After a wonderful orientation in Olmué we finally arrived in Viña del Mar to meet our host families. We stepped out of the tour bus one by one…it was like a game show, and we were all so nervous! Our advisors explained that the mothers were just as excited and frantic, like “gallinas” (mother hens). After meeting them and finding my luggage in all of the madness, we drove to our apartment. They are so friendly and caring…I know I got placed with a wonderful family.

My host mom is Isabel. She is 65, and is the “duena de la casa” (she takes care of the house). She is an AMAZING cook, and I told her I am going to get so fat because I can’t resist her cooking. She is always watching out for me, and giving me good advice. She says she is a bad influence for taking me shopping to the “ferias de artesanía” (marketplace for crafts) and the mall, but I like it!

My host dad is Jorge. He is 68, and is “jubilado” (retired). He worked in a copper mine for 40 years, and in his youth he was a goalie for an professional soccer team! He is quite the jokester, and he took me on several walks through Viña and Valpo, and taught me how to use the bus system. He is always teasing me, and telling me stories.

My host sister is Andrea. She is 31 and works in real estate. She is so helpful and patient as I try to tell stories in Spanish. She is also helping me pick my classes and is so fun to go out with! I am very lucky to have her.

I start school on Monday at La Católica. It will be weird to finally be taking classes after months of break, but I am really excited. The university is spread throughout both cities, so it should be interesting to navigate. As for night life, it’s been really fun to try out different bars around the area. And the best part…a liter of beer cost $3.oo. For a stronger kick, though, Pisco sour is the national drink. It tastes like tequila…but it’s one part sour to three parts pisco. Yum!

Love and miss you all!

Sarah

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