Ok, so Week 2 is not yet half over, but there is just so much to tell you all that I had to start working on this blog now - (Wednesday afternoon) Since Saturday afternoon, I have been to a Symphony concert, (with no electricity), sneaked around a private hospital to find the ´OT´ department, and been to visit local University to discuss delivering lectures. I have also enjoyed some random moments and fun with some of my room mates in the hostel, (8 people to a room). I´ll start with some more random street scenes from Santiago to give you a flavour of life here,
I also want to show you some sunset pictures from the ´White Virgin´ statue and Santa Lucia hill....
The next picture I must explain, because if you think there is lots of romance and kissing in Paris, then by comparison to here, it´s nothing! Everywhere you go thee are people kissing, on the street, on the metro, in bars, around public places, and old or young there is kissing everywhere! So at night anywhere slightly romantic there are lots of couples everywhere, and last night (Tuesday I quite randomly went for a walk into town with a room mate of mine from France, called NC. I would refer to her as a ´young´ lady, but despite her insistence she was 22, she was neither young or a lady! (oh I make her sound really bad here, but she was a very interesting and fun person- really!) Indeed, on our walk to the top of Santa Lucia, there were couples 'at it' getting in the way of our taking pictures, so I did the only thing possible - I got all the couples, who did not know each other to get in a big group and have a picture taken! It stopped them kissing and we got some nice pictures! Here are the kissing couples!
Yesterday was just the perfect example of how a potentially boring (and lonely) day can unexpectedly turn into a day of surreal memories! I started the day just waiting on some emails and thinking I should find my way to the University of Chile so I would know how long it would take me to travel there the following day for my meeting. After I found the Faculty of Medicine, I began walking to the metro stop. I suddenly noticed a fair sized hospital on my left, see picture below.
After casually wandering into the hospital, the very nice older reception lady helped me find out if and where the Occupational Therapy (Terapia Ocupacional) department was. I followed a long corridor in the basement to the end, where I found what I was looking for!
There was two therapists there (dressed in the green in above photo), and fortunately for me an English speaking OT student, (I must praise her English translation - thank you!) I learned lots about the hospital, the type of patients they see on site, including some hydro therapy work, and had a brief look around their department. The group of ladies were very hospitable, and here are some photos including some jewellery that is made by the patients and available for purchase!
After this random event, I returned to the hostel where I was just relaxing thinking what could I do that evening, when my already mentioned French roommate (NC) invited me for a walk into town. After our tour of kissing couples as I described, we were joined by another room mate (sorry memory for names in shocking!) and we headed round the corner for dinner and some hilarious conversations about mass stereotyping of people based on dress sense! I believed that my NC´s neck scarf screamed ´French´, which she found highly amusing, before she retorted with, "well I knew you were English because you were wearing T-shirt, shorts and flip-flops!" Touche I thought! The conversation was good natured, and more hilarity arouse when with her French accent NC appeared to be saying to me that I must pay for some things in Colombia with sex, but we quickly realised what she was referring to after we stopped howling with laughter!
So to today (Wednesday), the Internet cafe I am now sat in is playing the Beatles "she loves you, yeah yeah yeah" as I try and describe the best bit of networking I have managed since I got here. I made my way to the University of Chile, OT department this morning, where I was greeted by a student (Tamara), who wanted to discus some OT development issues, with me after seeing my presentation at the conference. We had a brief chat and arranged to meet later, so I went to meet my lovely contact Erna.. see picture below.
She was kind enough to show me around and, even bought me some tea and toast in the Faculty ´club room´, as we discussed the education system and OT work in Chile. She was a fascinating lady to listen to because she has international experience and understanding of OT, and retains a real passion for the profession. We agreed that I could present a formal lecture on July 2nd, (three days before my return to the UK), and then I was introduced to the other department members. As we discussed all kind of issues, one of the department staff wanted to discuss life in the UK, I was invited to attend a collaboration between the University and a community project tomorrow morning. Another lecturer then asked if I would like to give a lecture to her first year students tomorrow. Most of you that know me, know that I will never refuse an offer to talk, so I have presentation number one tomorrow! I agreed to pay the translator in beer, but he suggested I pay with an ´earthquake´ - a kind of drink apparently, though somewhat unfortunately named I thought!
So wow! so much to do, before I leave Santiago, and I didn´t even talk about the night at the symphony concert, which was highly amusing as the theatre had a blackout just before the performance. When lights came on, the rush & push at the box office was unbelievable! Good job both me and Kylee are small. People really don´t like to que here! On the metro when it was really busy, I was being too polite, and 4 bloody trains went past, before I could squeeze in! I thought the London tube was bad! See below...
Ok enough for now... on to the next adventure...
Regards from Santiago