Tuesday, March 24, 2015

When it takes you 2 hours to read nine pages in Spanish...and you still have 14 to go

Life is great! I went on a tour of a vineyard, celebrated my host sister's birthday with some delicious chicken (that was then left out all last night....) and even got invited to her birthday asado (barbeque). Homework is where the real struggle has been. You know, besides public transportation that is. I have 14 pages of reading ahead of me, but hey, so far I have learned that the US exploited Mexico and all of it's territory in the 1800s- how's that for a history lesson- one I don't even remember covering in my US History classes. Nevertheless, reading is getting easier and I figure that understanding all the details is going to be impossible if I have to read so much in so little time. Luckily Ceramics doesn't come with HW and my Spanish HW is about as straightforward as high school (busy work, but doable).
So the weekend started with a lovely trip to Quisco, Chile- because my weekends start at 10:00am on Fridays- when I get out of class and run to my metro station so that I can catch the next bus to the beach! Unfortunately my friend Sophie and I had to be back by 7:00pm for our lovely 'emergency meeting' where we discussed what to do when there is an earthquake (because I was just so confused about that before right?). The beach was so beautiful, with clear blue waters, white sand and not too many people. While everyone else in Santiago was suffering through what may be the hottest day of the year- I'm talking like 95-100ºF- my friends and I enjoyed the lovely weather of Quisco- maybe 80 degrees with a breeze and the refreshing cold ocean (way to cold to get in, but bearable if you wanted to authenticate your beach trip by dipping your feet into the ocean for a bit). 

We spent about 4 hours on the beach, with the adorable company of this pup- who decided that my friends and I were the best looking cuddle buddies on the beach. He literally came up to Selden and began to rub up against her and then proceeded to fall asleep right beside her (undoubtably utilizing her for shade)- It was precious.

(photo credit goes to my goregous friend Selden Hunnicutt, she goes to Vandy daddio!- Quite the southern girl)

I managed to re-apply sunscreen just enough that I accumulated more freckles, minimal sunburn (my scalp evades me everytime..) and postentially a sun-kissed glow (but let's be real- sun kissed is a relative term- as my Mama keeps reminding me "¡Tú estás tan blanca! ¡Te aseguras que aplico suficiente bloqueador del sol!" // "You are so white! Make sure you put on enough sunscreen!") Thanks Mama...
After sitting through the boring emergency meeting, listening to my Mama talk about me afterwards to the other host mothers  (I can't decide if she likes that enjoy cooking, but she seems surprised and tells everyone- I'm thinking she doesn't mind because she did mention how she still has to make Camila a lunch...but that I make my own(; ) and then coming home to binge watch more Orange is the New Black, I passed out in bed- because laying on the beach and taking the bus is exhausting work!
The next morning commenced with a last minute planned trip to tour a vineyard. I didn't know anything about the excursion besides the fact that it wasn't too expensive and it included wine tastings and another souvenir wine glass- of course I was in. We took the metro to the southern most station and then hopped on a bus that took us five minutes down the road to the Vienyard of Concho y Toro, the infamous vineyard of Castillo de Diablo (which in Spanish translates to the Fortress of the Devil). According to legend the proprietors of the land became furious when their wine began to mysteriously disappear, so they spread a rumor that the devil haunted their cellars. Since then, not a bottle of wine has stolen. They had a engaging little film presentation to explain that one. 

They are the largest producer of wine in Latin America and have an extensive list of products. I think I tried 10 different types of red grapes on the tour- this was my favorite part! They had the raw grapes in the field to try- from what I can remember they had Carmenere, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and so many others I hadn't even heard of. After pursuing the fields and checking out the wine barrels- came the best part of the tour- tasting the wine of course. First up was a Sauvignon Blanc, not my favorite. When she asked us to swirl the wine and smell it my first scent was grass- ew. Next was a Carmenere which I have found tastes much better with food, it was okay- but not my favorite red. I much preferred the last wine- their Reserva Privada of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. 
Another interesting thing I learned- this wine tasted better when we warmed it up with our hands by placing the glass in our palms. It took on a much smoother finish. 
After the end of the tour we munched on our handpacked lunches (the best way to save money!- I still think I look like a noob carrying around a lunchbox though...) and returned home. I tried to sleep- but instead I binge watched more Orange is the New Black- I can't help it!
That night the birthday festivities began. Beginning with my friend David, I met up with a couple of friends at his house for a nice spread of cheese puffs, saltines, potato chips and cookies (the typical varieties of Chilean junkfood). After hearing about the night before (it was another one of our friend's 21st birthdays- I missed it cause ya know...sleep) Hannah and I made our way to Camila- my host sister's birthday asado. Accordingly- so I wasn't the the only gringo, she said I could bring a friend. Hannah and I chatted amongst ourselves and made small talk with some of her friends who wanted to practice their english (this happens all the time...usually I insist that they must at least let me respond in spanish). At this point in time I feel like my spanish is plateauing, it's difficult when we (everyone in the program) all speak english to each other, and even though my brain needs a break from listening to spanish all day- it would probably be better for us to converse in spanish all the time- we shall see. 
Even though the Asado started at 10:30 there was food- the Chilean favorite- Choripan! (Chori for chorizo/sausage and Pan for fresh bread). It's like a shorter, fatter hotdog that you eat with pebre- the Chilean Pico de Gallo. They were so good and after two Piscocolas (Pisco- Chilean Brandy (my new favorite liqour!) and Coca Cola) Hannah and I devoured two of them each. Little girls, big stomachs(; 
<3 Carly

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