Saint George’s College was a good place to spend our adolescence. I mean if you were lucky. I know many people who have the same opinion on this. We were happy. Yes, we studied, we have to, but during the recess was music playing and announcements made by «Radio San Coke.» And classes ended at 2 pm. So, school was monday to friday, during the whole year except December, January and February. With two weeks in winter, that we went up to ski at el refugio del colegio, a big chalet with many beds, as an hotel for the students of SG. On March we came back to start a new year. This, for 13 years. That is a lot. But at least we were mostly happy.
Of course there was drama. First drama i can tell, I was thirteen, and I was president of my class, (every class had one committee with one president). We were called, the presidents, for made a lottery to decide which class will be divided next year. They needed 5 classes instead of six. So, we were 6 children taking the responsability of the future of a class, a group, who grew up together since were little kids. And, in this crucial moment I won the lottery, I got the paper that nobody wanted.
That was my last act as public leader.
There was controversy. Andrea Hunneus, the director of the monthly magazine The Lance wrote an article in favor of stop the sentence, the russian roulette. And a group of fathers ask for indulgence, you got it.
After the drama, the following year my class was divided and we were mixed in groups of 7 for the different classes. My group of friends, were 7 charismatic girls. We made new friends. We continue to grow. I´ve met new best friends as my great friend Cristina Andonegui, who born in Spain and came to Chile with all her family in 1978. Maxito, Jaqueline, Gabriel, Cristina, Angelica and Cristian. Great family. Her mother was little crazy, so from there came a little crazyness in the whole family. Anyway, lovely all the guys.
I was very close to Angelica as well. The one who met her american husband in a school exchange.
There were more dramas. But the most significant is the one we knew many years after our graduation. The transition to democracy was going slowly, but at least at school, the Militar Command left an honorable teacher and writer of teaching books as the new director of the school. And to our bad luck, we also had him as head teacher. He was boring, super formal and ultra catholic, father of 6 children, georgeans as well. Parallel, we had a lovely classmate who was brilliant. He was the most intelligent guy of all, kind and gentle. He won many prizes and we thought about him as a super mind, who will keep studying until the really end and become a conference guy. But, years after, when he was living as a hippie in some country of latin america, we knew our honorable teacher abuse him.
It´s amazing to see how a public man can be such a hypocrite and liar. WTF. So, we were happy because we were lucky, but there were others who were not.
At 16 we have the viaje de estudio, a trip to open mind, to learn. The literal meaning is a trip to study. But in fact our trip was anything except to study. We travel to Bariloche, Argentina, crossing the border by earth. First by boat, a ferry by the lake Todos los Santos until the border crossing of Peulla. This crossing, I learn nowdays, was used by many old expeditions, as the scientific one led by Theodore Roosevelt and in the famous trip of Che Guevara by Chile. But no teacher told us about this ever. We´ve arrived to Bariloche and there was nothing but party. The story tell that one guy felt on the elevator hole, many of the hotel stuff was robbed and a red old telephone throwed to the Lake on our way back.
Next year, this trip was the last trip for many generations to come.
But before talking about our last year theres a special thought about our preparation for the ritual of Confirmación. It is a catholic ritual where you confirm your compromise with the catholic faith, having 16. We had an instructor, an older student. Our group was guided by María José Levine, a Senior`84.
The most particular thing about María José was that she was very catholic, but with clear thoughts about the human condition of Jesus. And, the first time she talked about this, a revelation arises on my little mind: Jesus, didn´t come from heaven. Jesus was a human being as you and me. I think is a normal thought. We were growing in the catholic faith since we were 2 years old, and I used to imagine Jesus as the paintings of Miguel Angel on the Sistine Chapel. And as it said: Faith is the assurence of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Maybe, for me took too many years to see Jesus as he was, yes, but I can tell this was the moment.
Years later, we saw María José leading a famous new wave music band called Upa!
In this video you can see Maria Jose playing the keyboard and singing and jumping with Pablo. This fantastic and extraordonary song was written by Pablo Ugarte, an ex georgean aswell and one of the founders of Upa! Upa, means in the chilean slang, jump and get in to my arms. I think this song was not a world hit because on those days there was not internet. «Cuando me olvido que estoy en el cielo escalo tu cuerpo y subo de nuevo». When I forget that I’m in heaven, I go up through your body and go up again.
Next year, we were Seniors, we used a special tie with a beautiful dragon and the year of graduation on it, 1985. And, for some subjects, we were reorganized in groups of interest. Also, for advanced english or less. For the advanced group, Jorge Canepa was our tutor; a brilliant, strict and nice priest from the Holy Cross, who instructed us on theater and writing papers. I used to chant on the school´s church and once, I was the leading voice. So, I was a winning combination, ready to enter the realm of heaven.