Safi, Outbound to Chile

(29/8/19) I arrived in Santiago, Chile last week along with all of the other 4340 inbounds (there are 80 of us). We were picked up at the airport and brought to El Quisco for a weekend orientation. It was super beautiful because we were on the coast and could watch the sunset and hugs waves crash into the rocks. The Rotex led the weekend and we played a Chilean version of dodgeball (I won!!!!) and did this crazy relay where we had to jump rope and spin and crawl and put our faces in a pile of flour to search for candy. This ultimately led to a flour fight but it was super fun and a great way to bond with all of the other exchange students. Most of us are from either the US, Germany, or France, but there are a few kids from Canada, Finland, Denmark, Austria, New Zealand, Belgium, and Hungary. Everyone was pretty tired from their long flights and time changes (especially the Europeans) but we managed to have a dance party and we learned some traditional dances like the Cueca.

We were picked up by our host families on Sunday afternoon. I am living in San Antonio, Chile and have actually moved in with my host grandparents and will be sleeping here for M,T, W, Th nights and at my host parents F, Sat, Sun (they live next store to one another). I have not started school yet because there have been complications with paperwork and other formalities and my YEO and counselor are looking into a different school for me to attend (Lions school in Cartegena not Colegio Fénix in San Antonio). I think I’m going to go look at Lions today with my counselor.

This past week I have been doing errands in the morning like getting a SIM card and trying to get a Chilean identity card but in the afternoon I eat lunch with my grandparents (yesterday I had the traditional Pastel De papas which is basically a mashed potato cake with a bottom layer of meat then potatoes and then on top is melted cheese) at there house and then play with my 4 year old cousin Leanor after she gets dropped off at the grandparents house after school.

Her parents (Jessica and Cristian) have been super helpful and Jessica has been taking me to her work in the afternoon at the city hall building of San Antonio where she works in marketing, communications, and writes articles. Her coworkers have been super welcoming and they do marketing and design for the city (make posters for city events, run the social media pages and website, conduct interviews etc). They often ask me about the US and I even had to explain conspiracy theories like the moon landing, flat Earthers, and “is water wet?” which was pretty difficult to do in Spanish. I also went to the library yesterday and it was so beautiful because it was redone earlier this year. I think it is one of the only buildings in the entire town with heat (it’s winter here!!) so that was a nice change.

I can already tell that my Spanish is improving and speaking with Leanor (the 4 year old) is very helpful because everyone else has such a thick accent and people here use so much slang like adding “Po” to sentences and words like si and ya or saying cachai??. I also have been reading books to her which helps me a lot too. I Hope everyone stays safe during the hurricane (Dorian?) and I am off to eat breakfast (tea and bread and hopefully an orange).

Adios, Safi

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