Skiing in the Andes!

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

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Sunday, July 12, 2009

Hello everyone!  Hope you're enjoying your weekend!  Let's see now - I last discussed my Wednesday night, so I will begin with Thursday (July 9).  I didn't have class on Thursday morning, so I was able to sleep in and enjoy the beautiful morning!  It was another gorgeous day outside!  I had almuerzo with the family and went to my culture class where we finished watching the movie Machuca (it was very funny in the beginning but sad in the end).  It took place during the civil war in Chile and discussed lots of the political and social conflicts during that time.  Anyway, back on track here, after class I went with another classmate, Matthew, to Vina del Mar to do our class project.  We had to walk and observe Avenida San Martin.  The street had many restaurants, the casino, hotels, apartments, and a couple of parks too!  At first, Matthew and I had to look so much like tourists because we both had our cameras out and our jackets tied around our waists!  haha!  This one girl, wearing a high school uniform, came up to us and asked -Tienen moneda para el micro, por favor?-  (Do you have money for the bus, please?).  We both told her no and walked away.  Then one of her friends walked up to us and said, - I have money - in English!  It was very funny because I don't think that's what she meant to say.  Matt and I just laughed, said okay, andwalked away.  We both have almost blonde hair and blue eyes which means that we don't look like locals!  Once our walk was complete for our project, we decided to shop at the vendors along the beach since we were right there anyway!  Once we started walking back to find a micro (bus) to take us back to my house, I called my host mom to ask what street we needed to be on to catch the bus.  She told me that my host brother was on his way to pick us up, so we didn't end up having to wait a long time or spend money for the bus!  My brother and his friend, Rodrigo, took us back to the house.  There, Matthew, Rodrigo, and I admired the view from the balcony until we finally decided to start on our PowerPoint presentation.  We finished the presentation on the computer and went upstairs for once with the rest of the family.  After eating, Oscar and Rodrigo proofread our presentation, and Matthew returned home.  I practiced what I was going to say for the presentation and went to bed.

Our 10 minute presentation went well on Friday.  After my classes on Friday, I returned home, packed for skiing, and took a quick nap.  I met up with several Chileans and other Americans for my program around 5:30 PM.  We walked to the supermarket, bought ingredients for a meal, and went to Fernanda's house to cook!  (Well, I actually didn't cook, but several of the girls did!)  They made mexican food, apple pie, and of course, piscosours.  It was finally finished around 10 PM.  We ate and laughed sooo much!  It was such a blast to hang out with everyone.  David (a guy from my program) and I wanted to be home and in bed by 10 PM, but that definitely did not happen.  We finally made it home around midnight.  I went to bed and had to wake up again at 4 AM.  I met up with the group of skiiers at 4:45 AM, and we left for Portillo, Chile!!!

It took us about 3 hours to arrive at the ski resort in Portillo!  I was able to sleep a little in the van.  When we got closer to the mountains, the sun was just rising over the peaks of the snow covered hills.  The whole entire day, the Andes Mountains looked like something that someone photoshopped into the background.  It was so unreal!  The mountains almost seemed like plastic backdrops in a school play.  The view was absolutely amazing!  When we arrived, we got our equipment and lift tickets.  It took a while for us to get started, and everyone was definitely ready to hit the slopes.  I was very very nervous because I had never skiied before.  We all thought that we were going on a beginner slope.  However, that was definitely not the case.  I ended up having to go down halfway down this advanced intermediate course with very little lessons in how to actually ski.  Needless to say, I feel a lot!  Since there was no way I was going to make it down this hill, I was taken on a stretcher (like a sled ride) down to the bottom and was driven back to the front of the resort.  It was not so funny at the time, and I was very frustrated and ready to give up.  Once I met up with the others, they felt very bad about leaving me behind.  One of the guys, Andrew, stayed back with me on the bunny and beginner slopes for a while.  I was starting to get the hang of it, but skiing's definitely not my thing.  Eventually, I had to go down an intermediate slope to get to the bottom.  I only fell a few times, so I was pretty proud of myself - hehe.  I enjoyed watching the others ski down the bigger hills for the last 30 minutes or so, and then we all met up again to turn in our equipment and leave Portillo.  We arrived back in Vina del Mar around 8:30 PM.  My host family was kind of surprised when I walked in with a sun/wind burnt face!  They just couldn't believe that it didn't hurt, and they were definitely surprised the next day (today) that it is almost gone!  I ate once with the family and played Wii sports with Antonia for a little while.

Today, Sunday (July 12), I'm staying home to relax and read a story for one of my classes.  Uncle Juan is here (like he is every weekend) to fix stuff.  Oscar and Juan are working in Oscar (hijo's) room.  I'm not exactly sure what they're doing, but I can hear tools every once in a while!  Upstairs, Oscar and his daughter, Antonia, are playing the Wii!  She can never get enough of that thing!

This week is going to be a short week.  I have 3 days of classes, and then I'm off to Cajon de Maipo in the Andes Mountains on Thursday and Friday.  It will be my last excursion with the program.  I can't believe I only have 2 more weeks here.  It has gone way too fast!

Hasta Luego!  Chao and besitos (kisses)!

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