I can finally say I have been to a zoo! Nunca había ido a un zoológico en mi vida antes de Chile…. I know I am late to the party.
Never had I been too a zoo in my life before going to the one in Santiago Chile. I took millions of pictures, and I really enjoyed seeing so many animals that I had only seen on TV. Though I do have to say, the big animals like the elefantes, osos (bears), y jirafas looked super bored/depressed. I imagine they are sad because there was not sufficient space to live and be happy.
Though I want to show you some of my pictures:
Those were only just a few of the many animals I captured in photos. I realize now that I posted a lot of pictures of the birds in the zoo, but I just think they are so pretty. Also, if you did not know, there are so many penguins in Chile. There are not any lounging around where I live, but Chile is known to have a lot down south where it gets super cold, and surprisingly some up north where it is hot.
I have checked the zoo box off of my bucket-list! I probably will not go back to a zoo until a long time, but it was a good memory for me.
I will get back with you all next week about my next adventure!
I have surpassed the halfway mark of studying abroad, and it has been wild. So far I have done so many things that I never would have considered at home, I’ve eaten so many things I never even knew existed, and I have probably drank way too much. I absolutely love Chile, and more specifically Viña and Valpo. Part of me wants to never leave, and part of me absolutely needs a hug from my dad back at home.
Homesickness is a weird thing. I want to describe it to you, but I am unsure if I can. Because I am super content and happy where I am, but a part of my soul just yearns for home. Sometimes I smell something that reminds me of home, like today I thought I smelled the sweet smell of the forest in NC in the summer, and you just want to zip back home for a day and then go right back to where you were. Last week I actually saw a street dog that reminded me of how my dog back at home looks… it was absolutely heart breaking. I am an animal person, and there are many stray dogs in Valpo, but none of them compare to my dog. My baby albus 😥
Here is a picture of my beautiful and sweet Albus asleep like the angel he is.
When you are surrounded by a culture and language that is not your home culture, it can get hard after awhile to not just want to touch something familiar, eat some mac n cheese, and for me oddly, drink some Motts apple juice. I know that I will make it to the end, I just miss home.
Though the complicated part is that half of me feels like this is home. THAT’S SO WEIRD. I could picture myself visiting Chile again in the future and just staying here. THAT’S CRAZY. Chile has indeed stolen my heart, and when I ask for it back at the end of my stay this semester, I am not sure it will give it back, and I’m not sure if I would want it back.
I have made so many friends and connections here that its hard to choose one home over the other. There are so many things here that I don’t have there and visa versa. I guess I was the one who took this risk, the risk of falling in love with another place and other people.
Studying abroad is wild.
With nothing else to say, and no knowledge how to express how I feel, I will leave you here.
I am back again, but this time to talk about on of my favorite Chilean bar foods!!! A Chorillana is a big plate (puede pedir una chica o un grande), of papas fritas (french fries), covered with sausage and what I would consider BBQ (pulled meat?), covered in cheese and toped off with fried eggs. I am sure some chorillanas are made differently, but the ingredients I listed are the fundamental, traditional ingredients. I have tried several different chorillanas from different restaurants and bars, and I would say that the best one was from Barbones Bar here in Viña del Mar – if you ever end up here in Viña, you have to go get one there!
Here is what a chorillana looks like/can look like:
I discovered the chorillana after about a month and a half of being in Chile, and at that point when my Chilean friends had asked if I knew what it was and I did not, they were in shock. The chorillana is native to Chile, and you absolutely cannot come here and leave without ordering one to share with sus amigos. Though this is a bar food, so get out and try out the bars of Chile! Order a pisco sour and a chorillana, and let you worries fade away!
I believe that this dish is on my list of reasons to stay in Chile 🙂
I am currently living in Viña del Mar, and studying in Valparaíso – I get the best of both worlds! These two cities are right next to each other, but very different. Viña del Mar is a bit more touristy than Valpo in the sense that is is more of a beachy resort city, but Valpo is also considered a tourist city as well. Both cities have tall buildings and many gated in homes and apartments, but Valpo has more “hippies” (yes, magic brownies are sold on the street there) and lots of amazing street art. Valpo also does not hide its poverty as well as Viña does. Both cities have a “plan” (what they call the design and structure of the main commercial area of the city), and both cities have cerros (or hills). In the plan of Viña you can see a little poverty here and there, but not very much – it is all in the hills away from the city center. Whereas in Valpo, the poverty can be seen very easily if you walk in one direction or the other.
Though I love both Viña and Valpo for their differences. I can say that I have never seen a more beautiful sunset than the one here in Valpo and Viña! I would stay in Chile my whole life just to see the sunset every night.
Here are some pictures I took from Valpo right in front if my university:
And here are some photos of the sunset from a few weeks ago from the beach in Viña:
I absolutely love both cities, and I know I am going to find it hard to get on an airplane and leave when that time comes in July!
Though I really wanted to write this post to talk about how a girl like me, who grew up in the country of North Carolina and who studies in the beautiful mountains of Western Carolina, is doing here in the city. When I first arrived in Chile and moved to Viña del Mar I did not know what to do in a big city. I had never stayed in a big city for more than one week. Though now I sometimes find myself asking what I will do when I go back!
Every week I go dancing in a club or bar, sing karaoke with friends, walk along the coast to see the beautiful ocean, climb the cerros of the city, or simply just go out to eat with friends. I can only do a few of these when I return! As much as I thought I would stay the same, I have absolutely changed. I love the beautiful city of Valparaiso, and July is coming too fast. Chile has stolen my heart!
Though I do admit that I miss the tranquility of home at Western Carolina University.
Valpo, Viña, or home – I appreciate where I have been, and because of studying abroad, I now appreciate the world and where I will go.
Today is the day that I will talk about one of the biggest trademarks here in Chile, or at least the Valparaíso region – Un Completo. This trademark is a salchicha ( hotdog) with palta (avocado), mayonesa (mayonaise), mostaza (mustard), ketchup, and any other salsa you request – for example, hot sauce or pebre (which is like pico de gallo). Before coming to Chile and learning what un completo was, I had never even considered putting palta (avocado) on a hotdog. I can say, now after tasting un completo myself, that I would still never put palta on a hotdog.
In fact, I have noticed that palta is used as an ingredient in so many foods here. Here are some examples of where I have noticed palta that I have not before. I walked into a McDonalds maybe a month or so back, and the sandwiches were made with palta! Last week, I went to eat sushi at a nearby restaurant, and almost all the sushi used palta. All the hotdogs and hamburgers come with palta unless otherwise requested. Though I would have to say that the one thing that I absolutely love here that comes with palta is ensaladas (salads). Before I came, my vision of a perfect and normal salad was lettuce with ranch dressing, cheese, little pieces of bacon, and crackers. Now, my whole vision of a perfect salad has changed! I am determined to eat salad how I love them here when I get back – lettuce with olive oil, palta, black beans, tomatoes, and sometimes celery and cilantro.
I did my best to find a picture online to what un completo chileno would look like on the street, but this is a bit more fancier.
In the end, I have a respect for the completo due to the concentration it takes to fit so many ingredients on one hotdog, but I just cannot get accustomed to all the ingredients to actually enjoy un completo and order it again. It is one food I will leave to the Chileans to enjoy.
I hope to post again later this week. I will see you all soon!
This past weekend I took a 12 hour bus trip with my other half Derek Pelayo-Quezada to a small pueblo in the south of Chile to enjoy the country side and get away from the big city for a little while. I absolutely fell in love with the scenery of Pucón! I will do my best to add as many photos of Pucón as I can that will show how diverse its landscape is, but I did take more than 100 pictures…therefore maybe 4 will do.
Pucón is located at the foot of Volcan Villarica in Chile and not too far from Argentina. Before this adventure, I had never visited or seen a volcano ever! The Andes Mountains surrounded the small city of Pucón, but from the middle of town, you could see the volcano perfectly. The volcano always had snow on its sides in comparison to the surrounding mountains, which did not have snow at this time of year.
Pucón has more than a volcano and surrounding mountains, the town is also located right on the side of a lake. What is so special about this, is that the sand on the shore of the lake is not your normal lake beach shore, the sand is made from volcanic material. The sand is black and made from volcanic eruptions long in the past. I collected a box of the sand to take back home with me as a souvenir! Here is a picture of the lake and the sand:
The little town its self is so beautiful and offers so much to do, but the countryside that surrounds Pucón offers even more opportunities to have adventures! If you stay in town, in order to venture out without renting a car for yourself, you have to take small buses from a local bus station out into the country. My first day in Pucón I took one of these buses maybe an hour away to a terma ( hot spring) out in the middle of no where next to a beautiful creek! There are many termas to visit in Pucón, but the one that I visited was much smaller than the rest, and was more private as well. The other termas are managed by businesses that you have to pay in order to get in the terma (because they made it into an official pool). Though the terma I went to was free for anyone who dared to make the hike up there, and was absolutely perfect in my opinion. Here is a picture of the terma I visited:
As you can see in the photo above, the water that comes up from the earth to fill this natural pool is extremely blue and clear. I was absolutely amazed by the clarity and color of the water when I first set eyes on the natural springs. In fact, I convinced myself that the color was not natural until I saw another location that had natural fresh water from underground springs. The other location was called Los Ojos de Caburgua. This location had three large waterfalls and various other small waterfalls along the trail that you hike to get there. After exploring the trail and waterfalls I was able to talk to some locals about the beautiful scenery and the surrounding area and towns, and I learned that all of the water that flows through the waterfalls and creeks at the Ojos eventually run into the Lake of Caburgua. Here is a picture of the Ojos de Caburgua and the Lake of Caburgua from Playa Negra and Playa Blanca (the two different beaches are just two different sides of the lake).
As far as my adventures outside and in the countryside, what I have mentioned so far is about it. In all, I went to two lakes, the lake of Pucón and the lake of Caburgua, I hiked to a terma that resided next to a creek, I visited the waterfalls that provide some of the water for lake Caburgua, and I visited the different beaches of lake Caburgua.
Though I did make the time to spend a few hours in some small towns outside of Pucón that pride themselves in being descendants of the Mapuche indigenous peoples. In the town (which I sadly cannot recall the name of), there was a museum honoring ancient artifacts and traditions of the Machupe peoples. I was able to take some pictures of the outside of the museum and of a bridge that stretches across the large river that runs through the town, but I did my best to be respectful and not take pictures of absolutely everything in the town. This trip was especially unique and special for me because in studying the spanish language I am also learning the culture and customs that surround the language too. A lot of the culture and customs were molded and past down through history, and this small pueblo was a testament of history and indigenous roots that are still very much alive in the Spanish speaking world. Here are some pictures from the pueblo honoring their ties with the Mapuche indigenous peoples:
I hope you have enjoyed the pictures and story of my adventures in Pucón, and I truly do hope that you get to experience Pucón and its surrounding towns someday in the future. Each adventure I am finding new reasons to love Chile and South America! I almost do not want to go back to the United States just because of how unique and beautiful South America is.
Thank you for reading, and I will talk with you sometime soon!
I am starting to become accustomed to my new home more and more everyday, but I thought that today I would talk about why this is such a hard task for some. Here, there is a difference in culture, food, schedules, transportation, and anything you can imagine. I really do love embracing new ways of life and culture, but I have made a few observations so far along my journey.
First, the food is completely different here in Chile. At home I am accustomed to eating a variety of foods such as my favorite, macaroni and cheese, oyster stew, chili beans, lasagna, spaghetti, alfredo pasta, pizza, and so on – the list could go on forever. Though here, the only food from that is available from that list is pizza, and it is not the same (extremely less greasy than in the U.S.). It may be different for other students here in Chile, but for me, because I am staying with a host family, I do not eat a lot of meat, and I eat an enselada (salad), every single day. There is always fruit on the table such as bananas, grapes, pears, apples, and pepino dulce. In the refrigerator there is always a variety of blueberries, raspberries, palta (avocados), carrots, cucumbers, yogurt, and what ever is left over from lunch the day before. At home I would not have eaten a salad every day, and more so without dressing and with cheese and blueberries mixed in.
Though I like the change in diet. At first I struggled with the drastic change, but now I appreciate the change in culture and food. I now appreciate the foods I did not at home. I even feel better, eating healthy really makes the difference! I am doing my best to just be open to all differences here.
The restaurant culture here is not as advanced and varied as in the U.S. I have seen a lot of Italian, and Peruvian restaurants, but not much of anything else. Empanada stands are super popular here, but there is not a specific Chilean restaurant that serves a type of food. Chileans eat such a variety of foods, the only thing that I feel like is strictly Chilean is ensaladas.
I am doing my best to find new and exciting foods to try as I encounter them just as I am trying to experience new things and go on new adventures.