Thursday, June 9, 2011

My Three Favorite Things

So I was just chilling at school today talking with my classmates when one of them asked me what my favorite thing about Chile is. And the question, quite frankly, took me by surprise. I mean, I've now passed two thirds point of my exchange, and I never had spent a lot of time thinking about what my favorite thing is. But here's the basic summary of my response.

1. Bread
Pan Batido
This is the first thing that came to my head, which is a little sad, and everyone around laughed. But it's true--one of my favorite things here is the bread. There's two main types: hallulla and pan batido (I think that's what they call it!). And unlike the bread in the states, this bread comes fresh from the baker every two days or so. And it's ridiculously delicious. I eat it WAY too much. I eat a piece for breakfast, a piece for onces (a really light dinner at like 7,8 o'clock) and sometimes a piece after school. I swear to you, it's the reason I weight 4 kilos more than I did three and a half months ago. It's heavenly. It's incredible. Pan de molde (normal, bagged bread) is frowned upon here, for good reason. Who would want bread in a bag when you can have some of the best bread ever baked on the planet?

2. The Mountains
After taking a few seconds to think, I came up with a halfway respecable answer: the mountains. Everyone knows about the Andes, but there's another row of mountains along the coast, and Rancagua happens to be in the valley directly in between the two. I remember driving to Rancagua that first day and just being in awe at the sheer size of these things rising up on either side of the car--it's definitely not something you see in Wisconsin!
Recently, it's been getting colder (duh, it's winter here) but also a little cloudy (just weather wise and also because of pollution). But it rained on Sunday night/Monday morning, which clears everything up quite nicely. So I was walking to the little store outside of school at lunch with some friends on Monday afternoon and I looked up and...I can't even begin to describe it. The sun was at that late afternoon stage so the mountains closer were this rusty brown color, while the taller/farther away mountains were covered, and I mean COVERED in snow! It was beautiful--I had to stop and just stare. Every day I wake up and think of how lucky I am to be in such a beautiful place. I get excited every time I look out a window. I'll try to take some pictures next time I remember.

3. My Classmates
Finally I came up with the real answer. Third time's the charm! My classmates are incredible. They've been helpful from the first week, putting up with my thousands (legit thousands) of questions each and every day. They're curious about my life and share their own culture with me. They invite me to do things, they let me copy the dictation that the teacher is saying too fast for me to write down, they share their last peach slice with me...every single person in that classroom (and the other terceros next door) have only been welcoming. Naturally, there are different degrees of welcomingness, but I've been blessed with an incredible group of 27 other students at school, and I couldn't imagine my exchange without them.

Can you find me? I'm in red.

So there you go, my three favorite things. I could go on and on and on about things I like in Chile but that'd take too long and I have to go back to school to take a physics test. Wish me luck!

Thinking of all of you,

P.S. Whoa! I think it just temblored--a mini-earthquake. There was a 5.4 one on Sunday morning. I get really excited by them, as long as no one dies. It's just something I've never experienced. The windows were shaking really really loud and I was getting frustrated since the noise woke me up, but then I realized it was a tremor and I felt better. Don't worry though, we had an earthquake drill at school last week so I know what to do if a big one hits!

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