Monday, October 21, 2013

Wednesday, October 16

Today I brought my flute to school. On Monday, my friend Joaquin had called me and told me that he and another guy were supposed to play a flute and guitar duet in front of the school for “Dia del Profesor”, but the guy who plays the flute just got his wisdom teeth out and couldn’t play. He like basically begged me to do it, even though I told him I hate playing in front of people. He brought the music to school and we ditched religion in the morning to go rehearse for the first time. The music was pretty easy, so we were able to learn in quickly. After second period, we went into the theater and had like a “dress rehearsal”. I found out we were the only juniors performing, and there were only three other acts. I didn’t have a whole lot of time to get nervous before the whole school came into the gym (that’s like 1,200 kids plus all the teachers) and the show started. Our song actually went really well even though I was really nervous, and afterwards everyone came up and congratulated me. I am kind of the center of attention at the school because everyone knows I am a gringa, so when I do something it’s like more public and awkward because everyone is looking at me anyway (I don’t know if that made any sense). After school, I worked on college essays for a while, went for a run, showered, and got ready to go to my first Rotary meeting in Rancagua. I got dressed up in nice clothes and my rotary blazer, and then Nancy and I took a collectivo into the center of town. She thought she knew where the building was, but we ended up getting lost and wandering around a few blocks for about 15 minutes before we found the place. When we finally found it, I walked in and greeted everyone (with a kiss on the cheek like always), and then Katie, Nigel, Pierre, Debbie, and I hung out together (we’re all the exchange students in the Rancagua Club). We were all seated at different tables with our families and a few other Rotarians, and then the club meeting began with speeches and official business. Then we were served a three course dinner, and each table talked individually. My table had two guys with very opposite political views and they got into like a really big fight about the history of politics in the US. I didn’t really want to get involved in their heated discussion, even if they were talking about my country, so I just sat back and absorbed more interesting tidbits about how foreigners views the choices of the UD government. After dinner, each exchange student was expected to give a presentation about themselves and their lives in their home country. I was a little nervous about this because my counselor only told me about this speech yesterday at 11:30 at night, so I only had time to make a PowerPoint with pictures, and I hadn’t prepared anything to say. I just got up there and talked about my family, friends, school, and what I like to do in my spare time. I was actually pretty proud of how I did because I may not be fluent in Spanish, but I can speak enough to get my point across and be sure that everyone understands what I’m trying to say (which is a lot more than some of the other exchange students).
After we all presented, each of our families gave a little speech about why they were excited to have exchange students in the Rotary program, and then the meeting finally ended. We had arrived at 8:30 and we didn’t leave until 12. My counselor, named Monchito, finally gave my salary. Every month I am supposed to get 100USD, but I hadn’t received a single cent since I’d been here. He owed me $300 and he gave me $100 at the meeting. I don’t want to fight with him about money, but I really want to make sure that I get the money I am owed. Also, the Rotary club here is incredibly disorganized. Rotary is supposed to check up on the students, invite them to club meetings and rotary events every month, and have special events, tours, and gatherings for the exchange students. We’ve all been here over two months and I had to call Monchito and remind him to invite us to meet the club. Katie and I are thinking of just going to more meetings without being invited and forcing the club to take responsibility for us because we really do want Rotary to become a bigger part of this exchange. Rotary is an international organization that has some of the most influential people. Making connections with them could be very beneficial in the future (and also I want to have more opportunities to experience new and fun things here).

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