One month into my program and it feels like I arrived just yesterday. Now that I stop and think about it though, I have become quite accustomed to Viña and I get lost alot less often in Valpo. I think it is pretty safe to say that I’m settled. And today is a great day to proclaim my establishment here because I finally applied for my student visa. Now I’m legal! This morning I headed to the department of foreign affairs in Valpo with two copies of about 18 different documents and some darling passport mug shots. It opened at 9AM. I arrived at 9:08. I left at 9:29. This was the shortest, most efficient trip I have EVER had with any government office in any country. Unbelievable. Now, I only have to wait three months for my visa to arrive.
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My Chilean culture and communication class has quickly become one of my favorite classes. Why? There are only five students in my class and every day we come into class and just chat for two hours. Our professor is really down to earth and lets the discussion drift to the topics we are interested in. About once a week we take field trips in class. Whatever happened to the days of field trips? Those aren’t things that you grow out of; field trips are fun no matter what age you are… Our field trips have been around Valpo. We’ll look at the history of district in class and then walk around to get the feel of it.
We spent quite a bit of time in class talking about how Valpo was established. In case your forte is not in South American history, I’d be happy to enlighten you. The English were the first to settle and begin building at the port. For this reason many of the streets have englishy names like O’Higgins, Prat, Leighton, Condell, Cumming, Wagner, Beethoven, the list goes on… These settlers brought their homeland to Chile, so all of the building together make this portion of Valpo look like a replica London. See for yourself!
All of these are on the same street, Calle Serrano, so they together give an overwhelming feeling of London. Once you finally reach the end of the street, you’ll find yourself in Plaza Victoria where the buildings open up and where you feel like your back in Chile again.