miércoles, noviembre 08, 2006

Me staring as '' the naked lady''

Originally uploaded by erostkowski.
So. I'm part of a theater group in my small town of Pocuro. Many of the women that I act with are also in the personal development group that I work with that is run through the diocese. They started by acting in presentations dealing with women's issues and have expanded to the full-length comedy that we are currently rehearsing. Well, we received a call from Santiago last month asking if we would be willing to put on a play entitled '' The parabola de la mujer desnuda.'' (The parable of the naked woman) The women had presented it 4 years ago at a similar conference of Latin American women. Considering we only had a week to practice and that the play was made up of monologues, I was a little nervous about making my international debut in such a rushed manner. I showed up to practice with the sad news that I would not be able to accept my role as ''the nun''. The women took the news okay and we decided that I could do my part by working the music. Well, everything changed when the ''mujer desnuda'' (the naked lady) never showed. In a matter of 15 minutes I went from pressing the play button to having the central role. Well, I'm learning that in life you have to be ready for anything...

viernes, octubre 13, 2006

Welcome to my world

Finished jam
Originally uploaded by Ryan Greenberg.
Ryan and I have been talking about making jam since we arrived here. It seems like something you should learn to do while living in Chile right under learning how to knit, garden and play the guitar. I bought strawberries at the outdoor market last week and last night Ry and I broke out the sugar and got down to business. Our finished product turned out even better than expected. Peaches come into season soon and we already have our sights set on future 'jam sessions.'

Happy Birthday to me!

Well, I have now completed a full year of my life outside of the country. Turning 23 in Chile was a lot easier than turning 22 in Bolivia. This year I was surrounded by people who I really have come to know as friends. Gina, my chilean mamá, greeted me in the morning with a homemade 'brazo de reina' (the queen's arm), a chilean breakfast pastry made with a supersweet carmel-like sauce called manjar. In the afternoon, I was presented with another cake at my theater group practice. In the evening a few friends came over for tacos and brownies with mint chocolate chip ice cream :). All in all I was given 5 birthday cakes this year. It is said here in Chile that ''food=love'' and I feel it (in my heart and on my hips :) ) This past weekend Maureen and I had a joint birthday party where we danced until the sun came up. Two b-days away from home down, only one more to go!

jueves, octubre 12, 2006


Originally uploaded by erostkowski.
Chile celebrates its patriotic festival the 18th of September. I celebrated my first Dieciocho spending a lazy Sunday afternoon in Plaza Nuñoa in Santiago chatting with friends, making a huge quantity of empanadas in the outdoor oven at Carmen's house, learning how to dance the cueca in Matias's (Maureen's boyfriend) kitchen, and checking out my first rodeo. Regretfully, I was not able to make it to a 'fonda' to try out my new dance moves this year. Maybe by next year, I will be able to move my napkin twirling out of the house and into public.

miércoles, octubre 04, 2006

Riding Adventure

Originally uploaded by ABRostkowski.
Since my sister is crazy about horses, I couldn't let her come to Chile without riding in the Andes. We spent a beautiful day in the mountains, me on my horse and her on her mule.

Sisters... Sisters

Me and Em in Santiago
Originally uploaded by ABRostkowski.
Amanda (looking amazing), visited me in early September. It was a week spent catching up, having fun, and showing her a little of the world I live in. We visited the port town of Valpo, toured around Santiago, went horsebackriding in the Andes, spent time with families, and just enjoyed being together again. If you care to see some photos, check out our flickr sites!

viernes, agosto 18, 2006


Originally uploaded by erostkowski.
Last week my friend Alex and I decided to take a last minute trip to Valdivia, a beautiful city, located on the water 10 hours south of Santiago. I met Alex during orientation at Notre Dame last year because he too is doing a Congregation of Holy Cross program, Chile Alliance for Catholic Education. ChACE for short. He has spent the past year teaching English a the Holy Cross high school St. George's College in Santiago. Anyway, he's great. We met up in Valdivia Sunday morning and spent two days jumping between islands, visiting the ruins of old Spanish forts, and drinking delicious Valdivian beer (the city was settled by German immigrants.. so let's just say they know what they are doing.) Some of the highlights (for me at least) include sea lions looking for handouts at the fish market, wildlife boat ride, hopping the water taxi, the Kunstmann factory, and watching cable tv in the hostel (pathetic.. I know.) But yeah. The scenery was incredible. Chile is a compact country, but it certainly has a little bit of everything. The more I see of it, the more I am amazed by it.

lunes, agosto 07, 2006

La fiesta de Nuestra Señora de Las Nieves

Originally uploaded by erostkowski.
Chilean cowboys (huesos). Cueca (national dance). Charango music. Parading Mary through the streets. Yesterday was definitely one of those days I felt like, 'Man, I am really living in Chile.' Latin Americas are crazy for 'La Virgen.' Mary seems to take centerstage in all the churches. Every year Pocuro celebrates our patron ''Our Lady of the Snows.'' Apparently, she was an apparition of Mary in Rome, and she made it snow there. Being in the campo (countryside) of Chile, she is important to the people because they pray that she helps to bring snow to fill the mountians in order to provide water for the next growing season. Hundreds of people showed up to celebrate mass and go on procession, stopping every 10 minutes or so to pray and sing Mary tunes. At the end we all gathered together by the chapel to chat and to warm up over hot chocolate and cake.

viernes, agosto 04, 2006

Human sled

Originally uploaded by erostkowski.
One of my many titles here in Chile. During winter vacation, we piled the girls from the hogar into a van and started our hour and a half journey to the snow. This was less than a week before the snow that fell here, and our trip was the first time some of the girls had ever seen snow in their lives. We played, built snowmen, and the girls went sledding on plastic bags and on the gringas.

It's the first snowfall of the ..... century

Originally uploaded by erostkowski.
So, we Pocuro associates were lucky enough to be here for first snowfall in as many as 19 years. Kids and adults alike were crazy with excitement. The mountains closest to our house, which rarely have snow at their peaks, were covered from top to bottom for 3 days. We survived the cold by huddling together, living in our sleeping bags, drinking lots of tea and eating Moosewood's minestrone soup.

lunes, junio 12, 2006

My Parents' Visit

Originally uploaded by erostkowski.
Okay. So this was a while ago, but still worth mentioning. My parents visited during Easter in April. You can check out the pictures from the week on Flicker. They arrived on Good Friday and my mom joined me on the Stations of the Cross that stopped at the homes of various members of the Pocuro community. Saturday, we climbed Pocuro Hill where this photo was taken. Some highlights from the week: Lunch at Gina's house (Gina is an old friend of the Associates and welcomes each new group with open arms. It's amazing to feel loved by someone starting from the first moment that person meets you. We enjoyed cazuela [a typical Chilean soup entree with chicken, rice, squash, potato, and carrots. Ask my mom. It's simply amazing] ), Party at our house, (It was the first Easter I've spent drinking pisco [the unofficial national beverage]. Our friends from around Calle Larga to meet the folks. I have to say that it was one of my favorite nights so far in Chile) Viña del Mar (My parents and I relaxed, ate well, and caught up on life by the ocean), Dinner with the Associates (it's a tradation that whenever anyone comes into town, Santiago and Pocuro get together for a good meal and good company). It was fantastic to have them here. It's fun to have them know the people in my life, to be able to speak with them about my housemates, people in the community, our crazy dog Memo, and for them to be able to understand exactly what I'm talking about.

martes, abril 25, 2006


Emily on Pocuro Hill
Originally uploaded by Ryan Greenberg.
This is a photo of me at the summit of Pocuro Hill looking down at my town. My parents and I hiked up the cerro Easter Saturday when they were here for their visit.

jueves, abril 13, 2006

My solo tour of Santiago

Originally uploaded by erostkowski.
So, I had been living in this country for 3 months had still not really come to 'conocer' Santiago. One Saturday morning I woke up early, realized I had nothing to do, and decided to walk to the plaza and catch the next bus into the city. Santiago itself is only an hour and half away from my town. I, with my Lonely Planet book in hand, hopped on the metro and navigated downtown on foot. It was sort of strange playing tourist for the day, but really gave me a boost in my language confidence. In Los Andes, people just expect you to speak Spanish. In Santiago, a city that sees thousands of visitors each year, if you can say, '' Hi, my name is Emily. I'm from the US. I arrived 3 months ago.'' they count you as fluent. Lucky me.
This is me taking a picture of myself in front of the La Moneda building where the Office of the President is located.

St. Patty's Day 2006

Originally uploaded by erostkowski.
Okay.. so it's almost a month later, but my parents are coming to Chile tomorrow and I'm sure I'm going to have a ton of things to blog about when they leave so I thought I should take today to get caught up. The HCA's are known in Pocuro for their fan-freakin'-tastic St. Patrick's Day parties. (as you can imagine, without us, it's not a big holiday in small town Chile) I would say that over 50 people turned out for the festivities. This year was extra special because we had decided earlier in March to paint our living room a bright green (okay, so Maureen and I decided at Ryan gave us our way...) Check out the rest of the party here. ( This picture is me, Caitlin (HCA in Santiago), and Anna (our German friend who works with me in the children's home).

jueves, marzo 30, 2006

Hiking in Puerto Montt

Originally uploaded by erostkowski.
When we tried to leave Temuco, it turned out that all of the return tickets to Santiago were sold out. What else was there to do but head south and soak up some of the beautiful Chilean scenery, right? This is picture of Ryan and me during our hellish, but enjoyable day in the mountains. Just a peice of advice: hiking in the cold rain for 8 hours after leaving 90 degree Chilean summer heat might not be the best of ideas. Some of us were more prepared than others (I had just bought the hat and luckily brought my raincoat with me) others (if you notice the impromptu gym shorts scarf that Ryan is wearing or Tom's lovely look) were not.

Habitat for Humanity

Originally uploaded by erostkowski.
I know I haven't written in a while, so I'm just going to post a few quick things so that you know what I've been up to for the past month. The chicos and I went to south to Temuco to work for a week with Habitat for Humanity. Habitat Chile focuses its energies on added to government-sponsored housing. The houses that we were working on are going to go to a group of families who lost everything they owned in the struggle against Pinochet in the eighties and are finally being compensated by the government.

lunes, febrero 13, 2006

Prayer Request

A very good family friend, Dani Wagner (who just celebrated her 16th birthday last week), was diagnosed with leukemia two weeks ago and is currently undergoing treatment in Maryland. Her progress can be followed on her very own blog: www.daniwagner.blogspot.com. Prayers please :).

jueves, febrero 09, 2006

5 hour burritos

Originally uploaded by erostkowski.
That's definitely a title you won't see in a cookbook. Yes, my friends, Emily is becoming quite skilled in the kitchen (or at least trying to venture outside of the pasta and sandwich realm). This is a picture of one of my lastest creations. Although it takes forever to make just about anything here, I have to say that I am finding it enjoyable. When we sit down to a meal, it is something special because we know just how much time and energy went into preparing the food. We go to the feria twice a week to visit Sergio, out vegetable/fruit guy. It's fun to come home and search through the cookbooks, trying to figure out what to make next. (Because pre-packaged food are either not available or too expensive, we make most things from stratch. I made the tortillas, salsa, and cooked the dryed beans over the course of the 5 hours)

martes, febrero 07, 2006


The last week of January, the HCAs and I volunteered for a children's camp for ages 4-13 run through the diocesean office. It was a lot of fun, although ridiculously exhausting. We planned activities, played games, talked and sang about God,(typical Bible-school like themes for each day), and took fieldtrips to an ecological museum, a neighboorhood pool, and the zoo in Santiago, and had a water and mud soaked day provided by the fire department). The kids that we worked with live in a rural area of Calle Larga called Valle Alegre (Happy Valley). Most of their parents work in the uva (the grapes that fill the region) and are left home alone all day with nothing to do so they showed up each day just filled with joy and energy. I worked with the youngest age group (4-7). They were a handful, but never stopped making me laugh. These are my little buddies Fidel (who happens to live on Castro street, coincidence?) and his sister Antonia.

domingo, enero 22, 2006


Originally uploaded by erostkowski.
Ryan, Caitlin, Roy and I spent the first two weeks of the new year with high school students from St. George College (a holy cross school in Santiago) in the south of Chile on missions. At first, I have to be honest, I was a little nervous about the whole experience. Missioning is something that is really common in Chile, whereas in the States, it's usually associated with Evangelicals, Mormons, and Jehovah's Witnesses. Eighty percent of Chile's population is Catholic. The goals of missions do not include conversion. It's about spending time with people, praying together in community, and learning about one another's lives.

The typical day:
7:30 Wake up(I usually woke up at 7:55 since my primping time has been reduced to 5 minutes since moving to South America)
8:00 Prayer
8:30 Breakfast
9:00 Set off for missioning. We would leave with a backpack of ''prayer supplies'' which consisted of a Bible, candle, prayer cards, and the 2006 St. George Mission Calendar (oooooh). Each group had 2-4 people and we would set off in different directions going door to door asking people if they had a few minutes. In the 8 days that I went out missioning, my group was only turned away once. It was crazy to me how willing people were to welcome us into their houses, make us tea to warm us up (the south of Chile is cold and rainy even in summer), and share their lives with us. It was beautiful.
The area where we were was just gorgeous. Green, with rolling hills and a montòn of cows and pigs. Some parts reminded me a lot of my home in Bel Air.
1:30 Lunch
3:30 Play with kids in a Bible school-like thing that we put on
5:30 Onces (the Chilean afternoon snack-meal)
7:00 Mass
8:00 Jovenes (young people) get-together with activities
10:30 Dinner
11:30 Prayer
12:00 Dinamicas (games, activities for all of us)
2:00 Bedtime

All and all, it was a great experience even though I have to say that it was one of the hardest times I've had here so far. I had only been in Chile two weeks when we left for missions. I'd say that the most difficult part was being alone. We were all split into different locations which was okay, but was at the same time rough. The Spanish in Chile is very different than the Spanish spoken in Bolivia. People joke that they don't speak Spanish, they speak Chilean here and it's so true. There are so many sayings and slang terms here that we actually have a book in the house that deciphers them all (How to Survive in the Chilean Jungle). The young people, especially speak so quickly and drop all of their 's'es that they are pretty difficult to understand. It was good to be thrown into a situation where I was forced to speak in Spanish the entire time, but at times, was so frustrating for me. I definitely want to go back next year, because hopefully by then I will have more confidence in myself and I will be better able to communicate.

domingo, enero 01, 2006

First Chilean Christmas

Originally uploaded by erostkowski.
I have survived my first Christmas away from home. The HCAs celebrated in Pocuro this year, my home. We live in the middle of wine country and it's absolutely beautiful. Summers in this region of Chile are fantastic. It's hot,sunny, and dry during the day and cools of considerably at night. We have been taking advantage of the great weather by eating under the grape arbor that past Associates constructed in our front yard. I set the table using all the skills I've picked up from the home decorating magazines that I am addicated to. My sister sent the snowflake ornaments that we strung from the vines and the candy canes that made our place settings.
In Chile, Christmas Eve is a bigger holiday than Christmas. We went to Mass in the Chapel that is right next to our house. Everyone eats after mass and midnight, so we followed with the tradition. In the morning, we gave the gifts that made for our gift exchange and spent the rest of the day reading, playing cards, and listening to Christmas music.