Measurements!

This was one of the two biggest adjustments for me. And I have to say I’m still not adjusted. Why the United States has to be different than the rest of the world and not use the metric system is beyond me because 90% of the time I have NO idea what people are talking about. People say 18:00 instead of 6:00pm. They measure height and distance in meters and kilometers, and weight in grams. I can’t ask anyone how tall they are because their answer will mean nothing to me. People talk about how far away things are and I just stand there staring at them blankly. I’ve had to count on my fingers several times to figure out what time events were at. It’s pretty sad. Not to mention the speed limit sign says 60 on the main road, and when I looked at the speedometer of the guy that drove me to my apartment from the airport it said he was going 110 – not that I have any clue what that means. Another time my host mother was telling me it was going to be 20 degrees today and she sounded a little amazed and a little skeptical about it. And of course I’m sitting there like “is that good? Is that bad?” because I have no idea how much 20 degrees Celsius is. Is that warm? Freezing? No clue… I later found out that 20 is upper 60s, which is quite warm for winter so I now understand her skepticism, but at the time I was completely clueless. Also sizes of things, such as shoes, are different everywhere else in the world too. And obviously the money is different, but I can proudly say that I figured that out in only 2 days. 500 pesos is equal to about 1 US dollar. So the bills are 1,000; 2,000; 5,000; 10,000 and 20,000 OR $2, $4, $10, $20, and $40. So at least when I buy things, I have a rough idea how much money I’m spending.

Advertisements

Measurements!

Image

La comida - the food

Usually when people think of culture shock, I think it has almost a negative connotation, but really it just means something is different – and different isn’t always bad. The food here is obviously different, but I haven’t had anything yet that I haven’t liked. I am extraordinarily fortunate to be living with Ana María, who I am pretty sure is the world’s best cook, literally. She cooks the best food I have ever eaten in my life. I’m eating things here that I never would have tried back home (or things that I simply hated) partly because I don’t want to be rude, but also because she cooks so amazingly! Now mom, because I know you’re reading this – that is not to say that I don’t love your cooking too, because I do, but rest assured I will most definitely not go hungry here. I am actually pretty proud of myself for having an open mind about the food and not being afraid to try everything. Most of the time I don’t know what it is that I’m eating, but it is SO delicious! I even ate an entire raw artichoke once. Ana María feeds me breakfast and dinner each day and then lunch is up to me to find. Usually a group of us from school go someplace to eat. This is great because it forces us to practice our Spanish – and the waitresses are usually pretty patient with us.  Other times, I’ll just grab something quick like an empanada or something. The closest thing we have to an empanada in the states is a calzone – basically it’s cheese and meat or just cheese or anything you want, wrapped in dough. I think my favorite one so far is Empanada con queso y pollo (cheese and chicken). Now, because we expect the food to be different, it’s almost more shocking when things are the same. For example, Coca-cola products are obviously very big here. The 3 big sodas you can get like almost anywhere are Coke, Sprite, and Fanta. They also have McDonalds (of course), Subway, Pizza Hut, Starbucks, etc. One of the biggest adjustments for me as far as food goes though was having to order water either with or without gas. Prefiero agua sin gas.

La comida – the food

Image

La cuidad - the city

First of all, I believe the estimated total number of people living in the town of Sherburne is almost 4,000 (according to Sherburne’s homepage). Santiago has 6 million! SO many people live here! My host mom actually used the word “only” to describe 4,000 people in the metro! Just like NYC has 5 different boroughs, the capital city is divided up into 37 different communes. I live in Providencia, which is considered to be one of the safest communes (and Chile is considered one of the safest countries in South America). As you can imagine moving to such a huge city was quite an adjustment for a small-town girl from central New York like me, but surprisingly I am finding that I don’t hate it here, but in fact kind of enjoy living in the city. The only thing I really don’t like though is the amount of pollution here. The smog is so bad that most days you cannot see the sky, but on clear days like today (after it rains) the sky is clear and there is an amazing view of the beautiful Andes mountains which almost makes it worth not being able to breath in the thick polluted air and constantly having a dry throat.

La cuidad – the city

Image

¡¿Culture Shock?!

Everyone experiences culture shock to some extent when they go to a new place – whether that be a moving from tiny little Sherburne to going to a college in a city or something more drastic like travelling to a country in South America like Chile. In each case an adjustment period is needed to get used to the differences. Since I’ve been in Santiago, I’ve noticed quite a few differences apart from the obvious language barrier – some of which are easier to “get used to” than others. The following posts break down my experiences with culture shock…

Standard

Sopaipillas!

I can’t really describe what sopaipillas are, but they’ve got pumpkin in them and they are deep fried in oil. Typically, they are something Chileans eat on rainy days, often with pebre. Son muy ricos! 🙂

Sopaipillas!

Image

Cooking Class!

This week one of the activities was a cooking class! We learned how to make pebre, pisco sour, y sopaipillas! Pebre is like a salsa (tomatoes, onions, red peppers, aji peppers- cilantro, and some other herb I can’t remember) which Chileans eat a lot of on pretty much whatever they want – mostly bread. When you go to a restaurant there is pebre on the table and they bring you rolls to have with it. We made sopaipillas and ate them with pebre. And pisco of course is THE Chilean drink. It’s kinda strong, and it’s not my favorite, but Chileans gotta have their pisco. haha 🙂

Cooking Class!

Image

Casa de Pablo Neruda

Casa de Pablo Neruda

Image