady, who I am meeting tomorrow so I can hand over the majority of my paycheck. (This is a picture of one month's pay. Guess which stack I get to keep?)

I hope she is understanding and refunds me the security deposit (equivalent to what you see in the big stack here, or about $500) since that cash would go a long way in Argentina. She's a great, sweet woman, so I don't think it will be a problem.

So, in the next month I just have to finish the semester, pack my stuff (which I will store in Santiago at friends' houses while I travel), get rid of the equivalent weight of what I've bought here, and be on my merry way. I'm trying to do everything once or one more time before I go, and I suddenly feel quite busy since I only have one month left to do what I originally thought I'd have five more for. I definitely haven't had many lazy nights on the couch lately, that's for sure.

I promise to post again soon and update my Flickr photos. One final note, after I wrote the last blog about the drought, it POURED RAIN for five straight days and has rained on and off since then. To wit, it is raining as I type. I heard a news report that Chile got 1/3 of its annual rainfall in three of those days. I can now add 'flood victims' to the list of national crises, but the urine and its corresponding smell are gone!

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