Chile’s Botanical Gardens

Yesterday, my friends and I went adventuring in Chile’s Botanical Gardens. Even in the wintertime, the place is beautiful! The trees are magnificent and the wildflowers exotic and colorful.

DSCN3127

 This tree looks exactly like a gigantic pineapple.

DSCN3207 DSCN2996

David, Tristan, and Jihoon are awesome peoples who I have been hanging out with here in Chile. Here, they are walking to the gazebo and this photo looks like album art.

DSCN3031

DSCN3305

I balanced my little camera in a tree fork and set it on  self-destruct  10 second timer and then ran for my life to the tree cluster. It actually turned out pretty good!

DSCN3005  DSCN3022

DSCN3011

DSCN3091

Tristan and I climbed a tree! And I took a selfie.

DSCN3111 DSCN3114

Also, the trees are so very big. I wish a camera could capture how awesome these trees are but I guess you really have to be there to get it.

DSCN3176 DSCN3132

DSCN3288

DSCN3302 DSCN3177

This is Charlie and Steve. I named them. Charlie met us when we got off the bus. He stepped onto the bus stairs when the door opened and we tripped over him as we piled out. Then he jumped, no he leapt, up on all of us! He was so happy to see is his whole body was wriggling with delight. He followed us for a little bit and then ran off after a bird.

A little while longer, Steve arrived. He jumped up and put his front paws on Tristan and just stood there for like three minutes. Then he followed us around until we ran into Charlie again! It turns out that they know each other! They play-fought for a while until they started getting mean about it and I yelled at them and they stopped. Also, coincidentally, Charlie is a girl!

 DSCN3292 DSCN3181

DSCN3195

There is a lovely duck pond at the back of the Gardens. The ducks are so cute but it’s difficult to get a good picture of them because they move around so much!

DSCN3228 DSCN3241

DSCN3240     

First Impressions of Viña del Mar

Chile is beautiful. I flew in yesterday morning and my first view of the country was from the airplane window. I saw the mountains. They are so huge and majestic!  I wish I had a picture but I didn’t think of it at the time.

DSCN2528

We landed in Santiago and took a bus to Viña del Mar. Our host families picked us up and my host mom’s name is Patti and she’s really nice. She doesn’t speak any English so that is definitely challenging. Her house is small but cute and she has a tiny dog named Ron. She is an excellent cook too! And the view from her balcony is breathtaking.

DSCN2590 DSCN2589

We explored the city and this is the beach. There are ships offshore that seem to be as big as the skyscraper buildings in the city!

DSCN2537

The street art is incredible! It’s so colourful and detailed that instead of degrading the city it only makes it better and more interesting. People also sculpt with the sand!

DSCN2546  DSCN2552

DSCN2550  DSCN2563

The beach is lined with vendors who sell handmade jewelry, clothes, and various trinkets. This little puppy is just about the cutest little thing I’ve ever seen! The other picture is of my host mom, Pattie, and her friend, Maritza. They’re so fashionable! So is everyone else in this city.

DSCN2567  DSCN2580

Here is a beautiful photo of the ocean.

DSCN2605

These are summer vacation homes that overlook the beach in the picture above this one. So cool! They have roof gardens and look like giant steps.

DSCN2606

There also are dogs everywhere! This one walked up to us.  It was so happy and friendly and I wanted to pet it so badly but the street dogs don’t have people so they are dirty and flee-ridden. “Es peligroso” and sad too. I want to keep one and clean it and call it George.

DSCN2610

This one has a little jacket on! Someone loves him 🙂 There are also horse-drawn carts everywhere.

 DSCN2545 DSCN2539

This rock has seals on it. And pelicans. what.

DSCN2633

I managed to get this excellent photo of a seal with the waves crashing against the rocks behind it.

DSCN2638

The flowers are vibrant and beautiful!

DSCN2599  DSCN2654

DSCN2652  DSCN2560

 DSCN2612

Chile is incredible! I can’t believe I’m here. The language barrier is really challenging and I think I might be slightly crazy for deciding to do this but I know it’s going to be an amazing experience.

!Viva Chile!

Chile (!!!)

I am leaving the States! 

I fly out this evening to Chile for a semester abroad. 

Thus I will be slightly changing the nature of the blog in that the subject will be more focused on my Chilean adventures and the posts will most likely be further apart. But it will definitely be less boring and more epic! 

Hasta luego, mis amigos! 

The Lake and Jumping off Cliffs

My family took a daycation to the lake and we rented a pontoon boat. The weather was a little cold but otherwise it was a beautiful and relaxing day.  These photos are either mine or my mum’s. All editing was done by yours truly.

DSCN2259small

DSCN2249small DSCN2201small

 DSCN3816small

I jumped off a cliff. Standing on the edge was terrifying. I looked down at the water fifteen feet below and it seemed much further than that. Every cell in my body was screaming at my brain, “Don’t you even dare! Nope nope nope, you will die!” But my silly reckless brain said, “but it’ll be fun!” and so I jumped. And it was fun. Check that off my bucket list! Apparently I unconsciously covered my nose and my eyes the first time I jumped! haha!

My dad was insaneeee and jumped from the 30 foot cliff. Twice.  I was a little less insane and jumped from the 15 foot cliff three times and a ten foot cliff twice. After the first time it wasn’t quite as intense but it was certainly still terrifying to say the least!

 Untitledsmall Untitledgsmall

Here is a post cliff-jumping selfie that I took after jumping from the cliff.  We also brought Duke along and he had a great time! He really loves to swim.

bestsmall DSCN2199small

DSCN2227small 

I was so cold. This is my “I’m so cold,” face.  Mum also got a picture of me wrapped in a blanket because I was so cold.

DSCN2220small DSCN3871small

DSCN2194small

At the dock there were a gazillion disgusting cod fish and they were gross. Rachel is trying to touch one in this picture.

DSCN2268small

DSCN3902small

It was Rachel’s birthday so we had cupcakes and she opened some of her presents on the boat.

DSCN2236small DSCN2240small

DSCN2231small

The lake is so relaxing. Rachel and I went out on a raft and tube to tan and nap. Lucas decided to wear a life vest as pants cause he’s a ridiculous goof. !!

DSCN3876small DSCN3881small

Dad skied and he’s really good! Lucas or Rachel (I forget who) got some really great pictures of him. They look professional or something.

DSCN3918small

DSCN3925small DSCN3929small

The siblings took turns riding behind the boat on the inner tube. It was a blast! These are pictures of my youngest brother, Jonathan, and myself.

DSCN3859small DSCN3904small

 DSCN2198small

We live in a beautiful world.

The Antique Store Which Never Ends

DSCN2280

In Bellefonte there is an antique store that never ends. Inside are rooms upon sideways rooms and several floors with creaking staircases filled with ancient treasures such as old records, dishes, and Jacob’s ladder. The place is both creepy and awesome. The floors and walls are crooked and every step makes the floor sigh and screech in protest. I chance across an old keyboard and snap a picture. I wish now that I had taken more pictures because the place is fascinating.

I walk through the rooms, browsing the old records until I remember that I don’t own a record player. Suddenly I realize my siblings have disappeared so I set off in search of them.

Old dusty shelves and tables are covered all the things people no longer treasure but hope that someone else will. Glass and china dishes, antique books, broken dolls, old decor, naked mannequins, and a cracked guitar are abandoned in the warehouse that never ends. One cannot help but wonder where all these objects have been before this antique store.  It gives me the chills and suddenly everything has a life and an old sad story. I would hate to be stuck in this place after closing time.

Somehow I end up back where I started. Mum is examining the dishes. She is like a child in a candy store, calling us to look at this or that and trying to decide if she should buy the tiny glass creamer jar to match the sugar bowl that she has at home. We go down a level and find a cute blue type writer. Rachel writes a story on it and I ask mum to buy it for me but it’s super expensive.

Suddenly the lights dim and we figure it must be closing time. We head for the room’s exit and mum stops to ask some random hipster browsing through the records if we should pay here or upstairs. He looks momentarily confused and Rachel exclaims that he’s just a shopper! Mum is embarrassed and everyone laughs. Hipster tells her that he is indeed a customer but yeah, you pay upstairs.

Mum remarks that they could film a horror movie in here and the cashier agrees.  She tells us about the ghosts that go down into the basement and wait for the lights to go out. Yikes! Mum pays and we leave. When we step into the sunshine it seems as if I walked out of a dream because that place just feels so unreal.

People, go antiquing.

Hollidaysburg

The other day I hung out with my good friend Katie Conrad and we went to Hollidaysburg. We stopped at a cute little coffee and crepes shop and a cold girl with a tattoo sleeve sold me a mocha frappé and a brownie with walnuts and chocolate chunks in it. They had fresh blueberries out front and  I bought a pint, shared some with Katie, and ate the rest of them within the hour.  I also saw a guy who looked like Kip from Napoleon Dynamite.

blueberries

Here is a picture of me eating blueberries and drinking a mocha frappé.

10411132_10204390388024427_7305618226788022567_n

We also found a super awesome bike.

10458859_10204390397024652_5947478526587093509_n

And a Church which says “Worship God” on the front of the building.

1549551_10204390393784571_1285346743409512043_n

And an ominous prison.

I wanted to take blueberries to the prisoners but Katie was against the idea.

10456777_10204390395584616_4445271582685632510_n

We hiked up to Chimney Rock Park and climbed on the chimney rocks. Here is a picture of Katie conquering the mountain.

10411132_10204390388024427_7305618226788022567_nd

This is a very small part of the incredible view which can be seen from the highest of the chimney rocks.

10432935_10204390394624592_1745136849522722733_n

I am standing on the edge of a cliff pretending to be a queen surveying her domain.

Call me Queen Converse cause I like converse shoes.

10509765_10204390396384636_4294248834324459753_n

Here’s a little more of the view. Stunning.

10410142_10204390397224657_1513335951393454689_n

Katie took all of these super awesome pictures 🙂

Peace!

In Which Debs visits Zachary

I went to Lancaster to visit Zach and his family for the Forth of July. I rode a longboard for the first time (I was wearing a dress so that proves that I’m crazy) and I also fell off so I can check that off of my bucket list!

On the Forth we went hiking and got lost in a mountain, ate fries smothered in bacon and onions and cheese, and watched fireworks from Hershey.

I met Zach’s grandparents when we picnicked at his family’s motel business. They are really nice! Zach, his sister and dad, and I played on a nearby playground and later we ate slushies.

We also ate Sonic blast smoothies, watched Arrested Development and Parks & Recreation, went to church, and drank tea.

Sunday evening, Zach, Zach’s mom and sister, and I went mini golfing! It was super fun. I won cause I got the highest score.    …

I forgot to take pictures, and the one time that I brought my camera with me I left it in the car. So I only have a few pictures from that car ride. Here is one of a sunset that Zach took coming back from mini golfing. It was spectacular.

DSCN1990edit

I also got a picture of Zach on the way back from mini golfing.  He’s really handsome 🙂

Untitled

And that was my very awesome weekend.