Sunday, March 20, 2011

Good Times, Good Friends, Sensation, and Japan

The weather likes teasing us here in Santiago.  We've had days that have only gone up to 70 and have seemed like autumn, which are then followed by days with a very strong sun and temperatures of almost 95.  I actually prefer the hot weather to the cold, so if mother nature wants to tease me a bit with a cold day every once in a while but still give us nice summer days I'm ok with that.

Last weekend I went to a barbeque with friends on Cerro San Cristobal.  There were about 7 of us there, and it was nice catching up with them.  None of us could believe an entire year had passed since we arrived, and we talked about our summers and plans for staying in Santiago.  Thanks to our genius planning we didn't bring any plates with us, but we improvised and used plastic bags instead.





This weekend was the pancake breakfast that I went to last October.  They were expecting a big crowd this year and opened an hour early, so I got there right when they opened.  A big crowd came around 10, and I met up with some friends when they arrived around then.  After browsing some books we took a leisurely stroll and got drinks and chorillana.







The big event of the weekend, however was Sensation.  It's basically a huge dance party with electronic and techno music, and in order to get in you have to dress completely in white.  I got my ticket back in December, and it was an amazing event.  The theme was Wicked Wonderland, and so there were things throughout the night related to Alice in Wonderland.  There were videos of her wearing all white and going through various scenes of the story projected on huge screens around the area, white flashes of fire and fireworks, huge butterfly wings opening up after the lyrics of "spread your wings and fly" people dressed up like dolls with white hair, white balloons with lights inside of them, the list goes on and on.  In an outside area there was food and drinks as well as different companies with entertainment booths to promote their products.  I found it ironic that a cigarrette company had a booth which had large signs about the dangers of smoking was giving out lighters which also had a warning on the front of it with the same warning.  El Mercurio (a newspaper here) had a booth set up with Just Dance on the Wii, and after having played it at my brother and sister in law's house when I was home for Christmas I played a round dancing to Walk Like an Egytian.







video

I would be remiss to not bring up the tragedy in Japan.  I woke up last Friday morning and booted up my laptop while getting breakfast, and I went to cnn.com to see what was happening in the world.  The pictures of the tsunami sweeping over Japan seemed surreal.  The images of houses on fire while being swept along with the tsunami seemed right out of a blockbuster apocolyptic movie, not like something that was happening in real life.  I know a few people that were exchange students from Japan, and luckily they are all ok.  I also have a coworker here in Santiago who lived and taught English in Japan for three years, and he has understandably been deeply affected by it.  As the news gets worse and worse, I find myself torn between wanting to know what is happening but not wanting to since the news is so horrific there.  I also can't help but feel a bit guilty that I am living in a place that experienced an earthquake but did not suffer a fraction of the destruction and mayhem that is currently going on in Japan.  I want to make a donation to the relief efforts, but the cynical side of me fears that scammers use this as the perfect opportunity to make a quick buck.

To end on a positive note, here is the view of the Estadio Nacional from the window of my apartment.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Settling Back In and Random Thoughts

I find it hard to believe that it is March already.
As I type this I have my apartment window open, and there is a slight breeze coming in.  I am also able to hear the Shakira concert taking place at the Estadio Nacional, which is about a ten minute walk from my apartment.

Santiago is quickly becoming a hotspot for concerts. This month alone U2, Iron Maiden, The Backstreet Boys, and  Ozzy Osbourne will be playing in Santiago.  Not to mention Lollapalooza is taking place the first weekend of April here.

The weather is starting to cool down a bit, and I was warm but not too warm as I settled back in to teaching and wearing dress shirts and ties.  It's a nice time since the heat is no longer overbearing as it was in the summer.  I started a few new classes this week, and they look like they will be enjoyable.  They all seem like nice guys and have a solid foundation of English.  One of them seems like a bit of a jokester, so he will help keep one class light-hearted.  The other class had students that seemed a bit on the serious side, but they are big soccer fans, so that will keep class interesting.

I am settling back into my life here.  Most of my apartment is now furnished, and after about 2 weeks of waiting I got wifi installed.  I found a nice faux leather sofa with 2 Ottomans (each with storage underneath) for about $180, and I also got a high efficiency fridge too.  I found another branch of my gym that is a 5 minute walk from my apartment, and I am getting back into a routine.  I've started making my way back to the Magic stores, and it's a nice feeling seeing the people I know there and being considered a semi-regular there.

Most people reading this would disagree, but other than that, my life has been pretty boring lately.  I'm looking forward to getting a full work schedule and settling into a routine to break up the excessive random free time I have now.