but wait i leave in less than 24 hours?

t felt like I just got here? what? I’m leaving? 

Honestly I feel like theres some good and some sad to this. I wish I could’ve done more, yet I’m kind of ready to go home because there are a lot of things I miss: my friends, family, food, and the country in general. Its a weird feeling, I guess its close to bitter/sweet? I wanted to write more here, I need to write to finish up more but I was so busy I barely had time to write them. My days were very long, get up at 7, pretty much explore until dinner or an hour or 2 before (which i used to nap) and then stay up til midnight, or sometimes much later. (to my parents dismay) I will probably be catching up on sleep for the next couple days I’m home. 

So I need to write at least 3 more blogs (including this one) one about my weekend at the Atacama desert, another about my weekend at Viña del Mar, and the one I’ll talk about now, which is the poor/dog situation here in chile. I’ll try to write them tomorrow (or at least while I’m in the plane for 10 hours. 

So to start, el pobre (the poor people)

I don’t have any pictures to describe this because I thought it was inappropriate, but i’ll do my best. Theres a major problem here where there isn’t a middle class, if you live here you’re either in the upper class or the lower class. You either have money or you don’t. Its a vicious cycle, you’re poor and cannot receive an adequate education, which means not finding a good job, which means no money. No one is able to get out because of how inflated the prices are. Also, theres a whole new meaning to poor here, In the US if you’re poor you might still have a house and can live off of food stamps or welfare. Here there isn’t really anything that’s used to help the poor here. Their houses are shacks, and their walls are thin. When I’m in the street, I get called out (because I look like a rich gringa) for money for help, because I look good to them, everything. The other day a lady came up and stopped me to ask for money to the metro, she was standing so close  I thought she was going to steal something. They don’t have any fear of coming up to here, they love our skin tone. 

On to the dogs, which i have pictures of. just a disclaimer, I have a couple of drinks in most of the pictures so disregard that. 

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The poor things, the most friendly dogs I’ve seen (besides my own). They come right up to you if you call to them, want to petted, want to be loved. There are so many here, its almost as bad as the squirrels population wise in the streets. I know if I probably grew up in this country it wouldn’t be as big as a deal but so many people still have dogs as pets here but those that are much smaller. The one in the last photo was my friend for the night, he saw me and I gave him the rest of the taco i was eating, and he leaned on my leg the rest of the night. I felt so bad when I had to leave him. I hope that one day we will be able to solve this problem, because obviously this country doesn’t know what they’re doing.

Mi corazón está con el mar- my heart is with the sea

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I had the most amazing weekend at the shore with my group! Touching the Pacific ocean for the first time was very much a treat to me. As most of my family and friends know, I love going to the beach during the summer, and usually I stay in the water the whole time i’m there (i hate sand, and I burn in the sun) The waves were perfect, the water was (mostly) clear, and I was surrounded by people who I can now call my good friends.

The first day we went straight from Santiago to Valapariso, a city on the coast of Chile. This place was definitely the most beautiful of all the places i’ve been to here so far. All of the buildings on the cerros (‘hills”) are painted/colored a different color, and they’re all vibrant colors. There are pinks, blues, lime greens, any color you can think of that line the city. Que bonita! This city though is very dirty, and very impoverished. The parts we went to were very nice, but driving though (and walking through with a couple of friends a week ago) it was pretty scary, and very eye opening. I cannot stress enough how the people here are either well-off or very poor, to the point where they don’t have an adequate shelter/home, or none at all.

(side note, i’m not trying to start a “help-chile fund”, it just amazes me that even those who are struggling in the US have MUCH better living situations than those here, it makes me more thankful for what I have, and know that some things I have are very much a luxury and I take for granted, like an iPhone, air-conditioning, etc. and to be in a country who aids those with these kind of living situations)

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For the end of the day we checked into our hotel at vina del mar (unfortunately i didn’t take pictures since most of the time I was out it was either night time or beach time)  The beach was fantastic, but going outside at 4 still means casey-needs-100spf-sunscreen-to-survive. unfortunately this girl got very burnt this weekend. I’m talking, my back is so burnt I can’t wear shorts because they irritate the sunburn, so i’m stuck wearing yoga pants and dresses til further notice. One of the waitresses I was talking to said that I was “tan roja como un tomate” (for all u non-spanish speakers, I’m as red as a tomato). I tried to explain to her it was funny because in the US we say “as red as a lobster” but I unfortunately didn’t know the word for it and she didn’t understand what i described.

Unfortunately from a combination of lack of sleep, drinking more than usual, and overall not feeling 100% for the past couple days I didn’t experience the night life the first night of the weekend. I got a whole 12 hours of sleep (it was glorious) I have to say, sleep is not really an option if you want to experience everything here. I think i get about 5 hours or less a night and a nap here and there. Unfortunately for mom and dad ill be quite the zombie when I get home! (miss you guys!)

The next day we went to La Isla Negra to see another Pablo Neruda house. They’re very interesting houses, old and a lot of the architecture is like that of a ship. I took a lot of pictures of the beach there (including the one at the top of this post) also interestingly enough, La Isla Negra is not an isle/island!

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aftewards we went back to vina and went to the beach again. For those who ever want to visit the beaches, saturday is definitely NOT the day to go, everyone and their entire family goes to the beach this day. We could barely get a spot, and the water was filthy with trash and dirt (or at least it was more prominent than the day before) We later found this amazing burger/bar place that had the most amazing fajitas I have ever had in my life (unfortunately no pictures :( ) It was chicken, beef, guacamole, a type of sour cream, and roasted vegetables. so good!!

This night I got to enjoy some of the night life of Viña (this city is kind of like the college town of the country). We went to a karaoke bar and sang our hearts out, and then to another where we danced! It was so fun!

Finally Sunday was our free day, and we went to the beach once more! the water was too cold to go in that day (the waters from the antarctic are brought up along the coast, so as you can imagine the water is pretty cold all year round). This is the day I got the most burnt though :(

Since nothing in this country is open on sunday (day of rest, the country is very Christian based, more than the US), we ended up getting our last meal at Mcdonalds, which was fantastic! Not having American food is very difficult, even though i like the food here. I just really miss my subs and bagels!

This weekend coming up were going to the Atacama desert! I’m excited and scared about how burnt I’ll get! Today I went to Santa Lucia and took pictures on top of the cerro there.

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I’m so happy you can see the Andes here!

Well until next time, I’m more than halfway done! Que triste!! I don’t want to leave I feel like i just got here!

Day 4!

Bad news, the post i just wrote about this weekend got deleted, but this one i just found! enjoy!

 

Not too much to update but today was my first day of classes! one of which was cancelled! it was great to go back and relax, but tomorrow we actually start our class.

the one class i did have today was really quick which was nice and we got to wander around the city a little bit and I knew pretty much where we were going which was awesome! I was kind of a tour guide to my roommate who has no idea where anything is, and i’ve only been here a couple of days! i’m cautious though because I don’t want to get to comfortable with knowing where I am.

Me my roommates and 2 other friends decided to get empanadas en el mercado central and they were so good! We later went on a walk around the city, but it being so hot we only went a couple blocks before turning around and getting ice cream. They have this place with probably 30 flavors of ice cream that looks and tastes kind of like gelato. (unfortunately no pictures of this either!). I’m a big fan of having 2 scoops, one being raspberry and the other is called chocolate black (a very rich chocolate with i think a little bit of brownie) everything tastes so fresh here I love it!

I then went home and ended up sleeping for more than 3 hours (oops) but all of this walking around and the heat really makes me tired here. For dinner, unfortunately I had the first meal i didn’t like (a corn and bean soup) I felt so bad for my host mom because she could tell I immediately didn’t like it. I ate the bread she had and tea though which were good. Later, I ended up going out with a bunch of the girls on the trip to a bar called “romblas” which was right across the street from our university. I got a “chilano mango” which i don’t exactly what it was but it was good (kind of like an iced rum and tequila with mango juice) and i even got a sandwich so the whole dinner dilemma was solved! I love than I’m making so many friends on this trip, everyones pretty much great!ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

I’m a third of the way done?

Chile is pretty much fantastic! I’m loving every second!

Today I had a cooking class and I made some chilean favorites, like empanadas and mote con huesillos (its like a peach dessert). I loved learning about how to make empanada dough! I hope to be able to make some when i get back home. Food is interesting here, for some reason everyone likes putting hardboiled eggs, olives, and raisins in a lot of their dishes (not just one of these, all of them at the same time) which to me is really strange, and quite honestly makes me a little sick (we had this potato casserole with meat and what was mentioned above two nights in a row now.. idk if i can do it again) but most of the food is really good and really fresh here. the fruit and vegetables are fantastic, and the cheese, the cheese is so good and NOT AVAILABLE IN THE US ughh. anyways…

I’ve explored so many historical parts of the city, including the pueblito de los dominicos, el cerro san cristobal, la moneda, and much more. its interesting to see how protected these places are, and how much of a catholic influence the country has. on the cerro de san cristobal i took this picture, it looks out over the ciudad  Image

Everythings just so beautiful (even with all that smog over the city) its hard to believe i’m here still, in a whole different continent. 

Also, for all my college/highschool friends, basically at least 1 alcoholic beverage per day here (lol) everyone wants to party! (don’t worry mom and dad, the past 2 nights i have been a good girl and stayed in and did homework!) but the drinks are CRAZY strong. ask for a rum and coke and they give you a bottle of cocacola and a glass filled halfway with rum. its nice to only have to pay for one drink a night but its hard to get down! I’m bringing back a nice white wine from the vineyard we went to (organic vineyard!), and hopefully a bottle of pisco! (its a type of hard liquor that isn’t available in the us for some reason, and its the best) only allowed to bring back two bottles tho :(

There are some things here that are kind of difficult to get used to, but its mostly because i’ve been a spoiled girl from the US all my life. I definitely have more appreciation for certain things in the states now that i’m here. i’ll list out the ones i want to get used to, and things i don’t think ill ever be able to

things that are different that i either like or could get used to

spontaneity: people really just do what they want when they want (if they’re not working or something) if you say you want to go to the mall, they’ll drop everything and go with you and make it an adventure, the same with a walk or ice cream. i hope to be more relaxed like this when i get back hom

no airconditioning: surprisingly not so bad, theres no humidity here so its not muggy

small spaces: my past dorms and apartments look huge compared to what i live in right now, and its not that bad

city life: i love it, theres always a new thing to see and a new thing to do, and getting around is really easy

theres no peanut butter anywhere: yea, the people who work at the supermarkets laugh every time i ask if they have it. 

now for things i will probably never get used to (because i’ve lived in the US all my life)

“gringa gringa!” : every. single. male. here. wants. us. its creepy, i know its the culture, but its creepy how they cat call, whistle, honk their horns and even take pictures while in the city. its mostly because there is no variation in race here, everyone is chilean, and were the random white people who are stereotyped as rich pale and easy. we look different. side note, even the policia does it… yup

bathrooms: so this is pretty gross so you might want to skip this, but basically the pipes have not been updated to take toilet paper in them. so in my house, i have to throw it in the trash… yea…. i was kind of taken back when i got here. also in many places toilet paper is located outside the stall (why? because they’re trying to use less paper? who knows) so hopefully you don’t need more cuz you’re stuck with it once you go!

6 people sharing 1 bathroom: so my host mom not only cares for me and my roommate but a couple other girls from brazil. so her daughter, me and my roommate, and the 3 Brazilian girls share a bathroom. its difficult because hot water lasts maybe 10 minutes.

how people walk: this is more “i live on the north east coast problems” but no one understands the whole “walk like car traffic” thing or keep right. people don’t get out of the way, walk very slow and block sidewalks. i can’t even count how many people I’ve bumped into or had to try and maneuver around. 

i hope to be writing more often, but its difficult to find time (or sleep) theres just so much to do, and not enough time to do it all.

I hope the cold isn’t too bad up there!

tired

just so everyone (mostly my family) understands how tired I am, i just fell asleep for the night without changing my clothes, without showering, without turning off the light, and pretty much without anything you would consider part of my routine for bedtime. currently its 6 am here, and I’m not going back to bed since I fell asleep with my laptop on top of me trying to do homework, so I have to finish that up. despite all this, I’m super excited I’m here and i’m having a great time. Once I get a free minute I’ll write about my first week in more detail, but is pretty much awesome here, and I don’t want to leave!

DELETE DELETE

well thats what my computer was saying after i pressed one wrong button and the entire blog post i spent an hour writing got deleted (given i probably should’ve made sure it went through before I turned the computer off) a new post will have to wait! sorry!

No pictures but days 1-3 update!

Alright so basically Chile is awesome!!! 

Day one was really just a lot of culture shock. the house was very different, there wasn’t air-conditioning, and many things were just very different compared to the US. The biggest thing, though, speaking in a different language pretty much 24/7 (except the moments when I’m with only people on my trip) its been quite exhausting just trying to understand, and get what I need to say out. 

On the other hand there are certain things about Chile’s culture that I like a lot, everyones very spontaneous, for example when we don’t have anything planned my host mom just calls up her friends and asks if she wants to do something. They don’t like sitting around (like many of us americans like to do with our computers and phones and such). and everyones very laid-back and calm about everything. I like it a lot, its good not to be so worrisome, especially when theres a lot to worry about already being in a different country away from home. 

day 1 was also quite long, being in a plane for so long, only having two hours of sleep on the plane (I’m so bad at sleeping on planes!) another nap when i got to my room. oh wait THE FOOD IS AMAZING. I wish i took pictures of it, dinner was a sweet apple pie/custard with bread and this cheese that was so good, its really indescribable. Our host mom is the sweetest person ever, I love her, she’s very chill about everything and always has a story to tell. Her daughter is also very nice and her granddaughter is adorable beyond words. Also I went to the mall in Santiago which is huge! it has probably 6 stores that were similar to macys, a target, a supermarket, and basically anything you could ever want! The rest of day 1 included me being very tired and trying to organize everything\

Day 2 was our family day, and my roommate and i went to the mall again, and two some markets that were on the outskirts of the city (which i will mention in a different blog post about los secciones pobres) Our lunch and dinner was very much the same, we had what I would call either an omlete or fortata (maybe?) but it was huevos queso papas, zanahorias, y carne. it was very good. a strange thing we had were “palm hearts” they seem to be an acquired taste since they’re very strong. then we went out for ice cream which was incredible. i had a cone of chocolate chip and raspberry. later I went out with a bunch of people in the group to see the night life, which since it was a sunday was kind of dead, but being with everyone was really fun, all the people on the trip seem to be great. 

Today, we had orientation for la Universidad Mayor. it was long and kind of boring, but I learned a lot about Chile’s education system. we then had a buffet lunch which was really good, and then we went to el Centro de Santiago. its really cool there and has a lot of landmarks to take pictures with (which i left my sd card at home so i couldn’t take pictures with my nice camera :( ) ill have to steal some from my friends… overall I’m having a really great time and I can’t wait to see what happens next.