It’s been a while! Since we’ve last talked, I’ve had a visitor, my mom! It was her second time in Chile and although short, her visit was very nice! She arrived last Saturday, after spending the night in Atlanta due to bad weather, which forced her to miss her connecting flight and us to lose a day together.
Since we already had a hotel booked for the night in Valparaíso, we took a nap and then set out for the coast. Mom was looking forward to checking out the colorful city and seeing the seals. Our hotel was so cute and charming, I’d recommend it to anyone looking for a nice place to stay –the breakfast provided in the morning was the best continental breakfast I’ve experienced in South America.
We arrived around dinnertime, and the rain started to pour. We made reservations at a well-known restaurant called Café Turri, it has beautiful views and delicious food. I had the tenderloin raviolis and washed it down with a very strong margarita.
The next day, we spent our time walking the narrowed streets enjoying the street art. We probably pet every stray animal that came into our line of vision, which reminded me who I got my animal-lover gene. from\ Later in the day, we went up to see Pablo Neruda’s house, La Sebastiana. Since I’d visited his house in Santiago, I really wanted to make it a point to view another one of his unique homes. It was very interesting but unlike most, I actually enjoyed his Santiago house more. After a delicious pizza we headed back to Santiago. Perhaps León had the best time of everybody though –he stayed at Dani’s house for the night. She has a puppy, another dog and her boyfriend has a puppy. León had the best time ever running amok and mutually chewing on the puppy.
The following day, Mom and I took a horseback riding tour with a tour company that I have developed a friendship with, and highly recommend for all things tourism in Chile, Chile Off-Track. Our tour was private, and took us to the hills very near to Santiago College. In Chile, the horses are bred to be able to walk through the narrow and steep Andes Mountains, so they’re a lot shorter than the average horse. I rode Italia, a moody little horse, and Mom rode Mulatto Chico, a lazy slow-poke of a horse. One of our favorite parts of the tour was the farm dogs who live for these tours. They took off on the tour with us, and stayed with us the entire 3.5 hour journey! They kept right up with us the whole time, tails wagging the entire time. Afterwards, the tour-guide and my now friend, prepared a wonderful picnic lunch for us. We had it in this little shack, owned by the farmers –it was so rustic, but we really got a true feel of how the rustic, rural life is in Chile.
Our adventures didn’t stop there. The following day, we woke up at the crack of dawn, and left on a tour to Cajón del Maipo. A mountainous region with breathtaking views of snow-covered mountains, glaciers and a volcano. This tour was a mother’s day gift for my mom. I was excited for this tour as I’d been meaning to get to Maipo for some time now. Also on our tour was a girl studying abroad here in Chile and her mother and aunt who were visiting her. We hiked up to the base of the San José volcano and had a delicious picnic lunch and a glass of wine. Our hike was the perfect level of difficulty for us. If you’re looking for a difficult hike, try the San Francisco glacier hike –although beautiful views, that hike is not my style.
With that, my mom spent the next day at home with León while I went to work. I should mention my mom chose this week to visit because we were off on Monday and Tuesday and I took the previous Thursday and Friday off. Although her visit was short, it was better than nothing. I was grateful to have her, and she brought my all sorts of goodies like chex mix, dog goodies like a crate for León and books.
After my mom’s visit, I had 3 days of workshops school. Santiago College is an International Baccalaureate school –a huge educational program adopted by thousands of schools around the world. The program is embedded into the entire curriculum of the school –with primary focuses on inquiry-based learning and global mindedness. I hope to always teach at IB schools.
With that said, the program itself is so complex, it is difficult to understand. My particular workshop was the first stage of understanding IB and PYP (the primary years program –the program for the young kiddos). Since I wasn’t at SC this time last year, they invited me to this workshop. Although I didn’t learn anything new, since I’ve been implementing this program for 9 months, it is now more clear and organized in my head. Perhaps the most fascinating part of the workshop was to meet other educators from around the globe. We had a headmaster from Bolivia, a girl from Germany, a guy from Switzerland, my friend from Ireland and many others.
SC has been implementing this program for 15 years, but almost all of the other schools were just starting off. It was fascinating to see how some of the other schools in Chile operate. For example, one girl told me that they also have co-teaching in their school, except the co-teacher is more like an assistant. She cuts things, takes kids to the bathroom etc. and she is paid less than the leading teacher. When I told other people about this, they all said that’s how most schools are in Chile. Also, this girl told me that they never do group-work in their school. I couldn’t even believe this. All we do in SC is group-work. The IB also promotes lots of group work. It was such an eye-opening experience where I realized just how lucky I am to be a teacher at Santiago College. Not only are we the 2nd best paying school in Chile (still significantly less than in the US), I’m slowly realizing that we are one of the best schools overall in terms of teaching practices. It’s funny how life works, you end up exactly where you’re supposed to be and you realize why later on.
This weekend, I promised I would help my friend of SC, Marie (the gringa) with her son’s 4th birthday party. She is such a super-mom in that she had her second son TWO WEEKS AGO, and still wanted to throw her first-born a proper party. Marie has done so much for me, and has taken me under her wing, how could I say no? I spent the morning making little sandwiches, preparing various foods and decorating. We were pretty worried because it was down pouring through most of the afternoon. Luckily, the sun-parted through the clouds just before the party. The kids were able to use the bouncy house with no problem (a very popular item to have at a child’s birthday here in Chile).
My boss told me to send her a document and her secretary will “eat it”. She meant edit. It was hard to keep a straight face…
My Chilean friends called me from their trip to England and told me how thrilled they were to see a
squirrel for the first time(they don’t have squirrels here in Santiago)
Our tour guide kept telling us that this was “a very arrow part” “ the most arrow part of the hike” etc. arrow= narrow
On the tour of Pablo Neruda’s house, they told us that Neruda enjoyed taking naps. Sometimes his guests would be appalled because he would slip away for two hours to take a nap. My kind of guy!
^^While picking my mom up at the airport, some crazy fan girls were welcoming some Italian band. They hired a mariachi band, made signs and even had a rose-petal heart on the floor. The second my mom walked through the gate, the band started playing. I told my mom, I hired them for her ;)
Have a great week y'all!!