viernes, agosto 18, 2006

Valdivia


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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


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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


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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


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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.