Spanish and Skiing: The Great People I’ve Met

Chile_Santiago_Highlights_012By Jonathon L., guest blogger studying Spanish and skiing in Santiago, Chile

The Time is 7:00, do you know where your children are?  Well if you are my parents, then you should know that I am sitting in the terminal at Miami International Airport, thinking about how excited I am to reunite with my American friends and family, while simultaneously distraught with longing for my Chilian friends, family and cultures!

But this blog is not about me…It is about the people who I have encountered throughout the past for weeks (and subsequently officiated our relationship via Facebook) so that when your/their name pops up on my mini-feed I will have these memorized, etched forever in the analogs of my memory (this blog) and to reference from year to year.

The cast and credits of my experience in Santiago, Chile…in the order that they appeared by category:

Chile_Santiago_Highlights_004MI FAMILIA, In the order that they appeared in my life..
-Mamá (Elijara) opened the door as I was getting out of the Transfer Van from the airport and greeted me warmly with a hug and the Chilean kiss on the cheek, and for the next four weeks never failed to treat me with love and affection.  Cooking the best meals, at times cleaning up my room for me, and always helping me when I had trouble making a phone call, doing my homework or anything I could have ever needed help with!

-Mo(rgan) greeted me with a hug and a kiss and by our second night living in the casa (mas loca) burrowed herself into my heart when she said “buenas noches hermano” and from that point on I knew that we were a family.  Whether she was knitting at the table, reading/watching la guerra y paz, or the numerous conversations we enjoyed as we walked through the cold to school together in the mornings.

-Guagui (Wowwi!) aka Jorge – Mi papa chilena.  And always ready to show his love by making fun of the fact that all I ever wanted to do was eat or sleep, and all he ever needed was a piscola, cervesa or a copa de vino after a long day at work.  Guagui was full of love for his family, always invited me to family events and affairs, and made sure I was in the look as part of the family.

-Max – At 17 years old, the “baby” of the family is about 1 year away from graduating high school, and like any good teenager is a master of navigating his home, his family, anything technologic, and always inviting and introducing his friends into the home. 

-Andreina – Came in with her pulola to watch the World Cup with the family and then continued to visit the house for dinners, afternoons, and whenever she could to bring smiles to the family as the oldest (?) daughter of Mama y Guagui

-Clau(dia) – Mi hermana meyor, mi hermanita, y mi guia chilena en la ciudad!  Siempre lista para mirar una película, ir a un mercado, subir un cerro, y hablar muy lento para que yo podía entender.  Llenó con amor y sonries Clau fue mi mejor amiga de Chile, y se encanta mucho y voy a extreñar hasta que ella visitará California ¡PRONTO!

-Lauren – Hellllloooooooooo, was always mama’s response when Lauren’s name was mentioned, as the Califonian that I just “HAD” to meet!  My first few days in the house, my other gringa roomate was off travelling the world, and our first real time hanging out, my congested self hawked up something disgusting into the street, looked at her disguted face and said “Ya, I am gross” and we have been inseparable ever since!  Finished with her EAP semester, Lauren is enjoying her post-study abroad experience as she stays in town late into September to be apart of Chile’s weeklong 200th birthday party! (Mid Septemberish)

Michelle – After Morgan had left for the United States and Lauren hopped on a plane to Uruguay, our family shifted to bring Michelle, a New Yorkian, into the house.  Very unique in her position, as the only married boarder in the house, she brought love, wisdom, laughter and the ocasional crude remark as she began her month studying Literature in Chile as mine came to an end.

-Rylene – I can’t pronounce, I can’t spell it, but the Brazilera who made her first international travel into our home, in our one week together shared many memorable occasions.  Her first time out of the country.  Her first day of class.  Her first time seeing snow.  Her first time skiing.  Her last time skiing (10 minutes later), Miercoles Po, and the waterfall of tears and endless affection that marked her departure only 6 days after coming into our home.


Chile_Santiago_Programs_General_Spanish_Course_003MY SCHOOL FAMILY!
There are so many amazing people that I have come to know through the school.  I have learned with, taught with, traveled with, ate with, danced with, drank with, skiied/snowboarded with and GROWN with throughout my four weeks as I made my school my home away from home.

I feel the best way to approach the numerous people who I have come into contact with through the school is by reflecting on some pictures that epitomize the experiences we shared together!  So if you are reading this on facebook, you may want to click over to the blog for the fotolicous version.

-Los Brasileros – Andre, Thiago, Gustavo, Mariana, Jacqueline, and more were some of the nicest, most positive, Portuguese-speaking, people that I got to travel with, chat with, practice with and learn to love the city and the school with! And of course the gringos Angelique and Henry helped me rep the US by sharing our stories, flaunting our accents and "hablando-ing" Español!

Andre [Brazil], Rascha [Hawaii],Natalie [Cali!] and I headed for the mountains together, and Natalie, with her California home near Orange County(?) may be finding herself up at Mammoth with me in the future. Rascha’s raging Hawaiian self knew how to go big on the mountain, and in life, and would fit right in on the ski weekends with the UCLA team, but more importantly brought the go big or go home attitude with us as the powder started to dump in El Colorado around lunch time to get us back on the mountain to shred some pow…

-Dhanishta [Trinidad], with her English accent, repped Trinidad and Tabago like no other.  Always up for an adventure, a sushi lunch (which unfortunately was never realized), or just checking in/procastinating work and class for a quick snack

-Amanda [Texas], Steve [Netherlands???] and Alex [Down Under] threw down big 2 wednesdays on the mountains and then in the nights during Miércoles Po!  Whether or not they made it to class the next day…thats a different story all together

-On the right, we have Marin [New York but originally from small town in the south?] and Kira [Gringo, but moved to Chile to work at the school] and Rolando [my first spanish teacher] all had so much love and positivity for the school, and seeing how much they loved the school and the people there paved the path for me to do the same!


Chile_Santiago_Highlights_054Thanks for everything!  These people made the last week of school incredible! Whether a day on the slopes with Danielle [back in the blue scarf], the two new Brazileras, Vivian and Liliana [To my left], MY INCREDIBLE and ultimo Spanish teacher ANDREA and of course Michelle and Rylene (behind me and on the far right respectively) who made the final week at home, and school an adventure!

Find out more about Spanish and Skiing in Santiago

See Spanish school in Santiago

Read all of Jonathon's blogs from Santiago

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