Today I had to wake up early to volunteer at Techo Para Chile. Juan Diego and Diego picked me up at 10, and we went to the office. Then we took the bus to the camp where the people live. We walked around and said hi to the kids, and brought them all to the “school”. It was really nice that some of them remembered me and ran over to give me hugs. We sat with them and talked for a while, and the kids taught me some tongue twisters in Spanish and showed me magic tricks. Today was nice because I not only got closer to the other kids, but I feel like I got closer to the other volunteers too. Juan Diego and I were helping this kid named Ricardo last week, and he told us he had a paint set, but he didn’t have paper or a paint brush. I brought him paint brushed and Juan Diego brought him paper. When we told him he could keep it, he was like incredibly shocked. It was like really sad and really adorable at the same time. As we were leaving, two of the kids ran up to me and asked me to hold out my hand. I did and they tied a bracelet on my wrist and said I could keep it. It’s a bracelet from a soccer team called Colo Colo that plays in Santiago.
My parents picked me up from the office and we went home and ate a quick lunch of the typical Chilean soup cazuela. Then we all packed our overnight bags and got in the car to drive to Pomaire. Pomaire is like a small tourist town about 2 hours north of our house where they sell handmade crafts, empanadas, and pots and pans made out of this special clay. We walked around and looked in all the shops. Most of them sold basically the same items made out of clay, but some also had especially handmade crafts and cool items that I’d never seen before. Pomaire is famous for having fantastic empanadas (and big ones—10 kilos!!!), so we ate some empanadas. I bought a souvenir that is supposed to bring me good luck, and then we left for Santiago around 7.
When we got to Santiago, we went to the Jumbo to pick up some groceries. I think Maxi was getting a little tired of hanging out with Monse so much, so he and I went off to look at all the stuff in the supermarket while our parents and Monse shopped for what we needed. I cannot reiterate enough how interesting all the food in the supermarket is for me. After we finished at the Jumbo, we went to the apartment of the family friends that we would be staying with. Nancy and the woman we stayed with are old friends who met when their sons (Cristobal and Nacho) were in preschool together. I met the whole family—the two kids are Catalina (14) and Nacho (17). We all ate dinner together, and then they taught me a typical Chilean card game. Then we talked for a while and played GTA. We stayed up talking until 4 in the morning, but I enjoyed myself so much that I wasn’t even tired. I love that everyone here tries really hard to include me and ask me questions about the United States so that I can be a part of the conversation. We finally went to sleep around 4—Nancy, Monse, and I sleeping in a room together.