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  • Writer's picturestrykerk2

Las Vacunas

Hi friends! Happy long weekend!

Let’s get right to it. Monday was D-day aka Vacunas (vaccines). Here in Chile, the required vaccines for all children are administered in school. A week before, we sent home a permission slip for parents to sign. Luckily, our first-graders can’t read at this level, except one. We had one little girl crying each and every morning for a week because she knew it was coming.

On the day of the vaccines, the kids had no idea. We told the kids they had to take their sweatshirts off because we were going to move our bodies and play Just Dance. Afterwards, we lined up and I took the class to the room. The students still didn’t know where we were going. Once we arrived, there were screams of terror, tears and lots of running around.

I’d say about 20 of my kids had no problem with the vaccines and went right in, got their candy and came out with a smile. The other 6 however, were little nightmares. My co-teacher has a fainting problem when it comes to shots and needles, and I’m not a big fan either but I had to put my fears aside go with the kids.

One of my students bled a lot for some reason and it got on his white T-shirt. This caused hysterics among the 6 terrified ones. I told them that he just had a bloody nose. In fact, I told the kids anything to get them to go in –the kids are required by law to get their vaccines. I let one girl wear my ring –the ring of bravery. My ring would make her brave. Another one of my kids was SO upset, he was picked up kicking and screaming –we’re talking screaming at the top of his lungs bloody murder. 5 adults had to hold him down. Ceci told me that from the floor below, it sounded like a horror movie was going on. Needless to say, we got all 26 kids to get their vaccines –but I was exhausted afterwards. Until next year….

After Monday’s theatrics, we had a normal Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday was the start of School Days –a very strange tradition if you ask me. The seniors organize these days each year. The school is categorized into 4 colored teams and everyone plays games and competes for their team. It was a hot mess as we had to supervise our kids while playing the games.

The following day we had a parade. The kids had to come to school with a costume decided by the seniors. The parade followed some sort of skit –but was extremely random. People came dressed as marshmellows, pollution, 80’s rock bands, unicorns, swimmers etc. It was a strange day, but we got through it.

^^Excellent pollution costumes

Friday night I slept over my co-worker Marie’s house. She is also an American, except she married a Chilean and is now here for good. She has taken me under her wing and I'm so grateful for it. We made homemade pizza and played with her 3-year-old son Tomás whom I love! This weekend has been pretty laid back. On my day off, I finally made it to El Cerro San Cristobal –a large tourist attraction in Santiago. I went by myself, but found it to be very peaceful.

For my Barcelona friends, the hill reminded me a lot of Montjüic. There were beautiful sweeping views of the whole city, beautiful flowers and loads of people. I took the funicular up and walked around the top of the hill. At the very top, there is a 22 meter statue of the virgin –some tell me this is largest statue of the virgin in the world. I can see her from my Apartment when she is lit up at night. The virgin sits on a small chapel that was prayed in and blessed by Pope John Paul II in 1987. I’m not very religious, but I did enjoy walking around the religious site. It was beautifully decorated with flowers, and there were several places for people to pray. The hill is the largest park in Santiago.

^^ This is Juan Pablo

On a personal note, I have been realizing the hardest part about moving abroad solo is the “solo” part. I have found this journey to be very different from my study abroad experience –all of my study abroad friends were in the same boat as me. Here, I’m the only rowing the boat. Sure, I have a few friends. But they had their own friends before me. I’ve been in a rut the past couple of days and been feeling lonely. As the dust is settling, I’m starting to feel more alone than I anticipated. I want to go and do so many things, but I rarely have anyone to do them with. I suppose as time passes, maybe I will find more friends to accompany me. Luckily, I do enjoy being alone more than the average person –however sometimes its nice to be around others. –Just wanted to fill in my readers on the not-so-glamorous aspects of moving abroad.

Laughable Moments:

  • During the vaccines, between hysteric breaths a student told me she wanted “to think of pretty things” –so we talked about pearls and dogs.

  • Another student dramatically told me there were pots of blood inside the room –not true.

  • I tried to tell a student to “shhh” and “sit” at the same time . . .

  • A friend told me there was a mess outside the church on Sunday –she meant Mass

  • Walking down the street during a frigid 45° night, a friend said “Look at Connecticut up there, this is like 4th of July weather for her"

  • American music is played all over the world -including Santiago. Since many don't understand the english lyrics, places like the grocery store don't feel the need to bleep out words. Yesterday, I heard the F-bomb a few times over the speaker while in the yogurt aisle.

^^ I found the Friend's White Dog in a store window -I must have it!!!

^^How awesome is this crocidile my student made?!

^^ The beautiful polluted river -pollution is a big problem here, can't ya tell?

^^Mote Huesillo -a typical non-alcoholic Chilean drink -not a big fan, but I had to try it. It's made with peaches, wheat, sugar, water and cinnamon. Like most typical drinks here, it was way too sweet for me.

^^My kind of night out!

^^El Cerro San Cristobal from my apartment -The Virgin is at the top

Birthday shoutouts are in order for my Dad, my sister Karen and my boss Tracy from back home!! Happy birthday y'all!! I love you!!

Also, shoutout to my mom for making her way to India for the THIRD time to help take care of the sick NICU babies, you're my hero!

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