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  • Writer's picturestrykerk2

Near Death Experiences & A Whole Lot of Love

Hola! Coming to you live from 2018!

Since last time, I sent my students off to second grade and I celebrated both Christmas and New Years here in Chile. With a lot of laughs and naps in between.

End of School

My students are officially second graders. I was sad to send them off; this has been my favorite class so far. And I’ve never been so proud. On the last day of school, we had “Fun Day” where the kids all play in the sprinklers. It was a great send off; I’m going to miss them. In other news, since I co-teach, every year we get assigned a new teaching partner. There is always a lot of anxiety around this subject because co-teaching is very similar to a marriage. You spend so much time with this person, you have to make it work. Since I worked so well with Dani, they left us together last year, which was rare. Now I have a new partner who is very sweet and a good friend of mine. It will be a big change for me since I’m so used to Dani and I’m sad to leave her. Not to mention I had to move out of my classroom!

We’ve been working very hard every day since the kids left. Doing workshops, final grades, the mezcla (deciding which kids for which class), the student file, classroom prep, booklets etc. My classroom is nowhere near ready since they’ve been making us do other things. I’ll have to go to school after we officially finish this Friday.


Christmas in Chile has always been a little difficult for me. It does help that it doesn’t remotely feel like Christmas at all. It’s 80 degrees and people spend Christmas day in the pool… But it’s hard knowing that everyone in the world are with their families and I’m not. I’ve come to the conclusion that Christmas isn’t as big in Chile as it is in The United States. Follow my logic here… in Chile, family is the most important thing. You are always with your family; every weekend you spend at least one day having a nice meal with your family. In the US, family is important, but we don’t operate like that, we can’t. Since we move out when we’re 18, many of us don’t live close to home. So Christmas, is that one time of year that is designated for family. More so than Thanksgiving. Christmas to us, means family. It is so special for us to be all together.

Anyway, I’d say this Chilean Christmas was my favorite one yet. Like always, I spent it with my Chilean family. We went to a beautiful outdoor mass, then we had a delicious Christmas Eve dinner and then stayed up until 2:30am chatting and opening gifts. This year we did Secret Santa and it was a lot of fun. Plus Flo was home from Brazil, so it was so exciting to reunite with her!

^^ León was very excited about his Christmas present. Guabox is the Chilean version of Bark Box.

On Christmas day I got together with my gringo friends for a lovely Christmas dinner. Everyone brought something and we prepared the meal together. It was so lovely and very comforting to be with others who weren’t able to be with their families.

^^ This is Ciruela (plum) and I spent a significant amount of time with her on Christmas

^^ I found these hydrangeas extra beautiful. They remind me of my Grandpa :)

Near-Death Experience

I almost didn’t make it to 2018. During the day of New Years Eve I was doing some cleaning. I decided to scrub the shower because there was a bit of mold and I couldn’t stand to look at it anymore. There was some on the ceiling and it looked awful, but I couldn’t reach. Now before I get to the next part, you should know I’m not a dumbass and I fully evaluated the situation. Everyone winces and shakes their head when I get to this next part. I put a stool to stand on in the tub.

In my defense, the stool fit perfectly in the tub and it wasn’t rocking or wobbling, it was stable. Now that we’ve established that, let’s continue. The problem was that my feet were wet and I slipped. I fell into the shower curtain, tumbled out of the shower/tub, knocked over the shampoo bottles I neatly placed on the toilet and slammed the back of my neck on the toilet. I’m still in shock that I didn’t get severely hurt. I could have easily hit my head on the corner of the counter and broken my leg. I should also mention that I live alone. My neck now has a red slash on it and is very sore. That is the first and last time I clean the shower ceiling.

New Years

New Years was pretty relaxed this year. I went to a small gathering at a friend’s house. We had good conversations, food and music. Of course we wore our yellow underwear and ate 12 grapes at midnight.


My good friend, Edel will be leaving Chile this week and I’m super sad to see her go. I met her when she started working at Santiago College. She is one of the kindest, sweetest and most social people I know. Through her, I’ve been introduced to a network of gringos. Because of her, I have met so many people and made some wonderful friends. I owe her a lot. Edel is off to travel through Australia and then South East Asia for a time before landing back in her home continent, Europe. I admire her drive and fearlessness. Best of luck, dear friend!

^^ It's been an unforgettable year. 2018, I'm ready for ya!

Also my baby León turned 2 years old. He was very happy for his annual birthday cupcakes.

Laughable Moments:

  • I hired a dog trainer to assess León’s separation anxiety ( I'm scared his barking when I leave disturbs the neighbors). He was teaching me how to train him to not bark when I leave (FYI it’s a lot of work). On the 12th time we went out the door, I realized I left the keys inside. We were locked out for 30 minutes and had to call a locksmith

  • I get so many gifts from students that I don’t know what to do with them. Don’t get me wrong, I’m so grateful. But my apartment is only so big, and I only need so many lotions. So I decided to sell a nice wallet I got. Once I got home from selling it, I realized the money had fallen out of my pocket. I made 0 profit.

  • León was running around the house up to no good. After checking what he had, I realized he was playing with a nickel. Just a reminder, I’m in Chile and I can assure you I have 0 nickels in my apartment.

  • I was hanging out in my living room and I happened to look out the window as a paper airplane soared by. I had to do a double take. The real kicker is that I live on the 12th floor…

  • On New Years, we had the TV on for the countdown. Everyone was reaching for the grapes during the countdown (you're supposed to eat 12 grapes). Someone accidentally turned off the TV right before the 10 second countdown and we couldn’t figure out how to turn it back on. It was so funny. After angry screaming, someone in the background yelled “…Happy New Year” while we all sat in silence. It was hilarious.

  • On León's birthday, I saw a picture of him from last year and realized he gained so much weight. I got worried and put him on strict diet, we started walking more, and no more treats. Then he got a haircut and I realized it was just his hair.

^^ I was very bored during a meeting at work

^^I saw some cute snowman Oreo balls on Pinterest. Unfortunately, mine looked like scary skeletons. #PinterestFail

^^ So then I tried making flowers, but in the end they just looked like boobs...

^^ This is Chase (he chases cars and pigeons). He is a stray that I pet every morning before work.

^^ I was overly excited about this tree. The lady in the corner is tying my bag on.

^^ Chile recently elected a new president. Once the results were announced, everybody got into their cars and drove around honking and hanging flags out their windows.

I'm headed home in 16 days and I cannot wait. Until then I will be prepping for the next school year and trying to soak up as much Summer while I can! And don't worry, León will be coming too!

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