Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Beyonce, Beaches and Bad football!

Talent Show

So after a lot of preparation the day had finally came for the Ovalle English Talent Show. I was supplied with a suit jacket to look the part and the show was underway, kicked off by a surprise musical performance on rollerskates by Alejandro (a teacher at my school). The kids were great and some were very talented, I do not envy the judges task of deliberating over the winner. After the secondary school acts had performed, it was time for the moment we had all been dreading and we took to the stage for our Macarena, Beyonce Who run the world, Gangnam Style mashup. The crowd went wild and after we got over the initial shock that we were actually up on stage dancing infront of A LOT of people we actually really enjoyed it.

The following day at school I was treated like a superstar, by the teachers and students alike who said that British people normally don´t have rhythm, but I was the exception. Now I was not aware of this national stereotype but felt proud that I had taken a small step for England to combat it.

At this weeks zumba class we decided we were established enough to go to the front of the class so we would have more room to dance. So much zumba politics!  The instructor seemed impressed with my hip shaking abilities (life made). Definitely going to miss our authentic Latino zumba sessions when we leave :(

English Week

So this week most of the schools in the city got together for English week, which was actually more like English day (but let´s not be pedantic). Each school took one student from grades 7-4th to form teams which participated in different stations where they had to prepare a recipe in English, sing Karaoke, or write a speech for Presidency. The kids seemed to have a great time and whilst they were waiting for each station the volunteers were given the role of keeping the kids occupied.

We ran a whole load of games including the British playground classic BULLDOG, even though it may have been banned in pretty much every primary school in England due to it´s tendancy to get violent. Another classic DUCK, DUCK, GOOSE, was given a Chilean twist with LLAMA LLAMA GOAT!

Amidst all the fun minor details seemed to escape my attention and I was unaware of the fact that I was frying in the sun. It was not until that afternoon that I realised the full extent of my sunburn, much to the amusement of my little brother Emiliano who continued to call me TOMATO for the rest of the evening. My host mum had the idea for me to rub cucumber on my face to help reduce the redness. Not sure how effective it was but given the fact I had a full morning of classes the following day, with a lot of unforgiving students I was willing to try anything!

Embedded image permalink


So England have not played Chile since 1998, but when I was in the country seemed like the appropriate time for a game. Allegiances were definitely split but I stayed true to England (something I would later regret). Me and Emily watched the game at her families house and surrounded by Chileans there was a significant amount of taunting and CHI CHI CHI LE LE LE VIVA CHILE!!! We stayed strong against the threats, and sang the national anthem loud and proud (until I realised Emily did not know the words and felt like the lone Brit in a room of Chileans). My doubts about the game were confirmed less than ten minutes in when Alexis Sanchez scored for Chile, and the taunting became even worse! The piscos were flowing which was about the only thing to lessen the blow when in extra time Sanchez scored another, making it look easy with a non existent England defence. We were forced to eat humble pie and for the next few days were bullied by our Chilean families. Got to agree with them though, we played terribly!

Let´s go to the Beach Beach! 

So in the past two weeks we have made two unsuccessful attempts to go to the beach. The first attempt we were greeted by our first sight of rain since being in Chile, so spent the day baking instead. The second attempt we actually arrived at the beach to the most miserable overcast day, and with the next bus not for four hours we hopped back on and headed to the port city of Coquimbo. Was pretty cool to wander around and we went to a fort where we saw sealions, and the Millenium Cross which had great views over the city.


The time is drawing in for the end of year tests so the kids are definitely bombarded with revision and studying at the minute. Was quite amusing last week that their seemed to be uncharacteristicly low attendance the day Justin Beiber so happenned to be performing in Santiago! This week we had a little cocktail party to award the students who had participated in debates and public speaking from our school and Pucarà. Essentially it was just an excuse to eat lots of cake (Happy days). I got a cool lil pendant from the school as a thanks for me which was really nice! Was invited by one of my students this week to watch their football team play against a fierce opponent in Ovalle. It was a typical girls football game with all the girls crowding round the ball but Santa Maria managed to secure a win! WOOP!

Less than two weeks til I am back in England! Can`t wait to see everyone

Laura xxx

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Earthquakes, Halloween and Penguins!


So for one of the most seismic countries in the world (sorry I did not make this very clear before I came out mum haha), Chile was seemingly peaceful for the first three months, until I was hit with two earthquakes, (no sorry tremours as the experienced Chileans call them), in one week! The first one was a meagre 4.6 in the middle of the night, woke up to my bed, which is on wheels, jiggling about! Thought I was just having a strange dream but found out it was indeed true the next morning!

Felt quite excited for my first earthquake experience surviving unscathed. Except I spoke too soon. Thursday evening myself and Emily were minding our own business preparing food for our halloween party when the ground started to shake A LOT! Typically Emily was slow to realise but when she did we sprinted to the door frame, her holding on to me tears in her eyes, and me screaming Lily to come down the stairs. Lily was similarly upset as Emiliano was out trick or treating at the time. The whole room felt like it was on an angle and everything was shaking like crazy even this GIANT metal street sign outside the house! Turns out it was a 6.6, I am no longer grateful for having an earthquake experience this was scary stuff!

Definitely added an extra scare to Halloween, especially as in its aftermath I was stood outside looking for Emiliano completely forgetting I was wearing an illuminous orange wig and princess Crown. I have became accustomed to the funny looks being unusually tall and extremely white compared to the Chilean population.


So after the earthquake drama our Halloween party began, slightly different to those in the UK. It is generally more frowned upon in a predominantly Catholic country to use Halloween as an excuse to wear as little clothing as possible. At the local market I found all the bits to make my own Princess Fiona outfit, the ears were a bit of a disaster however, stuck together with earphones and first aid tape! We played lots of games and ate lots of food, really good night!

Isla Damas

So we decided to use the long weekend to head to Isla Damas, an uninhabited island with beautiful white beaches and onto Pinguino Humboldt Reserve an island inhabited by Penguins, sealions and birds. All that was missing was David Attenborough commentary, and was really great to see the penguins in their natural habitat. I slightly underestimated just how small the Humboldt Penguin (the smallest in the world) would be and with my eyesight it was a challenge to distinguish the penguins from the rocks. Think I was expecting something like the scenes from Happy Feet (pic below)! The Sealions were my favourite, they had so much attitude just sunbathing on a rock, one roling over in full view of our boat, as it it was posing for our photos.

The sea was incredibly strong and there were some pretty intense waves! Emily spent some of the journey with her head over the side! With my life jacket, cap and waterproof camera bag I could not have looked more like a tourist if I tried but it was a great weekend!

More parties

Attended even more celebrations at a teachers birthday party, and as per usual it was a lot of food and drink. Could not help feeling I was the butt of many of the jokes but I just smiled and nodded along! I was encouraged to down one of my drinks, YES by a group of teachers and YES on a school night, how irresponsible lol! Another night we found a fun fayre in town and decided to ride on the Dancing Fly, famous last words! Chilean health and safety standards are definitely not the same as in England, and the ride would not have been half as scary if it wasn´t for the worrying screeching of the rides mechanics. We celebrated our survival of the ride with some very tasty churros!

Who run the World? Girls, GIRLS!

The past two Sundays have been spent choreographing a dance for us volunteers at the upcoming English Talent Show. We will be performing a mashup of the macarena, Run the World (Beyonce of course), and Gangnam Style! Not sure if it will earn me more respect from my students or completely demolish any that existed but we shall see thisThursday! This week I have been practicing with my schools acts and it sounds great, with some Beatles and Emeli Sande tracks! Fingers Crossed we are in for a win! 

Singing Assesments

Tests continued at school and this week some of the kids were challenged with performing a song in English for the class. It was a lot of fun and of course, Justin Beiber and 1D dominated the show, but some kids were a bit more creative. One boy asked if he could sing Happy Birthday, I could not help but laugh but had to kindly ask him to sing something a bit more challenging. Some of the boys decided to go solo, and I was serenaded with James Blunts "You are Beautiful¨and the Adele classic "Someone like you". It was a great atmosphere and at one point we had the whole class banging their desks to the beat of "We Will Rock You". One boy from my younger classes nearly made me cry, he similarly decided to go solo which I thought was a bold move but he had the most amazing voice and sang a really moving Church song! I managed to hold it together, but he definitely got top marks.

In the past few weeks I have started extra classes with one of my older students who is nearly fluent in English, and wants to improve before going to study in Australia. The class generally just involves us chatting for an hour and a half but I genuinely feel useful so its a lot of fun. This week the primary school had its annual English show which was potentially the cutest thing ever! I got to see them perform the skeleton dance, incey wincey spider and other nursery rhymes.  

Only 27 days to go! 

Laura Xxx