Thursday, April 3, 2014

Thursday, March 6

Today Lily and I were woken up in the middle of the night to an earthquake. I actually didn’t feel it, but Lily woke me up after to tell me about it, and I heard her sister freaking out in the other room. I wasn’t too bothered, and so I went back to sleep. At 5:30 we woke up and sluggishly got dressed and ready to go. By 6:20 we had eaten breakfast and driven to the house of Lily’s first host mom, who was going to drive us to the bus station. We met up with Anabel and Clara and the 4 of us drove the 50 minutes into the center of Santiago to catch the bus. When we got there and met up with the rest of the exchange students, it was a huge reunion filled with hugs and laughter and loud chatter in English.
We sat down on the bus and started the 7 hour journey to La Serena. We talked and caught up with people we hadn’t had a chance to see or talk to much since the south trip. I sat by the window, so I was able to slowly watch the landscape change from trees to desert. When we arrived in La Serena, we went straight to lunch. That was when I first discovered the perks of being a vegetarian.
All through the trip, I consistently got better food than everyone else because I was a vegetarian. By the end of the trip, about 10 other people had “become vegetarians” just to receive the yummier food. After lunch, we headed to the hotel to unpack our stuff. Ruth, Katie, Michelle, and I were in a room together. We quickly put on our bathing suits and ran down to the beach (it was just on the other side of the road). All the exchange students ran into the water and went for a swim together. Then, we went to the pool and sat around telling stories and laughing. From our group in Rancagua, only Katie, Louis, and I were there, but it was immediately obvious that our group was a lot closer than the other groups of people we live nearby each other. We all have such different personalities, but we always have such an amazing time together and we have millions of inside jokes. By the end of the trip everyone was asking to come to Rancagua to hang out with us because we have such a great dynamic. After the pool, we showered quickly, and then everyone got on the bus to go to the mall. We were given the task of picking out 2 gifts for underprivileged kids. Each gift had to be fewer than 2 dollars, so it was kind of a challenge. I ended up buying them packs of big foamy stickers. We found a piano in the middle of the mall, and Florian played it for everyone. Then we got back on the bus and went back to the hotel. We ate dinner in the hotel, and then the counselors kind of vaguely asked us if we wanted to do something. We were all dead tired, so we said we weren’t sure but wanted to know what they had in mind and what time we would be able to sleep if we went out (because it was already like 11). They freaked out that we weren’t listening t them or respecting them and told us that we had to go to sleep immediately. This was the start of the counselors’ strictness. They definitely had our best interests in mind and wanted us to get as much out of the trip as possible, but they also did not stand for the least bit of disrespect or deviation from the rules or schedule. Ruth, Michelle, Katie, and I stayed up in our room talking until like 1, and then we went to sleep. There was one room with 2 twin beds and then another twin bed outside. Katie and I didn’t really care because we always sleep in the same twin bed at her house, so we slept in the one outside in the living room.

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