Sunday, December 15, 2013

Friday, December 6

Today we were allowed to wake up a little later, and we had to be down eating breakfast by 8. Around 8:30, we walked to a nearby supermarket and each of us had to buy a present for the people at the old folks home that we were going to visit. Then we went back to the hotel and changed into our blue rotary polo shirts and went to the home. We were supposed to make conversation with the old people, but there were only a few brave enough (and who spoke enough Spanish) to actually talk to them. I found a guy and sat down to talk to him, and a few of my German friends came and stood by me and listened to our conversation without really adding much except speaking German when I asked them to show him what it sounded like. He was really a pretty weird guy—he mumbled instead of speaking, which made it almost impossible for me to understand him, and although I was speaking clearly and loudly with as good of an accent as I could manage, he didn’t really seem to understand much of what I was saying either (I asked him what his favorite Christmas carol was and he responded with “September 18”). We left after about an hour, and went back to the hotel to load up our suitcases. We had about 45 minutes of free time before lunch, so Katie Hagemeier and I ran around the town looking for a post office to mail our Patagonia postcards and get them postmarked from there.
We were pretty proud of ourselves when we found it and got them mailed. We went to that same restaurant that we had been to the night before and ate our last lunch together. Then we got on the bus and began the 3 hour drive back to Punta Arenas and the airport. During the bus ride, each person had to get up and speak in the microphone a little about the trip (in Spanish). It was super sweet hearing everybody say how much fun they’d had and how we were now a family of exchange students and we’d never break apart. I realized how much I really love all these kids and how happy I am to be sharing this experience with them. It was also shocking to hear them speak in Spanish. We spoke English together all the time, and for many of them it was the first time I’d heard them speak. I was really surprised. None of them spoke very much at all and some of them spoke literally almost zero. I don’t want this to sound bad but it made me really happy with how my Spanish is coming along.
Anyway, we got to the airport and checked bags, ate the sack dinners they had provided us with, went through security, and got on the plane. During the first plane ride—2 hours to Puerto Montt—I talked to my friends sitting near me and then we got up and talked with everyone else. I felt bad for the other people on the plane who had to deal with a rowdy group of foreign teenagers. Then on the second plane—1.5 hours to Santiago—I was incredibly tired so I just slept. We got off the plane at around 1 am, and then we got our suitcases, hugged and said goodbye to all our friends, and the Rancagua kids got back on the bus that would take us to the terminal in Rancagua. Katie, Sally, and I all huddled up together and slept on the bus. When we got back to the terminal and I saw Nancy waiting I was actually really happy to be back with my family. I hadn’t realized how much I had missed them. Maxi was also in the car. We drove home and I was pleasantly surprised to find the house all decorated for Christmas. Although it was 3 am and I was super tired, we sat around the kitchen table for a little while and I told them about the trip. It was also really nice to be able to speak Spanish again after a week of almost nothing but English. Around 4, I couldn’t take it anymore, so I decided to call it a night.

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