Meet Laura Ann!

This is my roommate Laura! She’s from Germany and she is the best roommate ever! I’m not sure what I would do here without her; she made my transition here much easier by helping me around the city and just telling me what’s what. I would probably have gotten lost at least 20 times if not for her (i’m really terrible with directions and finding my way around). She’s super nice, we’ve got a lot in common and have become really good friends. Laura is two years younger than me, but by her maturity level you’d guess she was five years older. She’s taking her gap year to travel the world and do volunteer work. She was working in an all boys school teaching English (and before coming to Chile she didn’t know any Spanish – talk about bravery) and now she’s volunteering in a blind school and working with blind and disabled children, which she’ll be doing until December and then she’ll be traveling to Australia, New Zealand, and Cambodia and doing more voluntary work there. I’m so glad to have met her and she’s even teaching me a little bit of German! 😀

Meet Laura Ann!

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Proof that I have the best host mom ever!

Made with love, this woman makes the best food in the entire world. You should all be jealous. (And just a tip: in the future one should always put syrup on top of their chocolate pudding because it makes it 1000x tastier) 🙂

Proof that I have the best host mom ever!

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Caballos

Last weekend the lovely Astrid took us horseback riding in the mountains! It was incredibly beautiful! I don’t think i’ll ever get used to how beautiful the mountains can be here. I had the privilege of riding a very sweet purebred Chilean horse. We rode the horses for a few hours and had a nice barbeque up in the mountains. It was a truly splendid day. 🙂

Caballos

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Rock Climbing!

Sunday a small group of us went rock climbing up in the mountains at Piedra Romel. We spent the whole day there – meeting at 9:30am and not getting back home until around 8pm. It was incredible! And the view of the mountains from on top of the rock was so beautiful! I have always wanted to do real rock climbing, and i’m so happy that I was finally able to cross this item off my bucket list. Many, many thanks Pablo and his friends Felipe, Daniel, and Francisco for making Sunday possible!! If you get a chance help Pablo out by liking his page on Facebook.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Escalando-en-Open/174184489398384

Rock Climbing!

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Los perros - Dogs

The streets here are flooded with stray dogs. The Chileans I’ve spoken to say this has always been a problem here. You would not believe how many there are. Sometimes people are nice to them and feed them or give them blankets or collars, but other times they are not so nice as they don’t want them hanging around. Some of them are sooo cute though that I just want to adopt them all.

Los perros – Dogs

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Transportation

This was the other big adjustment for me. Chilean drivers are freaking crazy! They drive SO fast, and I’m not just saying this – they’ll even admit it. They change lanes left and right and don’t use turning signals, and yellow lights “don’t exist” and apparently the first 3-5 seconds of a red light are optional because on several occasions I’ve seen at least three cars sneak through after the light has changed. This makes it dangerous for pedestrians/bicyclists (another major method of transportation). But Chilean pedestrians are fearless. They stand right on the edge of the curb, practically in the road as cars are speeding past them, and the very second the light changes they start crossing the street whether there are cars coming at them or not. The other major form of transportation is public transportation – either the bus or the metro. I’ve got to admit I was terrified to ride the metro my first week here, but finally I did and I’ve ridden it a few times since. Although I never, ever want to even think about riding the metro during rush hour. The metro becomes packed full of passengers, so much so that you have to literally push yourself on or off of it. No matter which method of transportation you use here, I’ve learned that you have to be aggressive if you want to get where you’re going.

Transportation

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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.

Measurements!

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