¡Feliz Cumpleaños Chile!

By Caroline M., CE Teach in Chile

I gotta say, these Chileans really know how to celebrate a holiday. I haven’t had school since September 8th and don’t have to go back until September 21st. Why? Because September 18th is Chile’s 200th birthday, which obviously requires an entire week of celebration. Last week in class I taught the kids about our Independence Day compared to theirs; they couldn’t believe we only celebrate for one day… they actually felt sorry for me haha.

Given my abundance of free time, I’ve decided to take a little trip down south for a few days. I’m meeting my buddy Melissa in a city called Antofagasta and then travelling with her to San Pedro de Atacama. San Pedro is supposed to be a really beautiful spot in the Atacama Desert (according to Google). From what I understand, it not only has some really neat salt flats, geysers, and valleys – it also has some randomly displaced flamingos and llamas that run free. And I might actually get to go horseback riding in the desert; as much as West Texas might seem like a barren desert sometimes, this will definitely be a new experience for me.

Last Friday I made my host family a Mexican food feast (thanks to my wonderful care package from Grandmary). Since I didn’t have the right type of chili to make enchilada sauce, I ended up making them a kind of taco casserole. They seemed to really enjoy it, but I think they were a little overwhelmed by the presence of actual flavor. Needless to say, I’m missing food from home.

I’ve been talking with one of the other volunteers here, and I think I’m going to plan a trip to Machu Picchu for the beginning of November since it would be cheaper to leave from Iquique than Santiago. If that works out, then I will probably only hit up Argentina (and maybe Uruguay) when my program ends on November 24th. So, there is a distinct possibility that I will be back in Texas for Christmas… which also means that there is a distinct possibility you will get to buy me a Christmas gift :-).

In other news, Mateo went to the groomers and was completely shaved. Now he’s about a third of his previous size, which means that all of his sweaters are too big and make him look like he has an eating disorder. I’ve uploaded photos of Mateo as well as some from my wanderings around Iquique. You can look at them on my online album. Just click the album called “Iquique!” to see what I’ve been up to. You can also check out the album called “Video of Cueca” to watch a video of Chile’s national dance that I filmed at a folk-dance festival. It’s an especially entertaining video since one of the dancers gets a little too fancy with his footwork and actually wipes out at the end. Enjoy!

I suppose I should start packing for my trip now, seeing as how I leave in about 5 hours. Rest assured that upon my return I will have plenty of photos and stories from my trip to San Pedro, and hopefully even a tan.

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