La Isla Negra

I went to La Isla Negra with our Resident Director and some of the other exchange students. The house of the late Chilean author, Pablo Neruda, is now a museum and it is beautiful. We couldn’t take photos inside of the museum but I’ll try to describe the general layout briefly.

The house is one room wide and is comprised of around 16 rooms. So it is very narrow and long and each room is designed to look like a ship or a train from the inside.  It is filled with many intriguing and beautiful artifacts and collections and fascinating furnishing. Ship sterns shaped like women, wooden angels, half a model ship against a mirror, a round table, huge windows overlooking the ocean, a bar which has the names of his friends carved into the beams, Japanese theater masks, butterfly collections, bottled ships, a totem pole that supposedly didn’t like to be looked at so Neruda removed one of it’s eyes, a plastic life-sized horse with three tails, a desk made of drift wood which he and his wife retrieved from the ocean together, a stone mural wall fashioned by his best friend, a glass table set on top of a huge ship wheel, several weird instruments, a writing desk and a random porcelain sink which wasn’t connected to anything, a room dedicated to his childhood memories, beautiful paintings, other random interesting items, and a bed which overlooked the ocean and faced east to west so the rose at the head and set at the foot. The last moments he spend in that house before he was taken to a hospital were spent in that bed.  His life seemed so interesting and wonderful! I felt very inspired by that trip.

We also visited some nearby beaches. Here are several pictures that I took that day.

The house from the outside:

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A majestic dog and a selfie:

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The contrasting mystically misty and super sunny beaches.

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P.S. I haven’t updated my blog in like a month so there is so much to tell you all about! I’ll be posting about Patagonia, Pomaire, Machu Picchu, and general life very soon.

Mary, The British blokes, and the bridge.

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I went to Santiago on Friday and Saturday at the beginning of October with other several exchange students from my campus. So here is the story of how I toured the presidential palace, met two stereotypical British blokes, visited the Virgin Mary, and climbed on top of a bridge.

We arrived in Santiago toured a museum of human rights. After that we toured the presidential palace. It was pretty awesome to see and learn about the history of the building and they types of things that happen inside.

Around 5 we checked into our hostels. We were told to meet again at 6:45. However, Jaime changed the plans and didn’t tell everyone! So six of us wandered around trying to find where everyone else was. We were told to go across the “only bridge in Santiago.” bull shit! There were like six of them that we saw in our wanderings! At any rate, we ended up at the wrong bridge, three times, before we finally found Jaime. One of the bridges was a traffic bridge with an arch over it and we saw some Chilean kids climbing on top of it. Of course, we climbed up it too! I was terrified but it gave me a nice adrenaline rush and a fun story to tell!

The first picture below is the metro station. The second picture below was taken from atop a bridge by Amos the Korean.

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That night after we found Jaime, we went to several bars and ate food and drank beer. Four or five of the girls were set on finding a club to dance at, but at midnight we were “too early” to find anything that already had a lot of people. So we wandered around for forever until several of us got fed up and decided to drink a beer and then go back to the hostels to sleep. I was totally fine with that plan of action!

The next day, Jaime was really sick. Apparently he had been sick all along and didn’t tell anyone, which explains why he was so out of it and unorganized. I felt bad for being mad at him :/ Poor guy. Anyways, he turned over the tour to one of the older students. She took us to see the statue of the Virgin Mary.

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The Virgin Mary and the view.

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Below is a statue of Christ on the cross. It was interesting that his statue was located lower down on the hill than his mother’s statue.

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My selfie got photobombed by Tristan and Josiah.

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This was a mural on a wall in Santiago.

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The hostel that Tris, David, and I stayed at was called Hostal Providencia. My first hostel experience was a really nice and memorable one! We stayed in a mixed six person dorm room and met two blokes from Britain. We talked to them for maybe an hour while waiting to meet up with the rest of our group. There names are Richard and Tom, I believe, and they met in Rio for the World Cup and then decided to travel South America together. Apparently they were stuck in Santiago because Tom got robbed and was waiting for a new bank card. This was unfortunate for them, but awesome for us because they were hilarious! They said the most stereotypical British words and phrases such as, “This little bag has a handle! Huzzah!”,  “She said they were woman’s trousers…do these look like women’s trousers to you?”, and “He brought out sushi which was involved with the salmon,” and other such things.

That night Tris, David, and I came in around 2am. Tom was still awake reading in bed, and Richard was still out partying. The sixth bed was occupied with an unknown occupant who was already asleep. So we tiptoed around and went to bed.

At 5:30am Richard came back and woke us all up. We had a lovely conversation with the obviously drunk Richard. Suddenly he turned around and saw the unknown guy in the sixth bunk. He marched over to the bed, bent down to peer into the bottom bunk, and loudly inquired, “Who is this lump?!”  We all died laughing.

The second picture is of a festival that we went to before taking the bus home. There was a lot of dancing involved.

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I found los Estados Unidos (The United States) in Santiago! No one told me about that shortcut! I guess that means I need a refund on my return airplane ticket cause I can just take a bus. ?

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This was the last picture on my camera from the Santiago trip. It sounded like Peruvian music, which I really love.

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The bus ride home was interesting.  Now I laugh about it, but at the time it was awful. I wasn’t feeling good so I was super angry about the whole situation.  There wasn’t a bus until like an hour after we got to the station. So we sat around bored as frick for an hour. Then. THEN we unknowingly got on the wrong bus! It was the 5:05 bus instead of the 5:15 bus. They checked our tickets but still let us get on, of course. We rode that bus for around 20 minutes before they realized their mistake so they took us to another station and made us change buses. That process took about twenty minutes and we all felt really embarrassed. The Chileans were looking at us like, “haha look at those stupid gringos they got on the wrong bus!” Anyways. It was an adventure and we eventually got home.

So that was my Santiago adventure.

I climbed a mountain

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This is the view from the top of La Campana, which is a mountian near Santiago. I climbed it. I freaking climbed a mountain.

I went with Tristan, David, and Tom the Chilean. Now, Tom is super fit and he turned this nice little photographic hike up the hill into a freaking workout from hell! He literally speed walked up the mountain. David has been taking trekking classes so he was able to keep up more or less, and Tristan is just so competitive that she wasn’t about to let herself fall behind, and then there’s poor little me, who died. It was literally every last bit of physical and mental strength that I had in me to put one foot in front of the other for three and a half hours.

But I made it! And I’m really proud of myself now. It hurt but I mean, look at the view! It’s breathtaking. And the photo’s don’t even come close to how incredible it is in real life. So it was absolutely worth it.

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Going down the mountain was really painful but in a different way than on the way up.  My legs were so unstable and I was scared that I would twist my ankle or fall off the mountain. But at the same time I was able to run over the smooth parts of the path to catch up so I took more photos on the way down than on the way up.

These paths are some of the easiest parts of the trek. Most of it was super rocky and super steep but I didn’t take pictures of that because I just wanted to get out of it as quickly as possible.

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The flowers are so delicate and unique

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This is a photo that I took from the bus on the way to the micro after climbing the mountain. Off in the distance is La Campana, and I was standing on it’s peak almost three hours prior. That is freaking awesome.

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Chile’s Independence Week

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This post is long overdue. September 18th is Chile’s independence day, but the people celebrate during the entire week. It’s a time of closed shops, flying flags, festivals, parties, drinking, dancing, and asados (aka Chilean BBQ).  I ate so much good food at so many asados!

The one I remember most was at Rossy’s house in Valparaiso. I was there for around twelve hours with no internet so it was a little boring but that wasn’t a bad thing.  The day was lovely so I got some sunshine and relaxation and really amazing food.  Most of her family was there and it was really fun to watch them interact. Rossy is seriously adorable. She was the life of the party with her hospitality, laughter, and dancing to the music.

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This is the incredible view from Rossy’s house in Valpo. The little boy in the center is Rossy’s niece’s 5ish year old grandson.  At least… I think that’s how they’re related… haha!

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I love my converse shoes.

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Another awesome part of the independence festivities are Las Fondas. It’s a huge festival on the horse race track with amusement rides, tent vendors selling clothes, art, toys, and souvenirs, as well as delicious food like choripan, empanadas, anticuchos, and churros, drinks, and artisan chocolates. So much goodness. I bought so much food and a shirt made from alpaca fur with llama pictures woven into it.

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Tris and I met some nice guys who sold us empanadas and took a picture for us!

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These are some of the prettiest things that the vendors had to sell.

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So this was from last month. Sorry I haven’t kept my blog super updated. You can expect two more overdue blog posts in the near future.

Peace!

So much blogging material

Hi Friends,

It’s been a long time since I’ve updated everyone on life! I’d like to say it’s cause I’ve been super busy with adventuring but that’s only partially true. I’ve been super busy with adventuring and haven’t been taking as many pictures AND I got sucked into a cheesy TV show about fairy tale people. I don’t even know. At any rate, I have a lot to talk about.

I don’t remember the exact days that things happened so I’m just gonna write somewhat non-chronologically everything that I can remember.

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Okay, at the beginning of September, I watched the Emperor’s New Groove in Spanish with my host parents. They loved it!

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Then like a week later I went to a club! First one ever, maybe my last. It was fun, but not really my thing cause of the sensory overload and my introverted little self.  But clubbing is a huge part of Chilean culture and it was really interesting to experience it first hand.

We started at a “previa” in which you go to someone’s house before the club to drink cheap/free alcohol and socialize.  I had some piscolas (Chile’s super strong national drink) and got to practice my Spanish skills with the Chileans who were there.

Then around midnight we took a bus to the club. The club was was small and dark and incredibly loud and crowded and I just told myself going in that it could either be really terrible or really fun so I just decided to not stress about personal space or trying to talk to people and just enjoy myself. So that’s what I did and it was actually a pretty good time!

I ordered another piscola and danced with my friends and watched the people (in a not creepy way haha!)  I got bored around 3:30 so I found someone to walk home with at 4 and got back around 5am.  Apparently, most Chileans stay out until 6 or something crazy like that.

So that was my experience of the Chilean party life!

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I went to the beach with Tristan to work on homework but we ended up getting nothing done cause it was such a beautiful day! Also I really love people-watching. There was a guy on a skateboard carrying a boombox, a little dog who rolled in the mud, two brothers in identical yellow shirts riding a weird double bike through the park, and a tiny little toddler on a tiny little skateboard.

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Chocolate Chip Cookies. I want them. I’m craving them. I have been all month! It’s crazy how you want something even more when you realize you can’t have it. It began with the number one most incredibly disappointing shopping trip of my entire life!

We went to Lider (Chilean Walmart) to buy ingredients to make chocolate chip cookies, only to discover after searching the entire store that chocolate chips are non-existent here. I mean, what kind of super store does not sell chocolate chips!?!? So we changed our menu to no-bakes and nachos. So we got the ingredients for no-bakes and went in search of cheddar cheese for the nachos. But Lider also does not sell cheddar cheese! Seriously. two letdowns so far.  THEN there was a mix up and we all left to get different things and no one stayed with the cart. When we came back … THE CART WAS GONE!  And the store was closing.  We all wanted to cry.

So we spent 2 hours in the store to get chocolate chip cookies, changed our menu, and left with ice cream, crappy empenadas, a jug of water, and our cold and empty hearts. At any rate, I still want chocolate chip cookies.

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I started working out this month because I bought a ticket to Patagonia and I want to be in shape for the four days of backpacking through Los Torres del Paine park. The college has free workout classes that you can sign up for so I went to some body combat classes which is basically coordinating kickboxing the air. I also went to a trekking class and it was death. I died. It’s freakin intense.

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I’m in the chorus at the university. And a few weeks ago we had a performance. It was interesting cause I didn’t know the songs very well and it was really chill and not at all what I expect from a chorus performance. But it was fun so whatever.

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The next day Rossy came into my room and said “¿lista?”, which means “ready?” and I was like, “Ready for what???” Story of my life. At any rate, she said we were having “onces” (which is like a small snack of tea and sandwiches and a pastry) at the family restaurant. So I went with them.

It turns out it was Rossy’s birthday party! Most of their extended family was there and the food was really yummy but they talked for forever. You know how when adults get together they talk about people and things that you don’t know or care about so it’s really boring? Well it was that, but in Spanish. So I tuned out and read Sherlock Holmes on my iPod. Finally, several hours later, people started leaving so I walked back home. It was fun but unexpected and too long.

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Apparently, my host family has a bird! The other day I was eating my lunch and noticed that the window was open. And through the window I saw a bird cage with a little blue and green parakeet inside. I walked over to look at it and noticed that it was acting stressed and panting. It had water, but I realized it was in the direct sunlight so it must be hot. I placed a blanked over half of the cage and it instantly went into the shade and spread out it’s wings like birds do when they’re trying to cool off. Poor thing! A little bit later it started singing and I realized that I’ve heard it all along but didn’t realize it was a pet bird singing! haha.

Okay so that brings us somewhat up to date. I still have to blog about this weekend (Chile’s independence week) but I have pictures for that so I’ll make it a separate post.  Stay tuned!

Peace!

Sunny Sun Days

Sunny days are holidays here. Two Sundays ago, Sodam, David, and I went to the beach to enjoy the warmth and the atmosphere was reminiscent of the 4th of July or something.

Vendors and artisans line the boardwalk along the beach. Kids run by shooting bubble guns at each other and dodging the grownups. The smell of ocean and churros (a delicious Chilean pastry) fills the air. Street musicians play guitars, drums, and strange instruments and a little further up a puppeteer puts on a show.  A spray paint artist demonstrates his talent as people gather around watching in amazement. Families and awkward couples lounge in the grass of the park next to the ocean and kids take turns rolling around inside of huge inflatable balls that someone brought.

The smiles and laughter and sunshine and festivities are contagious and I can’t wait for summer.

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This cutie came over to us and she was so cute I couldn’t even. She stole Sodam’s Coca-Cola and grinned at us for like five minutes and talked to us in baby Spanish which was better than mine.

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Her mom is super pretty and looks like one of my cousins. She told us the girl’s name and it was really unique but I can’t remember it now unfortunately.  She also traded Sodam’s Coca Cola for a water bottle when the girl wasn’t paying attention. Mom Power!

After the little girl grew bored with us, she ran over to the boy playing soccer (fútbol) and stole his ball. Super mom, the boy’s big brother, and us onlookers got a good laugh out of it! Mom gave the ball back to the boy and then bought a yellow inflatable ball for her girl.

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Fútbol boy and his big brother played in the grass in front of us almost the entire time we were there.  The little boy was so freaking cute! With his little curls and fancy footwork I could tell he’s definitely gonna be the World Cup champion years later.

Being in Chile is a humbling experience because the three-year-olds are better at fútbol and speaking Spanish than I am.

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This little girl is a princess from a fairy tale.

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I really like my converse shoes.

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The beach at sunset glows golden. It’s beautiful and the picture can’t do it justice.

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