If You Like Books, I Like You.

My classes at PUCV have come to a close, so the second half of my program begins. The second half of my program is service learning. So, I’ll be helping in classes at an English language institute from here on out.

On Monday we had orientation for our different service learning locations. The institute I work at is in Valparaiso. I live in Viña del Mar, so Paula (my service learning coordinator) was shocked that I knew my way around in Valpo. I actually know Valpo better than Viña…Which is weird…

The orientation at the institute was really only a meeting to establish my schedule, nothing more. So, today I walked in completely clueless. I had no idea where anything was, where I was supposed to go, or what I was actually supposed to do. No big deal.

After the orientation, I was kind of panicked because they didn’t explain anything and I didn’t know what to expect for my first day. So, to calm myself down I went for a walk around the city and I ended up in the Feria (an outdoor market). 

Here in Valpo and Viña, selling things on the street is a super common thing. In the States, booths in the streets are always super sketch, but here they’re like normal businesses. However, there are still some that are sketchy, you just have to use your judgement. Anyway, there are booths that sell books on the street and those are my favorite, by far.

Books in the stores here are pretty expensive, but the street venders sell them for a bit cheaper. Plus, the people selling books are always nice. If you like books, we’ll probably get along. Book people are the best, no matter what country you’re in. 

I asked the guy selling the books what his favorite book was and he grabbed one from the bottom of a pile to show me. It was by an author I had never heard of, but him and his wife both agreed it was one of the best books they’d ever read. They told me I’ll get so wrapped up in it, that I’ll read it in a day. The book is called “Historia del loco” (The English version is titled, The Madman’s Tale) by John Katzenbach, if you’re interested. I figured I’d give it a shot. Even if the book wasn’t very good, I would still have the book and be able to tell people the story of how I bought it at a street market in Valpo because the venders were raving about it. So, a book with more than one story.

I continued chatting with the book venders for a bit and a teenage girl, that I’m assuming was their daughter, came up to them and whispered, “me encanta su pelo” (I love her hair). My hair gets me so much attention here, it’s hilarious.

After I got my book, I continued to meander and ended up on the boardwalk next to the ocean. Here was my view (hopefully this video works, if not let me know):

That’s a great spot to go and watch the sea lions. I love seeing the ocean everyday.

Oh, I forgot to mention that this weekend I said goodbye to a bunch of people from my program. More than half of the people I came with, returned to the States on Saturday because they were only taking classes and not doing service learning. It’s weird being here without them, but it was fun while it lasted. Me and Megan’s last hurrah was a 5 hour trip to the beach.

It’s been super great here and I’m glad I have another month. I’m not ready to go home.

-Robyn

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