Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Tuesday, January 21

Today we all woke up around 10 and ate breakfast together. Nancy, Abelita, and I went to buy fruit from a local fruit market and then fresh bread from the bakery. Afterward, with the help of a neighbor, Nancy and I made homemade humitas. I was in charge of using the cranking machine to turn the corn kernels into this sort of mush that you put into the corn husks. Then I tied each corn husk off with a length of string and put them in the pot over the grill to cook. It was a really cool process. As we were about to eat humitas for lunch, a bunch of family members arrived at the house. My little cousins Flo and Josefa came over with their parents Paula and Rodrigo and the baby Pascale, who was born on the same day I came to Chile. Maria Jesus came over too. We all ate lunch together and then all the girls went outside to paint each others’ nails. I painted so many fingers and toes that I lost count. While we were painting, we heard music in the street, and they all took me outside to show me a typical Chilean organ grinder who was walking through the streets playing music and selling toys for kids on a little cart. It was such a simple, summery day. After nail painting, me, Maria Jesus, Maxi, Nancy, Abelita, Paula, and There (Jesus’ mom) went to this giant thrift store nearby. They call thrift stores Ropa Americana because it’s used clothes from the US that they send overseas for super cheap. It was hilarious because all the clothing brands were familiar to me, like OP, Old Navy, Hanes, The Limited, Gap, and Limited Too. They all asked for my advice on which brands were good quality. We all ended up finding things that we liked—I got a basic shirt and this super warm Old Navy coat that only cost $10! On the way home we stopped to eat tortillas (but they’re not the Mexican kind, they’re more like round, fat bread) cooked in ashes with I know sounds really weird but they were actually so good. Then, at home we chilled for a little while before eating dinner. After dinner, I went for a run while Jesus and all the kids went to the park to play. I met them at the park after my run and I taught everyone there how to play steal the bacon (roba el tocino). They loved it and we played until like 11 at night when the visitors had to drive home and Monse, Laurie, and I walked back to the house. I took a quick shower, and then we all popped some popcorn and watched a movie together. After the movie, Maxi asked if I would practice English with him for a while. A friend of the family is involved in this program that gives underprivileged young people to chance to go to LA, California to compete in a worldwide robotics competition. The team needs someone who speaks a little bit of English to get by in the US, and this dude invited Maxi since he goes to Instituto Ingles and he’s been studying for years. He doesn’t speak perfectly, but he speaks enough to get by, and I’ll be helping him in the coming month. I’m really beyond excited that he’s getting the chance to go to the US and to LA of all places. He’s literally going to my city. I always tell them that I can use a million different words to describe the culture, climate, people, lifestyle, or food where I’m from, but the only real way to understand it is to go see it for yourself and Maxi is going to have that chance. I hope seeing where I’m from will help him understand me better and understand why I am the way I am and why my reactions to things in Chile are what they are (good or bad). I also really want my parents to drive up and meet him! We spoke English together until about 3 am and then we went to sleep.

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