Friday, October 15, 2010

Teaching English and Chilean Miners

Well, I'm back to the life of being a teacher. So far so good. I've never done private classes before and now have four, so it's definitely better pay which makes me happy :) And I've been lucky enough to get great enthusiastic students who are eager to learn and are just fun to have class with. Yay! Not to mention that all my classes are within walking distance from where I live and I barely have to work to make a descent living. All thanks to you Isabel! Isabel is a gringa friend who helped me get these private classes. Boy it helps to know people when you're trying to get any type of job!

Right now I'm working about 15 hours a week so I have lots of time for me and wedding planning and I still make pretty good cash. This teaching experience is completely different from the time I lived here before when I taught for a year and a half. I worked for a not so great company that sent me to the farthest places possible such as the depths of Las Condes...places where you needed at least three micros to reach. So that put a whole damper on my teaching experience. That and the fact that most of my students were children. Not that I don't love children, but children generally do not want to be in English class. Especially very young children. They have better things to do than come home from being in school all day and then having to sit in English class for another hour. I was so happy when those classes were over! Right now I'm happy I have those free moments during the day where I can grab a coffee and chill on my labtop and it really is nice to not get caught in the 8-5 or 9-6 working routine...for a while anyway.

Yesterday we went to register for gifts at Falabella. Who would have guessed that they lost our confirmation? So we didn't end up getting to resiter...buuu. And of course they had no other free day until mid-November which was too late. Ohhh welll....things happen right? Poor E. When the lady told us that we weren't booked I could see his face and he looked like he was about to expload. He left early from work just to get there and has been so busy lately. He had even previously showed me the emails with Falabella confirming our day and time. For some reason we've had a lot of these little inconveniences along the wedding planning journey and E likes to fight to the death for things he believes in so I had to hold him back from pouncing on the woman. I took over and did the talking and we determined that we could register online, which isn't as fun but oh well. Later E said that he was THIS close to telling Falabella to just screw off and that we were going to Ripley ha ha. Poor guy.

I guess this is the part of my post where I should mention the miners, since I can't write this post without discussing the incredible miracle that took place just a few days ago. What an event! I still can't believe it actually happened! When we started watching, I didn't know they were going to lower rescuers into the mine to help them out and was dumbfounded at the bravery of those rescuers in willing to take on such a risky challenge. I would have thought that those running the operation wouldn't have wanted to jeapordize any more lives and would have settled with explaining to the miners how to get inside the capsule themselves. But nope, in went the 6 (or was it 7?) rescuers to help them out, risking their lives...What blew me away was the first rescuer, Manuel Gonzalez, who was pretty much an experiment to see if the capsule could actually work. Could you imagine the risk he was taking? If anything went wrong, he could have been trapped in the middle of meters of rock in a 60cm space for who knows how long! I shudder just thinking about it. What total and utter bravery!

And of course hats off to the miners who went through hell over the past two months and through their hard work, determination, and faith, made it out alive and healthy, both physically and mentally. I couldn't believe what good spirits the miners were in as they resurfaced. Who would look or act like that after being trapped in a dark hole for over two months??? I really can't even fathom it. Most people would have been basket cases upon reentering the world again but these miners looked like they were coming out of a normal shift, a normal day in the mine. Totally unbelievable! I am so proud of them and of Chile for uniting in under such tragic circumstances and doing everything possible to help those poor trapped souls, even though the prognosis looked like complete doom. I also found it amazing how many people tuned in to watch this event. I read that over a billion people watched the rescue live on TV and millions more watched it live online breaking records in media viewing history. There's no doubt that everybody watching was left with a deep respect for Chile and the miners and rescuers. I think it was Micheal Moor that was quoted saying that the next time the US has a national disaster like the Gulf spill, they should call on Chile to help out since they seem to solve problems way more efficiently and effectively ha ha!

Great job Chile, I'm proud of you!

And now I'm off to try to get some wedding related things done and plan classes before my next class! Chao!

Monday, October 4, 2010

A Little Update Along With Some Big News!!!

I'm ALIIVEEEEE!!!! Sorry dear blog readers, I am aware of the fact that I have been neglecting blogging but I have a very good excuse. Well, sort of. You see, here at our apartment we don't have internet. We occasionally manage to use some open signals but they come and go and lately they've been failing us! I used to check my email and facebook from work but I didn't have the time to write emails or blog posts so that's about as far as I got. So I have been following your blogs but I just haven't been able to comment much! Sorry! I think it's about time we finally contract our own internet provider...it's just that it's so damn expensive here!!!

Okay so be prepared, I am about to give you a long update on my life here. Well, maybe it won't be too long since I'm already forgetting half the things that have occured in the last month, but we'll see how it goes. Let me begin by just saying that all is well, I continue to be happy as always and am loving my life here in Chile living with my wonderful man and excited to be getting closer to our wedding! Some might have thought that I stopped blogging for lack of inspiration or because I was going downhill emotionally and wanting to go home...but that is not the case! I could not be happier! Every day I fall more and more inlove with E and find myself becoming more and more attached to him. I was "supposed" to go to Brazil a few days ago (I'll get into the full story in a bit) and even the thought of leaving E for 10 days gave me a pang in my heart. I'm not one of those super dependent people and I definitely need my own time. I take pride in my independence. But now that E and I are finally living together permenantly, without all that separation, our lives our merging (in a good way) and becoming more intertwined. And I love it. We begin each morning by setting our alarm clock a few minutes ahead of time so we can just cuddle in bed as we slowly wake up. We do the same when we get back to work. I can't believe what a comfort it is to have those few minutes of someone hugging you tightly and telling you that they love you more than anything before and after a long busy day. I look forward to those moments every day. These are the moments that I have come to depend on and can't imagine living without. So, in the relationship department, things couldn't be better!

Now, onto the update. Let's start with the 18th, the Chilean National holiday! We did every possible typical Chilean thing imaginable for this 4 day weekend. In summary, we went to 3 fondas, 1 rodeo, 1 military parade, 1 lightshow at the presidential palace, had 3 bbqs, ate about at least 10 empanadas and XX kilograms of meat, drank god knows how many terremotos, pisco sours, and glasses of wine, and divided our time between Santiago, Olmue, and Vina. We had a busy 4 days! Needless to say, the week after we ate nothing but vegetables! My oh my do Chilean's like their meat! My poor stomach! I'm sorry I'm not putting up photos of the 18th with this post but my connection is so slow right now and it's taking forever. I'll try to put some up later on :)

Another new development is that I an now officially jobless. I finished my internship and am now hoping to make the big switch back to teaching English but things are going slow. My old institute has only given me one class and I'm hoping to start working for a new insititute which was recommended to me by some friends here but they haven't gotten back to me yet either :( I'm really hoping I can start teaching a lot soon since I really need to make money! Poor E, he's working hard supporting both of us and I feel so bad! So, English institutions out there, hire me and give me lots of classes!!!

Now on to wedding planning! It is going along slow but steadily. We finally have our invitations ready to go, now all we have to do is print them and send them! It took us forever to finally sit down and figure out the wording, but we finally did it! This month we have to do our "charlas" or meetings with the priest to prepare for our wedding. Getting married in the Catholic church means you have to go to wedding preparation classes so that the priest can determine if you are actually ready to get married. I don't know if they have the power to refuse you but I wonder...that would suck. So, I hope we pass and are allowed to marry! This month we also have the food tasting at our wedding reception venue, we also have to discuss the general layout and evening plan with the coordinator there (music, lights, presentations, etc), we have a date to register for gifts at Falabella, we have meetings with our priest to go over the mass, we have our engagement photo session with our fabulous photographers Kyle and Sebastian (which I'm SOOOO excited for!!!), we have to finish some personal details we have planned such as putting a presentation together and figuring out what we are going to dance as our first dance, and I still have to find wedding shoes!!! Things are going to get really busy from here on in! But I love it, you only get to do this once in your life and it's so exciting! How often do you get to have a huge celebration that is all about you? Actually, I hate being the center of attention and tend to worry too much about whether everyone else is happy and having a good time or not instead of worrying about myself so I'm starting to get a little nervous about a night all about us! Anyhow, so far we've been having a great time with all the planning, even though it's been coming along slowly, but we have loooots more to do. The hardcore wedding planning is only just beginning! I can't believe it is only just over 2 months until our big day!!!! Ahhhhhh!!!!!

Moving on...I experienced quite the shitty situation this past Friday...which I'm still struggling to deal with. I was supposed to go to Brazil on Friday for 10 days to go to my host-sister's wedding! I did a year long exchange in Brazil when I was 16 and haven't seen her since then so I was DYING to finally see her and the family again! We were really close. However, I got to the airport about 5 hours early, since I had to get their on my own and overestimated the amount of time it took to get there by bus and metro, and I was hungry so I bought a chicken salad and killed time reading. Then about 3 hours before I was supposed to board the plane, I started breaking out in a cold sweat and began shaking and feeling freezing! I popped an aspirin and soldiered on, determined to go to Brazil. However, about an hour later, I started violently vomiting (sorry for the info) and was a wreak. I can't even remember much after that. All I remember is calling E and having this LAN agent escort me back through the international police to void my exit stamp and pass and lead me back to the departure area of the airport. E came shortly after that and I went home right to bed and was in bed until the evening of the next day. It.was.horrible! Thank god they managed to get my bag off the plane! The LAN agent was so great, I didn't have to worry about anything, she took care of it all as I sat hunched over in a corner by her desk.

Late Saturday I started feeling better and by Sunday I was fine so now I feel like absolute poo that I didn't just suck it up and get on that plane. Looking back, I think that the chicken salad was the culprit and that I had food poisoning since it passed so quickly. But at the time, I had no idea it was food poisoning and that it would pass so fast. I was schedules for a 12 hour layover in Sao Paulo airport before heading to my final destination so I absolutely could not imagine having had to spend the night in the state I was in a big abandoned airport overnight with nobody to help me. So I guess I made the right decision but still...it stings. Of course we didn't have any kind of insurance for our ticket because E bought it with his points and so we didn't really care too much. But I'm still going to go to LAN today and see if there's anything we can do. Maybe pay a fine to recuperate our points or something? I don't know...it's worth a shot! The only thing that makes me feel better about the situation is knowing that my host sister is probably coming to my wedding, but even if she doesn't make it, E and I are planning a trip to Brazil next year so we'll see them all then. So, what did I learn from this whole situation? Do NOT eat ANYTHING a few hours before some big important event!!! This experience terrified me and I'm pretty sure I will now not eat a thing the day of my wedding!

Finally, last thing to cover...I have some pretty big news!!! So far E and I have only told close friends and family but it's official now so I might as well get it out. No, I'm not pregnant! E and I have been dreaming our whole lives of doing some big life-changing trip. And ever since I got to Chile, we have been talking about it more and more. It was becoming clear that if we didn't do this trip soon, we would fall into the typical routine, have kids, and then never get around to it. So we decided to put our foot down and do it! Soooo, at the end of next year, as our honeymoon and as our life-long dream, we are taking off to backpack around Latin America!!!

And we are going to do it adventure style! We're going to kick off the trip by doing all of Patagonia and doing a 2-3 week bike trip on the Caretera Austral. We're big into outdoors sports and we want to do every trek and climb every mountain, and do every excursion we can find along the way. We want to go off the beaten gringo path and do things that most people don't do. For example, there are these ruins in Peru that you can only get to by hiking through the jungle for 2 or 3 days. They are supposed to be even bigger than Machu Picchu! There's also this famous waterfall in Venezuela called "Salto de Angeles" or something like that which is the highest waterfall in the world and to get there you have take a plane to a remote area, hike for a few days through the jungle, and you even stay with a native tribe that lives near there! Well, this might be on the gringo path but anyhow, it's definitely on the list! These are exactly the kinds of things we want to do! We also want to travel through the Amazon from Brazil to Peru. Half way through the trip we're going to do our "actual" honeymoon and splurge somewhere in Central America on some nice resort and just rest for 2 weeks or so. It'll be a nice break after all that backpacking! I want to visit every island in Central America too! Since we'll have the time, we can see all those little things that most people skip over. If we like a place, we can stay there a month if we want to! So our plan is to save up for all of next year for this trip and then sell everything we have. That is why for our wedding, we're going to let people know about our trip so that they can deposit money towards our trip as a gift if they like. Actually, that is what we're hoping for! So I'll definitely have interesting things to blog about during that year!

Okay that was a lot of information to take in. I have so much more to say about our trip but I'm just going to leave it there for now. I have some other big news but I think this was enough big news for now. Now that I am jobless, I will have much more time to go to Starbucks and blog! If anyone has any tips for our trip, please email me (see email at my profile)! I know that a lot of people do this kind of backpacking trip and would love to hear any recommendations, cautions, advice, or just your own experiences! Hope everyone in the blogging world is doing great! Peace out!