My spanish is coming along… slowly, but it’s getting there. I realized that it’s not just me, it’s my family haha. My host mom talks muy rapido, so I also spend a lot of time with Erica and Amber’s families, and another family that is friends with Vidy. Thursday was just more painful attempts at conversation, but we went into town and Vidy showed me around, and we stopped by a fish market and walked up a pier. There were these huge fish being pulled in! Not sure what they were. Then when we were waiting to buy pescado for almuerzo, I tried to have a conversation with this guy – he asked how long I am here for and I said four meses. Yes, I said four in ingles!!! I was so mad, that’s really the worst part when you DO know what people say to you or what you want to say in Spanish, but for whatever reason you blank or just randomly spit out english! Very frustrating. Meals have been delicious though. Lunch is the biggest meal of the day, which I like… Thursday we had alvacarro I think is how it would be spelled… which might be albacore in english? Not sure. And mashed potatoes… mmmm… Breakfast and dinner (once) is mostly small and mainly tea and bread. I don’t mind since lunch is late in the day and so huge, I’m usually fine.
Friday I went to Antofagasta with Erica and her brother. He is so nice, he’s 23 and wants to work on his english so he likes spending time with us and helping us converse. I got to be a judge in the debate competitions at Escuela Ecuador which was muy difícil! These are high schoolers debating in english, and they are all a millions time better than what I’d be able to do in spanish. Some were so good they didn’t even have an accent… Well actually they did, they had a british accent!! I wouldn’t have even known english wasn’t their first language. Amazing. But apparently, I don’t know if its the same with all of the teams, but some at least just work on pronunciation but don’t actually know that much english. They just practice their speeches and pronunciations so they sound like they know what they’re saying. Maybe I should do that with spanish haha. Anyways, the team with the british accent is a school that is reigning champions for the english competitions in the country. They automatically go to nationals. There is also a second round where all of these schools participate and then the top school (in addition to the champions) goes to nationals to compete on behalf of the Antofagasta region. Pretty sweet. There were also a bunch of other english volunteers that went their with their schools, so it was good to see them and talk about our different homestay and school experiences. Some have really great schools apparently, so I’m pretty jealous of that as I dread Monday!!
Random funny story, some of the girls were talking about how they are sick of people staring at them, like when we were at lunch. But then I pointed out how we were learning how to say cuchillo, cucharra, and tenador in (knife, spoon, fork) in spanish while we were there… and we kept checking to see if we were remembering and pronouncing it right, so I said – Well if we were in the US and there was a group sitting by us just kept saying fork, knife, and spoon over and over again, I’d probably stare too. haha.
After we got back from Antofagasta, I had once with Sonya (a friend of my host mom) and her family. It was really nice because her daughter is 15 and definitely helped me through conversations. Then we bonded over music taste too, so we’re now friends haha. It’s so interesting to me because my host family feels so American… lots of TV watching in the house, alone time in rooms, my sister is 15 and a typical teenager that wants to do her own thing, very independent. But when I’m at the casas of Erica and Amber, it seems more family oriented and more of what I was expecting. I don’t know, it’s interesting. I don’t mind it though because I just get to go around to everyone’s families without feeling that bad about not spending enough time with my own haha.
And today I basically slept in, went for a run (2nd time since I’ve been here!!), went to the beach, and then took a long nap again. We drove over to an area past where the residential houses are and it was so beautiful. Basically it was a huge cliff and then the ocean. We were on the ground though, no worries. Between where we were and where we live, there were camping areas, apparently another section where the discoteca is, and a KOREAN WORKER CAMP. Well maybe not work camp, but there is definitely a section of little houses that is only koreans, that come to Mejillones for short-term work. Very strange. I haven’t seen them out in the town at all yet, so I guess they really just stay in their little area. Then tonight Sonya’s family took Erica, Amber and I to a futbol game. Sonya has a nephew who plays for Mejillones so we went and watched the game. It was fun, but I wish I knew the chants and different things to yell in spanish… Game ended up being tied.
That is all, I think I had more to add but it’s late and I can’t remember anything anymore. Spanish is getting a little easier but I still have a long way to go. However I have been able to have conversations about religions in the U.S., drinking age, driving age, last names changing with marriage, people marrying too young, what else… so I’m not completely unable to converse!! I think tomorrow I’m just going to work on spanish and then figure out what I need to do to be prepared for Monday morning at school. Scary!
Oh and also, there is this little girl named Josefa that lives next door to Erica’s family… I am going to steal her because she is the cutest thing. The first time I met her, they told her to talk slow to me so I could try to understand, and she thought they meant to talk softer, so she just was whispering and I couldn’t hear ANYTHING haha. So adorable. I will get pictures by the end of our time here. I also have many videos that I need to figure out how to post…. dancers, and the latest from today… birds that dive straight down into the water!