Thursday, May 28, 2009

Dia Ejectivo

Every once and a while we get the opportunity to express ourselves and show a little personality. How? Dia Ejectivo. The idea is that you pay a dollar to wear s treet clothes to school and the money goes to a some group with in the school or another communal cause.

Seeing my classmates in street clothes for the first time was one of the strangest experiences I've ever had. I couldn't stop starring at the people around me. I had sat next to these people everyday for a month and had grown so accustomed to seeing them in the same outfit that it felt like they had been replaced by a new person. I was completely thrown off. Everyone seemed a lot prettier and handsome in street clothes. It was like solving a cold case or breaking a code that had previously been impossible. I was seeing everyone in a new light and finally piecing together who they really were when they're not in school. 

Although I love my uniform and am very grateful that I don't have to worry about what to wear everyday, especially since I don't have that many clothing options to begin with, there's something that gets lost when kids have to wear a uniform. Uniforms don't let you make judgements of people right away because you have nothing to label them by. You have to get to know the person first.

Tomorrow we have another Dia Ejectivo and God only knows how many different outfits I'll try on before I decide what I want to wear. Knowing that what I choose will be one of the few opportunities I have to show who Analisa Winther really is.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


I'm three months in now and am very proud to say that I think I've made my "language breakthrough." It happened this Monday after our wonderful four day weekend. I was in History Class. Normally, I can get the drift of what we're learning about because the teacher has a PowerPoint and it's really easy to make the connection between Spanish and English because they are written similarly. This class was different though, we were talking about Martin Luther and the break and the church and  I was understanding everything and taking notes of the teacher's lecture on my own. At first, I thought that I was able to do it just because I had the learned the material before and knew what I had to write down, but then I went to my next class and it was the same. I understood what the teacher was saying and could take notes without copying what my partner was writing down. I was stunned. Overnight,  I had apparently gone from being mas o menos bien at Spanish to super bien. 

Despite this improvement, the kids here are still mean to me. I can't get through a sentence without someone commenting on my accent. It's all in joke, but it gets old and I wish my accent didn't exsist. Unlike French, which has an obvious accent that you can try to do, I don't know what a Spanish accent it. It sounds so much like English I don't try to change my voice and anyway.  I just speak like I normally do, which is probably the root of the problem, but I don't know how else to fix it. If you have any ideas feel free to comment and let me know.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I Feel the Pain

I miss Benadryl. A lot. I've been pretty sick for the last few days and I keep thinking that all my sickness would go away if only I had a little Benadryl. Then I could sleep like a baby and be in that fun drugged out state that Benadryl induces. woohoo! haha. Seriously though, the medicine here does not compare. Nothing is sold over the counter. You have to wait in line to be servedat the pharmacy and I swear that all the pills are tiny and white. All of them. I miss Benadryl. 

I also miss bagels, walking to school,  going to Blockbuster, and most of all English. I have a new profound love for our language. I think it is the best one in the whole world. While Spanish may rhyme all the time, English has more words and therefore more means to express yourself. I miss being able to tell descriptive, detailed stories. One, because my Spanish does not permit that and two, because in Spanish it is necessary that you say the noun and then all the descriptive adjectives after. Let me tell you that takes allllllll the fun out of talking. In English, I could say there was a huge, gigantic, absolutely terrifying, and repulsive............zit on my fore head. Spanish I have to say. There is a zit. It is huge, gigantic...etc. Thats no fun at all. There's no excitement. I miss the element of surprise that English has.

Spanish is also a lot more complicated. I'm tired of people making fun of me for not being able to roll my Rs. I swear there is not a sentence that I say, where someone doesn't laugh at me for saying it "funny." There are so many different verb tenses and so many things that you have to agree. It's way too easy to trip up. The worst thing in the whole world would be lying in Spanish. It's so easy to go wrong under pressure, but add the Spanish grammar structure to the equation and you're a goner. If I had to tell the cops a lie about where I was the night of December 3, 2008. I don't think I could. There are so many possible grammar mistakes to make, I highly doubt it would sound like I had a solid alibi. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Via Crucis

Via Crucis (Good Friday) was one of my most memorable nights here. For me, it actually began on Thursday when my school had a show of Jesus Christ Super Star outside on the patio. I don't know if you can actually call it a show because the kid's in it only mouthed along to a soundtrack, but at the end everyone got up and walked around the school. At first, I didn't understand why we were doing this, but then I pushed my way to the front only to see the boy who was playing Jesus wearing no shoes, a diaper for clothes, a crown of thorns, and hauling a huge wooden cross. His friend was walking behind him with a whip pretending to hit him on the back, but in reality, he was smacking the bottom of the cross. The sound was still disturbing and very realistic. To make the act even more real, they had painted red marks on his back. I have never seen anything more graphic. Good Friday for me had always been a fun, happy day. There was no school and I would always do something wholesome like go to church and paint Easter eggs. This was a whole new view. After the program, I went home (somewhat scarred) and with information from a friend that there would be another program like this tomorrow except much bigger and on the beach in Renaca. 

I was too curious not 
to go so the next day my friend Cristobal and I went. Before we even reached the beach, the crowds began to form. This was the true Via Crucis. People from all of the world come to Renaca to witness this event. The beach was lit with two rows of candles that formed a pathway. Within this pathway were about 12 crosses all spaced evenly and at the end there was a huge white cross. A man, a woman, and a priest were caring a cross like the boy at my school and they would stop at each cross to say a prayer and sing a song. When this process was finished, they, and the rest of the spectators, moved on the next cross. 

Everyone also had a candle, Cristolbal and I each bought one. It was vended to us by a little old woman and her daughter and it was very obvious that they had made them themselves. The container was made from one of those liter coke bottles cut in half and within half an hour my candle had burned most of the plastic down.
That night was one of the most beautiful and memorable. The silence and respect people had paired with the millons of candles was very romantic and I saw more than one person moved to tears.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


The majority of people here are Catholic. Right near my house is the biggest Church in town and there the church services are served like fast food, quick and not that beneficial for you. I went one Sunday with my Mom and it was very very impersonal. We came, stood for half and listening to a man speak, and left without saying hi. It was so impersonal and with so many people I doubt the priest had any idea who half of them were. There are five or six of these services in one day. I felt like I was ripping off Jesus. I went to Church without really going. I couldn't concentrate on anything and didn't take in anything. Lucky for me, I talked to a friend about how dissatisfied and disappointed I was and he recommended another church to me that he said should be more like the one I go to at home. It was called Union Church and he was right about how closely related they were in style. I mean if the title had one more word in it, it would be my church.

My friend escorted me to the church and I was absolutely amazed. I had stumbled upon an international church in Vina that had services in English once a month. It used to be that every service was in English, but that obviously didn't draw too many people. Actually, for a long time it was the only church on the entire South American coast that had services in English. On top of that, every Sunday they have a live band playing music. I'm talking about a band, band with a guitar, drums, piano, and at points a chorus. They don't use bulletins or hymnbooks. Instead, there is a project that they use to broadcast the words of the songs and other notifications on to through a power point. The other main difference was the amount of people having some sort of spiritual conversion. Whenever we were singing there was always someone raising their arms to the ceiling and shouting amen. It made things a little more exciting. I guess. 

As far as services go, I don't understand the main minister when he preaches in English but he is really fun to watch. He is very animated and his voice makes you want to listen. 

This church also looks like a great way to meet people. I started talking to the women sitting behind me and she happened to be the principal of another AFS student. She invited me to go on their next field trip for free, which was an offer I gladly accepted.