Chile, Me Gusta Mucho Que

Chile, I really like you.

I am about to finish up on my third week here in Santiago, and wowowowow. I can’t believe how fast time has flown. How the heck do I only have five weeks left? Insane. 

Since I last blogged, nothing too too crazy happened but definitely some eventful moments! I am really starting to get a hang of my schedule between the University and Grace College, which is a school btdubbs. Last week, I travelled all the way to Grace College ALL BY MYSELF. I know, I know, that doesn’t sound like a big deal, but I mean, it kinda was. I had to leave my house at 6am to take two subways and a bus to get to Recoleta by 8am. I did it all by myself and only had one mishap. Unfortunately, on the bus I had absolutely no idea what stop to get off. Julian drew me a map and gave me a landmark (lol) but it was dark outside since the sun doesn’t rise until 8:30am. Luckily, this woman asked me in Spanish where I was going and then a guy with an English accent chimed in and helped me. I’m assuming they could tell I was lost by the sheer fear of terror on my face. I’ve never been really good about hiding my emotions. Also, I own a cheetah print peacoat. I never really thought I would stand out but when everyone else is muted colors, you definitely stick out and people stare. That week I successfully taught music to 3-6 year olds and instantly fell in love with the kids. 

   

My precious kindergarteners!
 

The rest of the week was good, minus getting a small cold on Wednesday. The weather here is cold, y’all. I mean like in the thirties at night and because there is no insulation in the houses it’s even colder inside. I pretty much sleep in a bunch of layers with about 7 blankets. Luckily, I kind of enjoy the cold. I think I have some of my dad’s Colorado blood in me! 

On Friday, we went to the stadium again to hand out coffee and pamphlets. There was another protest but it was maintained by the police, praise the Lord! Afterwards, we then went to John’s friend’s house to watch Chile vs Boliva. Ultimately, Chile won 5-0 and continued into the quarter finals and actually, last night beat Uruguay 1-0 and is going to the semi-finals! I never thought I was actually get into soccer here… After the game, we decided to go to Plaza Italia downtown. Plaza Italia is where people go to celebrate, chant, sing and well, party. We definitely went just to experience it but it was interesting. We only stayed for about thirty minutes and then headed out, which we had good timing since five minutes later, fighting and looting started happening.    

 
  

Weekend went well and I actually got a new host family. My first host family could only have me for two weeks since their daguther was coming back so I am now in a new one that;s actually a few blocks from Julian and his family (yay!). Plus, the window in my room leads to the roof where I can see the Andes Mountains!  

 
The only thing is, I don’t have a key to get in and out of the house. Chileans can be very weary of giving their house keys out so my host wants me to call her when I get back… To say the least, as someone who is independent, it’s a tad frustrating to have to rely on someone else. Plus, sometimes you get locked out of your house but can’t escape the garden. Oh, get this story. 
On Tuesday afternoon, Julian and his family dropped me off at my house after school. Now, this is my first day at this house so i don’t have a key, nor do I think I will get one. I was let in by their family friend, went to charge my phone and went downstairs into the front yard to play with their dogs, because, well I really miss my dogs! The thing is, doors here tend to lock automatically after being shut, so I went outside and then as I tried to head in, the door was locked. So I thought, okay, I’ll just leave and walk to Julian’s since it’s a few blocks away and we’ll call my host family. Well, houses here have gates in front of their front yard and you have to have a key to open it… Yeah, I was stuck in the front yard. I had no way out! The only options I had were to wait it out until someone got home or climb their really pointy fence. Numerous times I tried to climb the fence, but once I got to the top and was about to jump, I chickened out. I was stuck in their front garden for over two hours… You could say, I was mad, frustrated and I may have cried, shocker. Sometimes, I truly believe I have the worst luck, but in the end, I just laugh at myself, because this stuff kind of happens to me a lot. 

The rest of my week has gone well, thankfully, and tomorrow, I get to see one of my dear friends from Texas, Lucy! She has family here in Chile so it will be so nice to have a friend here for a day!

Prayers are always appreciated as I continue to stumble through learning Spanish, especially now that my host family speaks Castilian Spanish. Help! I am starting to pick up more but I continue to struggle with communcating.

I’ve really enjoyed blogging and hope y’all are enjpying it too! Next blog post will be about the differences between Texas and Chile! There are many differences, some good and some bad, but it’s made me appreciate home more! Until then, ciao! 

  

Subidas y Bajadas

Ups & downs…

Wow. Where do I start? My first week here in Chile has been one for the books! I’ll try to break down all that I did.

Monday and Thursdays are my days where I go to University of Desarollo with John, sort of my missionary partner, who lives here and is bilingual (praises!). John is in charge of Cru, pretty much a Christian organization on campus and they meet and talk about their faith. Monday morning I met two girls, one a new Christian and the other who has been one for awhile. They asked me to share about myself and I easily felt like I was back at Welcoming Week introducing myself. I shared with them about how I grew up in the church, have a Christian family, went to a Christian university and have mostly Christians as friends. They both gave me a huge smile and told me how awesome that is. I never really realized how awesome it truly was. I suddenly had an ephiphany of how blessed I truly am, and not #blessed, but really and deeply blessed by the Lord. All day I couldn’t stop thinking about how much I had and had never really felt thankful for it. The girls started discussing evangelism and asked me my take on it and to be honest, I knew what it was but never really had done it. It made me sad to think how less passionate I was to share my faith to strangers, where they and John are always wanting to talk about Jesus. Growing up in a Christian enviroment is a blessing but sometimes, we truly lose sight in our purpose for our existence on Earth. I truly hope and pray that after this trip, I will desire to share my faith more. I’m super thankful for my upbringing but I also want to live more for Jesus, instead of myself. 

Now, Tuesday consisted of me learning how to use the Metro, or subway, and the Micro, the bus. Pretty much, I learned to always hold onto something or you might eat it. Julian, John and I arrived to Grace College, where I will be teaching music, assisting in English and Christian Culture. I have to say, I was expecting to observe the classes and learn my schedule but I was pretty much thrown in on the first day and expected to teach. With the help of John, he was able to translate to the students and teachers my directions but Wednesday was a totally different story. 

 

I was pretty excited to ride the subway, but this man’s face was priceless!
 
Wednesday, I arrived to Grace College with Julian, Jessica and their three adorable kids but things went awry. The ages I was told I was teaching to were 2-3 year olds, pre-k and kindergarten, oh and for 45 minutes… My first class was playgroup, aka the 2-3 year olds. When I walked in I didn’t know I was to be teaching since it was my first time and this time, I didn’t have John to help translate my instructions, plus the teachers didn’t speak English. Now, this hurts my pride, but I blanked on what to do and stumbled through teaching a few songs. After the class, I left feeling like a failure and totally unprepared. I ran into Julian and immedaitely lost it and started crying. I knew that I was there to help but didn’t know I was there to be THE music teacher for the younger kids. Julian reassured me and him and Jessica told me that the school is honestly just happy that I am here and that I am putting more pressure on myself than anyone else. The rest of the day I stuck to Jessica’s side and observed her teaching English. I did teach to kindergarteners, which actually went surprisingly well and I didn’t have a lesson plan prepared. You could say that I was quite drained emotionally and took a hard beating that day. Thankfully, I was reminded that the Lord will continually have my back. 

“That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:10

Wednesday ended with a wonderful Bible study at Julian’s and Jessica’s and I felt ready for the next day. Thursday looked pretty similar to Monday, where I went to the University with John, ate some empanadas, which I could eat for every meal, and then went over some evangelism tools. 

Empanada horno: beef, onions, hard boiled egg and vegetables.

We then went to the stadium where Chile vs. Ecuador was about to play at Copa America. Copa America is a soccer tournament between countries in Latin America and Chile is hosting it, so it’s a big deal around here! We went to hand out free coffee and pamphlets that have the brackets for the games on them and a small section on the Gospel. Being down there, I was extremely nervous. There were tons and tons of people, people trying to sell you stuff and everyone talking to me in Spanish. I already had some anxiety but then a protest starts happening a block from us. Now, as someone naive to protests, I did some research before I came down here. Protests here can get crazy with the police using tear gas, water and arresting people. Suddenly, the protest was being pushed right towards us by the police. The protest was getting rowdier and rowdier and police were forming a barrier against them , while wearing their protective gear. I was freaking out! Luckily, John told me that he’s looking out for me but if anything happens, just run. Thankfully, the protest was broken up and the rest of the night was smooth sailing. 

   

Friday through Sunday, I mostly rested and even had a chance to go for a run. I wanted to run in a park and found one but it took me about 20-30 minutes to get to the park but this view was totally worth it!  

  

My first week had definitely its’ ups and downs but I learned a lot. I learned about being thankful for what I have, desiring to share my faith more and relying on the Lord’s strength when I am weak. The Lord is good and I am loving learning how to navigate a new city. At this moment, I am sitting in a cafe, blogging, and sipping on my latte. One thing I have learned here in Chile is how to relax and enjoy your suroundings. I could definitely get used to my afternoons looking like this!

I have no idea what dessert this is but it’s flippin’ amazing!

This upcoming week will be filled with new adventures and I look forward to sharing my experiences with y’all!

Ciao! 

Me Haces Valiente…

You make me brave…

This has kind of been the theme for these past three days. It’s crazy that I have only been here for three days but I have fallen in love with this city and the people I have met so far. Let me start from the beginning.

 

Julian and me at desayuno, or breakfast!
 
I have to be quite honest, I was an emotional wreck on the plane. I tried to be brave and all adventurous but once I started boarding the plane, my stomach started turning. I immediately texted some of my closest friends and they gave me some encouraging words and prayed for me over text. I don’t know why I got so emotional as we were taking off. I think I was just nervous about everything that was going to happen and the unknown. I immediately put on “You Make Me Brave” by Bethel, which only made me cry more, haha, but was also calming. My flight was fine and I got maybe three hours of sleep which was rough. Friday morning, I landed, went through customs and Julian and John picked me up. The temperature was about 38 degrees, which I thought felt amazing, while Julian and John were in coats. I think I might have some of my dad’s Colorado blood in me, haha. We went to breakfast and talked about life here in Santiago. Then I met my host family, Lillian and Francisco, who live in Las Condes, a neighborhood outside of Santiago, like how Cypress is to Houston. They were immediately welcoming and showed me my room and own bathroom (wow!). I slept for about five hours due to my three hours of sleep before and then had once with my host famiy. Once is similiar to tea time in England. We had hot tea and completos. Here’s a picture:

A real beef hot dog with palta, or avocado, tomatoes and mayonnaise

 I know, I know. It sounds disgusting. Now, I hate hate hate tomatoes and mayonnaise, but I was not about to offend my family and I wanted to eat like a Chileano. It was actually pretty dang good! After once, Julian and his family picked me up and we went to the mall and ate dinner in the food court. I had McDonald’s because well, I had no idea what else to eat. I was dropped off and went to bed.

Saturday, I slept for almost TWELVE hours! I was exhausted. Luckily, Lillian told me I could sleep in the night before because we were going to lunch at 1:30pm, which is weirdly a normal time for them. They took me to this lovely restaurant at like a country club, sort of. The meal was pretty simple and nothing crazy but the best part was dessert! I had a torta de merengue lúcuma  

Pretty much a traditional cake with layers of a crumbly shortbread, whip cream and a fruit called, lúcuma, a native fruit that tastes like maple and caramel. So good! Unfortunately, the coffee they serve does not come with milk so I forced myself to drink it because I didn’t want to be a nuissance and ask for milk. Overall, lunch was great and conversation with my host family is pretty light while practically playing Charades because they don’t speak English and I speak little Spanish. It’s quite entertaining! The rest of the day, I watched Netflix, rested and FaceTimed about nine people, haha. If you want to FaceTime, I am always up for it, just let me know! 

Today was so great! I went to their Baptist church and was introduced to a family from Oregon, who are missionaries. I have to say I nearly cried from excitement that I could have a full conversation in English. Don’t get me wrong, I am enjoying the challenge of learning Spanish but it’s so nice to hear English. I attended an English Bible study class and then attended worship with Jessica, Julian’s wife, Julian and their three kids, whom I absolutely adore! This church has about 200 members, which is very different from my home church of about 5000 members but I have never felt so welcomed and loved on by the people there. After a few songs and a welcome by Julian, we starting singing some more and I had to hold my tears back from feeling so emotional by the congregation. I don’t know why it makes me so emotional but everyone was so kind and full of hugs and kisses, and I could feel the Holy Spirit in the room. Plus, hearing 200 people singing to the Lord in Spanish was a moment I will never forget. After church, my host family and I drove into the Andes mountains to visit her daughter and her family for lunch. For lunch, we had an asado, which is like a barbeque, and oh my goodness. Just look.  

  

Me and JoJo, Lillian’s grandson

This food was so amazing. And what’s crazy is they only use sea salt to cook it with! Texas could definitely learn in their footsteps!  We took a few pictures and enjoyed each other’s company with essert, torta de tres leches. 
 
My host family, Lillian and Francisco
  

  

Franscesca, Lillian’s grandaughter, who spoke English (praises!)
  

I was so thankful for Franscesca since she spoke English and helped communicate to her family for me. Overall, these past few days have been filled with some ups and downs but today, was amazing. I still get tears in my eyes when I think about how loving my host family has been and all the people who have been so welcoming. The Lord has provided me with two amazing second families, the Pizarros and Lillian and Francisco, and moments to speak in English when I was feeling overwhelmed. It’s only been three days and Chile already has a part of my heart. These next 50 something days are going to be filled with many emotions but ultimately, filled with the Holy Spirit. Thank you for your prayers and the number one prayer would have to be my Spanish skills, haha! 

Buenos Noches! 

  

Siguiente parada, Santiago!

 

Next stop, Santiago!

I am sitting here in my terminal about to board my plane in roughly thirty minutes and OMG. There are about five thousand emotions running through me right now. I am so excited but nervous and scared. I just cannot wait to see what the Lord has in store for these next two months. 

Right now, this verse is really giving me comfort right now. 

{Now may the Lord of peace himself give you his peace at all times and in every situation. The Lord be with you all.} 2 Thessalonians 3:16

^^^Shout out to Zasmyne for sharing that with me 🙂

Last night, my dad and I FaceTimed Julian and his wife from Santiago to fill me in on what I will be doing. I will be at a Christian school that has kids from kindergarten to twelfth grade, two to three times a week. I can assist with any grade I want and will even have the opportunity to help teach English! I also will be hopefully helping with worship at the church in Santiago, which I am so so excited for! I have really missed leading worship and it’s going to be super cool to do it in Spanish. Hopefully by week two, I’ll learn how to navigate the city on their metro and will at least know where a coffee shop is, haha. I really hope to blog every week or even twice a week! Oh, I will also be going to a University to get to know college students and assist with a Christian organization, Campus Crusades. I’ll attend a class on Chilean culture, SO COOL, and will get to know students and hopefully build relationships. Not gonna lie, I’m nervous about the college age kids. I know I am 23 but I just connect so easily to children so reaching out to people my age, makes me nervous and I ask for prayer as I experience something out of my comfort zone. 
Right now, I feel a little ridiculous sitting in Houston’s international airport in a tshirt, leggings and boots, but, when I arrive it’ll be around 45 degrees, so I brought jeans and a sweater, haha. Once I land, Julian said we’ll go to breakfast (YES) and then I’ll settle into my host home. I really hope I am not jetlagged, even though it’s only two hours ahead but with a ten and a half hour flight, so I can experience the neighborhood I am in, Las Condes. Ahhhhh! I just have so much excitement to learn a new city and be independent.

For those that might have not seen my status on Facebook, my church, Champion Forest, donated $700 to my mission trip and what a blessing that was! I was so incredibly nervous about fundraising but of course, the Lord always provides. I’ve been in awe lately of how much the Lord has provided for this trip and I cannot wait to grow more in Him and share the Gospel. 

Well, we are about to board, so thank you for all who have supported me through this journey and continually show me love as I embark this adventure! I love y’all and will blog as soon as possible!

Buenos Noches!