Sunday, 24 July 2011


Saying goodbye is always an interesting way of discovering a few differences between the two sexes. The reactions from my girlfriends (friends who are girls) are always so much more dramatic than guys’ reactions: “Oh but I won’t see you for a WHOLE YEAR!” “I’ll miss you soo much” and “Why are you gooooiiiing?” followed by hugs, more hugs and even more emotional hugs. The whole scene lasts between 5 and 10 minutes, depending upon the menstrual cycle! In a rather amusing contrast, a guy’s farewell consists of a handshake or a man hug followed by a “See you buddy!” Far easier if you ask me!

After all the goodbyes, it was time to head to Heathrow Airport, meet up with my two fellow travellers (Paul and Laura) say goodbye (again) and board the (delayed) flight to Madrid for leg one of our epic voyage. From Madrid, we boarded the (delayed by three hours) plane from Madrid to our final destination, Santiago, Chile. After 13.5 hours of contortionist-style sleep we touched down in a rather chilly Chile!

I am lucky enough to be staying with a lovely family called the Prados. In true Catholic style, they have six children: Francisca, Lucas, Juan Pablo, Sole, Camila (my age) and Ignacio who goes to Redland, the school where I work. The mother, Carolina, picked me up from the airport and took me back their house where I met the clan!

Redland is an international school where the English department is particularly important. “Gaps”, as we are called, are treated with great respect (amongst the teachers at least) and everyone made me feel very welcome. Walking into the equivalent of a year 9 or 10 class had an alarming effect, particularly within the Hispanic world: silence. In my mind, the silence was a result of my incredible good looks but in reality, I think it’s probably just that I have blonde hair. I also made the unwitting mistake of telling one class my surname so I now have my Facebook privacy settings adjusted accordingly.

I start the University a week today so I should think that the work rate will step up soon. Meanwhile, I’m just settling in with the family and having a tremendous time.

Hope that all of you are well and are being bathed in that glorious British sunshine/rain. Speak soon!