Anchor and Braille – New Music

Anchor and Braille is the solo project of Anberlin’s lead singer Stephen Christian. I’m falling in love with these two new songs.

Give it a listen on Spotify.

Fatal Flaw

Detroit Slab 



I climbed a mountain


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


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.


Getting my feet wet

This story is from several weeks ago.

Tristan, David, Pepe (the roommate of our friend Jihoon.), and I went to Concón to take pictures of the ocean which was literally so beautiful I couldn’t even handle it. I took a few pictures but I mostly just soaked in the beauty and the sun and the sound of the crashing waves.


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We were there for about fifteen minutes before IT happened.  Okay so the waves were pretty much all the same and they only came up to a certain point on the beach. So we figured we’d be perfectly safe if we stood two or three feet away from that line. We sure figured wrong!

Tristan was taking a picture of David and Pepe and I was taking a picture of Tristan taking a picture of David and Pepe and suddenly five ginormous waves came up all at once and crashed down and the water came up five or six feet higher on the beach than before and we realized what was happening far too late and ran for it but we couldn’t save ourselves so all four of us got completely drenched from the knees down. It was so very cold

Here is a picture of me being sad about wet feet. And another of us drying our shoes as best we could and soaking in the sun.

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The flowers are so pretty! I always take pictures of flowers.

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Tris noticed a ring around the sun when you look at it through sunglasses so I took a picture through my sunglasses lens and it turned out pretty cool. There’s a flock of birds too.


After the beach, we found a random restaurant and Pepe made the waiter plug in his iPhone. He’s from El Salvador and rich apparently and everyone does everything for him so Tristan and I had a good laugh when he actually had someone plug in his phone for him. The food was decent and afterwards we just went home cause of our wet and sandy shoes.

It was definitely an adventure!

The Jewel of the Pacific




“The Jewel of the Pacific,” aka Valparaíso, is a beautiful city right next to Viña del Mar. It is historic, artistic, and fishy. (By fishy I mean there are fish markets. …)

On Sunday, a Valparaíso native gave us a tour of the city. He told us all about the city and showed us some really cool stuff. And now I’m going to impart this fascinating knowledge to you cause everyone needs to know how awesome Valpo is.

In the glory days, Valpo was a port city. The most important port city of the pacific, because it was the first that ships would stop in after sailing around Cape Horn.

But the completion of the Panama canal in 1914 made the importance and value of Valparaiso become non-existant overnight. The booming economy crashed, hard, and the city is still struggling to recover. Today, the people of Valpo live in the memory of their city’s Golden Age.

The port is still one of the most important industries in Valparaíso. Now, instead of a hundred ships, there are maybe twenty docked in the bay. Fishermen fish and there are huge, crazy marketplaces in which the fish and vegetables are all sold right next to each other and the cats climb and weave through the baskets of cabbages and apples.

It’s a city of contrasts. Some areas are really beautiful and clean and wealthy, but you walk down a staircase and across and alley and find people living in dirt poor conditions.  It’s also extremely different from her sister city, Viña del Mar. Valpo was once wealthy, but after the earthquake in 1906, the upperclass moved to Viña or Santiago, leaving the lower class to clean up the mess. In contrast, Viña is rich with palaces and highrises and vacation homes.  And there’s only a ten minute bus ride and a sign saying “Welcome to Valparaiso” to separate the cities.


The architecture of Valparaiso is fascinating! I’m not usually one to be interested in how buildings are build but this is actually cool. Okay so in 1906 there was a huge devastating earthquake that leveled the city. The people of Valpo needed to rebuild using cheap materials that would withstand earthquakes. The used wood frames filled with mud and covered it all using the sheet metal off of ships. These materials are strong but flexible so they would stand in earthquakes.

That worked well, until the metal began to rust. So the people looked to the shipyards for anti-rust paint. If the shipyards painted a boat yellow that week, they had yellow anti-rust paint so the person’s house would be yellow. Then their neighbors would say to themselves, “what an excellent idea!” and they’d head down to the shipyards for some yellow paint. But the ship dude would be out of yellow paint. However, since there was a blue boat today there was blue anti-rust paint so the neighbor’s house got painted blue. Thus, Valparaíso is a city of vibrant and unique colours.

Also, there are between 43 and 45 different “hills” or neighborhoods and each one has a unique architectural style. This is because when people began immegrating to Valpo all those years ago, the different countries would tend to live together. So there are British, German, Italian, Chilean, etc styles of architecture.





Valparaíso is the art capital of Chile. The walls of buildings and the streets are covered in beautiful art and murals.  My camera died before I could take a picture of my favorite mural, so half of my adventures are undocumented, sadly.

We met some street artists and a little old Chilean man with a guitar who sang us Valparaíso’s two most famous songs.  Here are youtube links to the songs:

Osvaldo ‘Gitano’ Rodriguez – Valparaíso

La Joya del Pacífico : Jorge Farias

Here are some pictures of the amazing artwork that can be seen somewhere or other in Valparaíso.

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The city is a labyrinth with more staircases and broken cobblestone alleyways than streets. The best way to explore is to get lost.



Go to Valpo and get lost. I highly recommend it.


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.


 This tree looks exactly like a gigantic pineapple.

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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.



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!

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

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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.

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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!

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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!

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The “Campoos” of Aldolfo Ibáñez

The University is situated halfway up a mountain overlooking the city and the ocean. The view is breathtaking. Also, about the title of this post; Chileans pronouns the English word, “campus” as “campoos” and it cracks me up every time!


The architecture of the campus is fascinating! It’s like a maze and sort of reminiscent of Hogwarts. I suspect that the ramps move around occasionally because it’s so easy to get lost in here. The first day of class my friend Tristan said, “But the ramps all slope up! How are we going to get back down?!?” I about died laughing and haven’t stopped teasing her about it yet haha!


There are little study corners like this throughout the building.


 These little windows with beautiful views are everywhere! It’s going to be difficult to study when I have this to look at all the time.


The camera cannot capture the depth and the details of this view. So take this picture and see how beautiful it is, and then multiply that times ten.


The Beauty of Viña

The university gave us “gringos” a tour of the city. I took a lot of photos because it is beautiful here and I like photographing beautifulness. I also met a lot of the other U.S. students and they all seem quite nice. I’m looking forward to making more friends from all over the world these next four months.

The mist over the ocean hides the city line and the sun on the water sparkles like fluid glass. It’s so breathtakingly beautiful that no picture could ever capture it. But I did my best.



  As the day wore on, the sky grew clearer and the water turned deep aqua-blue.

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The pelicans look like creepy statues.

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A group of six or seven dogs followed our group around the city. I think that their herding instincts kicked in because they “protected” us from the other pedestrians and the cars! It was really cute.

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This dog (in the picture below) is so pretty. I named her Annabelle because it’s the second name that I thought of. The first was Maria but that reminded me too much of the sound of music. Annabelle followed us everywhere! She barked at the “bad guys” (meaning people who weren’t part of our group. She knew somehow!) and also tried to hunt the birds haha! I really wanted to keep her but Dad said no. Sadness.

The weird structure in the other picture is an outdoors music stage! It’s huge and really awesome.

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After we toured the city I had lunch with my host family. Paty has a dog named Ron and he turned fourteen yesterday so she threw him a legit birthday party! She invited all of her friends and we ate grilled chicken, rice, corn, and salad. There was wine too and the guests kept calling for a toast for little Ron! It was hilarious. Then they brought out a cake and sang happy birthday and then THEN they had presents for that tiny dog. He received three bottles of shampoo, a bowl with his face on it, and so much dog food. I didn’t get any pictures of the party but I captured this view from the balcony shortly before the party started.


That evening, Tristan and I ventured down to the coast to get pictures of the sunset. We ran into a festival of some sort! I’m not sure what it was for but the streets were lined with cars and people and dogs and horse-drawn carts. The air was filled with bubbles and the smell of cotton candy and cigarettes.


There were two mimes playing with the traffic. They would stop a car, then wave it on then jump in front of it and act outraged. One stopped a lady who was crossing the street and gave her a big bear hug. At one point, one mime tried to climb into a car with the driver and the other jumped onto the hood while the driver accelerated the car. The crowd was roaring with laughter!

There was also a living statue. He’s a soldier with shades haha.

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I got this silhouette photo of some students smoking next to a couple taking a selfie. So great!

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This is the sunset over the ocean. The clouds are pinker in real life. I need to get a better camera to be able to begin to capture the beauty of Chile.