Saturday, December 14, 2013

Tuesday, December 3

Today we had to wake up at 6:30 and eat breakfast and be packed and ready to leave by 7:30. We drove to Cueva del Milodon, which is a giant cave where they discovered the remains of a giant sloth.
It was pretty cool to walk around there. Then we got back on the bus and drove to this little tiny town to stop at the bathroom. It was super windy and there was a big field nearby, so we all got our flags out and started taking pictures with them. Running around in the strong wind was the coolest feeling ever. We climbed over this little meter high gate to get more into the flied and take better pictures. After a while the counselors came and got us and told us to get back on the bus. Then they told us that that little gate we had so carelessly climbed over was the border between Chile and Argentina and that we had just entered Argentina illegally!

We continued driving until we entered Parque Nacional Torres del Paine. Then we went around and the bus stopped in front of different beautiful and breathtaking locations and we got out to take 981623487231985 pictures at each one.
Then we went to eat lunch on this little island surrounded by a beautiful deep turquoise colored lake and snowcapped mountains (and los Torres del Paine).
After lunch we got back on the bus, but a few of the German kids were missing. They showed up after about 20 minutes of waiting, but the counselors were incredibly pissed. They told us that as a punishment none of us would be able to leave the hotel that night. Immediately, the German kids in the back of the bus and the English speaking kids in the front formed two separate groups. The English kids were pissed at the Germans for getting them all punished, and the Germans just thought the punishment was stupid and unfair and were mad at the English kids for blaming it all on them. I spent half the time with the English kids and then I started feeling really weird about this whole divided thing and so I went over to the German kids to talk to them and let them know that I wasn’t choosing sides. There had always been a little tension because all the English speaking kids felt like the Germans had this clique where they got together and spoke German and excluded those who couldn’t speak it (which by the way has showed my exactly how people feel when Katie and I speak English together and I have learned not to do that anymore because it’s really not a good feeling). Now that tension boiled over and I was a little worried World War III was about to start (sorry that was an inappropriate joke but I had to). I think the counselors saw it too, and so when we got to the hotel they said that we wouldn’t be rooming with our normal roommates, and they would assign us partners. I was assigned with Cassidy, a girl from Idaho whom I get along with really well, so I was happy. We dumped our stuff in the room and then went back to the lobby. The counselors called us all together and said they had an announcement. They made the 3 German boys who had been late come up and apologize in front of everyone and then they said that we would be allowed to go out with the supervision of the counselors. It wasn’t like there was a whole lot to see since we were staying inside the national park, but some of us went out and watched the boys strip down to their boxers and go swimming in the freezing cold lake water. Then about 10 of us decided to go up into the mountains for a hike. It was raining and freezing cold and muddy, but it was a great bonding experience with them and an even greater view at the top of the hill.
We went back to the hotel and changed into dry clothes for dinner where I had a great conversation about American politics with a boy from Illinois and a girl from Alaska. After dinner, all the exchange students sat in a big circle on couches and on the floor in the lobby and played a big game of never have I ever. It was the funniest and craziest thing I’ve ever seen, and everyone was shockingly honest and graphic about their stories. (The nerdiest girl there shared the story of how she lost her virginity on a golf cart) We were all very shocked and we didn’t stop laughing until 1 in the morning. I would say this was the turning point in the trip where everyone changed from being acquaintances to being actual close friends who could laugh and joke about any subject. Cassidy and I sat in our room and had a long conversation about how pissed we were that we were gaining weight on exchange (and I really am I’ve probably gained like 5 pounds although I don’t have a scale to be sure) before going to sleep.

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