Well hello! It’s been a while!
Let’s back it up all the way to mid-September when I returned from Easter Island (see previous post).
I actually hopped on a plane a day later and headed back to the USA for a very brief visit home. It was an impromptu trip –one that I was not thrilled about having to take. As many of you know, I am leaving Chile at the end of December. As a result, I am currently trying to close all of my accounts and collect my pension. I have a significant amount of money that was taken from each paycheck and stored for my pension. As a foreigner, I have the right to collect that money upon my departure –but they don’t make it easy. The goal of the pension system in Chile is to make it as difficult and cringe-worthy as possible for foreigners, so they basically give up and they get to keep your money.
I flew home because I needed to get a letter from the Social Security Administration basically stating that I am enrolled in the system in the USA. No, my mother couldn’t get the letter for me. No, I couldn’t go to the USA embassy for this. Trust me, the only way you can get this letter is to present yourself in person to the office in the USA. Of course my Irish friend was able to just e-mail his pension system and they happily mailed him a copy. Since I have quite a large sum of money, it was actually worth it for me to fly home, get the letter and come back. And I got that damn letter, and got it notarized, apostilled and translated. Just about the only thing I didn't do with that letter is laminate it (which isn't a bad idea). Take that Chilean pension system!
As short as it was, it was a nice trip home. I was able to catch the end of summer warmth, which I haven’t felt in ages. I spent time with my family and pets. The trip became even more worthwhile since a week after my return to Santiago, my best girl Ginny passed away. Ginny was my favorite dog I’ve ever had (don’t tell León). It was very important for me to see her before she decided it was her time.
Since then, I’ve kept busy preparing my final departure and spending time with friends.
^^ León celebrated Chile's Independence Day
^^I gave another talk to first and second grade about global awareness and India
^^We celebrated Teacher's Day and were finally given the day off like all the other schools
We celebrated School Days at school, where the school is divided into 4 colors and competes through games and competitions.
I also headed to the very North of Chile during a long weekend to Iquique with some friends. It was so lovely to get out of Santiago and be on the beach for a few days. The weather was warm, not summer-like but warm enough to bask in the sun. Of course, I missed a few spots with the sunscreen, and ended up with second-degree sunburns up and down my legs. Now I have some interesting very dark tan spots. It looks like a blind-person applied my sunscreen.
The beach was beautiful and the air was clean. It was a cool sight to see the mountains city and sea all in one view. Iquique was a little quirky, with painfully slow service in restaurants and strange people out and about, especially in our hostel. We especially enjoyed the white sand and turquoise water. I probably pet every stray dog in Iquique, and I regret nothing!
I also got to catch up with my dear friend Dani who is pregnant with twins! I'm obsessed with her house (and dogs)
A new piece of fashion knowledge, in Spanish, they call flared-pants, "elephant feet"
I got an e-mail (in Spanish) from a mom asking if I could give her son a hug because she worked late the night before and didn't get to see him (still a weird request). But I thought she had asked me if she could come to school to give her son a hug. I talked to the school Inspector saying "I mean we have to tell her no!" to which the inspector replied "...why?" The inspector thought I was being heartless. Once I understood, I gave him a hug for her, even it was a weird request.
I was telling a student during recess how I give León Christmas presents and she started laughing saying "but how does he open them? He doesn't have hands!" I told her he uses his teeth. Her friend chimed in, "My dad is a dentist and he says you should never open anything with your teeth"
We are currently in our unit about living and non-living things. We were talking about the seasons and one student raised his hand and asked "Miss, when leaves die, do they go to Heaven?"
At the airport I asked my guy friend if he wanted to come with me to the Mac store. He was overly willing, which I found strange even though he was gay. When we got there he said "Oh this Mac store". He thought I meant the Apple Store
My students seem to struggle with the word "puppy" for some reason. One wrote an entire paragraph about why he loves poopies.
^^I brought León back an avocado toy -he is Chilean after all!
"I do a party, I has a wiener"
^^While looking at my ID badge, "Miss, you look taller here"
^^Trying to set up an event stage in a dog park is a difficult task...
^^The "Yoga Moms" were my favorite part of the parade
^^ León wanted to watch TV
^^I chased this lady through the metro to get a pic of her bag. It said "Magic Thinks"
^^Our hotel room had a giant bus painted on the wall
^^An Arabian British school in Chile sounds interesting...
^^They sold the strangest things on the beach, including hard-boiled eggs
^^Anybody in the mood for a "creep con manjar" ?
^^Finally took a pic outside his name-sake before we leave!
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Until next time!