Logbook: Living Abroad, Staying Connected to Home
I have been having a good time studying in Chile. I feel comfortable and relaxed in my daily life. Yet, I am reminded that I am far away from my home and the people I have loved all my life. For example, it is getting warmer in the United States as it gets colder here (because I am in the Southern Hemisphere!). When I talk to my friends and family back home in Oklahoma, they are talking about swimming and summertime! Many of my friends are ending their school semesters, while I am just halfway through mine. Recently, the news of the tornado that hit Oklahoma also made me consider just how far away I am from home.
Local Time: 7 pm
Time Zone: CLT
Location (Latitude, Longitude):
Viña del Mar, Chile
How far did I travel this week? 30 miles
How far have I traveled on your journey so far? 5,634 miles
How did I get around this week? I got around walking and by the bus this week.
What was the most interesting place I visited this week? I watched an interesting military parade in the city of Valparaiso this week.
Other travel news:
Oklahoma was hit by a tornado this week. Luckily my family is okay, but it is hard being in another country when there is a disaster in your home area. Some of my friends went to volunteer to help and I want to help the people from my hometown too. It is crazy to think the movie theater I always go to is no longer as I remember it, and that many of the places back home just got wiped out. I have lived in Oklahoma a long time and have seen a lot of tornados, but this is probably the worst one. I am grateful that I can communicate with friends and family through the Internet because the phone lines in Oklahoma are jammed from people calling. I am also able to keep up to date on the news and weather in Oklahoma by watching the local Oklahoma news online. This has also reminded that life is precious. I feel so lucky to be here and know that I must live life to the fullest each and every day.
Weather Tally (# of days for each weather type):
What is the air temperature right now? 54 degrees Fahrenheit
How was the weather this week? It was rainy and cold for most of the week. Winter is getting closer and we are in fall now. Have you studied the different weather patterns around the world? It is interesting to me that the Northern and Southern Hemisphere have opposite seasonal weather patterns due to the rotation of the Earth. It reminds me of how where we live affects how we live, and to consider what is happening where people live when I read the news. For example, different seasons can cause different political climates, as well as business opportunities. So, although it may be a time to relax and enjoy the sunshine where you live, other people might be trying to stay warm and preparing for the long winter months, or perhaps bracing for their rainy season! Facinating!
What animals did I see this week? Dogs
What was the coolest thing I saw in nature this week? Every day I wake up I cannot believe how lucky I am to be in Chile. I look outside and I see the rolling hills and the sea and it takes my breath away. Chile is a beautiful country. Sometimes I just look out the window at the beautiful landscape and know that I will never get tired of looking at it. It is so different from where I live in Oklahoma! Every single day the differences amaze me.
Other Nature News: More than 600 dead sea lions, cormorants and penguins were found off the coast in the northern part of Chile. The Investigative Police’s (PDI) Environmental Crime Brigade is investigating to see if the animals died as a result of fishermen using a method of catching fish called blast fishing. This is where explosives are used to catch a lot of fish at one time, which is illegal in Chile. I wonder why fishermen would use this method. I imagine that they have a lot of pressure on them to catch and sell enough fish to make money. At the same time, it is very unfair and greedy to spoil nature for your own benefit, no matter what pressures you feel. I wonder what I can do to help reduce this type of fishing practice. What do you think we can do?
What languages are spoken here? Spanish
What type of money is used here? Pesos
How much does a bottle of water cost? 650 pesos for a medium water with or without gas (gas means carbonation).
What was the best meal this week? I had a Peruvian dish of meat that was cooked in a brown sauce with onions and served with French fries. We had a big dinner Friday night at a group house of exchange students.
What music did I listen to this week? I listened to probably the same music you did. American music is very popular here so a lot of the music played is the same as in the United States. I was invited to go Salsa dancing this weekend, so I will be listening to Salsa music this Saturday night.
What activity was the most fun this week? I enjoyed visiting Valparaiso with a new friend from Sweden this week. We watched a military parade where I got to see the President of Chile Sebastian Pinera in person and even got a picture as he walked by! The parade was a celebration of a historical military victory that acquired land for Chile. All branches of the military were in the parade.
The military has four main branches here. They are the Army of the Nation, Chilean Air Force, Chilean Carabineros and the National Navy. The National Navy consists of the Naval Air, Coast Guard and Marine Corps. The Chilean Carabineros are the National Police. It was then followed by traditional Chilean dancers and traditional horsemen. After the parade we went out to eat to share a popular Chilean dish that comes with French fries with onions, meat, sausage, hot dogs and cheese. It was delicious.
What did I read this week? I read the Santiago Times and am also currently reading children’s books aloud to help me improve my language skills. This helps me get use to hearing Spanish words and speaking Spanish more comfortably. Currently, I am reading El Principito which is The Little Prince. I also have La Bella Durmiente which is Sleeping Beauty.
What games or sports did I play this week? I played an online game with friends from the United States and Mexico that was really fun and interactive.
Other news from this week:
I had a good time with the kids at the orphanage this week. I took three of the little ones to a park with one of my friends from school. We had a really fun time. The kids loved the slide the most.
When we got back to the orphanage, I helped feed the kids. It gets kind of hectic while the kids are eating, but I do enjoy every minute with them. The kids received new shoes that were donated, so each one tried on shoes to find ones that would fit. We played as usual, they loved to be tickled, chased or held. All in all it was a good day at the orphanage.