Today was my first day in Santiago and first full day of training. For the next few weeks I'm rooming with fellow volunteers at an old hotel/hostel in the historic Centro area (like Chico Whitney Hall only muy different). The area is charming with cobblestone streets and old European-style buildings. It's an interesting area but I still feel like I have a lot to explore in this city.
Today was our big day visiting the US Embassy. Nerd that I am, I was excited to do this. We met with a few staff members who gave us the safety rundown (pickpocketing is the most common threat) and then talked about the complexity of education and teaching in Chile. Right now is a key time where they are looking to help bridge the gap between public and private education. It was reassuring to hear that the country has asked for us to be here and value our presence.
So after a long day of training we decided to walk back from the Embassy (versus the subway) and catch the sites. My first impression is that Chileans love their statues and churches because they're everywhere. Not so nice is the smog from buses but this afternoon it gave the Andes a pink glow. The Andes have a quite a presence over the city and tower over the skyscrapers.
I must admit that the hardest adjustment here is the weather. Growing up in Tahoe, I thought that I was a toughy when it came to temperatures. Well apparently the SoCal weather has warmed my heart of stone because it's really, really cold. Like sleep with a fleece, gloves and a hat cold. Indoor heating does not seem to be a concern or need here so far. Wowzas! Hopefully, I'll adjust to my life as an indoor camper these next few winter months.
Speaking of which, in typical Jen fashion I was late to the first official training day this morning. Our alarm didn't go off and I opened my eyes at the exact time we were supposed to be ready downstairs. After a mad and showerless dash, I made it down there in under 10 min. So basically I was the scuzzy American at the Embassy that had my sweater inside out all day. Awesome.
Side note: Photos to come soon (just need to start taking some)