Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A Final Farewell

I cant believe nearly an entire year has come and gone. At times, I feel like it was just yesterday that I arrived here in Chile, not having a single idea of what was to come. I am now sitting here with less than 8 hours until my departure, realizing how sad it is that I am saying my final farewell to these absolutely incredible people and this wonderful country.

In July of 2009, I came to Chile because I was looking for something that would allow me to do something good for the world, experience another culture, and learn a new language. After ten months, I have had those opportunities and so many more: I have become a part of a family and a member of a community.

I don’t even know where to begin to explain what the past year has meant to me. Sitting here now, I am searching for a way to share with you everything I have experienced since arriving in Chile, but to be honest, I have grown and learned in ways that words cannot explain. The past year has been full of ups and downs and everyday was an adventure, but it has been one of the most significant and unforgettable experiences of my entire life. Although it has been difficult to be away from my friends and family for nearly a year, I can honestly say that coming to Chile to live and teach has been one of the greatest decisions I have ever made.

Over the past year, I have…

*Struggled through thousands of conversations in Spanish.

*Learned how to speak Spanish

*Slept in a stocking cap, fleece jacket, thermal long underwear and wool socks just to stay warm at night.

*Had countless unforgettable conversations with my host family around the dinner table.

*eaten more potatoes and white bread than I have eaten in my 23 years combined.

*Built great relationships with hundreds of incredible Chilean high school students that I will never forget.

*Witnessed the incredible importance of family.

*Laughed until my stomach hurt listening to students practice tongue twisters in English.

*Watched my students laugh until their stomachs hurt while they watched me embarrass myself by trying tongue twisters in Spanish.

* Drawn a million stick figures pictures to explain words in English.

*Spent hours thinking of the most effective way to teach basic English phrases like "How are you?"

*Sung "Head, shoulders, knees, and toes" and played "Duck, duck, grey duck" over 100 times with kindergarten kids.

*Learned how to fish with a PVC pipe and a fishing line.

*Seen some of the most beautiful scenery in the world in Patagonia, Atacama Desert, Lake Titicaca, Machu Pichu, etc.

*Learned the national dance of Chile- "La Cueca"

*Seen how easily the word "awesome" sticks with Chilean teenagers.

*Volunteered at an orphanage in Peru.

*Helped reconstruct homes for people that are still suffering from an earthquake 3 years ago in Peru and are receiving little to no government aid.

*Been evacuated by helicopter from a flood in the Peruvian mountains.

*Lived through one of the top 10 strongest earthquakes in the history of the world.

*Have become a son and a brother in a Chilean family.

*Have become a member of a small rural community in southern Chile.

This is only a short list of the endless memories I have from the past year. About two months ago, I started a separate list titled "The Beauties of Living in Chile". As I now look over that piece of paper, these are a few of the things that stick out. Some of them may not seem like much, but they mean the world to me.

*The burnt orange sunsets

*Going for long runs in the countryside surrounded by pine forests and rolling hills

*The taste of a fresh piece of bread pulled from the oven.

*Dogs barking all hours of the day and night.

*Las Araucarias #68

*Nescafe or "Nes-crap-e"

*Being one of the first foreigners to live in Los Alamos which lead to people staring at me everywhere I went: just respond with an "Hola" and a smile.

*One of the most kind, giving and genuine people I know- Tia Iris (host mother)

*One of the goofiest people I know- Tia Iris

*Potatoes for every meal

*La Bodega- the family garage where we had numerous delicious barbecues and unforgettable conversations with my host father.

*The smell of all the wood burning stoves while walking down the street.

*Hearing "Hola Mr. Matthew!" screamed by a student from across the street or across the park

*Students coming to my classroom during passing time just to hang out and say hey.

*"Onces"- the time of day when everyone comes together for a cup of coffee or tea, and has a chance to wind down from their day and spend time as a family.

I would like to imagine that I have left an impact on this small rural town in Chile, but there is one thing that I know for sure; the impact that this humble town has left on me is something I will never forget. No matter what I have done, I have found unexplainable rewards that far out weigh what I feel I have given. The past year has truly been an unforgettable experience.

Signing out from Chile...

-Matthew Grove

The following photos may help to summarize my experience here. The YouTube video is a video I made for my students and school as a way to say thank you.


The whole family

(Tia Iris-Host Mother)

(Tio Lucho-Host Father)

(Host Parents)

(With fellow English teacher and great friend Moises)

(The WorldTeach Fab 5- All the male volunteers)

(With good buddy Moises)

(Re-building homes in Peru)

(Pisco, Peru)

(Peruvian man knitting himself a wool hat)

(Floating reed islands on Lake Titicaca)

(Lake Titicaca)

(Salt flats in Northern Chile)

(Glaciers in Argentinian Patagonia)

(Chilean Patagonia)

(Climbing Volcano Villarica with good buddy Kevin)

(Volcano Villarica-Pucon)

(Torres del Paine with Dad and Brother)



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  5. 在莫非定律中有項笨蛋定律:「一個組織中的笨蛋,恆大於等於三分之二。」............................................................

  6. 河水永遠是相同的,可是每一剎那又都是新的。........................................