Thursday began too early, we had breakfast at 8:30. After breakfast we had our second orientation session. The director of the program talked with us about what classes we were going to take. As it turns out I cannot take the two classes I already have books for. oh well. Business Spanish, an elective in my major, fell at the same time as Latin American Literature 2 which is required. So no business spanish. I will probably replace this with a different elective in spanish maybe “Women in Latin America” or I could take track 4 which is six credits and would replace both of the missing classes. the only problem is I’ve technically already taken that. I’m going to try to talk with the director and see if I could take the second half of track 4 which would make me repeat less, give me 3 credits and would count as an elective at BSU. hmm. The other class was spanish stylistics and I might be able to replace that in the same way. it was also an elective. There were not enough people signed up for that class to justify actually offering it.
After talking with Luis (the director) about classes we took a placement test. It pretty much tested on everything that I learned in my Spanish grammar class that I took last semester. It wasn’t very hard at all. I’m interested in hearing how I did. Though it seems like the test was just a formality for most people and everyone knew where they needed to be already.
My host mom was set to arrive at 12:30. She got to the hotel at about 12:20 when I was just going up to my room to carry down my suitcases. We said hello and I conveniently remembered enough to say I needed to get my suitcases and I would be right back. :) Ginette (or Gina) is about 5 feet tall (maybe), likes going to cultural events, is very friendly, knows some english, is a lovely chef, loves opera, likes going to cultural events, and loves having friends over for meals. She reminds me a little of my grandma :) She has two kids (ages 30 and 39), one son-in-law, and two grandkids (ages 5 and 15). She is catholic and only goes to church sometimes.
Her house is fairly small. It has 2 bedrooms, 1 main bathroom and one tiny bathroom off my room, a little narrow kitchen and a dining room. Her property is probably about 900 square feet..(now I want to measure, but I’m pretty sure my room at home is about half the size of the house. It’s really cute with a fun gardeny terrace area outside. The terrace has a roof over part of it that can be opened and closed. My room is really cute and has lots of cupboards and shelves. One thing that is different here is that they use gas for the water heater and instead of leaving it on all the time you have to turn it on and light it so you can shower. Water, gas and electricity are very expensive so I have to be careful to turn off my lights. I’m gettting better at that. :)
My host mom is in charge of feeding me breakfast and dinner every school day and all 3 meals weekends and holidays. I also can wash one load of laundry per week. If you have questions go ahead and ask, but it seems to be a very simple arrangement. I paid my fees to my program and the program passes on the money to my host mom.
When we got to her house I unpacked my things and Ginette made el almuerzo (the lunch). El almuerzo is the most important meal of the day in Chile. It was very very good. And consisted of several different parts. First we had a plate of vegetable type things, and then a plate with fried balls of mashed potatoes (papas duquesas), a buttery mix of spinach and zucchini, and some type of grain that only grows in Chile. There was also a plate with bread on it during the whole meal that we could eat as we wanted to. After the main dish we had another plate for fruit with a special knife for each, and after the fruit we had tea. It’s going to very interesting eating like this all the time :)
A few hours later around 6 we ate yet again. This meal is called once (pronounced own-say) and is a very small meal, almost a snack (kind of like a british ‘tea’. So far for once we have had anywhere from tea and bread to almost a full meal. The fourth meal of the day is the cena and during the summer it is usually between 9 and 10 in the evening. In the winter it is usually earlier because of when the sun sets. It’s usually cooler at that time of day and better for eating.
Thursday we had once with Ginette’s neighbors they were very nice and the wife was practicing her English on me and seemed disappointed when I would try to answer in spanish :) It was pretty fun.
After once Gina and I went to Jumbo (it’s a lot like a walmart). She bought groceries, I got a cell-phone. Most everything except the electronics are paid for at the front of the store. Bread is bought by the Kilo. You pick out what you want and then wait in line and they weigh it and give you a ticket. I got a pay as you go phone. It’s starting with 50 text messages and 3500 pesos on it. 3.something pesos per minute. I can change the plan later if I need to, but so far I’ve only used it once.
I also got a subway (metro) card and we put a certain number of pesos on it. That should last me about a week and I can refill it later. The card itself cost about 2 dollars and the amount I put on it was about 7. The phone came to about 20 dollars. I have internet at my house so I’ve been staying up rather late chatting with ppl and that’s what I did on thursday!
Coming up next: Intro to the metro, a tour of the University and a tour of Santiago