>I have always loved to sing. I’m not the world’s greatest singer, but I can carry a tune.

When I filled out my study abroad info sheet before coming to Santiago for the first time, I put down that I played saxophone and guitar. Well, I haven’t touched my saxophone since high school and I know how to play two songs on the guitar, so I guess that wasn’t 100% truthful, but I think I wanted to portray that I was a musical person.

Well, luckily my point got across and I was placed with THE musical host family, and also (in my humble opinion) one of the best families in the program. I lucked out! And now I’m living in their casita.

One of my favorite things about my family is the sing a longs that we have. Last night we had a birthday BBQ for my host mom and after dessert the guitars came out. We sang from around 11pm to 3am. We sang The Beatles, Shakira, Soda Stereo, Gwen Stefani, Chilean folklore (well, I mainly listened during this part), Boleros (ditto), Bon Jovi, Elvis, Guns N Roses, U2, Oreja de Van Gogh, Frank Sinatra and J. and I even attempted to sing “The General” by Dispatch but after struggling through the first verse, realized that we didn’t remember hardly any of the words.

None of this would be possible without my host sister. She is seca on the guitar (that means really really really good). You say to her, “U., there’s that song that kind of starts like this,” and then hum a little bit and she can play it. I wish I could do that. I really really admire her talent. Granted, she was in a cover band for awhile and so a lot of the Beatles songs she knows from that, but her ability to just hear a song and translate that into what chords need to be played on the guitar is mind-boggling to me.

I think my favorite part of last night is when all the girls were singing “No Creo” by Shakira and my host mom, host dad and neighbor all started dancing. Or maybe it was when J. and A. (both gringos) danced the cueca. I can’t decide.


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