A blog following my adventures in the southern hemisphere.
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Tuesday, February 8, 2011
So I'm home again, which means a blog post for the hoards of people reading this incredible piece of literature!
As most of you have figured out by now, I'm heading to a country called Chile for a semester. I hope that most people have at least heard of Chile, but here is some more information for all of you folks out there that want to know more!
Chile is a country located on the Pacific coast of South America. It borders Argentina, Bolivia, and Peru. It's the longest country in the world (almost 2,700 miles!) but only 109 miles wide on average. It has an incredible variety of landscapes, from the Atacama Desert in the north (the driest place in the world!) to the Andes to Patagonia in the south.
Many people know about Pinochet--Chile's dictator who reigned from 1974 to 1990. I'm going to be perfectly honest and tell you that I don't know a whole lot about him, except he was dictator when many other South American countries had dictators. One of the things I'd like to know more about is Pinochet and how he's perceived now in the present political climate. I might have to wait a few months to improve my Spanish before being able to understand the explanation though.....
Here is Chile's flag.
The city I'll be staying in is called Rancagua, and it's actually listed on the map in this post. It's the city right to the south of Santiago--only about 50 miles away. It has about 250,000 people, so about the same size as Madison. It's in region XI of Chile, which is like states in the US. One of the main economic activities is mining, like most of Chile. Just 40 km away from Rancagua is "El Teniente" (The Lieutenant), which is the largest underground mine in the world, stretching more than 200 miles.
My dad is especially excited about El Teniente, and desperately wants me to go and check it out. He says it's so big that there are office buildings underneath the ground inside the mine! It's in the Andes, and here's a picture of what I assume is the area above the mine.
Look at those mountains! As my departure date gets closer and closer (14.69 days until my plane takes off from Madison, according to my ipod), I get more and more excited. I decided to start officially packing on Wednesday (2 weeks until I leave) so I'll be nice and prepared. My to-do list seems to keep getting longer but my parents have been incredible about helping me get everything i need to do done. Today we went and ordered my new pair of glasses, because we thought it'd be a good idea to have a functional spare when I was 5,000 miles away from home (that's what happens when you have horrible eyes!). My visa application was FINALLY sent in on Friday, which means it's out of my hands now, and I just hope it gets processed on time.
What else? I'm excited. I'm nervous. I'm pretending not to know about my surprise going away party. I'm doing a lot of list-making, which gives me something to do. I'm preparing for the ACT (which I'm taking on Saturday). I took it last year too, so I'm not super nervous, but standardized tests are always a little freaky. I'm thankful I'm sick now and not the day before I leave. I'm excited to be going somewhere where it's currently 84 degrees Fahrenheit.
I mean, I'm also getting a little scared for this whole experience, but also ridiculously overwhelmingly excited. Excited doesn't even cut it. I just looked through a list of synonyms for "excited" and couldn't find anything to describe how I'm feeling right now.
Down to 14.68 days. I hope everyone is doing well.