Monday, November 24, 2008

anything but a great start

Monday mornings have never been a favorite of mine, but I do enjoy getting back into a routine, so after a wonderfully long vacation I was looking forward to my early run and my regular weekly schedule that follows. However, everything going as planned would have required me to wake up to my alarm... which I did not. I had the most difficult time falling asleep last night, and it's now 10 as I'm getting out of bed :(. It's great that I got in my 7 hours but I'm way too late for class, the commute alone is 50 min, and now I have to go to the gym instead of my path because it's currently packed with bikers. Ugh, Mondays.
At least Sunday went as I'd hoped!. I woke up early, had a yummy oatmeal breakfast, and then went to the park to study until lunch time. The weather was absolutely gorgeous, spring is finally here! Then six hours later, I sat down for lunch, absolutely starving, and had a pasta dish that I swear must've come directly from heaven. The key ingredient was mashed avocado. I love my palta but I have never even heard of eating it with pasta. My host-mom said it's an Italian thing? True or not, I was more than excited to try it! And wow, what a winner it was! I added about 3 big spoonfuls of the healthy monosaturated fat to my plain pasta, generously sprinkled pepper on top, a little EVOO, mixed it all together and had a delectable creamilicious lunch :). Mmmm! Alright, I'm sorry but that's going to have to be enough reminiscing. I have to eat something quick and get going, I'm so late, and I have about a million things I'm supposed to get done today! I hope my professor is understanding...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

al tiro

Two posts ago, out of many sweet comments that I received, I got an inquiry about studying abroad. Sorry to take so long to answer Abbey!
When I signed up to study abroad in Ecuador and Chile I knew that it would be a "once in a lifetime experience" I knew that it was monumental enough to "change me" and yet I still had no clue what I was getting myself into. I've met so many people, young and old, from all parts of the globe, that decided to drop everything and go backpacking across the South American continent to "find themself" or another type of personal discovery of the sort... and although it's certainly not as dramatic as it sounds, nor as apparent when you're going through the evolutionary process... I certainly agree that being more or less alone in a foreign country challenges a person in ways that nothing else and no one else can. I cannot even count how many times I've been scared and home sick but the point is that I survived it and am able to look back over everything with a huge smile and satisfaction. I have very little time left before I go home for winter break and there is a large part of me that doesn't want to leave. Oh my gosh, I was so nervous before I came, I can't even tell you! I was nervous that I wouldn't be able to acquire the language, I was nervous that I wouldn't make any friendly connections, I was nervous that I wouldn't get along with my host family, and most of all, I was nervous that being away from the people I cared about, the boyfriend, my best friends, my family, the people that make my world would lose interest and basically forget about me. Crazy, huh? And yet I went through with it, I had to, for myself. I did it, all of it, and all those things I feared never came true. I wouldn't take back these past six months for anything! I completely become familiar with and immersed myself into 2 other cultures, both so beautiful and special, and along the way got to know myself that much better. I truly know that I am willing and capable to do more than I ever thought possible. I may have been this strong all along but I doubt I would've been able to convince myself of it otherwise. Does it still sound cheesy? Yes, of course, but it is also very, very true. I promise :). By the way, even just having the chance to see and visit all the amazing places I have in the past 6 months, seriously, does life get any better?! So, as for your final question, would I recommend studying abroad? Definitely. Without a second thought. Time and time again.
I have to apologize, I still do not have the food pictures from San Pedro, however, I do have a few highlights in the mean time. Last post I shared a picture of Salar de Tara, which was even more breathtaking than any photo could ever display. Seriously, one of the most gorgeous places on earth. As for now, above you will see my traveling companion, Genevieve, and our introductory desert Pisco Sours. We deserved it ;). At that same restaurant we ate lunch, I ordered a large salad with spinach, tomato, avocado, onions, and carrots, and it was positively divine, as was all the food that we ate from there on out!Early one of the mornings, we woke up to visit the geysers. Oh my gosh, so incredible... and freezing! As you can see, I was very bundled up!
Then we took numerous hikes through Cajón del Diablo (Devil Canyon) and Valle de la Muerte (Death Valley), neither of which were scary or threatening of the least, I can assure you :). Great pictures though!
And, finally, in the evening of one of the nights we went to Valle de la Luna, Moon Valley, (with the crystalized salt it mimics the surface of the moon.) What a beautiful, beautiful sunset it was.
When we got back we were a scary combination of starving and exhausted ;) so we opted to go back to the hostel and pick up some things along the way. A tomato, basil, and cheese empanada alongside a fresh cucumber definitely hit the spot and then we were off to bed!
Last but certainly not least is a lovely picture of one of the many salads I've been eating the past few days at home. It's been hot, very hot, and most of the time a light, refreshing ensalada is all that everyone is craving. Lucky me, all the fresh, season vegetables are yum, yum, yum!
Now I'd like to mention the title :) al tiro, a Chilean term that is the equivalent to immediately, although immediately in the sense of Latin American time, which could in reality, translate to now, or, later, for us, haha. I mention this because there may very well be a change of plans concerning my return to the U.S. I just may go back sooner than I thought. I'm finished 2 finals (thank you for the luck, by the way!) and have 2 papers and a presentation to do before Monday. Then, I'm flying south to the darling Chilean island of Chiloe for my very last excursion, and afterwards was going to be in Santiago for 8 full days before leaving. I am dreading saying goodbye to my host family, I love them and am going to miss them so much, but the truth is, none of my very good friends are going to be around during this week and a day after my Chiloe trip and I'll have nothing left to do. Thus! After speaking with my mom earlier, we've decided there's no reason I shouldn't come home earlier, rather than just wait around for so long. And as a result, I only have 12 days left here, I'll be home sweet home on December 4th. I'm coming home al tiro. I wonder what the boyfriend is going to say...

Friday, November 21, 2008


Hola bloggies! Oh my gosh, how I´ve missed you so! I know I´ve been slacking on posting lately and haven´t been around in the general blogosphere (it´s daunting how many of my favorite blogs I have yet to catch up on) all because I´ve been such a busy bee! Between my parent´s visit, the end of my Chilean semester a.k.a. final papers, projects, and exams to do and prepare for, and my most recent trip to San Pedro, I just haven´t been my usual happily blogging self... so I´m sorry. Thank you so much for sticking around. It means so much to me that I have any readers at all and then when I can count on them to keep reading even when I don´t have the time to dedicate to my posts, I don´t know how I ever got so lucky :). Now, as much as I would like to stick around and catch up, I still can´t. I have my Spanish final tomorrow that I really have to study for! Not to mention that I forgot to bring extra camera batteries while I was away, thus the majority of my pictures, both food and spectacular sights are on my friend´s camera. Oh and also had my laptop charger stolen so I can´t upload anything onto my beloved and deceased Mac and send some recap pics and stories your way. Ahh, all this urgency and inconvenience is stressing me out! Hope you´re having a fantastic Tuesday and I promise I will be back with some legit blog material as soon as humanly possible! By the way, one last thing, I only have 21 days left of living in Santiago. Insanity.

Monday, November 17, 2008


But before I head north to San Pedro de Atacama here are a few presents--
--some absolutely delectable food, a series of beautiful places--

Thursday's lunch

Mercado Central (Santiago)

Thursday's coffee & cake break

Friday's breakfast


Friday's lunch

Viña del Mar

Saturday's breakfast


Saturday's lunch a Chiringuito

Saturday's dinner en Papudo

Saturday's dessert

Sunday's lunch (+ una ensaladita (little salad))

Sunday's dessert

Monday's lunch a El Huerto

Monday's dinner with my host family and parents
Viña Viu Manent

Tuesday's lunch (+ wine tasting)

Tuesday's dessert

Wednesday's breakfast

Viña Santa Cruz (+ wine tasting)
Wednesday's lunch

--and a very big thank you to mis padres for an unforgettable week!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

i've got visitors!

My darling parents are currently on a plane and headed in my direction... lucky me! I'm psyched to see them again and I've got such a fun next few days planned for us. Tomorrow we're going on a city tour. It's weird, as long as I've lived in Santiago, I still haven't done one city tourist thing. It'll be an exciting first time for all of us and lots of pictures for sure! Then, early Friday morning we're headed to the coast, Zapallar to be exact, one of the most beautiful beaches in Chile. We're staying there 2 nights, enjoying the sun, relaxing on the beach, visiting the markets, and best of all, going out to eat at the best seafood restaurant ever! When I mentioned to my host-mom where I was taking them she immediately said, "¿En serio? ¡Tengo que ir al Chiringuito!" She literally told me I had to go, I had not choice, it would simply be un-Chilean not to. So go we will :). More plans after the food!
Yesterday we had Salmon Patties for dinner. To go along with the theme, my host-mom put a fishy spin on the rice, adding asparagus, corn, and clams, and made a pretty cucumber & onion salad. Yummmy!

Dinner was an unexpected choice, lentils, but good all the same. Trouble is, with all the heat no one was able to finish their bowl, it was just too heavy. So! we moved onto the best course, the vegetables.

The lettuce is self-explanatory. The asparagus, on the other hand- we ate it steamed, and cold. It was quite odd actually. I'm going to suggest we roast the tasty little spears next time, it's my favorite way to eat 'em.

To flavorfy (new word!) the asparagus my host-mom broke out the Remoulade. What?! I'm still not sure what it is, lol, I think something like horseradish? There was a sale on German products in the supermarket so we've got a couple of unknown goods :). By the way, don't know if I ever mentioned it, but the German influence is huge here. There was a large wave of German immigrants in Chile's past and today the country has a few authentic German towns, the German language is the second most studied after English, some of the best private hospitals and schools (my host-sister's) were founded by Germans, and, there are evidently lots of German imports. Who knew?

Back to weekend plans! After two days in paradise we're driving back to Santiago on Sunday... but not before stopping by Valparaíso and Viña del Mar for some lunch and a walking tour. Monday I'm booked with classes so the parents will have the day of to do some shopping, and finally, Tuesday, is the long-awaited wine tour in Colchagua Valley aka the next Napa Valley. I think I'm making the trip worth their while :) wouldn't you say? They leave Wednesday afternoon so I didn't plan anything, just some good quality time together. I may only have a month left but that doesn't mean I'll miss them any less when they go! Ah, leaving, that's right... in that case, who wants to visit next?!