Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Dar la vuelta

I should be doing anything than writing this right now—packing for Peru, cleaning my incredibly messy room, and saying good-byes. But actually I’d rather do anything but those things right now, so I guess I’ll write instead.

Right as I am ready to leave Vina, the sun comes out again..figures. Today I decided to trek up the cerros of Valparaiso (the nearby coastal town) one last time. Cerro Alegre and Cerro Concepcion are gorgeous places to just stroll/climb..covered with cool graffiti, colorful buildings, and cute little shops/ restaurants. It was nice to be away from the commercialized Vina del Mar, but even Vina I will miss like whoa!

Tomorrow I am off to Peru with three Germans and four Spaniards, and hopefully we’ll see Maria and Chris up there. I am so freaking excited for this trip!!! We will hit up Lake Titicaca and then go to Macchu Picchu and then Lima! Macchu Picchu…wow I remember learning about it in freakin elementary school! Also I am very happy that I don’t have to say goodbye to these German and Spanish peeps just yet : ) If I haven't said it before, I’ll say it now…it is craaazy how you can get so close to people in such a short period of time.

Another good German friend and 2 Australians left a couple of days ago to Venezuela to trek the Amazon,  but unfortunately they are still somewhere in Chile cause their stuff was stolen…I am so worried about them, but knowing these three, they’ll find a cleverly stupid way to get out of this mess.

Oh and Buenos Aires with Jenelle! What a great time! I can’t believe that I thought that I would have to time to study for my finance exam while there…my roomie was right..there’s always something to do in the city. First of all, it is so big and I love big cities! Kelsey is right…it is like New York but with its own Latino/ Italian tang! Ooh Jenelle took me tangoing, and it was so cool to see Jenelle dance cause she knew what she was doing! And the gelato was yummy and the guys as well. They are sooo much better looking than the Chileans at least (my Bolivian/ Ecuadorian roomies claim that the Argentinean men top all South Americans…hmm). And then I taught some ppl how to do the Soulja Boy (I need to brush up on my skillz). And we went to a 4th of July Party, and I was so glad to celebrate with Americans cause I would have been the only one celebrating back in Vina. And at the BBQ, we sang Disney Songs in English and French..beautiful! And here is an amazingly gorgeous pic of me and the one and only J!

                   BuenosAires 029

But unfortunately the fear of swine flu there was a bit overwhelming.  Almost half the city was wearing masks, just walking the streets and riding the metro, and that just kinda freaked me out. I don’t think their fears are entirely justified, as the problem really is not that grave. I have 2 friends here in Chile with the swine flu and I know they went out partying  tonight. I don’t know, I think being precautious is just leading to greater fear. Just wash your hands people!

Ok, I’ll write another post after I come back and then I’ll wrap-up this blog. Chau til then!

Friday, June 19, 2009

C'est pour la petite bourgeoisie qui boit du champagne ♪

It’s been a while…It is a rainy rainy day. And the sewer system in Vina is lacking, so no way I am going to go outside until I can get some boots, so until then… I blog : )

I have 2 WEEKS left in Chile and then a week or so of traveling around South America (probably Peru and Bolivia) and then home for a week and then off to the Motherland! Oh man oh man..what a summer (although it is winter here). The cold here is not the bitter, face-scarring cold of DC/Bmore…it is just super windy cause of the ocean, and when it rains, ooo it rains..

What have I been up to of late? Hmmm well I have been playing plenty of texas hold em, watching Terminator Salvation (an OK movie), gambling at the casino, chilling with my nana, salsa dancing, partying, doing a hundred group projects/ presentations (with the lazy lazyyy Chileans), picking up a decent amount of German and French, drinking chai, and well just living. I was in a bit of a financial rut for a while because I was broke, and didn’t want to borrow any more dough from my parents, but then my excess scholarship money came in, and now I can eat and travel as well. Yeah!

Well the main thing that happened was my 21st Birthday…and although I was not in the good ol US of A for this momentous occasion, I lived it up and had the best bday of my life (so far), thanks to a lil help from some friends : ) On my actual birthday, I received the gift of life from my parents, that and CHAI! I make it for my nana and my roomies whenever I’m home, cause they love it as well! At midnight, a couple of friends and I headed to the Sheraton for a couple of yummy cocktails to ring in the big day. Also that night, my friend Maria prepared a lovely and overwhelmingly stuffing dinner, sooo nice of her. Because four of us xhange students had birthdays in the same week, we decided to throw a humongo fiesta and rent out a party room and all. I also decided to invest in a new dress and shoes. All of us wore tiaras as well to designate ourselves as the royalty of the evening.

Well the fiesta turned out to be awesome…so many people, at least 70 or so..most of whom I know. The theme of the party might as well have been Bolivia because of the number of Bolivians present. My roomies are Bolivians, so they invited their friends, and Franzi’s (another bday girl) roomies are Bolivian, and they invited their friends…(note: there are many Bolivians studying in Chile just because Chilean higher education is better than theirs and because they wanted to get away from Evo Morales). Sadly no one can remember what exactly transpired at the party, but maybe that is just a testament to how good it was : ) Oh and we had security guards and all (one of whom I wished was more like my personal guard..HmmmMmmm). Afterwards most of the guests went clubbing, which is always a good time. One downside is that I lost my camera. The thing is, I tried to be upset about it, but I can’t help but think that there is no wayyy I would sacrifice that night to have my camera back.

Now that it is almost time to go, I am getting extremely sentimental. Frankly although I miss everyone back home, if I could stay here for another semester, I definitely would, as several of my xchange buddies are staying as well as my Chilean buddies. I hate thinking that the chance of seeing them ever again is extremely slim. So I guess I will just have to squeeze what I can out of my time left here, and prepare to adjust to the daily grind of life back home.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Wine & Steak

Vegetarian gods, forgive me.

I loveeee the steak in Argentina. It is sooo rich. I promise I won’t eat any more meat…(til I go to India cause my family there would probably banish me if I didn’t).

Last weekend, I went to Mendoza, Argentina, which is only a 7 hour bus ride away from Vina. I took the night bus there and back, so I crossed the border around 2 in the morn. Lemme tell you, the Argentinean police are caught up over this swine flu thing; a big bad policeman came into our bus with a mask on and asked if anyone felt a fever. He even came up to individual people and asked. And the Chilean popo get all uppity about bringing fresh fruit into the country. I brought back some marmalade from Argentina, and this popo dog smelled it and literally jumped on me. And you know I don't really like big dogs so I got scared, and every policeman in sight asked me what I had in my bag. Their preoccupation is understandable though as Chile’s economy thrives on its fresh fruits/ veggies, and they sure wouldn’t want any bugs crossing the border and destroying the crops.

I went with 2 good Australian friends, who taught me English- Aussie style. For example, when I asked for a juice box; they cracked up because they thought that ‘juice box’ was a funny name (but it is a box of juice, right?). Anyway, it’s apparently called a ‘popper’ cause you jump on it after you finish and it pops. Wow. Also there’s ‘bubbler’ for water fountain, ‘Maccers’ for McDonald’s and ‘hot chips’ for french fries.

We arrived at our quite dingy but quite cheap hostel early in the morn, and after a nap, we walked round the city. It really is a pretty little place with some beautiful weather, big and cute houses, and Argentinean flags everywhere (like in every store window). It is so relaxing to just walk around this city, and it is a perfect place for a quiet weekend. One side of Mendoza is occupied by a HUGE park, which includes a large lake for rowers, an observatory, a ZOO!, a little town which put a huge statue of Jesus on the top of a hill, and a large Church. Also the people in Mendoza are some of the nicest I've met ever. They are so nice when you are asking for directions.

My girl Jenelle had warned me about how Argentines hoard all their coins because the bus drivers will not accept bills, and it is almost impossible to get change at a corner kiosk or store. So where do you get coins, you ask? Fuck if I know. Luckily, there were bus drivers who (if we begged enough) took our bill or who just gave us a free ride rather than accept the bill.  What a system.

Anyway, we found a great ice cream spot which was re-visited..hmm twice more : ) On our first night, we found out that there was a magic show. But unfortunately we missed it, so we decided to see a play instead. So we go to this lil theater, and ask the guy at the desk when the play is on, and he informs us that none of the actors showed up, so that play got cancelled. So we ask, what's on tonight then? And he says a comedy. And I ask, is it funny? And he says, it matters what kind of comedy you're into. Turns out it was basically porn, as all the actors were nude at various point of the show. Unforgettable. Good bonding experience though.

When we woke up the next morning, we found a guy had moved into our room. And he starts talking to us, and tells us he is a model. And then he pulls out his whole modeling book. And he did have some really good pictures, but it was such a weird situation. Like why are you staying in this hostel if you’re a big time model? He did look the part though, very Italian. The European influence and descendance is very noticeable in the architecture and people of Argentina.

The highlight of this trip (besides the surprise porn) was the WINE TOUR ON BIKE. So painful on the butt, but soo worth it. There are like 8 wineries in Mendoza located pretty close to each other, so we biked to about 4 of them before we realized we were too tired and woozy to do more. The bike ride was gorgeous, as it was a beautiful day, and the fields surrounding the vineyards were gorgeous. Some wineries gave us a free sampling of their wines, and lemme tell you the Malbec hits the spot! We went to one winery called “Historias y Sabores” which produced marmalade, chocolate, and liquor mixed with chocolate. I decided to try this alcohol that is made with tobacco cause I was just too curious, and lemme tell you: it was gross, but interesting, very interesting. The chocolate rum though was delish! We also met some Americans while biking. And I must say I didn't realize that I slightly miss the quirkiness, awkwardness, and general friendliness of Americans. That night, we went to a buffet which was packed, and where I sinned and went to heaven (AKA I ate Argentinean steak). Whoo it was rich! The buffet was excellent cause it also had live music, crepes, and pasta made to your liking.

The next day, we went back to the park cause I really wanted to see the ZOO! Most of the animals were in really small lil cages, and that made me sad. But we laughed when we saw a monkey in a tree that had obviously escaped captivity and a llama who had done the same : ) We asked a zoo worker about these escaped animals, and he said that all the dangerous ones were locked up good, so no need to worry. Well thanks dude, good to know! My favorite part was seeing a little family of Indian elephants…so cute. Afterwards we went to the church I talked about earlier. I must say, I haven't been to Church in a while, so it was quite an experience. The sight of so many devout Christians was actually inspiring to me for some reason. That night we found out that there was a tango event happening, but unfortunately I had to head on out cause i have freaking finanzas on Monday morning. Such is life.

All in all though, I loved Mendoza. The chill atmosphere was contagious, and I felt so relaxed. Good weekend.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Culture Shock

I never really experienced culture shock during my time in Chile. I feel like not much is different, but I am gonna dedicate this post to listing some interesting cultural observations I have made during my time here. I feel like I haven’t written about that much, and I know I have mentioned some of this before, but it merits some elaboration. Whoop! Vamos..

Most importantly, FOOD- There is guacamole and mayonnaise on everything. One of the most popular fast-food items/ late night snack is the “completo.” It is basically a hot dog in a bun drowned in mayonnaise and guac…ewww. Honestly I can not even eat that thing when I am starving after a night out at 5 in the morn…seriously. Observe the picture/

The exchange rate actually isn’t that great. Grocery shopping (especially fruits and veggies) and public transportation are the only things that are cheap. I go to school in a shared taxi called a “colectivo” for about $0.80. But everything else is more or less the same price, except books. Books are so expensive..there is a crazy high tax on books…that leads to my next observation..

The ridiculous printing system in universities is just that- ridiculous. At first, students would line up in front of the printers with printing paper in hand. And then when it’s your turn, you put in the paper in the printer, run back to your computer, and press the print button. Unfortunately, there is always someone in line who wants to print out a textbook..arghh (note: nobody owns textbooks because they are way too expensive). Luckily the library has textbooks, which you can take to the copy window and stand in line to get copied. All of this in blatant copyright violation. Now, my university has decided that we can only print out 50 pages a month, and that they will provide the paper- all in the name of saving the environment. It is actually just a pain in the ass. So I just read all my texts on my laptop until my eyes start bleeding (not literally).

Talking about the school system, I have enjoyed the tendency of the Chilean students to help each other with classes. For almost every class, there are chapter and lecture summaries floating around, taken by some very astute student in the past. Also, as an exchange student, if I ask someone for their notes, they will happily let me copy them (I guess they feel bad). Also Chileans students love studying together, for almost every major test, and I have also found this tradition to work in my favor.

The TAs at my university are not necessarily grad students. Also some of them don’t even go to my school. They are given a tremendous amount of responsibility, such as making the reading quizzes (note: before now, I had not had to take a reading quiz since elementary school!) and they also grade our exams. I don’t know how I feel about this, but it is how it’s done here, so whatever.

I am very impressed with the cultural diversity in Chile. Not just because I hang out with a bunch of exchange students, but there are many Chileans whose family background is Swedish, Italian, and especially German. German everything is highly respected in Chile..you will find some restaurants with German in their name, and they don’t offer anything close to a German dish (they actually just name the menu items after different cities in Germany). Also German is a very popular language to study among university students.

I have noticed a fascination with the extraterrestrial. After I told 2 different people that we had done some star-gazing in the Atacama desert, the first question they both asked was “So did you see a UFO?” And they were serious.

I have a wonderful nana who cleans our apartment and cooks for us three days a week. She is really a sweetheart, and like a mom to me here. My roommates were the ones who hired her, and they told me it’s pretty common to have one here. I am still not used to it at all. Sometimes my nana will reprimand me if I attempt to make some tea for myself.

Ladies, an observation about Chilean men- most of them have very bad haircuts. This is so very unfortunate because sometimes I’ll be sitting in class listening to a presentation from a Chilean classmate who would be pretty attractive if he would just cut his hair in the back. They tend to cut their hair short in front and let it grow in back. Oh nooo. Either that or they just resort to the mullet..tragic. Conversely, the girls here have excellent hair that never seems to get frizzy at all. I must learn their secret..

The wide acceptance of PDAs in this country takes some getting used to. You can not even comfortably sit on a bench in a public park by yourself cause a couple will sit on the opposite end of the bench and start making out, and then you look around and every single bench is occupied in a similar fashion. And then you notice the little children running around, and I am just like WTF?

This is more of a political issue…I was very surprised when talking to some Chileans and finding out that they wished that the former dictator of the country, Pinochet was back in power. It must be noted that Pinochet was a horrible dictator who was responsible for the torture and death of many people who dared speak against him. So I was naturally surprised, but they explained that the economy was amazing during Pinochet’s reign, at least a lot better than during that of his predecessor Allende. I can’t help but feel that this is another case of time healing wounds and erasing memories.

The current president of Chile, Bachelet is in my opinion a great lady. Despite being atheist, separated (in her marriage), socialist, and a WOMAN (all sins according to Chilean norms), she succeeded in getting elected, and I think she’ll get reelected next year. Unfortunately many Chileans do not approve of her because she has done many things to further women’s rights. For example, she tried to make the morning-after pill available in public health centers, but the courts shot her down and decided to make it available only with prescription, and now it is ‘the rich woman’s pill.’ Good gracious.

Pretty much everything in Chile is centralized in Santiago, especially the major commercial sector. My business professors lament this often, and say that if business was spread out throughout the country, everyone would be more prosperous and unemployment would be lower (currently 7%).

I do not see many homeless people in Chile. Unlike in DC, where they usually live in the parks, they can not do so here because the parks are occupied by couples..duh. Actually, I think poor people here actually try to earn their money instead of begging for it. There are always street performers (jugglers, contortionists, clowns, mimes, living statues) or people selling things on the sidewalk. They usually get a good bit of money as a result of their efforts.

The dominance of soccer as a national sport is overwhelming sometimes. I have gotten out of class early many a time, due to a soccer match. The best ones are those between South American countries.

Although this is a very Catholic country (about 70%), only a small percentage are active/practicing. 

People only drink instant coffee here, and they love cappuccinos and espressos. But these also generally come from a NesCafe machine. I miss chai : (

There is a pretty big Goth presence here, especially among the young ‘uns. There are also people called ‘Pokemones’ who have spiky hair like Pikachu’s head. Haha

In most places, in Vina at least, there are only gas stoves and water heating systems. And there is no general heating system.

I know I’ve talked about this before, but there is a lot of 80s music played here, all the time…too much! What is also popular is the hard rock scene, namely Iron Maiden and AC/DC. I think they are both gonna be here next year. My roommates and most people at my Uni listen to alternative though..stuff like Radiohead and Coldplay which I don’t mind as much.

In my business classes, we almost exclusively discuss American businesses. All of our cases are courtesy of the Harvard Business School. I’d like to learn more about Chilean business, but I have learned that when it comes to business, the U.S. really is dominant. I know a lot of classmates who hope to work in a major U.S. firm one day. Also, everyone always tells me how lucky I am to attend university in the U.S., because apparently the education system there is the best in the world. Hmm..I had never really considered how lucky I am to have been born in the U.S. because of all the opportunities that are granted to me as a consequence.

Wow this one was long…

Thursday, May 7, 2009

3400km/ 35 hours

So I recently returned from an amazing and unforgettable trip to the Atacama Desert in Chile, the driest desert in the world. I can honestly say that it had the most beautiful landscape that I’ve ever8 seen (after India). I am not sure how to describe how impressive the huge mountains of sand and quartz were or how cute the fluffy llamas were, so I am just gonna put some pictures here (courtesy of friends cause my camera ran out of battery early).

the First of all, this was my first legit road trip!! I went with 11 other exchange students, and we split into 3 cars. It was such a great time-- jamming out to some awesome mix tapes, avoiding near accidents, stopping at useless train crossings (which probably hadn’t seen a train in years), getting lost, and paying some ridiculous tolls. Since I have never driven manual transmission, and it is actually very different from automatic, I was designated as the person who would stay up and entertain whoever was driving. Unfortunately, I kept falling asleep on the driver, so thank God they had some heavy metal mix to keep them up! It took us 16 hours to get there, and we hit the ground running the moment we arrived. We found a super cheap hostel (around $6/night), and signed up for 3 tours with this old drunken bastard named Pablo who snorted cocaine- very entertaining.

Friday That afternoon, we went to some salt water lakes, and everybody jumped in. Now everyone who knows me knows that I am terrified of drowning, so I was hesitant, until I saw everyone floating on the water. So I went in, and I could tell this lake was super deep, but I could literally stand straight-up in the water. It was so cool, and probably the deepest body of water I will ever be in 20ever again. Afterwards, everybody’s skin was very salty-looking, but mine was so obvious cause I am brown. I either looked like a Dalmatian or a zebra, but Pablo and the other tour guides called me ‘chocolito’ cause I resembled vanilla and chocolate ice cream. Oh man Pablo. Afterwards, all the guys jumped into a freezing cold lake to get the salt off, but I heard that salt does wonders for your skin, so I didn’t. After that, Pablo gave us pisco and snacks, and it definitely warmed us up. Then we all went out for pizza, and found this place in San Pedro (lil touristy town in the desert) that served the greatest four-cheese pizza ever, so we went back there 2 more nights, and ate the same pizza : )

Saturday  We woke up at 3 in the morning to go see the Los Geysers del Tatio, which I can honestly say is the only part of the trip that wasn’t worth it. I mean it was cool to see smoke and water coming out of the Earth and to walk among all the geysers, but it was just too coldddd (In Atacama, it is very hot during the day, and very very cold at night). So everyone was looking forward to going to the hot springs afterwards, but the one we were taken to was only freakin lukewarm. I was sooo disappointed, but 3 crazy friends jumped in there anyway, and froze their butts off when they got out. hahaha. Meanwhile, I walked a bit too close to a glacier which was apparently surrounded by quicksand, because it almost swallowed my foot, and because it was near a glacier, it was boiling hot, and my foot was boiling as well, but only for a minute or two, so all is good.

Everyone wanted to take a nap after the geyser experience, but me and 2 guys decided to drive around a bit. They even let me drive 19 because it was in the middle of no where, and I must say, I think driving manual is sooo much fun! difficult to adjust to, but fun. We drove right up to these random canyons, and the area around it seemed untouched, so we got out of the car, and forded some rivers, climbed some rocks, and went through some caves, and it was awesome, so we went back the next day as well, to see how far we could go, and I discovered a natural propensity for caving - I love it!

Later that day, we went to the Valle de la Muerte- sounds scary, but it’s actually quite romantic. We walked thro6ugh some awesome caves and sand dunes. We also saw some volcanoes and mountains, and it was crazy because Bolivia was right behind these mountains.  Afterwards, we hit the Valle de la Luna, and climbed some sand dunes to watch a beautiful sunset. Drinks, more pizza, and stupid but highly amusing games followed this unforgettable experience.

Sunday We were sick of Pablo and his tours, so we decided to do 15 own thing, especially since we had cars. Me and two guys went driving and trekking through our secret canyon place again, and then we met up with the others to go SANDBOARDING! It was awesome! We just rented some sandboards, drove out to some random sand dunes, climbed up the sand dunes (which was hell- very exhausting), and then took turns boarding down. I actually only did it twice because the climb back up literally took my breath away, but it was all worth it. I think we ate some more four-cheese after that.

Monday  We decided to check out the Reserva Nacional de Los Flamencos (flamingos!!). Unfortunately, we didn’t really know where exactly it was and we didn’t have a very reliable map, so we just decided to drive in the direction of it. I guess we missed it because after driving for an hour and a half, we ended up on the Argentinean border! But let me tell you, this drive was the best one ever. We were just going up and down a little desert road surrounded by amazing landscape- completely worth it. After we finished taking silly pics at the border, we jumped back in the cars, and had an equally impressive drive back. We decided to leave that night because people had tests and stuff this week, so we drove the 17 hours back, stopping only for gas and breakfast.

That night, after naps, and discovering that our car had a flat tire (which was deemed a result of our trip, so we had to pay for it), we went out to watch Wolverine and I thought it was pretty damn good, and the perfect end to an excellent trip!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

El Colo va a sali campeón ♪

Sunday 4/19. I went to my first soccer game, and it was a South American one, so you know it was crazy, and it was one of the biggest match-ups in Chilean soccer, so you know it was good. One of my Chilean friends told me that it was the “clásico más importante del futbol chileno.” It was Colo-Colo vs. Universidad de Chile, which is sort of like a Ravens vs. Steelers match-up =intense!

So it was me, a couple of exchange students, and some Chilean friends. We took the Metro to the stadium, which is where the madness started. I wish I could have taken my camera with me, but that would have been wayy too risky. So when I got on the Metro, I wondered why there weren’t any U of Chile fans there (we were rooting for Colo Colo cause our Chilean friends were). One of them told me that it was because the U of Chile fans take the bus, so that the two sides don’t clash because if they did, it would break out into all time war. So here we are on the Metro with the Colo Colo fans, and they are going nuts! They are just singing and jumping and literally shaking the Metro car. It was fun, until the Metro doors opened at one stop and the Chilean po-po (Carabineros) came onboard. Ohh snap! They were real pissed, and they had their sticks out, and they were just hitting some of the more rowdy Colo Colo fans, and forcing them off the Metro car, which I thought was a bit stupid cause the fans weren’t doing anything too dangerous. But the funniest part was when I saw the same guys enter the Metro car again from a different door like 5 seconds later. But then the po-po got them at the next stop. Oh man.

So anyway, here we are getting off the Metro, and walking to the stadium and there are a bazillion people. (The commentator later said that there were 40,000 people there). Once again, the two sides were kept separated by the police. To enter the stadium, we had to get into some very disorganized lines, and stand there for a while, although we already had our tickets. And then while we were in line, I felt in my pockets, and bam! my ticket is missing. I know I got pickpocketed, and I know it was my fault cause my ticket was probably sticking out a bit, but still, it sucked. So some very nice Chilean friends got out of the line for me and found a guy who I could buy a ticket off of, for only a little bit more than the first ticket (which was a little less than $20 US, so not bad for a game ticket). When we went back into the massive line, the police were regulating the lines on horseback, using their stupid sticks to hit people into place. Wow tough love from the po-po.

So if things weren’t loco enough, here we are near to the front of the line, and my friend Britta (German) had her ticket in her hand, and as she is talking to me, someone runs up from behind, grabs the ticket out of her hand, and runs off in the crowd. I was stunned because it happened so quick. She was understandably upset because there was no way she could get a new one. But here’s the crazier part, apparenly there were two undercover cops standing behind us in line, and they saw the whole thing!! So they explained to their cops friends at the entrance gate what had happened, and Britta was let in anyway. What luck, eh?!

The actual game itself was massive. Only about three hours long, but so much fun. The fans of the two teams were on opposite ends of the stadium and for the whole game, we were standing up on the bleachers, and they were singing their team’s songs. The whole colo colo game. The energy was unbelievable, and they probably had about 20 different songs. Also some of these songs used some very selective language, which was pretty funny. You just had to get into it though. Another funny part was when playing was momentarily suspended because there was a dog strolling in the middle of the field, but you didn’t see the police trying to hit him off the field..oh no..they just let him take his time. Also, the police had this game under control; they were all over- on the roof, in the stands, everywhere. But anyway, Colo Colo won 3-1 and each goal was momentous and craaazy. At the end of the game, the Colo Colo fans got to leave the field first, once again, to avoid any conflict. The fans of both teams were still chanting the whole time though, although the walk and Metro were much less rowdy on the way back.

So yea, action-packed time at my first soccer game. I loved seeing and feeling the massive amount of energy of the Chilean football (soccer) fans. I also got to experience and feel the effectiveness and authority of the Chilean Carabineros. I have been told that they are the most uncorrupt police force in South America and that they are in charge of training police forces from other Latino countries. For once, I can say that I honestly respect and like the po-po, and I can also say that Chileans definitely know how to have a good time!

¡Buenos amigos y la Pascua!

I can not believe that I only have a little more than 3 months left in Vina…time is moving way too fast..

So since my trip to Pucon, I received a lovely visit from my girl, Jenelle, who is studying in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I went to Santiago to meet her and Kelsey and we walked around what seemed like the entire city of Santiago, but it was a beautiful day, so whateva, and then we had a delicious pizza dinner with the one and only Dania..crazy good reunion. Needless to say, it was very very nice to be with people who I know well and who know me..I realized that I miss my AU peeps quite a bit..

So then Kelsey went on a journey to Patagonia (jealous!) and Jenelle came with me to Vina for a week. Unfortunately, I really needed to attend class if I had any hope of passing, so I felt bad leaving her alone, but Jenelle is so chill that it’s awesome. We made crepes and FLAN!! (homemade! no actually, from a box). We went to Renaca for the beach and then had a deep convo over lemon cake and caffeinated drinks. yessss. And then we went to Valparaiso, where we had a lovely bus tour (it actually wasn't supposed to be a bus tour, we just got lost), and we went to Pablo Neruda’s house (which was for me the 3rd time, but still good). I wish it had been nicer in Vina while Jenelle was here, but once again, Jenelle is so cool, so it’s all good. I also took her out for a night of revelry- Vina style, and that was fun too. But I think my favorite part was when me and Jenelle went back to Santiago to spend a night at Kelsey’s before J’s flight, and we had a heavenly girls’ night in, consisting of PJs, Chinese food, and ice cream. Yesss. And then Jenelle left for Argentina : (

Soo I actually felt a severe pang of homesickness during Easter weekend. I am pretty sure that this was my first Easter away from home, so that might explain it. All I could think about was how my family would be getting together on Easter, and eating amazing food (which I miss like woah!) and then enjoying each other’s excellent and always entertaining company. So I tried to get over being homesick as well as I could by doing things that I usually do every Easter. On Saturday night, I went to the Easter vigil mass, which was essentially the same as back home, just 3 hours long!! And then I painted about 30 Easter eggs with a couple of peeps. They don’t really do Easter too differently over here, although it is a super Catholic country. The only thing different that I noticed was that people sold chocolate Easter eggs on the street.

So then on Easter Sunday, I felt like I didn’t really need to go to Church again, and I went to a D-licious brunch prepared by Chris (Canadian) and Maria (Lebanese). There were crepes (recurring theme) and muffins and a huge fruit salad…yum! We played a crazy Lebanese Easter egg game, and ate the beautiful eggs. Then I came home, and Easter still wasn’t over, and I felt homesick again, so I decided to cook dinner for my roommates, because they had told me that they were just planning to study all day, and that is a big no-no on Easter (actually I probably needed to study too, but it was Easter, for realll). I made meat for the first time (gasp! I know…I am a bad vegetarian, but it was Easter, for realll). I made lamb cutlets and mashed potatoes (Ok, from a box) and spinach and rice! They loveddd it, and we had a nice roommate bonding convo afterwards, which included talking about how bad we all were as kids, and making fun of the Chinese language (idk..they started it). Success!

This weekend was so much fun, but so unproductive schoolwise. First, we played paintball for Melanie’s (Australian) birthday! It was soo much fun, and sooo painful. It was seriously a 4 hour paintball game, and it was so hot outside. Under all our protective equipment (including the guys’ dick protectors- hehe), it was almost excruciating. But I am very thankful for the equipment because otherwise it would hurt a lot more than it does right now. At first I was afraid to get out from behind the trees and fences, but my team was losing bad, so I was like whatever, and just ran for it, and got shot BAD. I have several huge welts on my legs and arms, and there still might be yellow paint in my hair. But once again, it was great and I can’t wait to do it again. That night, we got together at Mel’s and played Kings all night, which was highly entertaining. I am so glad that I got stuck with such a fun and interesting group of people : ) But I also miss my peeps back home, and I would love an email with summary of your lives, and please feel free to ramble all you want…I won’t mind : D

The next post is going to be about a craaazy soccer game, so it will be a separate post, which I will upload righttt now!