Weekend traveling in Chile: Valparaíso, Viña del Mar, and La Serena!

Happy March everyone! I know I say this each post, but time is absolutely flying and I can’t believe Jordin and I have been in Chile for five months already. Also, PLEASE CLICK THE TITLE OF THIS POST (or this link) to view the blog on the website instead of in your email – the photo quality is better, and if I find any spelling mistakes I can correct them and they’ll update for everyone who hasn’t read it yet :) Thanks!

The past month has been wonderfully busy. In general, February has been my favorite month so far – my life here just feels more settled. Everything has been going well with my students, I really love the friends I’ve made, and I’m very accustomed to my life here. Before delving into the descriptions of our travels this month (just two weekends), here are a few short updates:

  • Valentine’s Day = Día de San Valentín! It’s definitely not as commercial in Chile as in the U.S., because I saw very little in pharmacies or supermarkets, but I saw a ridiculous number of flowers and balloons on the day itself. The streetside flower stands had incredibly long lines, and I saw many men walking around with huge red balloons that said “Te amo para siempre” (I love you forever). However, I received many text messages from friends here that said “Feliz día de la amistad!” (“Happy Friendship Day), which I loved, because this day should be about all types of love, not just romantic. Because Valentine’s Day was on a Tuesday, that night we went to Spanglish Party, and the bar was completely decked out in Valentine’s decorations. At the beginning, everyone received three stickers that they could give to people they liked throughout the night, and the person who received the most stickers at the end would win something. While I absolutely love Spanglish Party, sometimes I feel like I’m trapped in a middle school dance or at someone’s bat/bar mitzvah party, but with a bunch of people around age 30.
  • I recently went to the top floor of the Costanera Center, which is the one skyscraper in Santiago that also happens to be the tallest building in Latin America! It’s 62 stories and almost 1,000 feet tall. From the top, you get a 360º view of the city (through a window, so the photos still have the glare), and I went as the sun was setting so got the entire view. It was incredible! img_0076

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  • Garden updates! Sadly, the peach tree has stopped producing fruit, but the almond tree and the grapevine are still going. And just recently the avocado tree has starting blooming – that’s right, I HAVE AN AVOCADO TREE. However, these avocados are different than regular/supermarket avocados – the skin is very thin, and our family actually doesn’t peel them at all. They bite into them like an apple! While this is still a strange phenomenon to me because I’m not used to it, these avocados are delicious (and tan pequeño!). New fruits tried recently (not from the garden):
    • Membrillo – look like apples, but are kind of dry and taste like a bitter Granny Smith apple. Not a fan.
    • Tuna – in both the melon and kiwi family and tastes like a mix of both, but it has a ton of seeds that some people don’t like. I think it’s okay but I don’t love it.
    • Noni – similar taste to a cucumber. Not a fan. (Note: I eat every single other fruit except bananas, so it’s interesting to find fruits that I don’t like here! But I still love trying new foods – it’s exciting every time!)
  • I recently went hiking in Santiago for the first time! I’m finally getting some use out of my hiking boots after wearing them for two weeks straight in Patagonia and Peru. It was only a 4-mile trail that took a few hours, but it felt like nothing to me, and I think that’s because after the intense hiking we did in Patagonia, everything else seems inconsequential. In the photo below you can see the Costanera Center in the background!

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  • I’ve been walking a lot, as usual, especially in between my classes. I’ve been walking some or all of the distance between one of my classes in the northeast of the city to the center for Spanglish or the salsa/bachata classes. This walk is about an hour and a half, which gives me the opportunity to explore a part of the city in which I don’t usually spend time, and I avoid paying for an overly-crowded metro filled with people sweating on their way home from work.
  • Speaking of crowded metros – it’s back-to-school time in Santiago! Because I live in the southern hemisphere, the calendar is opposite of the United States in terms of seasons and the school year. Schools and universities are all starting up again this week (if they haven’t already started), and everyone who was on vacation in February (the equivalent of August in my typical summer) is back in the city, so the metro is as crowded as ever. In February, people described the metro as “empty”, even though it was still crowded and smelly during rush hour. But that definition of crowded is nothing like it is during the rest of the year. 
  • Jordin and I have hung out with Kimberley, the teacher of our October TEFL course, many times in the past few months. We all get along really well, and she’s just so much fun to be around. She always says that whenever we come over she can’t even get a word in because we talk so much, but I think that’s because we speak in English, so I can express and describe significantly more than I can in Spanish. And I always want to fill her in on everything going on in our lives, especially around teaching because we started our Chilean experience and jobs as teachers with her. She taught the TEFL course again in February; last week was the final week of the course, and Jordin and I came in to “lead” the Professional Development Session, which was talking to the nine students about our experiences living in Chile, finding students, and teaching classes after we took the course. We talked with them for an hour and a half, and it was so much fun. I love talking to people about my experiences in general, but especially here in Chile, and it felt good to know that even though finding and keeping students took some time (especially for Jordin), we’re both in great places now and we love what we do. We talked with the students about our methods for finding students, what we do with students of various English levels, the frustrations that sometimes come with scheduling classes, the activities in which we’re involved in Santiago, and how we’ve applied what we learned in the course to our teaching now, among other things. While Jordin and I were at the institute, we talked with an English teacher there whom we hadn’t seen since we finished the course at the end of October, and he said, “How was your summer?” I was like…”Wait an entire summer has passed since we’ve been here??” That question really made me think about the time we’ve been here. And of course the summer hasn’t passed…we’re still getting plenty of heat waves (this last week especially). During the TEFL course, each new teacher is required to teach six one-hour classes, which are observed by the teacher (Kimberley). But the classes require real students, or people who are willing to come for a free English class, knowing that the teachers are new and in training. I told two of my private beginner students about these classes, and one of them (let’s call her Maria) went to every single beginner class that was offered. When I started with Maria, she was an absolute beginner and knew next to nothing in English. But the new teachers in the course said she really knew what she was doing in the classes, and when she wasn’t sure, she took her time to think about it and usually figured it out! In my private classes with Maria, I sometimes give her the Spanish translation of a word or phrase, but these more formal classes are 100% in English. Hearing this feedback from the new teachers, as well as Kimberley, made me so proud of Maria and how much she has learned over the past four months. I also described to the new teachers that Maria is somewhat of an anomaly – we always have 3 classes a week and she has never once cancelled, her schedule is flexible and we can change the class time if I need to, she always does her homework, and she always responds to my texts within a reasonable amount of time – none of these characteristics are typically Chilean by any means! I’m very lucky to be teaching her, for many different reasons, one of which includes that she has a tiny fluffy dog that sits on my lap every class.
  • Catcalling (piropo) – throughout my five months here, I’ve written about receiving more than my share of catcalls (though no one deserves any “share”) and street harassment. While this hasn’t subsided by any means, every time I leave my house, I wonder about what type of piropo I will receive, and I’ve also been considering all the thoughts running through my head that a man (e.g. Jordin) doesn’t need to think about. Here are some of the things that I do that Jordin does not simply because he’s a man:
    • Walk on the side of street moving with traffic to attract less attention
    • Try to avoid one-way streets where I’d have to walk against traffic, because more people in cars will look at me when I’m facing them (I live on a block in between two one-way streets)
    • Walk on the opposite side of the street/as far away from construction sites as possible, and walk on the opposite side of the street as pairs/groups of men
    • Hold my tote bag (with my whiteboard, markers, and other small things) on the side facing the street/cars/people/eyes, to cover my body as much as possible.
    • Last notes: Aly (host mom) told us that there is some new law which states that men are no longer allowed to shout things at women on the street. I’m not sure if it’s true, but if it is, it’s not helping. A few weeks ago, I was running in my neighborhood and was about to finish, near a very busy street a few blocks from my house. I was approaching a construction site (there are new apartments going up on almost every corner, so there’s no way to escape these sites), but unfortunately I couldn’t cross the street because I needed to be on my side in order to cross the busy road ahead. I noticed that there were 5-7 men standing outside the site on the sidewalk and immediately dreaded what types of looks and shouts were coming. But surprisingly, I didn’t receive any comments – I had slowed down to a slow jog since I was running close to them, and suddenly when I turned around to look, I realized two of the men were running after me (not quite chasing me, but more like running alongside me). My heart rate immediately jumped and motivated me to keep running toward the stoplight, and while I wasn’t scared that they would do something to me, obviously I was extremely startled and appalled that it happened. I don’t know what kind of person thinks that it’s okay to ever do something like that, except maybe people like the President of the United States and his friends, but it was abhorrent to me and I’ll never forget it.
  • Salsa & Bachata classes – I still absolutely love the dance classes I go to twice a week. I’ve been going for about a month now, and I moved to level Intermediate in Salsa last week and LOVE it. There’s a big jump between the Beginner and Intermediate classes – in the Beginner classes, the teacher taught all the basic steps, which is good for people who are just starting, don’t have much dance experience, and/or aren’t great dancers. But only a few classes in, I was getting bored during those classes and wasn’t being challenged. In Intermediate, we start dancing various steps the moment the class starts, so you’re dancing vigorously the entire hour. While the first class was extremely difficult because there were so many steps I hadn’t learned yet and weren’t taught during that class, I’m already having so much more fun than before. This class is challenging but it’s a blast – and the teacher is an incredible dancer and teacher, and I only wish I had her moves! I’m going to work on getting more videos of us dancing…stay tuned!
  • Here is a link that one of my Chilean friends posted on Facebook a few weeks ago about bread in Chile (so obviously this is relevant). It’s a gif that says: “When your mom senses that you left the house”, she shouts, “BUY BREAD!” This is one of the most Chilean things I’ve ever seen – There’s always so much bread in our house at any given time, but if there isn’t, or there’s fewer than 5 sandwich breads, there’s instant panic and someone must leave to buy bread immediately. Here’s the gif!

WEEKEND TRIP #1: Valparaíso and Viña del Mar!

Two weeks ago, Jordin and I went to Valparaíso (Valpo) and Viña del Mar (Viña) with four of our good Chilean friends. The cities are about 70 miles northwest of Santiago (1.5 hours by bus), and are extremely popular beach destinations, especially during the summer. We only spent one day in each city, so it wasn’t a lot, but still enough time to see some beautiful views and spend a nice weekend with friends.

VALPARAISO – Valpo is the second largest metropolitan area in all of Chile, and is a major seaport. It is incredibly hilly (there are 42 hills within the city), and is filled with murals and art and color! We arrived by bus in the morning, and after dropping our backpacks at the hostel, we wandered around our neighborhood and then took a free, four-hour walking tour. Before Jordin and I moved to Chile, I had thought that I’d want to live in Valpo much more than in Santiago after hearing about other people’s experiences there (Wesleyan students typically study abroad in Valpo, while Tufts students go to Santiago). But after visiting, I know that I prefer Santiago and I’m very happy that I live there. Valpo is a very unique city, with almost every wall covered in murals and graffiti and all sorts of phrases, but it has a very different vibe than Santiago, and sadly, has more poverty and more crime. What I do know is that if I lived in Valpo, I would be in much better shape because I’d have to walk the hills all the time (while Santiago is completely flat). 

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Famous mural in Valpo!

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Piano steps!

VIÑA DEL MAR – On Sunday, we took a bus to Viña del Mar (literally means “vineyard by the sea”), a neighboring city of Valparaíso. While Valpo feels more like a city with a port, Viña feels like an upscale beach town, with lots of apartments, malls, hotels, and various entertainment venues. The day after we were there was the first day of the Festival de Viña del Mar, which is a week-long event with lots of live music and celebrities, and it’s one of the most popular yearly events in the entire country. We spent our day in Viña wandering around to various food fairs/markets that we found, aka my favorite thing to do. We all bought a few things and had a little picnic, with empanadas, whole wheat bread, and vegan almond cheese! Aka lots of bread, but we were there with Chileans, so what more can you expect? We walked to see the beaches, one of which was absolutely packed with people, and saw this beautiful flower clock, which is a big tourist landmark in the city.

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I found whole wheat bread and was SO HAPPY. Mom, I miss your homemade bread more than words can describe.

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Friends in Valpo & Viña! Cristían, me, Ale, Valentina, Jordin, and Paulina

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David and Hannah!!

Last week, our good family friends David and his daughter Hannah came to visit us for six days! Half of one of their two suitcases was loaded with peanut butter and probably an entire shelf of nuts from Trader Joe’s just for us, as all nuts besides peanuts are extremely expensive here. The quantity was overwhelming, but I’m pretty confident that they’ll be gone by the time we leave (especially because I have Jordin). Additionally, they brought me a full envelope of KenKens sent by my mom, who diligently collects them from the Thursday, Friday, and Saturday NY Times and saves them for me. What could be better than good friends, nuts, and KenKens arriving in Chile? Nothing, except if my cats could be here too.

We spent the majority of the six days on our feet and walking around (I think we walked 30-40 miles with them over six days), introducing them to Chilean food and drink, and taking pictures (David put a new memory card in his phone just for this trip). As an architect and just an incredibly observant person, David pointed out so many things that I’ve never seen before, even though I’ve lived here for five months and am familiar with each part of the city we explored. This included architectural styles of buildings, various designs and decorations, and some really weird things, like a stone gargoyle (or something similar) sitting at the top of an apartment building.

We spent last Thursday and Friday with David and Hannah in Santiago. On Thursday, we took them to an awesome vegan restaurant that my family went to when they were here in December, and then spent the rest of the day walking around Santiago Centro, where they were staying. This included the Plaza de Armas (the “main square” of Santiago, or at least one of the oldest areas of the city) and La Moneda (the government center). We bought some fruit from a stand on the side of the road and I introduced them to the “tuna”, which is a cactus fruit that tastes like a mix of honeydew and kiwi. While it sounds great, there are a ton of seeds inside (that you’re supposed to eat/they’re pretty impossible to remove because there are so many), which changes the texture a lot. I like this fruit but I don’t love it. But I LOVE getting to try new fruits and vegetables every few weeks here! David and Hannah also tried mote con huesillo, which is a really popular Chilean drink in the summer, made with mote (a grain that reminds me of barley or farro, but Wikipedia describes it as “cooked husked wheat”), a sweet juice made from dried peaches (and sugar, of course – this is Chile), and some dried peaches on top. I wasn’t a huge fan of this the first time I tried it a few months ago, but I didn’t hate it the second time around. On Friday, we hiked up Cerro San Cristóbal, which is one of the big hills in the center of the city with a beautiful, sprawling view from the top. Sadly, just like when my family was here, there was so much smog that we couldn’t see the Andes at all. After Cerro San Cristóbal, we took a tour of one of Pablo Neruda’s three houses in Chile, “La Chascona”, right down the street from the entrance to the hill. I had never been there before, and I’m so glad I went – aside from being one of the most famous Chileans in the history of this country, Neruda traveled all over the world throughout his life and collected objects from every country, like wine glasses from Mexico and paintings from Japan. He became known as a poet when he was very young, and rose to fame shortly thereafter. He occupied various diplomatic positions throughout his life, including in Spain and Mexico. He was a socialist/communist, which later led to a threat of arrest and his exile. After the “golpe de estado” (the military coup) in Chile in 1973, all three of Neruda’s houses were ransacked, Neruda’s prostate cancer worsened, and he died 12 days later. There are many theories about his death and what caused it, but there are better places for that conversation.

We then walked to the Plaza de Armas for a free walking tour, but ditched it after an hour or so because we weren’t getting much out of it. We did learn about “cafe con piernas”, about which Jordin and I learned a little previously from Sergio (host dad): it translates to “coffee with legs”, and is essentially a cafe with a Hooters-like twist (but definitely more explicit than Hooters). Men go in and sit down, the doors close, the women remove their clothes and do a little dance for a minute, and then the doors open again and it’s a “regular cafe”. There are apparently many of these around Santiago. After this (and in the process of ditching the tour), we stopped for ice cream – I haven’t eaten much ice cream in Santiago, but when I do, there are always so many vegan options! “Helado de agua” (literally “ice cream of water”) aka sorbet is very common here, with all sorts of cool flavors. The best part is sampling a few flavors before buying, so after our first taste, I asked for a taste of a different flavor, and the employee took back the spoon that I had already used and dipped it back in a different flavor of ice cream!! We were all so startled when it happened that none of us said anything – all I know is that my Health Department mother would never have stood for that, and if it happens to me again, I’ll definitely say something. But seriously…what??

We walked more around the Plaza de Armas – we visited an old and famous post office, and then went to the National History Museum nextdoor and climbed up some cool spiral staircases to the tower at the top, with a view of the whole plaza. We then walked to La Vega, which is a huge produce market, and bought lots of delicious fruit that is currently making my mouth water, like blueberries, grapes, and mini kiwis (which David spotted after he returned to the U.S. in Whole Foods, called “kiwiberries”).

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On Saturday, we left Santiago to go to La Serena, Chile! La Serena is in northern Chile (though only about ⅓ of the way down on the map), and apparently is the second oldest city after Santiago. It’s close to both the desert and the beach! It took under an hour to get there by plane (it’s about 300 miles north), and then we took a 10-minute taxi ride to our hostel in the center of the city. Two food items that are sold everywhere in every possible way in La Serena: papayas and figs. There was papaya jam, juice, candy, and everything else you could think of except for actual fresh papaya! There were all sorts of fig bars and candies as well. During lunch, we got to try papaya pisco sour, which honestly didn’t taste too different from a regular pisco sour (pisco is the most popular alcohol in Chile). We then walked about 40 minutes to the beach and walked along the cold-but-not-frigid water. For dinner, we went to a nice place that ended up costing the same as our mediocre lunch place – David and Hannah tried pisco sours (much better than at lunch), pebre (typical Chilean dip made of tomatoes, garlic, onion, and cilantro), and some typical Chilean dishes: pastel de choclo (made of ground corn and meat), porotos granados (made of corn, beans, and various vegetables), and humitas (ground corn and spices, wrapped in corn husk and boiled). Can you tell that Chileans like corn, especially ground corn? And I’m not the biggest fan. The best and most exciting part of this day started at night – we did an observatory tour at Observatorio Mamalluca! La Serena is one of the best places in Chile, if not the world, to see the stars (the best place is the Atacama Desert in the far north, where Jordin and I are going in April)! It took about an hour and a half to get there in our tour van, and the actual tour/viewing was from 11pm-1am. As soon as we got out of the van and looked up, I was speechless – I’ve never seen a sky so full of stars like this in my entire life. Additionally, the new moon was that night, which means the sky was as dark as it could possibly be and we could see even more because of it. We saw THE MILKY WAY (called the “Vía Láctea” and “Camino de Leche” in Spanish), the Southern Cross (doesn’t exist in the northern hemisphere), Orion (this is visible from both hemispheres, unlike the majority of constellations), Jupiter, and many other smaller constellations. It was incredible! We tried to take a few pictures, but none of them really turned out, and regardless, can’t even begin to compare to the view in person.

We arrived back at the hostel around 2:30am, and slept really well until we had to wake up at 7:15 for our second tour in La Serena: to the Isla Damas. We learned that there had been a 5.0 earthquake at 6am, just 100 kilometers/60 miles north of La Serena – Jordin woke up when it was happening and said it felt like “a nice Chilean lullaby”. For Chileans, a 5.0 earthquake means nothing – it’s considered a tremor. Our tour van picked us up around 8:30, and throughout the trip northwest to the coast (and through the desert!), we saw a variety of animals: guanacos (in the llama and camel families), little foxes, an owl, and condors. This was also the day of the partial solar eclipse, at which I glimpsed for a nanosecond and then never looked back – it was incredibly bright. Once we arrived at the coast, we got in our small boat for the island tours! Our group was about 15 people, plus our guide and a few people to manage the boat. We drove all around the first island and saw more animals (all while we stayed on the boat): penguins! 3 types of cormorants (birds)! Sea lions! An otter! Dolphins!! It was awesome. Then we drove to the second island, Isla Damas (literally translates to Ladies Island – where is Isla Varones?) We all got out of the boat and had an hour to explore the Isla Damas – we walked on a path around the perimeter of the island, then climbed to a little viewpoint. It was such a cool experience to be on this tiny little island in the Pacific Ocean! Just a mere hour away from shore, but an awesome realization nonetheless. After getting off the boat, our whole group went to a restaurant to eat lunch, and there was a fig tree in bloom! We took a few figs for the road and they were delicious.

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On Monday, we wandered around the town of La Serena to see some churches, one of which was the oldest building in La Serena. We all did some shopping at the artisanal fair right near our hostel, as well as the artisanal/food fair a few blocks away. Eating lunch at an outdoor market means you want to try EVERYTHING, so we did, and we all shared. We tried sopaipillas, which is a grilled circular bread (similar to pita) with avocado, pebre (a sauce similar to pico de gallo: tomato, onion, garlic, hot pepper), and merken (the best and super popular Chilean spice: smoked hot pepper) on top; fresh juices, and humitas (ground corn and onion and spices, wrapped up in a corn husk and then boiled).

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Jordin and I being twins at the airport in La Serena.

Our flight back to Santiago was in the late afternoon, and because we kept David and Hannah’s suitcases in our house while we were in La Serena, we went straight back to our house and had dinner with our host family! It was so much fun – we talked about all sorts of things, especially the Chilean food and drink that David and Hannah had tried, and it came up that they had yet to drink a terremoto, one of the most popular drinks here. After dinner, I took Hannah and David for a walk around the neighborhood, and when we got back to the house, Aly had gone out to the supermarket to buy pineapple sorbet to make everyone terremotos! So we all sat down again over snacks and terremotos, and Hannah and David didn’t head back to their apartment until after midnight. Before we even brought David and Hannah to our house, I knew that David and Sergio (host dad) would get along well if they spoke the same language because they’re both extremely friendly and crack a lot of jokes – but they got along splendidly in their two different languages. Even though the night was a lot of translation (David doesn’t speak Spanish, but kept incorporating French and Italian words and accents to make up for it, and Hannah hasn’t studied Spanish since high school yet somehow remembers everything and has an amazing accent), we all had a wonderful time, and we were laughing and even dancing throughout the night.

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However, when we arrived at our house before dinner, Aly and Sergio told us that there had been a storm up in the mountains the day before (the only time it rains in Santiago is when I’m not there…actually) that caused some destructive flooding and mudslides. They told us that at least four people died, and 19 people were missing. For more than 24 hours, the water for the entire city of Santiago was cut off – people were notified beforehand so they could stock up on water from the tap, but all water (and almost all drinks) in the supermarket were gone, we couldn’t shower, and we couldn’t wash our hands regularly (Aly and Sergio filled the bathtub with water from the pool and we used a small bucket of that in the sink). Especially because it’s back-to-school time here and Monday was the first day of the academic year for many schools, some schools were suspended by the government if there was no drinking water in that region. The water returned on Tuesday morning, but this was still scary news to return to after a weekend away. Here’s a NY Times article about it.

On Tuesday, David and Hannah’s last day in Chile, we went to the Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos (Museum of Memories and Human Rights). This was my third time going – the museum takes you through the rise and end of the dictatorship under Augusto Pinochet from 1973 through 1990. If you want to learn more about Pinochet’s dictatorship and what happened in Chile during this time, I’ve heard about the 2012 film called No – I have yet to see it, but it has been recommended to me so I will recommend it to you! Here’s the Wikipedia page.

After the museum, we had lunch at the first restaurant in Chile that I’ve seen with a salad bar (I was happy), walked around Providencia and Las Condes to see two different parts of the city (as we had mostly been in Santiago Centro), and finally returned to the apartment area to go to a big craft market that’s perfect for souvenirs. When Jordin and I were in Valparaíso and Viña del Mar with our friends, we learned about a traditional Chilean statue with some interesting features – it’s made of wood and resembles a Mapuche (an indigenous tribe from Chile). When you lift the body, a penis emerges from underneath – our friends explained that this is often a gag/joke gift to people, but they’re everywhere in Chile. I had no idea how common they were until our friends pointed them out to me, but as soon as we got to this craft market in Santiago, I suddenly saw Indio Pícaros EVERYWHERE. The reason I’m telling this story is because one stall that was selling them had a few different sizes (lined up like Russian dolls), as well as one that was probably four feet tall. There was a sign that said it cost 500 pesos (about 75 cents) to take a picture, and 20,000 pesos ($30!) to lift it! It probably weighs between 50-100 pounds, so it makes sense that the stall owner wants to be careful with it. But I have no interest in seeing what is underneath, nor do I want to spend 20,000 pesos on that.

All in all, I had an amazing week with David and Hannah – every time I show the city to someone else, I learn so much more than I did the first time, and I learn from the people to whom I’m showing it (especially when one is an architect). Thanks for coming!!

Today, Jordin and I hung out with two of our best friends here, Valentina (26) and Cristían (20) who are siblings, and together we call ourselves “los hermanos” (the siblings). The four of us get along really well and I absolutely love them. Jordin and I met their parents for the first time tonight, and even though it was only for a few minutes, they were so warm and welcoming towards us and said they’d already heard so much about us, and it just made me feel warm and happy. I’m so thankful to have met such awesome people here! We had a Disney movie day – we watched Mulan (in Spanish), and Moana (FANTASTIC – and I could hear Lin-Manuel Miranda’s style in every single song). Here’s a photo of Los Hermanos in Viña del Mar:

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Thank you to YOU for reading! Please reach out via email/Facebook message and fill me on how you’re doing, anything you’d like to see more of in the blog, or suggestions for things we should do here in our final 2.5 months! Besos y abrazos!

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4 thoughts on “Weekend traveling in Chile: Valparaíso, Viña del Mar, and La Serena!

  1. Thanks for writing. I love reading about your travels. Belated good wishes for a very
    Happy Friendship Day!
    Love,
    Marcia

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  2. This was great to read. We had all just gotten together at your house and seen David’s photos – wow! I cannot wait till May to see you. Have fun – learn a lot – enjoy this amazing experience! 💕

    >

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  3. Wow Rachael! Some amazing vistas and murals. Sorry to hear about the horrors of societally sanctioned sexism. Sounds like you have instinctive teaching ability! Keep those updates coming! Love, Karyn >

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