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Busy week in Chile -- and at home

Between the countdown for summer in Chile winding down, the presidential election in the States and hunting season in Minnesota, I've been very busy these past few weeks.

My school is done with classes in a little over a month, which means that the students in grade three have to organize a party for those in grade four who will be off to the University in the fall. Me, being in grade three, had the chance to participate in inviting the students in grade four to their party. The business of inviting grade four to their party is an organized event.

Military was the theme for the invitations so the group that was responsible for the inviting dressed up in military attire. I was adorned with black combat boots, a camouflage jacket, a swastika on my arm and a Nazi hat. I wasn't too happy about the swastika or the hat, but they made me wear it. Chileans seem to be very big on the Nazi party. I don't understand why, and I can't say that I like it.

We split off into groups of two or three and waited in front of the classrooms for the bell to ring. When the bell finally rang my friend Jorge and I burst into our classroom and started yelling orders at the students, forcing them out of the door. Words cannot describe how much fun it was. Now some of the boys I shoved out the classroom door salute when they see me.

The day of the United States presidential election, everybody was asking me about it. They were asking about Mitt Romney, President Obama and for some reason Ron Paul. Two of my professors exclaimed, "OBAMAAAA!" every time they saw me. My friends all shouted, "Obama!" at me too. Turns out that Chileans LOVE President Obama.

On Wednesday morning all my friends were cheering over President Obama's win. I couldn't help but think about how my friends back home would have no clue who the president of Chile was, much less who was running for president of Chile.

Of course, I also had the pleasure of hearing all about the deer hunting season in Minnesota this week. Well, by pleasure I really mean jealousy. I heard from my brother that he slayed his deer, Bertha, and how my deer camp didn't play the best game ever, (Buck Fever Challenge -- play it! It gets old very quickly, but you can never have too much Buck Fever Challenge.)

Deer hunting week means that it is also fall musical week, and I understand the musical was excellent. All of this information made me miss home a great deal. You never understand how important the little things are until the little things are happening without you.

A couple of weeks ago, I told my friends that I used to have a stripe of blue in my hair and they thought it was the coolest thing ever. So three of us decided that we were going to dye our hair.

Nati dyed hers red. Pia has green hair, and I have pink hair. Don't worry, it's not my whole head, just a little bit of it. Last year Siri and I dyed our hair blue. We used Kool-aid. It is almost impossible to find Kool-aid in Chile, so our only choice was to search for actual dye.

We found pre-made "hair paint" to use. So now my hair is brightened with neon pink. Think of hunting orange. Now turn that orange into pink and you'll know how bright my hair is. It's stunning! Can't say that I haven't had an influence upon my Chilean friends.

My family and I made our way to Concepcion this past weekend to go shopping. My host mother told me that I could invite a friend, but all my friends had confirmation so that was out of the question. When we arrived at the mall, my host mother and sister went straight for the stores with the fancy over-priced high heels. My host father and I waited outside the stores because we had absolutely no interest in high heels. Then my host father started going to fancy men's clothing stores. Not wanting to go to either kind of those stores, I broke off by myself.

I wandered around trying to find a non-girly store that I could enjoy. Turns out, I found four book stores, a LEGO store, (I really liked that one) a gigantic bicycle store dedicated solely to Trek bicycles and GAP. Normally, I wouldn't go for the bicycle store, seeing as that is more my brother and father's thing, but the smell of new bicycles made me feel at home.

When I told my family that I spent most of my time going through books, smelling bikes and playing with LEGOs, they couldn't believe that I didn't purchase anything.

Well, I left out the smelling bicycles part and the playing with LEGOs part -- I am 17 after all. They would probably think it strange that I love building with LEGOs.

These past few weeks have been very busy, but that's part of the fun. If I wasn't busy, I wouldn't be making the most of my exchange.

Berit Ramstad Skoyles is a junior at Detroit Lakes High School but is studying abroad this year in Chile.