Saturday, May 21, 2011


I know, I had a little lapse there in my blogging, but I have an exciting thing for you this fine weekend: Alianzas! From what I can tell, the vast majority of high schools in Chile put on this thing called an Alianza. I had a lot of trouble finding a good translation for it when I was talking to friends and family until I had a conversation with my English teacher, and she pointed out that it was a lot like a field day. So then: an Alianza is sort of like a field day with competitions between the grades, and it was last Saturday.

Usually, the Alianzas are held twice a year, and like I said, are a competition. In my school, the school is split into two: one half is on the team of the Cuartos (senior year equivalent) and the other have is the Terceros (junior year, my grade!). Some of the competitions this year included eating spaghetti, making a dress out of recycled materials, blowing ping pong balls from one cup filled with water to another, impersonating Lady Gaga...the list goes on. But every year there are two things that are the same: a competition to decorate the gym, and a 10 minute or so choreographed dance.

Each group picked a theme, and because of me, my grade decided that our theme was to be "USA". That's sort of awkward! But it had a really key color group that made decorating fantastic.

We spent the entire week leading up to the Alianza at school after classes blowing up balloons, painting banners, and learning the dances. I can't tell you how many red, white, and blue balloons I blew up and tied together, but by the end, everything looked fantastic. We had a New York skyline and everything.

One of the weirder things about the USA theme was that it made me really aware of the stereotypes everyone has towards the US. A lot of people think that the only places worth visiting are California, New York, and Miami, that we treat Obama as a god figure...everyone is appalled that I've never been to Las Vegas. It was sort of weird. I've never been that much of a patriotic person, but by the end of the week, EVERYONE was fired up to represent the US at the Alianza--a lot of them more than I was!

After the week of preparing that I was talking about, we stayed at school until 10 on Friday to decorate before going to a classmate's house to practice the dances even more. After a full week of school, that was pretty exhausting, but I ended up learning most of them to perform the following day.

Saturday, I woke up at 7 (that's earlier than I wake up for school here!) to go BACK to school to put the final touches on everything, and before we knew it, it was 9 and time to perform the dance! The "dance" isn't a very good way to describe what we had to do--it had to be a medley of songs that told a story relating to the theme, and it was worth a BUNCH of points in the competition so it was super important that we did a good job. And lucky for all of you, someone recorded it and put it on youtube so you all can watch us/me!

So there you go. Go watch it. In case you can't find me, I'm the only one that's a normal height and light hair. I'm wearing a red shirt and jean shorts.

But overall, it went really well, and all the dances "left" me (me salieron in spanish, and I can't think of a way to say that in English). The rest of the morning was spent watching the other Alianza perform, cheering during the competitions, and chatting in the bleachers.

Finally, at about 1, the Alianza was over, and they said the scores: 14500 to 16500 points. We thought we had lost--there was some drama earlier in the week regarding point values and we weren't looking too good. But then they announced it: we had won! Everyone was screaming, jumping up and down, and some people were crying. It was quite the happy environment.

After that, the place was trashed, so we spent some time cleaning up before I finally got to head home and lay down for a bit. That night, we went to a different classmate's house to celebrate, which was really fun. It was an exhausting weekend but completely worth it--all the hard work everyone, including me, put in made me really feel like part of the Terceros, which is a great feeling.

What else is new in my life? I officially passed the halfway mark last week, which completely freaked me out. I'm feeling a lot more confident about my Spanish but still have days where I feel like I can't say anything. I officially grew out of a pair of pants, it's getting colder, and life is getting more and more "normal" here every day. It's crazy. I can't adequately describe to you the emotions you feel on one of these exchanges, especially because it changes practically every minute. But overall, everything is incredible. I'm doing so many fun things, like participating in the Alianza. It's a blast.

And to wrap it up, I wanted to announce the birth of my child, "501 Spanish Verbs". He has a stroller and everything!

Haha, or should i say "jaja", like they say here. I joke with my friends that when I carry it around it's just a sign that says "Hey, I'm a foreigner!", not that I'm not obvious enough already. He's quite helpful, though--for all of you potential exchangers out there: GO TO YOUR COUNTRY WITH A VERY GOOD DICTIONARY. That's key--I don't know how people could forget one! Also, if Barron's offers a "501 ______ Verbs" in the language, I'd really reccomend getting it. It's super helpful to have the verb forms just laid out in front of you when you're confused about something.

Hope you're all still doing well and enjoying the great weather up north. It's just getting colder and colder here....


PS: Shout out to Grandma, I'm glad someone's still reading this thing! A letter will be in the mail in the next week.

1 comment:

  1. Dude this like made my day!!! hahah i have a 501 verbs in spanish too :) but i only carry it to spanish 4 everyday... maybe ill be carrying it around everywhere next year in chile o argentina :) i loved the video! thats freaking adorable! i loved that one guy was wearing a lebron jersey because i live in cleveland hah even though now everyone hates lebron... I also loved the cheerleaders! it was soooo cute :) i am a cheerleader so i found it awesome that chileans were like LOS ESTADOS UNIDOS! jajaja diga tus amigos que una americana amo su baile (no se dance en espanol!)... plus my spanish is... crap... no joke haha like when i speak spanish this is what runs through my head "Mierda... no hablo espanol"