Culture Notes and Final Days

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I’m taking the opportunity of my life being quieter to give you a glimpse of the street culture in Santiago as I’ve experienced it. I am fully aware that my perception is biased by the places I frequent and the way I look and speak, but I think that much of the positive behavior of the people around me doesn’t change from me being close by. Although the lifestyle is faster-paced in Santiago than in other parts of the country, I’ve found the people to be welcoming, friendly, and very fun-loving. I feel safe and welcomed and enjoy the more laid-back attitude. Continue reading

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San Pedro de Atacama and a Family Visit

The road to los Lagos Altiplánicas
The road to los Lagos Altiplánicas

I’m back in Santiago after an incredible week in San Pedro de Atacama with my aunt, JM! The desert was stunning. The views go on forever, the salt crusts the earth for as far as you can see, and there are so many stars at night that it’s difficult to tell where one stops and the other begins. You can look and look and look but it all seems to go on forever. We walked through Valle de la Luna|Moon Valley and Valle de la Muerte|Death Valley, woke up at 4am to travel into the Andes to see the Geyers del Tatio, and stepped gingerly along Laguna Chaxa to get an up-close look at the flamingos|flamencos feeding in the salty water. We wove our way up to 4,200 meters above sea level to see the Lagunas Altiplanicas. Twice, we watched the sun set from Piedra de Coyote and looked back to see the colors reflected over the Andes. It was a wonderful way to finish up my traveling in Chile as my time here comes to a close. Continue reading

Valparaíso and Learning to Dine Alone

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Art + Believe, Valparaíso

This past weekend, I hopped on a bus early Saturday morning and headed to the coast to visit Valparaíso, Chile. Valparaíso – or Valpo – is a port city located about an hour and half from Santiago. It neighbors Viña del Mar, which then runs into Reñaca and Concón. I had taken day trips to both Viña and Concón, but wanted more time to explore the colorful UNESCO Heritage Site of Valparaiso. On a whim, the Thursday before, I booked a Saturday night in Cerro Alegre at the Luna Sonrisa hostel and packed my bags. Arriving early Saturday afternoon, I was grateful to have more than a day to explore the hills (45 in total) that make up the eclectic city. Continue reading

Una Vida Menos Gringa, Más Chilena | A Life Less American, More Chilean

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Club Hipico in Santiago

The view from new bedroom is fantastic! I can swing open the window, hear the birds chirping and hopping around in the trees, and just a little further see where the city is stopped by the mountains. I’ve been exploring the area surrounding my apartment building, and have not yet been disappointed. The people are friendly, the cars drive more slowly, and it feels much more residential. A few blocks from my front steps are more restaurants than I can count: I’ve tried a few so far but will definitely be adding to my repertoire. There are countless yoga studios within walking distance, and advertisements posted all around for concerts, festivals, and pop-up outdoor markets. And with the long days of summer, there’s plenty of daylight to explore. Yes, I am quite pleased with my new home. Continue reading

November Oktoberfest

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Left to Right: GMH, myself, LM, NN, AY, MM, ER, and JR up front at Chilean Oktoberfest

This week, I’m splitting my weekend into two posts: the first for Fiesta de la Cerveza, AKA Chilean Oktoberfest, and another will follow about my hike on Sunday. Read one, read the other, read both, whatever you please! I figured it would be more clearly organized this way. As my friends and family can attest to, I like things to be in order and as easy to read as possible. Speaking of which, the font size of my blog bothers me a bit: it’s bigger than I would like. I would prefer not to pay to update the size, so this is what I’m sticking with for now. My parents most recently commented on my list-making when I was told to send Christmas gift ideas, and shared with them a Google Drive document with categories and links. And some of the items on that list were things to organize my kitchen in Philly. MB, I’m coming for you and sorting the silverware drawer! Continue reading

Pásalo Bien

Emperio La Rosa
Emperio La Rosa

I spent this past weekend in Santiago exploring the city and getting to know more of what it has to offer. I think I’m exiting the honeymoon phase of my trip and feeling more settled and like I live here now. I’ve gotten into a routine for commuting to my job (walk, bus ride, subway, transfer, second subway, walk – then repeat in reverse coming home) and I’ve developed habits that keep me happy and occupied.

On Friday, I went to an outdoor salsa lesson near the center of Santiago. It was in the cultural center called Centro Gabriela Mistral. Later that night, I went out to a salsoteca | salsa dancing club with a few of my friends. We left a little before 3am to head home, and people were still arriving! Continue reading

A Weekend of Wine & Horses

IMG_3470This past weekend, I crossed the Andes and spent some time in Mendoza, Argentina. A few friends and I took an overnight bus on Thursday night, to arrive early Friday morning and have a full weekend. The trip there was easy, but the trip home took me forever because I had to wait four to five hours at the frontera|border to wait in line and get through customs. Oh well, it was the price to pay for a full weekend! We arrived in Mendoza at the bus station around 6:30am, then grabbed cabs to Hostel Punto Urbano. I had stayed in a hostel only once before, in Washington, D.C. and didn’t know what to expect. Continue reading

Como Agua Para Chocolate | Like Water for Chocolate

Como Agua Para Chocolate
Como Agua Para Chocolate

No, I’m not here to review the book by Laura Esquivel, the Mexican novelist. It is, however, on my list. It’s one of those books that I never read in middle school/high school, and would like to do so. Maybe I’ll try it in Spanish instead?

Como Agua Para Chocolate is also the name of a restaurant in Santiago. It’s delicious! Dr. Julie Mostov, Vice Provost for Global Initiatives at Drexel University’s Office of International Programs, was visiting Santiago for meetings, and took the time to meet RO, JR, and me for dinner this past Wednesday night. It was wonderful to meet her and for the four of us to spend some time together. It was also the first time I’ve gone out for dinner in Santiago, and it didn’t disappoint. We had steak for dinner, and followed it up with chocolate of course! Continue reading