Sunday, August 30, 2009

Great Weekend


I am really tired, so this is going to be a quick update! Friday three of us went to La Campana again, but this time we hiked a more leisurely path and had a picnic. I forgot my camera, so when my friends post pictures I will steal them and post them here! It was beautiful, and a perfect day. The highlight was the tarantula that Kaeli almost stepped on. It was huge, you will all be properly grossed out by the photos later! Friday night I went to a friend's house for her host sister's birthday party. It was a great time- both fun and great for practicing my Spanish with new people. I also learned some new salsa moves from some of the parents! (It is totally normal here for someone my age to have their birthday party at home with both family and friends. In fact, I got scolded by a grandma-that-could-get-down for not shaking my hips enough!) Saturday I went with a different friend and one of her host sisters to a protest against damns in Patagonia. Afterward, I got my nose pierced! Now, before anyone gets too upset please remember that this is NOT permanent! And I love it! Saturday night I we went out to eat, so the picture with the HUGE hot dog is a completo. I don't know if I explained already, but it a toasted bun, hot dot, diced tomatoes, avocado, mayonnaise, mustard, and ketchup. Awesome, huh? Today I went to the zoo with Mama, Macarena and her BF Martin. Well, I need to get some sleep. Love you all!

Thursday, August 20, 2009


Views from my class, and on the way home! (and number 1 is my apartment!)

Sunday, August 16, 2009


Birthday Chilean Style

My host family bought me really sweet gifts (no pun intended!!) and Mama made me a scarf!

The game that Mama invented, at Macarena's class get-together.
Carne! mmmm...
At midnight on my Birthday I was talking on skype with my family, when my host family came in with a minature cake and singing happy birthday!

My two families- how lucky am I?

I had a great birthday, even though it was weird to not be at home. My family here really made it special for me. We went to Macarena's class get-together, and after had a little fiesta at the house with the family and my five closest friends here. One friend even preformed a Spanish rap for me! We then finished out the night by going out dancing until the club closed at 5:30am. Definitely a day to remember!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

5 months

Hey everyone! I just have to share my great news with you all, since I'm just thrilled!

It has been 5 months since The Big Spill '09, and three months since The Operation. Today, for the first time in 5 months, I went for a run!

Alright, so maybe it was more of a jog. And it was only for ten minutes. However, I've never felt so blessed by being able to do something so simple as work out. I feel so truly fortunate and humble that I am well on my way to a full recovery, and that I am able to have this time in such a special place. Although my injury was by no means fun, I am overwhelmed with gratitude that I was still able to go on this adventure- and now I can run again! Watch out Beckham!

My new ACL and I couldn't be happier together!

Thank you to everyone reading this, for if you have this link it because you have inspired me to come, helped me to go, or are supporting me here- but most likely all three. Thank you.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Ok, quick update.

There is a treasure here in Chile, and I may just have to write President Obama about the need for this particular gem in the U.S.

Drum Rollllllll............. Manjar!

MMmmmmm.... creamy, rich, smooth, there aren't enough words! Manjar with bread, manjar in churros, manjar in pastries, manjar with chocolate. I love it all! Think Nutela meets carmel!

Don't worry everyone, I'll be bringing an extra suitcase home full of manjar.

And seriously Barack, look out for my letter.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Adventure with Mama

So, it is always an adventure when my mama makes plans for us, because I'm never 100% sure what she trying to tell me. Today we took a micro around Valpo, and did some exploring! It ended up being one of my favorite times here. Above is San Pedro the saint that protects the fishermen!

My mama said that the danger of the fishermen's jobs leads to a lot of praying. (Hence why this is right next to the dock.)
One of the roadside memorials, and according to mama probably for someone who died in an auto accident.

This picture is for my dad. There was one man fishing without a pole- just string and a lure. She said that poles used to be very expensive, so some people still prefer the old fashioned method. (He spun the lure and tossed- sort of like a lasso.)

I always have to resist posting every picture that I take of the murals and graffiti. Sometimes the art is beautiful, sometimes puzzling, sometimes political, sometimes all of the above!
Soccer! Fútbol! Right along the ocean- how great?!

Isn't Mama the cutest?

Friday, August 7, 2009

Two Weeks: check!

The plaza with mosaics, next to my house! It is so incredible at night with the light reflecting off of it.

So I feel that it is due time for a real update!

From the beginning of my time in Valpo:

We took a bus from Santiago to Valparaíso. The memories that sticks with me is the moment we first were able to see Valpo. Our bus filled with energy, as we all clambered to get our first glimpse of the place where we will be spending the next few months. No matter how many pictures you see of a place it is so different in person. A great feeling.

Then, we all realize we are about to meet our host families. A bit more of a nervous feeling than the look-at-the-beautiful-ocean-feeling. I wasn't too anxious until walking into the room with all of the families. It was an intense moment with my thoughts going something like this:

"I hope they like me. What if they don't like me? Oh man, they're not going to like me! What do I say! Oh man, my Spanish is horrible. What do I say?...."

Well, the introductions went well. My family is so kind and welcoming, so despite my lack of language skills settling in was pretty simple. They even had put fresh flowers and some candy in my room!

Alright, I'm bored with the catch-up, so fast forward to this week.

Wed. was the first day of classes. By this time, I've learned not to take myself so seriously. However, I must admit that it is humbling to feel so foolish on so many occasions. I know, I know, it will get better! So far I have been to Communication and Culture- relaxed but very intelligent teacher, Grammar- a bit harder to understand this prof but it will be a great class for my Spanish, Writing- ahhh! This teacher is really intimidating but I'm going to stick it out. We'll see..., and Phonetics. Let me tell you about Phonetics class. I was planning on dropping this class, but I decided to try it out and now I may take it. We practiced making the sounds of the vowels, sticking our tongues out, and rolling our "rr"s, sitting a big circle. There are people from my travel group in the class, so you can image how hard it was not to laugh as this somewhat eccentric professor is telling us to stick our tongues out harder! "mas fuerte, mas fuerte!" The prof is hilarious and is the only one so far to check consistently if we understand without making anyone feel bad, so that's a huge plus. It will also be great for my pronunciation. I must admit that I went home the first day of classes with a headache from the amount of concentration it took me to listen!

Next week= dance class! :)

Today I went on a bit of an adventure. When you take the micro (bus) around the cities, you pay to get off at whatever point, but you have to know when/where to get off. The driver doesn't tell you, there are no signs on the side of the road, no map in the bus, nada. So I was trying to meet some friends in Vina (the neighboring city) at a park with a lake. I know around where I was supposed to get off, so I asked the woman next to me and she lets me know when to go. So I get off the micro to see nothing that looks remotely like a park. Hmmm... a safe looking store? Nope, auto-repair shops- dark and dingy. Spot to make a call safely? Check. So my friend helps me find my way and I make it to this awesome park. Pictures to follow. I found a spot to sit and watch the beginning of the sunset and spend some time journaling and reflecting. It was so calming and refreshing to have some time alone in a beautiful place to sit and think and sort through my thoughts.

So to skip the details, my friend Andrew and I finally met up and walked to the beach to meet up with the other half of the group. The sun was setting over the ocean, I bought an ice cream. What could be better?!

Monday, August 3, 2009

La Campana

A national park, La Campana. I went hiking today with my friends Kennedy and Andrew.