My first day!

Trip Start Jun 13, 2009
Trip End Jul 26, 2009

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Host Family

Flag of Chile  ,
Sunday, June 14, 2009

My flight finally arrived in Chile this morning around 8:15 AM.  I went with a few other students I had met on the flight through Customs and on to find our taxi van which took us to our host families' homes.  Flying into Santiago was so beautiful.  I was able to watch the sunrise through the window and as we approached Chile, the Andes mountains could easily be seen through the clouds.  Some of the mountain tops were covered in snow, while others were brown or full of green trees on the mountain sides.

The taxi van took five of us International Student Exchange Program students to our host families.  The drive was about an hour and a half, and my stop was first.  I got out of the van and was quickly greeted by my host mother, Margarita, her dog, Clifford, and my host father, Oscar.  They welcomed me with a hug and kiss on the cheek (their way of greeting others) and motioned me inside.  We sat down and talked for a little bit, and I realized that it was very difficult to understand them as they tended to speak very quickly and all at the same time!  They also cut off the last parts of their words, and there are several words that are different from what I learned before.  Margarita doesn't speak English, but Oscar and their two kids do a little bit.  (That's been a huge help.)  The house is very quaint with a beautiful view of the sea and coastline!  My room is downstairs and has a balcony overlooking the sea as well!  It's so beautiful here, even though it's been raining all day.  The weather isn't too dreadfully cold for being winter.  It was probably around 45 or 50 degrees today.

A little later in the afternoon, the two sons came to visit for lunch.  I met Oscar (27), who cooked the barbecue, Pablo (23), and his girlfriend Genifer.  They are expecting a baby and Oscar, the dad, is very excited!  They have a very different way of preparing meals.  We actually started eating at a little kitchen table while Oscar was still cooking.  Once he finished something, like hot dogs or steak, he would cut it up and everyone would try some.  Also, Margarita fixed Empanadas con Mariscos (kind of like hot pockets with fish inside).  They were very delicious!  Everyone toasted me with some red wine, and we finally sat down at a different table to enjoy our meal of salad, potatoes, corn, rice, steak, chicken, sausage, and papaya.  It was all very good.  I don't think I've ever eaten so much!

After lunch, Pablo, Margarita, and I played Wii Sports while everyone else took a nap and did their own separate things.  We stopped when Pablo realized that he was missing his futbol (soccer) game on T.V.!  I went to my room to unpack, and soon after Margarita and Oscar (the dad) took me on a driving tour through Vina del Mar and to the seaport of Valparaiso.  It was so neat, even through the rain.  The streets here are very narrow and steep because everything seems to be on hills or mountains.

I'm retiring to bed early tonight.  I will probably fall asleep watching Madagascar in Spanish (it's on the Disney Channel right now)!  Margarita will be taking me to Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Valparaiso at 9 AM for my orientation.

(P.S. Paul and Hannah, I've seen several Chevy's and Hyundai's today.  Don't worry, I'll keep looking!  Their condiments come in bags, not bottles.  Oil and Vinegar are served with salads, and mayonaise and ketchup are used a lot for dipping meats (instead of steak sauce).)

Chao Todos!

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mlung on

Everything sounds really cool! I'm glad you got there safely. That is a ton of food for one person! Your view sounds better than mine too! All I can see is a parking lot and the health center. Booo

themcdonalds on

Hola from America!
We are so glad that you made it all safe and sound. I assume you are still a little nerveous/homesick since you fell asleep watching the Disney Channel (or I rubbed my bad habit off on you!)I am sorry your family doesn't speak a lot of English; however I know 'they' say you will pick up the language faster this way! We are glad to hear that they have Chevys and Hyundais. Have you seen any Fiats and Mercedies? If not, this may be a topic Paul was wrong about! I am glad you got to play some Wii. You will have to play it a lot it or else your going to bring home some extra weight with you! That sounds like a BIG first dinner and very starchy! One last thing I must ask. You said your room is in the basement... but you have a balcony with an ocean view? Explain please and add a picture of this view! We love you! P.S. Lucy would like to know about Clifford? Is he the guy from the book? Is he big and red? She's big and red. What kind of dog is he? Does he have a girlfriend? Could you send her a picture? She also says she loves you too and wants you to come back because Paul and Hannah never tell her she smells like peaches!

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