No, I do not actually have a gambling addiction! I just thought it would make for a good blog post title. However, I have now visited the casino here in Arica three times and had a wonderful experience each trip (that doesn’t mean that i’ve always walked away with money in my pocket). The first two trips I just went alone and tried to figure things out, which was a wonderful exercise in speaking spanish. The people at the casino have been very nice in helping me to understand the key table game words in Spanish. Black jack and Roulette, those are my go-to games because they allow me the most spanish-speaking interaction with the dealers. Also, no complaints about the free pisco-sour drink that I get for free each time that I go. More on “pisco” later.
As I write this blog post, I struggle to construct my sentences with good English grammar. I have been spending all of my time focusing on good Spanish grammar, and I’m struggling to switch back over. Imagine trying to speak/write your native language and struggling… its very strange.
I feel as though i’m finally finding my groove here in Arica. Classes are going well, i’m starting to understand how to use the public transportation system, I get to eat cake for breakfast every day, I find our seminar series (lecture series) very interesting, our trips to local primary healthcare facilities have been eye-opening, and I have yet to be hit by a crazy chilean driver as I sprint across busy roads on my way to class! But just I begin to fall into a weekly pattern, we come upon our first program excursion to Tacna, Peru this coming Tuesday. Supposedly Tacna is a wonderful town to study public health, so I have very high hopes. I’ve also heard that Peru boasts the most delicious food on the western coast of South America. I’ll be the judge of that!
The other day as I was out running around (the best way to get to know a city), I happened upon the university gym, into which I have free admission. It is essentially the greatest gym facility ever. Picture a 1970s weight room covered in old body-building photos, Arnold S. in his prime and many others. After a quick conversation with a few of the guys in the gym, I feel like I have a whole new set of friends. Absolutely not a single new weight in there, but after one quick lift, it feels like home. I can’t wait to go back.
When you’re so far from home and you’re missing everybody and everything about your home, you cling to little moments like that.