Sunday, January 31, 2010
Saturday, January 30, 2010
I said, ¨Lauren. Lauren Williams. L-A-U-R-E-N.¨ (figuring, like most people, he wouldn´t be able to say it).
He snarkily replied ¨No! Your nnnaaammme.¨
´´Si! Eso es me nombre! Lauren Williams.¨
It really is completely impossible for people here to pronounce. The lady we´re renting our apartment from said ¨Well, at least it´s ... unique?¨ when I told her my name. What´s unique about Lauren Williams?
Aneya thinks I should just introduce myself mwith another spicy, latina name that people here can prnounce: Lorena, but I don´t want to use that name because ... well it´s not my name.
And Williams. It´s said every crazy way imaginable. We-yams. Or We-yum. So for now, me llamo "Lorn Weýams.¨
Friday, January 29, 2010
Lauren: No, seriously. Everyone in Santiago is really good looking. It´s in such a different way than LA though. In LA it´s like everyone´s done up with makeup, very trendy haircuts and clothes, but here there´s this just like natural beauty. We were stunned. We both have already renouced makeup (for now). People don´t try to look a certain way, they are just naturally beautiful.
Lauren: ...Sort of. A lot of Chilean is Castillo, and Chileans talk crazy fast. Listening and understanding is actually like an exercise. At the end of the day sometimes I´m exhuasted from listening, because it´s really hard. Chilean Spanish is very distinct. I´ve met people from all over this continent, who have perfect Spanish (or so they say), but have a hard time understanding Chileans.
Aneya: I like to think I have a knack for picking up languages, and my experience so far with Chilean Spanish has proven just that. True, some people do speak very fast and it´s common to add ïto" to the ends of words (just to be extra confusing). But really, the Spanish here is....well, it´s Spanish. And I´m frankly surprised at the amount I understand. Speaking, on the other hand, is a different matter altogether. I don´t have a huge vocabulary yet, and I still get tongue tied under pressure. So, I´m letting Lauren take the lead. Lauren is fearless in her Spanish, striding over to any policeman or vendor and conversing as if she´s lived here for years. Her confidence in her Spanish is something to behold, and I watch and listen as she speaks, taking it all in.
Lauren: So many words are indigenous in their roots from Quechua or the Mapuche, so it´s a whole new vocab. Especially with shopping and produce. And I can´t read. I don´t know why, but all those weird verb conjugations and specific vocab words. Daniela very kindly went with us to our apartment lease signing and explained everything to me. I mean, those were legal, technical renting terms, but still! For the first time in my life, I´m largely illiterate! Sort of. I can read super basic Spanish.
Aneya: I lived in France for 6 years, and I´m so used to stepping off the plane and hearing the voices of French men and women (presumably complaining about something, that´s what they do best) and yet, even with their nagging, I feel as though I´ve come home. I´m so used to understanding what people are saying around me, I´m used to ordering with confidence, being able to walk into a shop and articulate exactly what I want. Not being able to do that has been quite humbling. I have to stand back and listen (always challenge for me) and I have to let Lauren take the lead. It´s been interesting to be on the other side of things for once.
Lauren: And I´ve begun to blend my English and Spanish! I´m getting really good practice with my Spanish. I love it, but again, it´s exhausting. I learn a new word every day. Tierno = nice. That was Wednesday´s vocab word. I´m trying to help Aneya learn the days of the week. At least those aren´t different from other types of Spanish.
Aneya: Chileans are very friendly people, and they generally take pity and help when it´s obvious we don´t understand. We´ve both had trouble with the money here. What it´s called, how much something is, all the numbers seem to jumble together and they appear to give nicknames to every coin (or maybe we just don´t know the names of them yet. Why does 500 sound like 15 to me? No se.)
Lauren: People are really patient. They slow down, explain everything, use different words if there´s a vocab problem. It´s so nice.
Aneya: In any case, the language has been a challenge, but a good one. That´s part of the reason why I came to Chile, and not to some French speaking country. Because I wanted to challege myself. And that I have!
In actuality, I feel as though I´ve already learned so much in a week, (Lauren: Aneya is adapting and learning Spanish at lightning speed.) I´ll bet that by the end of this month I´ll be chatting it up like nobody´s buisness. That, or I´ll be speaking some wierd French-Spanish hybrid. On va voire!
-- Aneya & Lauren
There is a small, but significant German and Eastern European population in Chile, but largely most people are of Spanish or indigenous decent, or some blend of the two. Walking around, I can just feel how much I stand out and I know that people notice. It´s kind of unsettling.
I don´t notice people treating me differently too much. Sometimes if I ask a question in Spanish, they´ll respond in English. And there was that one time in Valparaiso when the bus driver kept charging us more money because we were clearly from another country.
For the most part people are nice, though. I don´t get weird looks when I go into a store or anything like that, so in that way, being a minority here isn´t too bad. It´s just this constant out-of-place feeling that I´m experiencing for the first time.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
This cute little artist colony/village in Dominico
My first Completo in Chile! Delicioso!
Daniela and I, drinking cantaloupe juice mmmm so good...
Photo shoot in the post office
Inside the post office
The first map of Santiago. You can see the Mapocho river running through it. ...
Monday, January 25, 2010
Me, on top of a very large rock.
(climbing in flip flops was a challenge, but I made it work!)
Don't know who that random guy is behind us...
It was so, so beautiful, if you can't tell.
Pablo Neruda's third house.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
View from the hills
The hills of Valparaiso
Now wouldn't those stairs be a good workout!
Lauren, happy after her glass of wine.
Me, always happy to be drinking.
Lots of fresh produce, but also....
SO. MUCH. FISH. Too much, really.
At the beginning of the day...little did she know what was to come.....
From Neruda's house
Isn't it beautiful?
The Llama! Her name was Marietta and she was friendly, to say the least. She loved Lauren and gravitated towards her immediately!
This is one of the many beautiful parks in Santiago.
Lauren and Daniela at the antique fair in Barrio Lastarria.
One of the many German pub-type restaurants in the city.
Our first night in Santiago! Enjoying some empanadas and pisco sours with Valeria and Daniela.
First day at the hostel (We both look tired...)