Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Thanks a lot, Lima!

And I'm home! It was quite an eventful trip home, so we'll start there.

I left for the airport in Santiago the prescribed three hours in advance. Why do they tell you to arrive so early to the airport, when the planes never leave on time? Our almost 11 hour flight to Toronto was delayed for the most ridiculous reason. Apparently the air space over Lima was being used for something and we had to wait for them to finish. I'm sorry, what?!?

Whatever, Lima.

Air Canada made up for it by having those nice-ish chairs on the airplane with individual tvs. It's worth noting that I saw the WORST movie to watch on an airplane: Contagion. In case you haven't seen it, it's about a disease (basically avian/swine/elephant/porcupine flu on steroids) that spreads all across the globe, killing millions of people. Great. There I was, sitting in a metal tube, inhaling recirculated air, watching a movie about a killer airborne virus. Wonderful.

Okay, back to the delay. We arrived in Toronto around 7am. My connecting flight to Newark departed at 8:30am. Even with over an hour, I still missed my flight. For whatever reason, those of us entering the US had to retrieve our luggage before entering customs (all things I thought I would be doing in Newark). There was a large group of us who all missed our connections due to the fact that most of the luggage was delayed. Thankfully, I was able to get on a 12pm flight.

I was not the only one flying from Santiago to Newark that day. I joined forces with another American named Alexandra, who works as an English teacher in Santiago. After receiving a double dose of politeness, the guy behind the ticket counter felt compelled to bump us up to executive class and give us meal vouchers. Not too shabby!

After another delay, we finally arrived in New Jersey around 3pm. Only 5ish hours after we were supposed to arrive. It was nice to finally see my mom and Joe again, with a Dunkin Donuts bag in hand. Having left a country where it was 90-plus degrees, I was shockingly underdressed for the 40 degree weather that was waiting for me.

It's only taken me a few days to get used to the weather. And the fact that it's almost pitch black outside by 4:30pm. These past few days have been filled with reunions with family, friends, and Jeff Probst.

And today I had my first sensory overload while shopping at Walmart. The checkout line alone made me feel like Augustus Gloop inside Wonka's factory. They've certainly come out with many new candy bars since I left 15 months ago. Good thing I have two months to try them all.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Thursday was the last day of school. It was a half day and we spent most of it playing our own version of the TV show "Minute to Win It". The kids had a blast. I highly recommend playing that game with children. Because each game only takes one minute, we were able to play enough games so every student got a chance to compete.

Thursday night we had the Prize Giving Ceremony at school. Teachers selected recipients for six awards: best classmate, outstanding in sports, outstanding in English, effort, highest average and student of the year. Because I already knew who would be winning, I always looked for the parents in the audience to watch their faces when their child won an award. It was a lot of fun. In the middle of the ceremony, some of the students in choir sang the Michael  Jackson song "Heal the World". My goodness, I had to force myself not to get teary-eyed. It was just too darn cute!

Now all I have to do is survive four more days of work and pack my bags and I'll be back home in time for Christmas. I'm very excited to celebrate with my family.

Though I suspect my mom is the most excited. Yesterday on Skype she tried to unwrap my presents for me so I could see them. Talk about a surprise-ruiner!

Ugh. Okay enough procrastination. I'm off to do one of the things I dread before every trip I take: pack my suitcases.

I'm such a liar. I'm going to sit here and watch another episode of Dexter. Then I'll pack. Maybe.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Thanksgiving!

We celebrated Thanksgiving last Saturday. It was in no way a traditional Thanksgiving meal. We committed the ultimate Thanksgiving faux pas: there was no turkey. But we wouldn't have had it any other way. 

My roommate Paula was in Patagonia on business so Júlia and I were left to fend for ourselves in the kitchen. And let me tell you, we rocked it.  We worked in shifts. Our kitchen isn't huge and it would have been a bit much for both of us to be slaving over the stove at the same time. Not to mention hot. Keep in mind we're smack dab in the middle of a nasty heat wave. So being near a hot kitchen is not exactly my first choice of places to be. 

Here was our menu:

For starters we had artichokes with blanched spinach and a mixture of lightly sauteed onions and red peppers au gratin. Served with a side of triangular fried cornmeal crisps. 

Dinner consisted of the following:

Summer squash baked with cinnamon and sugar and infused with clove
Fresh picked corn simmered in butter with a fresh basil garnish
Peeled potatoes smashed with butter and heavy cream
Homemade lasagna with julienned zuccini, carrots and peppers and vine-ripened tomato sauce
Free-range chicken roasted to perfection 

Spinach artichoke dip (with tortilla chips), squash, (frozen) corn, mashed potatoes, lasagna and store bought rotisserie chickens


Before dinner, we drank copius amounts of Chilean wine and Brazilian caipirinhas. I made the mistake of filling up on wine and not saving room for any of the food. Oops. 


Here's the whole group:

Having difficulties with the self timer

We finally sat down for dinner around 12. As in midnight. Talk about a non-traditional Thanksgiving. Well we did go around the table and say what we were thankful for. I was the first, but not the only person at dinner to give thanks for Chilean wine. I guess it's no wonder why my roommates have nicknamed me "Maggie White Wine".


Erick carving one of the chickens



We had a ton of food left over. So we did the only logical thing. We invited everyone over for lunch on Sunday. It proved to be too much for some. Before the inevitable food coma kicked in we pulled some mattresses out for nap time.

The Thanksgiving newbies sleeping off the chicken coma



Halloween!

Here are the Halloween pictures I wanted to post like a year ago. 

We had a party at the apartment. I dressed up as Mickey Mouse. 
Alejandra had the best costume. She dressed up as Frida Kahlo, complete with a unibrow. (She drew the line at a fake moustache.)

All in all the party was a success. Minus a brief run in with the police who claimed all of Santiago was complaining about the noise from our party. Oh piss off. 


Black widow, hula girl, hippie, Mickey and Frida

A cat and a ???? with my Mickey ears

Mickey, Frida, and a flapper
roomies!




I really have nothing else to write. It was over a month ago. I can't remember that far back. I place full blame on Blogger. 

Pictures!

Blogger works again! So prepare yourself for a photo overload. Back in October I wrote about the Alianza at our school. Here's some photos from the event:


The BEST class! 

Everyone helped make posters. My job was to finish coloring them once the kids got bored.


The girls created a dance for one of the competitions. 



Later they taught the dance to some of the boys.




I may be partial but my kids were, by far, the most spirited!


I don't own red clothes.


Even Mr. Hanky was rooting for the red team