Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Veggie Bouillon and Crema de Veggie

My days south of the equator are getting cold. And winter is on its way. I look around the gray city and see so many already bundled up in down coats, fluffy scarves, and wooly hats. I feel a little silly with my thin leggings and sweater cardigans, but I'm sure the cold will sink into this Texas girl's bones all too soon. Jealousy creeps in my heart when I look through facebook photos of spring and see a sun that is unadulterated by the thick cloud of smog (see photo below). And thus ends my complaining about the absence of Texan comfort.

Six weeks ago I began classes with a top bank executive. He takes five hours of English class five days a week. Yes. You read that correctly. I teach him five days a week for an hour and a half. In two weeks, he's preparing the head up the Banco Estado in New York City. Intimidating, right? As soon as I heard, that I would be sharing class with him, I immediately felt even more self-consicious than I usually do. However, to my great surprise, instead of a ruthless, cold businessman criticizing my every move, I found a kind, confident man moving himself as well as his family from the comfort of his home in Chile to the busy streets of New York City. Every class is filled with an elaborate explanation of Chilean history and politics with a colorful opinion poised somewhere along the way. I clutched my sides in laughter the first week in class when he asked me if there would be more violence in schools with a higher Asian demographic since they know karate like in films. Yesterday, he told me it is sometimes difficult for him to believe that I am not Chilean since I have sense of humor and am not so serious and rigid. I can only assume that he perceives US Americans as boring. Phew! I'm glad I don't fall into that category! Even though I will be genuinely sad to see him leave, I wish him and his family the best in New York. Leaving the US when I'm 24 and single to teach my native language can never compared to the trials his family is about to endure. 

Since my wonderful Slovakian roommate is leaving next week for travels and then home, I've tagged along on her last minute explorations. 

Isla Negra
Isla Negra is the location of one of Pablo Neruda's three houses and his final resting place. I can't explain to you the exhilaration of breathing fresh, clear air from the sea after weeks in midst of Santiago's pollution.

Smog of Santiago
We ventured up Cerro San Cristobal which should be restricted to a summer activity. Keep in mind that this is a nice day. Can you believe I have black snot?

Cerro San Cristobal
This would be the Virgin on top of the hill. Pope John Paul II held mass at the base of this monument in 1987.

Pan y palta
The best of food for a trip down the hill. Probably one of the best dishes in Chile! Bread and avocado.

El Cementario General. 
This bizarre cemetery had rows upon rows of these above ground graves. Literally, rows and rows.

El Cementerio General

El Cementario General
This should be the final resting place of Salvador Allende. Pinochet originally had him unceremoniously buried in a cemetery in ViƱa del Mar instead of beside the other Chilean presidents. However, after President Patricio Aylwin assumed office he had Allende's remains moved to the General Cemetery in Santiago. So much controversy revolves around his death and even burial, no wonder so many Chileans are conspiratorists. Unbeknownst to Kristina and I, Allende's remains were exhumed on May 23rd for further investigation on the events on September 11, 1973. What a wonderfully tabooed topic to discuss with my favorite student. We even were able to watch videos on Youtube of the bombing of La Moneda.

Thank you for reading through this obnoxiously long post. I will attempt to update more frequent in the future.


Amber Statham said...

These pictures are gorgeous!

Katie said...

Thanks, Amber! The scenery helps, too ;)

Ceri said...

Amber's right - your pictures are absolutely gorgeous. It looks so beautiful considering it's getting cold there. Summer's just arrived here - it's so overdue. :P

Love your posts. :D