Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Sunday, April 13

Today we were allowed to wake up at 9, a rarity on Rotary trips where we usually have to wake up around 6. We lazily ate breakfast, and then were turned loose to walk around the town of Olmhue. Olmhue is famous because they have a music festival there called El Festival del Huaso de Olmhue, but it’s really a very small country town. We went to the feria artesenal for a little while, I bought some alfajores as a gift for my host family, and then we went over to this hippie store to buy traditional Chilean pants. They’re so ugly I can’t even handle it, but they are so typical in Chile that all us girls decided we need to own them and wear them shamelessly in our own countries even though they seriously look like clown pants. When we got back to the country club, another bus was arriving with a group of Rotary exchange students from Argentina. It was shocking to see the difference in their district and in ours. There were only 11 people in theirs, and only one girl from the US. She said she always feels left out because although the Germans and French people can speak English, they prefer to speak in their native language when together. I realized how lucky to have 70 amazing friends who are all really close to each other and all speak English together so no one feels left out. We all traded pins and exchanged Facebook names. It was cool to speak to them in Spanish and hear the French/German/American accent mixed with the Argentinean accent. It makes me wonder if I have a Chilean accent.  I hope so! Anyway, then we ate lunch. At lunch, my friend Anika, who had been so worried about the fire in Valpo last night that she had been up late watching it on the news, made an announcement that she was planning a campaign to raise money to help the families whose houses had been destroyed. Over 500 houses were burned and 16 people died in the fire. Anika is a really truly good person, and seeing how much she cared made me feel really guilty for not thinking too much about how those people were suffering last night while I was having fun with my friends so close by. I’m definitely going to help her with the campaign.
We left Olmhue on the bus at around 4, and after a very long 5 hour bus ride, we were dropped off at the bus station in Rancagua at 9. Lilian and Manuel picked me up and took me home and although I was tired I sat down and ate one with them and told them all my stories from the weekend and showed them the incredible pictures I had of the fire. I finally ended up going to sleep around 11:30.

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