Saturday, April 23, 2011

to school!

I live a half of a kilometer from my school, Colegio Ingles Saint John, and walk there every morning. I took some pictures on my way there recently so you can see what my walk to school looks like!

It's different in a lot of ways--in Wisconsin, it takes me about 25 minutes to walk to school (walking very, very slowly) and is about a mile away. Here, I leave some days at 7:57 to get to school by 8 (I have to walk SUPER fast but I usually make it in time). I really enjoy living so close!

So without further ado, here's the tour!

NOTE: It's not actually this light in the mornings anymore--daylight savings doesn't start until May 7th or something like that, so it's pretty dark in the mornings. I took these pictures on a Saturday when I had to go to school for an extracurricular activity (look at me, getting involved!).

Here's the house across the street that you see as you leave the front gate. The pink is a recent addition.

You turn to the left and walk down Los Coligues (my street), until you reach the far intersection.

Here's that intersection I was talking about. You turn to the left here.

Here's the view facing left:

If you look in the previous picture, you can see a sports court in the distance. You walk to the sports court and turn right before it into an alleyway sort of thing. 

Here's the alleyway. You walk down to the end....

Halfway there! 

We've made it to the intersection! You're looking to the left in this picture. See the white building in the center of the picture? That's the church next to my school (no affilation).

The white building on the left side of this picture is that church I was talking about. And the building next to it is my school! You just walk down this sidewalk 100 feet and the entrance is right there. We made it!

And here are some bonus pictures of my life!

My favorite local office supply store, which is convienently across the street from my school.

 My casita :) It's really starting to feel like home, which is a crazy feeling. Every house has that gate in front.
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One day recently, the sky was clear for the first time in awhile and all of a sudden I looked up and saw the mountains and they were covered in SNOW! It was breathtaking. I tried to take a picture, but it didn't turn out very well, but here it is anyways. If you look closely you can see the mountains in the distance! I hear it very rarely snows in Rancagua but an hour or so into the mountains there's snow. I love being near the mountains. It's gorgous. I can't begin to describe it.

What else is new? Everything is starting to feel normal. I can communicate relatively well (with horrible grammar but people understand). I've improved tons and tons and tons. School is going fine, I use the exchange student excuse to get out of history and psychology tests occasionally but I fully participate in the rest of the classes and even get better grades on the tests than the Chileans sometimes! It's starting to get chilly here, I weighed myself recently and gained 3 kilos in seven weeks, I recieved two letters on Wednesday, which absolutely made my day.... (I think I'll do a post about the mail sometime in the near future). The Calefont (hot water heater) broke on Thursday so I showered with a pot of hot water we heated on the stove, which made me feel very rustic, but they fixed it yesterday. I'm really enjoying myself. It's ridiculously hard, but ridiculously rewarding as well.

That's all for now. I have to go do some math homework and study for biology. But I mentioned letters and I'd love to recieve one from any of you! Email me if you need to know my address. (Plus, if I recieve a letter, you're probably going to get one back!).


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Milk and Milo

I'm from Wisconsin, the milk and cheese state. So coming here, the change in milk was a big shock. It comes in boxes (I knew that before coming, but still), isn't refrigerated until it's opened, and tastes....strange. It's hard to describe, but it tastes gross enough that you can't drink it plain. So I drink it with Milo!

What's Milo? you might ask. It's basically hot chocolate mix. You mix it into the milk and it tastes good. Probably because it's chocolate. I drink Milo in the mornings with breakfast with hot milk and usually a glass when i come home from school.

This blog post will be a detailed summary of how to heat up the milk and add Milo. Okay, it's not super difficult, but it's a part of my life here. And this blog is supposed to be about the random details in my life, right?

1. Pour the milk-from-a-box into a cup to measure how much to heat up.

 2. Pour the milk into the pot used to heat up milk.

3. Use a match (yes, another match!) to light the stove to heat up the milk.

NOTE: I keep meaning to ask about the matches--there only seems to be one brand--"Copihue". Is it a monopoly or something? But they are very nice matches. We have quite the collection.

4. While the milk is heating up, grab the Milo from the shelf next to the stove.

5. When the milk is at the desired temperature, turn off the stove!

6. Pour the milk back into the cup and add 3-4 spoonfuls of Milo.

 7. Stir the milk and Milo until Milo is evenly distributed.

8. Drink!

So now you know. On weekdays, my mom usually heats the milk up for me, so I can sleep a little more. It's very nice to drink something hot in the mornings now that it's getting colder.

I'm home sick today, which is why I'm posting at 11:00 my time. It's just a cold, but I thought it'd be better to stay home and not be miserable at school and get other people sick. I'm going to practice my vocab words again, look up chess and soccer vocab words, and try to find survivor online (CBS doesn't let me watch in Chile.)

Okay, I hope you are all having a fantatsic Wednesday!

Sunday, April 10, 2011


Reading is a part of my life. It's importance changes regularly, usually dependent on the amount of homework I have, but the entire Niewold family have always been big readers. So, naturally, I have continued that here.

I brought two books in English and one in Spanish: Twighlight and Catch-22 in English, and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azcaban in Spanish (thanks Libby!). I finished Twighlight in a day, am slowly getting through Catch-22 (it's complicated!) and Harry Potter ends up being about a chapter a week, because I have to look up so many words.

However, when I went to the Rodeo (yes, my camera battery died, so I don't have pictures) I met my friend Belen's 10 year old sister Rosario, and we really hit it off. Much to my surprise, the following Monday Belen shows up to school with a little bag full of beginning spanish chapter books! Rosario had put together a collection for me. How cute is that?

These books have big print, about 60 pages, and the occasional picture. On the back, they say "Desde 8 AƱos", or 8 years and up. And they are just perfect for me! I usually only have to look up a word a page or so and I can follow the plot. They're short enough to keep my attention. I'm so glad Rosario was nice enough to let me borrow them--it's a great activity for Spanish and History classes, since I feel like I'm learning while reading Spanish, but it's something to do in the two classes where I understand nothing.

Reading at school
So far, I've read two: "Siri and Mateo", a story of two youngsters who turn into a cat and a dog respectively when adults aren't looking, and "De carta en carta", about a grandfather and his grandson that are in a fight so they write letters to eachother instead of talking, but they don't know how to read and write so they enlist the help of a writer to write the letters. I haven't finished that one yet. I'll let you know how it ends... suspenseful, huh?

Vocab list for Siri and Mateo
For every book I read (for Harry Potter it's every chapter I read) I make a list of all the new vocab words in a notebook. I bet I remember about a tenth of the words I look up, but looking back on the pages of vocab words makes me realize that I am, in fact, improving my spanish, and it's something to show for reading these books.

For all those potential exchange students out there: I'd really reccomend reading in the new language, however basic it has to be, and keep track of all the words you're looking up. It's a really rewarding activity, and I feel like every time I'm exposed to another word in Spanish I'm more likely to remember it. Once I look up a word and remember the meaning, that's when I can start to understand it in conversation, and after that is when I can start to use it.

What else? I'm doing really well overall. Paula and I are enjoying attending the local gym and my pants are starting to fit less snugly, thank goodness. We went to Aerobics (Baile Entretenido in Spanish--direct translation is "Entertaining Dance") and it was ridiculously fun and ridiculous. My English is continuing to fail me, especially my spelling, so sorry for any typos. I'm still awaiting my package from my family, but I know it's out there somewhere in the world.

Well, off to do English homework, of all things (I have to do the definitions in Spanish), catch up on my journaling, and probably watch some MTV (in English) or Discovery Kids (in Spanish). It's cloudy for the second time since I've been here which makes it start to feel like winter. I hear Madison is having a great day weather-wise. Oh well. I'm in Chile!


PS: I just checked the specifications on the camera battery charger, and it turns out I just need an adaptor, not a transformer! It was great news, since adaptors are a lot cheaper and easier to find. I should have some non-ipod pictures soon, which is good!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Hot Water

I've been waiting to write this blog post for awhile, and it can't wait any longer. I just think this is super cool. So here goes!

One thing I didn't realize I took for granted in the States was hot water. It would come out of the shower. It would come out of the sink when I washed my face in the morning. It would be easily accessible for washing dishes. When I got here, that all changed. We have to turn on the hot water here, and turn it off when we're done, with a machine called a Calefont.


The Calefont chills in the kitchen. Every time you want hot water (to take a shower, mostly) you go into the kitchen and light it. Yep, light it. With matches. That's probably the reason I like it so much--if I shower every day (which I usually do), I get to light a match every day too, and those of you that know me well know that I enjoy lighting matches (in a controlled environment of course).

So here's the steps to light our Calefont:

1. Turn yellow knob on bottom pipe
2. Turn grey knob on the Calefont to "encender" (to light) and push it in
3. Light match
4. Stick match into hole in the Calefont until the gas catches fire
5. Wait 15 seconds with grey knob pushed in (in reality, you only need to wait seven or eight seconds)
6. Turn grey knob to "Maximo"
7. Go take your shower/ use hot water!

When you're done:

1. Turn grey knob back to "apogado" (off)
2. Turn yellow knob back to original position
3. Go do other exciting Chilean things

I mean, this is obviously a hassle sometimes too. It's not worth it to light the Calefont to wash your hands/wash your face in the morning, so I do that with cold water, which probably will get pretty brutal as the weather cools down. But I think it's really cool. I don't know how it works exactly in the US but I assume that turning on the hot water automatically turns on the hot water heater which is why it takes a couple seconds for the water to heat up.

The other cool thing is that we keep all the gas on site! I really hope i get to see a gas delivery because the barrels (?) of gas are enormous.

That's all for now: I'm going to a rodeo this afternoon (as a cultural experience) so I'll probably blog about that sometime, if my camera battery lasts long enough. No one wants to read a blog without pictures.

I hope everyone is still alive. I hear it snowed yesterday. That stinks :)