Sunday, June 24, 2012

How to mathematically explain why things always speed up when they are about to end?

If I were to invent a formula (perhaps there already exists one that I am unfamiliar with) for that phenomenon of time speeding up unnecessarily and unfortunately...this would be it.

5 months = a long time right?
4 months go by
5 - 4 = 1

1 month left.

Where did the 4 months go? I have no idea, but here I am with a little under a month left of my study abroad experience and I don't understand why time seems to go by so much faster now. Of course it has its slow moments like when I am freezing and studying or when I am trying to get home via public transportation, but on average it has speeded up exponentially and unexplainably.
Al fondo, this is a very philosophical math formula, making it more theoretical and likely, impossible to prove in any way, but I have a feeling that the majority of people would agree with my proposed theory despite the lack of cited literature, research or fact.

It is purely based on human feeling in relation to time. Time is relative until we put meaning to it. These 4 months past have meant so much to me, but now I am forced to recognize a real and imminent end to the experience that I know as study abroad. It is confusing really. I havn't seen my family in forever so clearly I am excited to see them, but what about my chilean family? When will I ever get to see them again?

Clearly we have diverged from the mathematical into the pathetically sappy and preoccupied frame of mind. I shall leave you with this, the whole business of time speeding up? it's good. it means that the time spend was good, it meant something to you and now that time has relevance. Before it was just the passing of units that we call minutes, the sun rising and setting in the southern hemisphere and gravity pulling the waves of the pacific in and out. Now it is my past, memories and and whole year of experiences worth so much to me. And there is more to come, hence the unnecessary-ness of this sappy sappy post.

 thinking man (made of tape) aside the polluted Mapocho river

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

exams are creepin'

Y'know that feeling at the end of the semester when it feels like every single professor in your life has realized that they only have about 6 class days left to give you homework? Result being that you are drowning in a sea of paper and notes and books. Yea well that feeling exists in Chile as well.

it is raining

this is actually a good thing in Santiago seeing how in the 4 and a bit months that I have been here I think it has rained ONE other time. It doesn't rain much here. Did you know.....Chile is home of the driest desert in the world! The Atacama desert. real dry

Hopefully I will be going skiing next week in the Andes!!! That would be the epitome of awesome, I just have to buy the ticket. Also rent skis, no way did I bring those down here.

My host family continues to be the cutest and best host family every, me and my 'brother' went running yesterday with the dog. My sister is going to the states this friday with her boyfriend and my host parents are just the nicest. It is now cold enough, however, to merit using the little portable gas stove (THANK GOD) I love that stove, LOVE IT! It saves me from sitting in the living room and studying/freezing simultaneously.

Anyways, I gotta go catch the D18 (bus) to get to the metro to go to class. I only have one class today (Narrativa Chilena y hispanoamericana) and we are going to talk about Roberto Bolaño's book Los Detectives Salvajes. It's a pretty good book I only wish I had been able to read more of it as of this point in my life....only read like 80 pgs. before the quiz. shoot.

this is study abroad

Monday, June 4, 2012

What is a chori-pan?

I just realized that my blog is not on the SMC study abroad bloggers page. hmmm, what to do

Anyways, what is a chori-pan?
that is a fantastic question because it has two main answers
1) delicious
2) chilean
and this is why I love it

Basically, there is this bread here (BREAD HERE IS SO GOOD) called a Marequeta.
Secondly, there is this thing called a chorizo which SpanishDict defines as: cured pork sausage, flavoured with paprika...
that is mostly accurate, however, to further define this wonderful food that I have no idea why the states has not yet lied about inventing...

it is a little sausage thing that is almost too orange to be considered real meat, but very tasty, best eaten with ketchup and mayo and possibly palta (squashed avocado)
You put said sausage-thing inside a halved marequeta and BAM: choripan

~because without the bread, it's just chori
and without the chori, it's just pan~

choripan.jpg  here it is...the magical food of chilean asados

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Chiloé, how I wish I could stay

So, sorry I havn't written in my blog for so long. I know all you very dedicated followers await with baited breath my chilean adventures and yet, I continue to disappoint with blank spaces in the months and months I have not written. jk, thank's mom for being the only one who reads this.

Anyways, so I went to this island last week called Chiloé, which is about as close to Patagonia as you can get without exactly being in patagonia. It was absolutely amazing! I went down there with two friends, a backpack, some noodles and no return ticket. Unfortunately there was a set return date as there are these things called classes that we sometimes have to go to despite being abroad and fancy free.

I am going to elaborate mostly on Chiloé so as not to overwhelm all of you with the significant amount of things that have happened since I last wrote. Besides, Chiloé is by far the most interesting thing that has happened to me since the last time I wrote. Today I am just doing homework, case and point. Going to Chiloé also means returning broke apparently, so I'm out of the mix for a little bit, I even needed to beg some pesos of a german tourist just to get on the metro to go to class...that's a lie. It would have been funny though.

We took an overnight bus ($20.00US) to get down there which was significantly less comfortable than my bed, but adequate for broke travelers, plus they wake you up in the morning by handing you a little alfajor cookie (which are super delicious). Arriving in Puerto Montt was extremely exciting as would have been arriving in the middle of an uninhabited desert....just to get OFF THE BUS. We walked around Puerto Montt for a while, artisans markets, fish markets, etc.
We decided to eat lunch near the fish market, fresh seafoood right? So one of my friends says "let's get erizoz and locos because they are tipical food here! yay!" Mistake #1. didn't ask what erizos were, Mistake #2. said yes anyways. Erizos, for all of you who don't know are in fact sea urchins, raw, with some lemon and salt. disgusting. I ate one and then had to gulp down some bread and pisco sour just to get the extremely nasty flavor OUT. But yea, the locos were pretty good.
After this adventure, we got on a bus to Castro, a little town in Chiloé which is famous for it's palfitos (houses on stilts in the water..they are probably the coolest things I saw in Chiloé!) Stayed there two nights, visited the Parque Nacional Chiloé was pourings, but nice. We stayed one night in Ancud at the best hostal ever! visited the Fuerte San Francisco there....ate some Curanto which is again, typical food of the region. And after all this we made our way inland to Puerto Varas, and Frutillar- a cute little german town...literally, the cute little children go to cute little german school and everything is tiny and cute.

1) People from the south of Chile are kinda like the southern states...really hospitable and nice. Some man invited us on a journey to the island Quinchau simply because he had room in his jeep. We could have been a band of young, seemingly feminine murderers for all he knew. good thing we weren't.
2) Curanto is actually good despite it's somewhat strange and disgusting sounding presentation (all forms of meat cooked in a pot...chicken, pork, beef, clams, muscles, other stuff)
3) I must go back!!

pictures to follow, however as a result of this trip I have a mountain of homework the size of volcán Osorno...entonces, nos vemos más rato.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Bus

haha, you're funny Chile

So, for all of you who plan on doing some Latin American traveling, pay attention. 
The bus in Latin America is a very important thing. There is always an acceptable social dynamic, acceptable way of hailing and acceptable way of paying for the bus.
Let's start with Ecuador everything goes. If you have 25 pennies, by all means pay the bus chofer in pennies. He is not going to be happy, but he is also not going to complain; it is money after all. In Chile you do NOT pay with coins. There is a special card that you have to buy called the Bip and it costs about $1.25 to ride the bus, gross. The funny thing is when your Bip doesn't have any 'saldo' or money on it. The machine makes an obnoxious beep beep beep letting EVERYONE on the bus know that YOUR card doesn't have any more saldo. You then proceed to give puppy dog eyes to the bus driver who usually (but not always) just lets you stay on his bus. phew, part one.
Part two: how to hail the bus in the first place. . . busses in Ecuador will stop anywhere. Literally anywhere you maybe, possible stuck your arm out a little bit into the road you will have a bus waiting for you. In Chile there are designated bus stops and if you are not at a bus stop, there is no sympathy from either the bus driver or the general populous of the bus. It is also socially acceptable to push and shove your way onto the bus, instead of acting like the adults we are, even though EVERYONE knows that the bus is going to wait until everyone is on to start moving. For some strange reason people feel the need to elbow their way onto these busses that, in the end, just aren't that packed. least they're not 'Ecuador packed'
Part Three: acceptable bus behaviour
DO NOT TALK TO ANYONE YOU DON"T KNOW OR ELSE!! haha, JK, though it is not an official rule, it is considered quite strange to strike up a conversation with the person sitting in the seat next to you just for conversation's sake. It is also (unfortunately) acceptable to ALWAYS take the outside seat of a pair of seats FIRST so that when another person arrives and wants to sit in that window seat, they have to ask the other person to move..squeeze by them when they only swing their feet into the isle and then proceed to do the same thing when they need to get off. JUST SIT IN THE WINDOW SEAT FIRST PEOPLE.
People are strange. However, it is common to give old ladies seats on the bust when they get on which I like. Despite all the woes of city busses, they do have that going for them. I'm pretty sure the drivers just get bored sometimes though and drive as violently as possible just to watch their passengers fall all over the bus. I'm sure it would be amusing if I were sitting in front with a seatbelt too sir, but I"M NOT. 

Anyhow, random musings on busses. That picture at the top was taken in Pucón and has nothing to do with the topic. . . neither does this one.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Mid-Semester = Midterms

Despite the fact that I'm in Chile, I still have midterms like a normal person...or normal college student.
In fact, I have my Geography of Latin America midterm (I suppose that's what it is anyway) this monday. Unfortunately my computer needs some sort of special file to open the stuff to I havn't studied yet. The studying will also be put off until at least tonight because I am going to an ASADO!!! (BBQ) where there will be delicious CHORI-PAN! (a little sausage thing in bread with mayonnaise and so good) I'm pretty sure we could make chori-pan in the states, I was just introduced to the wonder of it here in Chile.

I can't quite feel the pull of finals yet, but I can see them on my calendar a short month and a half away and I am scared. I have a final paper in my independent study class a a culmination of all we have done (aka lots of individual research, surprise), I have a test in spanish, a test in Geo, and a final project AND a test in my spanish literature class which is SUPER hard (but also probably the best class I have) ahhh

Besides all those tests though, I am going to Chiloé on the 23rd of you may recall we were going to go the 2nd, but clearly that didn't happen because of various things. Oh well, we are still going. Tomorrow we are going to celebrate mother's day by going to my Chilean grandmother's house for lunch and..I dunno what else. Probably just that, I don't think we'll be doing anything too fancy.

Well, hate to go but I'm gonna be late for this Asado...I'm not sure why it is in the middle of the day, but some things in Chile just go unexplained.

un abrazo fuerte for all of you crazy people who read this -K

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

sudden cold... lack of central heating system

Lots has happened since the 10th of April when I last wrote (sorry)
As you can imagine there is plenty going on in this country where small earthquakes are a twice a month deal, there are student protests every other week and fall is slipping into winter. gross. I'm not a fan of winter without snow. Instead, here the snow only falls on the distant (but not that distant) Andes and in the (actually) distant Patagonia. Hopefully I'll get to ski on some of that in June :)

To continue with the goings-on-in-Chile topic, today there was a government permitted student strike that was supposed to be normal, non-violent and all that. However, watching the news this evening there was a burning bus, someone getting chased by police on a motorcycle and someone unconscious being carried by four men from the scene. I feel so safe. Actually as long as you just avoid the center of town you are usually fine. I am REALLY good at avoiding the center of town during strikes ever since my first experience with tear gas. I must say it just wasn't good enough to repeat....ever. It was terrible

So I was lucky enough to get to visit Pucón in the middle of April. We actually went on what was called the 'viaje semestral' or the semester trip in which 'Syracuse University' brought us to Pucón and paid for lodgings and some food etc. It was fantastic! There is a gigantic volcano that you can see from everywhere, there are all kinds of touristy (but awesome) adventures like sip lining, kayaking, white water rafting and thermal hot springs to visit! We had an awesome time! We stayed at Hotel Sol y Lago which was comprised of cute cabin-apartment things. There was also a pool there, but it was freezing.

Coming back to Santiago was a bit of a noisy let down after, but I am now re-accustomed to city life.  Normal things such as waiting for the D18 bus in the frigid morning, forcing yourself onto a really full metro, riding said metro to class, going to class where SO MANY students get there late (must be a chilean thing) etc. The city is exhausting (in good ways too) but Pucón was a nice break.

Thankfully, there are more adventures in the near future to be had because me and two other 'gringas' are planning a trip to the island of Chiloé, very very far south. There are penguins on the Pacific coast side and cool houses on stilts on the Atlantic side so I am super excited. We are going to take an overnight bus to get down there because it takes so long, I'll never get used to sleeping on a bus or a plane. Just can't do it.

the beach! Algarrobal

Volcan Villarica! Check it out!

One of Pablo Neruda's 3 houses. He is probably one of the most famous Chilean poets. He likes tall houses
Anyways, that's all for now. Sorry to throw it all at you at once, but I think you can handle it. Heres some pictures to make it all better.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Chile's "fiercely unregulated economy"

This Thursday we are leaving the busy highways of Santiago to make our way south to Pucón!
Pucón is a mountainous/volcano ridden city with beautiful vistas and sprawling lakes, I sound like the lonely planet guide book. I am in fact-SUPER EXCITED- to go there because there are many adventures in the out of doors to be had such as trekking, kayaking, and general looking at beautiful mountains.

Unfortunately, I must first get through this week.
Tomorrow I have 4 classes, this is not normal here. Granted, the classes are Independent Study, Geography, Hip-Hop (yea) and Spanish....none of which are all that hard. My hard class (thank God) is all by itself on Tuesdays and Thursdays. yipee.

anyways, como siempre (like always) I have got a bunch of reading to do...which I'm going to do now...instead of type more stuff about Chile.

it was cloudy today, summer is leaving.
yea ciao

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Jorge Luis Borges

here's a photo so it's not all words, I guess you can't really tell, but this was the student protest that I accidentally found myself walking into the middle of which involved my first experience with tear gas..not pleasant.
¿Qué onda?
A common phrase in Chile which means "what's up?"
it is pronounced exactly as it is yea, use that one on your friends.

Today was a normal day: went to Geography class and learned about how there WERE people in latin america before the conquistadors (yes I know, I learned this in 5th grade thank you. I'm foreign I'm not stupid), had a really long lunch with chilean/american friends (YAY I have chilean friends!), went to spanish class and finished the movie "The Nana" (which is very good by the way and really demonstrates the latin american tradition of employing a woman in the house as a nana). Came home, went for a run, ate some bread, typical Chile. I don't know why such a normal day turned out to be so great....maybe I'm just comparing it in my mind to yesterday which was not so great. Not everyday abroad is a great day...I made the mistake of thinking that all days would be great days before I went abroad. The reality is that they are not. But hey, today was so HA.

Also, inscribed in a gym with my host sister and so far we have gone to some very entertaining classes including Aero Box, Zumba, and Spinning. Spinning was a LOT more difficult than I imagined. My legs hurt today. They were blasting some killer US rock though so I was having a great time.

My Chilean mom is making some kind of dessert right smells so so good. Maybe this is why I feel the need to eat something...Also, beware of Panaderías in latin america because they smell SO GOOD. Everytime I pass by a bakery I just want to eat all the bread in the world which would be a terrible thing. They smell so wonderful, I could probably loiter outside a bakery for a considerable amount of time and not be bored.
Anyways, now that I have bored you all to tears with my talk of delicious bread (seriously, it's different than the bread in the US) I shall bid the adieu for I must read more about the colonization of latin america. yipee.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

This is Chile

So, like a normal gringo...I went to leave the house today to meet up with some friends at estación de metro Baquedano. I causally let my host mom know where I was going and she all of a sudden told me in a very high-pitched, semi-scared voice that I COULD NOT go there today!

I was confused

Then she reminded me of the student protests that are going to happen today.
They usually involve fire and tear gas.
Needless to say I am not going to Baquedano to meet up with friends.

This is Chile

Saturday, March 24, 2012


Viña del Mar, the beach city located next to Valparaiso
The term terremoto:
can mean an earthquake; can mean a really strong drink famous at the sketchy, yet entertaining Piojera Bar. Last night I experienced both. Okay, so the earth shaking one was only a temblor (which is a smaller version of an earthquake). My host dad came downstairs though to make sure his gringa daughter was not freaking out because the earth was moving. It actually woke me up from a weird dream so I was okay with it.

In other news, we took a trip to Valparaiso today as a Syracuse Study Abroad unit. It is a beautiful city with art and tourists everywhere. It is also a port city so the ocean breeze is always flitting around and there are port sounds like sea gulls, ships, and waves. It is nice. There are also cute hostels around every corner if you are looking to be touristy. I wanted to stay in all of them, they all looked super cool.

Tomorrow I am climbing some mountain with my host siblings, they have told me that there are waterfalls at the final destination of said hike. It is also a four hour trek in/four hour trek out. Needless to say, it will be an all day event. I'm pretty pumped.
The way the weather is looking here, Santiago is going to have an extended summer! I don't hate that.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Thank You Santiago

Thank you Santiago,
you are sunny every day,
you have paths so I can run
without the traffic in my way.

Thank you Santiago,
the best bread is made right here,
when I walk by the bakery
I want to stay there for a year.

Thank you Santiago,
home of some mountains tall
the Andes make me happy
and make me feel really small.

Thank you Santiago,
your clean for the most part
the people all seem happy
and I am light of heart.

Thank you Santiago,
for the time that I have here,
you will go through fall and winter,
even though my summer's near.

For dear Santiago
I must leave in 4 months,
but I'll never forget your mountains,
your streets, your vibe, your love.

just a little breakfast time poem..enjoy

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Just did my first bit of solo traveling...well with Colin Delaney! He came down to visit me over spring break and we took off to Viña del Mar for the weekend, so basically the beach and beautiful sand dunes. It was a good time.

March is coming to a close and I am faced with the final processes of registering for classes here in Chile and for registering for the upcoming semester at St. Mikes. Time flies.

Had a traditional, large, delicious lunch with my host family today because I only had one class (how did that work out?) and I believe this weekend my group is heading to Valparaiso to do some traveling. Can't wait! I have also been informed that my host family is taking a trip to the beach the following weekend so I will be traveling quite a bit! ahhhh!

No time for homework in a foreign country.

Just another 80º friday

I can't really get over the weather here. It is beautiful every day, end of story.
My host sister assures me that this will change, she was really excited about a down jacket that her aunt gave her; even though I can't quite imagine wearing that now I'm sure I will need something similar eventually. yay, can't wait (just kidding)

So yea, I don't know how it worked out this way, but it seems that I don't have class on fridays. oh yea! So instead I met with my professor about how my credits here are going to count at St. Mikes and I tried to go to Registro Civil to get my real Chilean ID however, it appears they need a copy of my visa and of course I didn't bring my passport this one time. It seems I will be running there after class on Monday instead. sigh.

Ah well, my sister has informed me that we are going hiking tomorrow which might be the best thing I have heard all day. The mountains here are spectacular, I can't really do them justice with words but suffice it to say that I am surprised by their height every single time I see them...which is every day because you can't look at buildings without there being mountains behind them.

Other than that I am getting into the rhythm of classes at the Universidad Católica. I am taking 5 classes as of now and I have all of next week to finalize those classes and even try some new classes if I want. Apparently Chileans study towards a certain career such as 'oh, i study dentistry or oh, I study architecture' so when I tell them that I study ecology and spanish they are confused as to what career path I am following. I am confused on that point as well.

So whoever reads this blog, I hope you are enjoying my adventures through the city of Santiago and surrounding awesome countries. Please if you ever have a chance to go, GO because it is an amazing city with a lot to offer. Can't wait to go skiing in the Andes come winter! ahhhhh

Off to class

Literally, I am navigating public transit in about 10 minutes to traverse the city and eventually end up at Campus San Joaquin of the Universidad Católica here in Santiago, Chile. It has 4 campuses spread out throughout the city, ahhhh. A little bigger than St. Mikes.

I spent the weekend visiting host relatives such as grandparents, aunts and uncles and getting to know my host brother (14 years old) who recently returned from summer camp, haha they have that here too! All in all a good weekend I would say, the only unfortunate thing was that it had to end and I am now faced with a rather intimidating class registration process.

How it works: All chilean students have their classes, they know where their going and what to expect. I am like a freshman only worse. I have no idea where my classes are (I was told to 'ask') I don't actually know what classes I will be taking yet, I only have a list of potential classes of which I am supposed to visit and decide within the next 2 weeks. Also, once we decide on the classes we want we are supposed to register for them at their sort of central office (don't know where those are either) however, if later we decide that we don't want to take that class and instead we want to take this class, we must un-register for that class and sign up for the new one! woohoo.

So it will be a busy two weeks.

However it is still in the 80's every day here so I can't complain about the relentless sunshine and the GIANT cordillera that you can see from Everywhere in Santiago. The mountains are one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen!

that's all for now, mostly because I'm going to miss micro (or bus as we north americans call it) D18 which will deliver me safely to metro station Bustamante. haha

Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay

Buenos Aires

So, a lot has happened since I last wrote (sorry).

I have arrived in Chile (Feb. 13) and with only 3 days in Santiago under my belt we were swept off to Buenos Aires, Argentina for some cultural museum visits, classes, exploring etc. After four days in Buenos Aires, we crossed the Rio de la Plata aka: the 3rd largest river in Latin America after the Amazon and the Orinoco in Venezuela. Crossing the Rio de la Plata brought us to , Montevideo, Uruguay where we stayed about 3 1/2 days to explore, learn, stare etc. For those of you who have never thought about the country of Uruguay in your life, you should think about it sometime. It is a really tiny country, but really amazing. The capitol city is very chill and the people go with the flow. There is nothing of the rushed feeling of Buenos Aires or the 'trying to be European' in Santiago. It is special. Montevideo was never a spot on my list of places to go, but it is sure to make it on the list of places to return to.

So after all that we returned to Santiago yesterday for a brief, but utterly terrifying orientation of classes and host families. Thankfully, I am now living with my host family so that part doesn't seem so scary anymore, but the classes continue to loom. We have not started classes yet and will not start until the 5th of March. All of Chile is on summer vacation right now, as a result I feel like I'm on summer vacation and it is weird not being in school. I feel like I skipped my whole spring semester, but don't worry, it won't be like that for long. My days promise to be busy and full and my nights? full of homework.

My Chilean host family is amazing however, so I am not worrying about any of that right now. My father plays the piano and the banjo (what?) and my mother is a social worker. I have three younger siblings Maria Fernanda (20), Victoria (18) and Juan Eduardo (14) so I'm pretty pumped about that. They seem like a very up-beet and happy family, just like my real family at home so I don't think it will take too long to adjust. There is however, the unavoidable awkward week in which you first arrive and must make polite small talk and talk about yourself way too much for anyone to be comfortable. After that there is a lull that settles and you get to talk about normal human things like the news and what you did that day and all that fun stuff. I am only talking about how it played out in Ecuador, perhaps it will be different here.

Well, that's all for now. To those who actually follow this I am deeply sorry that my entires are so disappointingly far apart. I must further disappoint you that it is not for lack of internet connection or any sort of modern commodity, it is just the fact that I never remember to blog. So, keep a weathered eye out for the next one as I will try to post with at least some regularity from now on.

OK, off to Chile

So, I now am beginning my second study abroad experience based out of Santiago, Chile. Chile has about 6 million inhabitants, so we'll see how this goes.

Of course, I am not there yet. I am in fact sitting in my room trying to wrap my head around the fact that though I will get there in summer, it will slowly become winter while I am there. It will probably get pretty cold. What to pack?!

Got my visa this past Monday, got my flight a long time ago, I'm basically ready to go. I am going to be sincerely and honestly broke after I get back. oh no.

oh well, I will soon (hopefully) be telling you all of adventures in the southern hemisphere. please stay tuned for it only gets more interesting from here on out. Today I will be skiing, in four days I will be basking in Chilean sunshine.