Thursday, November 27, 2008

Friends from Vasco

Last night I was invited over to the neighbors, where another exchange student from NY is staying, for a BBQ. The family also invited a boy and a girl from the country of Vasco (Spain), who are here in Chile for six months learning more about the forestry companies in Los Angeles. They´re a bit older than Emily and I, 20 and 21, but we got along great. I knew roughly about the regions in northern Spain, but it was pretty amazing to actually meet someone from the area and talk about their culture- which is very distinct from the other parts of Spain. I am so accustomed to Chilean Spanish that hearing a European speak with a slisp and in the vosotros form was just strange. Having visited Salamanca and Madrid, I´m aware of the dialectical differences, but they caught me by surprise. You wouldn´t know it, but there first language is not Spanish, but Vasco, Basque, or Euskaldunak- however you´d like to say it. Ironically enough my neighbor and Sebastian share the same lastname Uribe- which is a traditional name from Vasco. So that would mean that the name Uribe was carried from Spain, or rather Vasco, to Chile probably some time in the 16th century. The more we talked the more interested I became in Vasco. The Basques live in a very differnt world than regular Spain. Its home of the terrorist group ETA, who were initially blamed for the 2004 traing bombings in Madrid. These kids have no ties with ETA, however, they make it clear that they want to be independent from Spain and consider themselves their own country. Simply living in Vasco, they are automatically asociated with ETA radicals and are often picked out from crowds when traveling to be searched and interrogated. It was really interesting to talk with them and moreoever Sebastian is an avid rock climber and mountaineer- so we had a lot in common. They´re here until march and we´ve got plans to get together again.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

La Guerra de Agua!

So, for the past month now the un-known date of this war of water has been tourturing the 3rd years. Every year, the 4th years plan this "hazing" event. I imagined a simple water balloon fight, but I couldnt have been more wrong. About 5 weeks ago the 4th years cut the power to our class rooms and began to stomp on the ceilings (their rooms are located directly above ours). Everyone went wild expecting this notorious battle to begin... but nothing happened. That was some five weeks ago. Since then the seniors have done every thing possible to psych us out. I got a glimpse of what we were getting into the morning we found a boar´s head on a silver platter in our classroom and threatening notes written on the white boards. For the rest of the day there was an awful smell in that room. Every afternoon for nearly a month we were told that tomorrow would be the day- but it never came. Until today, the 19th of November. Before lunch, we were wrangled into a single room and one by one a victim was taken out. Once outside we ran through a gaunlet as the 4th years threw things at us. I couldn´t even tell what somethings were but I was hit with eggs, vinegar?, a mix of flour and water, mud, waterballoons, rotten vegetables, paint, yougurt (I think?), hand fulls of dry flour... it was disgusting. Once through the gaunlet it was war. For quite some time we continued to hurl miscellenous and absolutamente asquerozo weas at eachother. This was all taking place outside in a closed in patio as the other grades and teachers were watching safetly from inside. It was the food fight that Tim Canty never allowed- except worse. I suppose it was with good intention since everyones friends- despite the the eggs I had a great time. Once everyone was absolutely flithy and no one could find anything else to throw- we ran out to the soccer fields where firetrucks waiting to spray us all down. It was hilarious. Despite the decent hose down we way too dirty to get into cars so we were transported in pickup trucks to our houses. I walked up to my house shirtless, no shoes, and dripping wet with like sludge. I didnt have any of my belongings so the nana let me in- she was astonished at my appearence. I walked right to the shower... I still feel dirty and I have streaks of what I think is spray paint on my back . This friday were having a party to say good bye the the leaving seniors- should be a good time granted no one brings rotten eggs...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Catch up

I realize I havent written in quite a while so im just going to ramble here to fill in the gaps. My fishing incident in October was followed by Halloween, which wasn´t celebrated up to my expectations- no one dressed up! However, by chance this under-celebrated religous holiday landed October 31st and we didnt have school. Taking advantage of every possible chance to make the trip, my family and I drove to Santiago for the three day weekend. Making the 7 hour trip for the 5th time now, I had gotten used to their routine- drive exactly one hour to Copec gas station in Chillian, continue to Tambo for lunch with the grandparents (which is always delicous), and then arrive very late at their apartment in the city. It was nice to get the the chance to go out with my host siblings Daniela and Ricardo, who I dont know very well since they live in Santiago. On saturday, I went to an indie film festival with one of Dani´s good friends Luis- all of her friends, including her boy friend, work for La Ofis- coool. In the plaza of El Cine Arte, we were entertained by circus preformers and other strange acts- I thought of my sister molly... We went to support a director of one of the shorts, who had recently returned from the states and was very eager to talk to me. He told that when he left Chile he had his doubts about the States and felt a little antiamerican, but told me that he an absolutely great time and was very enthusiastic. His short was worth seeing, however the others were beyond strange... Saturday night we went to visit some other relatives, one of which is a student at the Military School in Santiago- It was neat to talk to him and hear what he does. He told me he had a few friends from the states also studying with him at the university. Apprently, West Point and other military institutions from other countries do exchanges as well. I thought that was particualary interesting.

Back in Los Angeles and the Deutsche Schule I got the change to go to El Parque Nacional del Laguna de Laja- which is about an hours drive toward the mountains. There, we ran around on Los Senderos de Chile and I enjoyed every second of it. To end the day a few friends and I took the leap in to La Laguna de Laja, which was absolutely freezing seeing as the snow and ice is still melting for the peaks. That friday we had a guys night at a friends house named Tomi. They ordered two giante buckets of Kentucky Fried Chicken and asked me if I had felt at home...they even let me keep the the souveiner bucket (im bringing it home with me). Every year the music department hosts a music event called Unplugged and, by popular request, I preformed some classic bluegrass accompanied by the harmonica. It was a different sound for them, but everyone seemed to like it.

Since I have lots of free time, I joined a gym near my house. Its a pretty intense place and reminds me of that gym from Dodge Ball. I get the feeling that " here at Globo Gym were better than you, and we know it". Nonetheless I´ve enjoyed working out there and they have nice facilities.

Last Saturday I went with my parents to the 4th Annual Jazz Festival held in Los Angeles. Three bands played: a trio of all basses, which was awesome, a standard jazz band, and then a well known Chilean Blues Band. Not quite sure which one I liked best.

Next week might be "La Guerra de Agua"...