Until Next Time

On the way down from Cerro San Cristóbal with MSH
On the way down from Cerro San Cristóbal with MSH

Tomorrow’s the day, I’m headed back to the USA! I’ve thought of this day and drafted this post before, but it feels strange that it’s suddenly arrived. Slow and steady, then all at once. The lovely Annie over at LoveLaughRun seemed to have read my mind the other day when she said that it’s easy to plan a post as you run with your thoughts, but sitting at the computer and actually getting the words down sometimes leaves you stuck. On my runs around the city, I’ve imagined what I will tell you as I say goodbye. Continue reading

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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

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

Chile from Top to Bottom

Before I arrived in Santiago, I was hooked on watching Drexel student Jesse Rosenstein’s videos of his time here in Chile. (I know that usually refer to people by their first and last initials, but Jesse gave me permission to reveal his true identity.) Jesse studied abroad here during Drexel’s Fall 2014-15 term. We’re only a year apart in school, but didn’t meet in person until I arrived in Santiago in September. Over the course of the five months he was here, Jesse traveled the length of Chile, and documented his time in each place through GoPro edits. From exploring the Atacama desert in the north, to celebrating Fiestas Patrias in the colorful coastal city of Valparaiso (see above), to hiking in Torres del Paine at the southernmost tip of South America, it’s a full tour of the country. Jesse and I weren’t able to travel together due to our schedules, so don’t look for any cameos of mine in the videos, but you may recognize some of the places! For a full playlist of all of Jesse’s travels, check out his Vimeo page.

On Work and Summer Vacation

San Joaquín campus
San Joaquín campus

As the summer progresses, and my final weeks creep up on me, I’ve come to realize that I haven’t talked specifically about work very often in this space. It calls back memories of freshman year of college, where you’re making friends and exploring your new life, and you post pictures of people and places and all of the fun you’re having on Facebook, and your mom or dad or some relative comments “Haven’t seen any books yet!” 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

Some Changes

My second half of co-op – January through March 2015 – will be a little bit different than the first. Three big things you should know going forward:

  1. I’m moving. While it was wonderful having a host family to ease my transition to life in Santiago, I live very far from work. I will be moving into an apartment that cuts my commuting time down from anywhere between 40-80 minutes each way to a nice 20-25 minutes and no need for public buses. I currently live in Las Condes, in a barrio|neighborhood with towering high rises along a main road. I live currently next to a huge shopping mall and a beautiful park, but I’m excited to be moving to Providencia, with smaller shops and in a quieter location. I will be living with two Chileans, and it will save me some money and allow me to be more flexible with my eating and spending.
  2. I have changed my major. As of Winter 2014-15 I will be a Mechanical Engineering student! I’m pumped! I will maintain my minor in Product Design, and still am very open to the idea of pursuing my MS in Biomedical Engineering. Biomed has gotten me to where I am today, and for that I’m grateful. The Drexel Biomed program is strong and I recommend it to those interested in the subject field. I realized, however, that I am more interested in mechanics, and felt that I would benefit from undergraduate coursework in Mechanical Engineering while still maintaining an interest and pursuing opportunities in biological applications.
  3. Summer will be at it’s height, which means fewer people in Santiago. JC, my host sister who’s family lives a few hours south of Santiago (she’s staying with my current host family as a family friend while going to college in the city) will be returning home for a few months, my friends here on exchange will be heading home around the same time I head back to the states, and one of my friends from work is moving to Valparaiso. It will probably be quieter, but I still want to take a few weekend trips, head to San Pedro de Atacama and possibly Buenos Aires, and I really want to go to Chilean or Argentinian Patagonia. Anyone down to visit? Don’t Google the price of flights, just book it. All I’ll tell you is that you’ll want to spend at least a week here to make it worth it!

I come home the week following Drexel’s finals, and will return to Santiago the first full week of January for my final 10 weeks of co-op. While I’m loving the warm, sunny weather here in Santiago – it’s like a Spring/Summer co-op and the summer vacation I never had rolled into one – I’m wicked excited (yes, wicked, as in “very”) to be able to come home to spend some time with friends and family and to go skiing and to not miss out on winter in New England. A quick taste of all of my favorite things about the season, and then I’ll return to enjoy the rest of the Southern Hemisphere’s summer.

Hiking Salto de Apoquindo

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This past Sunday, I was invited to go trekking with my friends AP and SC from work. SC asked me if the hike would make the cut for my blog, and I assured him it would! Some pictures are my own, others were taken by SC.

I had to take a bus to meet up with my friends, so I got up around the same time as I do for work, packed up a few pieces of fruit, a peanut butter sandwich, and two liters of water, tightened the laces of my hiking boots, and headed out the door. After a short bus ride, I found my friends and hopped in their car to go the rest of the way to Parque Natural Aguas de Ramon. The park is remarkably close to the city: I could have taken a city bus if I had wanted to. 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

Escape to the Beach, Return to Run

IMG_3580Another full weekend to kick off a shortened work week! Above, RO and I post-5K on Sunday. More below! This week, both October 31st and November 1st are national holidays: Día de las Iglesias Evangélicas y Protestantes and Día de Todos los Santos, respectively. The first is a recently established holiday: only nationally recognized within in the past few years. While the long weekend is an opportune time for me to travel, tickets – both bus and plane – are very expensive and I plan to stay in Santiago and the surrounding area to save my money for a bigger trip some other time. Pucón anyone? Continue reading