Today we went to Isla Negra, and toured Pablo Neruda's favorite house, his house on Isla Negra. There was no photography allowed, but it was incredible. I have never seen a home so intentionally designed, or one with so many fascinating collections. The fireplaces were beautiful, and the ocean views were breathtaking. I love the ocean.
I can only imagine how beautiful the storms are in the winter!
The stray dog that posed for us
Dinner! It was good, but not great. Beautiful place though.
This is just a five minute clip with the sound of the ocean.
It seems like I just blinked and the first month went by! I have been spending a lot of time getting to know the area and my host family, and trying to learn the language. The language part has been both difficult and frustrating, because I'm understanding probably 99% of the typical conversational Spanish but my ability to respond is still lacking and it kills! I'm a chatty person and to not be able to communicate is devastating. It has been awesome though — I had a full on conversation with a girl on the bus monday, and it was the first time I really felt confident in my ability to learn a new language.
This weekend we are headed to Isla Negra, Valparaiso, and Vina del Mar, and we will see one of the houses/the tomb of Pablo Neruda. I'm really looking forward to all the exploring! I'm so looking forward to seeing all that I can — I know three days won't be anywhere near enough. I have been reading some of his work and it is so good, so beautiful. I am envious of those who have that sort of creative ability.
This polish is another cheap one that I picked up in the checkout line, and I LOVE it. So cheap, and yet so easy. I'm always on the hunt for a varnish that I don't have to fight, one that is easy to apply and has an even consistency. This one is probably one of the best that I have used, especially when you consider the price. The brush is perfectly shaped and the color is smooth and creamy. I'm very impressed!
The shade itself is not one I'm overly fond of — it doesn't say "Spring" to me, more of a fall shade. Other than that, I'm very impressed and plan to purchase a brighter shade tomorrow!
Let me preface this with the truth: it had been a long, long time since I had been on a bike anywhere other than in a gym, and riding a real bike is quite different than a stationary bike. I was expecting this to be a miserable experience but worth it for the beauty, but it was a lot of fun. We really wanted to see Pisco Elqui and the surrounding area, and we eventually settled on a bike tour offered by Turismo Migrantes. They drove us to the top of the hill, and then let us find our way back to town. The photo above is where we started...
Above is the river that we went down to — one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. It had a few leftover campfire pits, and I would love to bring Brandon back here and camp under the stars. It was so peaceful, and the openness was just unreal. Getting back up the hill made me want to die, but it was worth it!
We biked a bit further and came across this breathtaking crevasse, one of several that was just incredible. I can only imagine what this would look like covered in snow.
We got back into the city surprisingly fast — the drive to the top seemed eternal, but getting back to Pisco Elqui was surprisingly prompt. I admit, I was happy to get back and have some juice!
This was the day before the tour, at one of the hotel/bars we snuck into for a photo. The lighting was wretched, but you can see the important things: The beauty of the valley and the crevasse behind me. Incredible. I'm so happy to be in Chile.
Last week we had a lot of free time, so a few of the girls in the group and I went on a little bus trip up to La Serena/Vicuna/Pisco Elqui for a few nights. I've split up the photos between the two posts so as not to inundate you, but it was breathtaking.
First stop was La Serena, a mid-size coastal city. It was a long, long bus ride (12 hours+ total) and we were pretty tired when we arrived. We didn't really do much in the way of touring the first day, but we did go for a shortish afternoon walk to the beach. I was surprised at how warm the water was! I am used to the frigid waters of Oregon, and I assumed that the water here would be the same. I really enjoyed slipping my shoes off and enjoying the warm sand and water after the long day!
The main strip had several sculptures, mostly portraying people in acts of bathing or playing with children. This bathtub fascinated me though! Why? Why have a random tub on the side of a walkway? What does it mean?
We spent one night in La Serena, and then traveled to the Pisco Elqui/Vicuna area. We went to Vicuna for the observatories, and it was so worthwhile. The ozone layer is much thinner here than it is in Oregon, and the visibility was amazing. Watching the stars that night, looking into the telescopes, every minute was just mesmerizing. There was such a peaceful stillness there on the mountain, and I hope to experience that again.
Random tidbit: Chile has a great deal of the same franchises/stores as Oregon, and I had seen several McDonalds while here, but no Subways. I had just spent a solid 20 seconds whining about it while walking past McDonalds #20000 when we came across this beauty. I don't eat a ton of Subway in the U.S., but this was such a nice taste of home. I really, really enjoyed that veggie sub! We ate local cuisine every other night, and only stopped here because it was a holiday and a great deal of the good, non-chain restaurants were closed. I'm really trying to eat/shop local as much as I can while here.
I decided before I came to Chile that I would try as many local brands/products as I could. Why go live in another country if you are just going to cling to your own? I brought the things that I absolutely had to have (the moisturizers for my sensitive skin, my super-pale foundation, and my hair oil) and left behind my shampoo and conditioner, body wash, nail polish, etc. I want to see what Chile has to offer!
First up is Petrizzio polish. I was out shopping for a coat (again, for some reason I just couldn't comprehend that it was actually cold here while packing in 80 degree weather) when I saw a jar of cheap nail polish at the check stand. I think this was less than $2 USD, but I can't remember. It was pretty cheap! I bought two different shades of gray, and I will post about the other one later on. I have two coats of polish on in these photos!
I found the polish to be good. Not great, not amazing, but well worth the price. I was able to get decent coverage with two coats, but the polish was a bit soupy and hard to work with. It dries fast, and I have gotten several days of wear out of it with absolutely zero chip wear, which is incredible considering the fact that I haven't purchased base or top coats yet. All in all, I would purchase more polish from this brand but won't go out of my way to find it in the future!
Today is Chile's Independence Day, and we have been celebrating for almost five days already. I have never seen a country with so much pride before, and they completely and utterly put the United States to shame. In the past few days I have gone to so many parties, and two carnivals in celebration of the day. The stores will all be closed today and tomorrow, and I don't have classes this week. I have so much respect for Chile's pride in country, and I will be spending today celebrating with my host family.
This week has been pretty wonderful! It is beautiful here, and I have enjoyed going from Summer in the States to Spring in Chile. I managed to survive my first week of classes, and have managed to get a bit of my homework done early. We have a whole week off, and I normally procrastinate. I feel like I'm actually understanding more and more Spanish!
I have really enjoyed the more relaxed culture in respect to alcohol. In the States, alcohol is HEAVILY controlled. Here, the university hosted a party and had random vendors on campus selling alcohol. I think the legal drinking age here is 18, but I never saw anyone check ID. It was so beautiful, and we just danced for ages. Also, I may or may not have eaten my body weight in sopaipillas!
This has been a week of firsts! We started classes on Monday, and I finally started to figure out the money here — this 7 UP is the first thing I payed cash for here! I have been walking to and from class, and I have to say that 7 UP is quite refreshing. I don't usually drink caffeine-free drinks in the States, but this is the only diet soda that the store on campus offers.
Initially, I walked to school because I was unsure of the bus system and didn't want to get lost. Now? I walk because it saves me about $15 a week and I get to see so much of the city. Walking to school has been one of the best things I have done since coming here. It allows for me to feel a little bit more secure, and lets me relax a bit more (I'm never lost, it is now my city.) There are so many adorable, random street dogs here! I keep trying to get a good photo of this one dog that always follows me a for a block or so in the morning — it is like a pit bull, but it has split nostrils. I don't know how else to describe it! It is almost as if it has two faces, but it is not from an injury.
There have been a few... shall we say... learning experiences? Like the time I went into the restroom at the university and was rather surprised to find that there was no toilet paper. I had a solid four seconds of thoughts like "They don't use toilet paper here?" before I used a tissue from my backpack and headed for the sink. I then realized that the thin paper by the sinks was not, in fact, paper towels (the university has air dryers) but was actually toilet paper, meant to be grabbed before entering a stall.
I have been so busy and have so much to share! I have daily posts for the next few days so as not to write essays every time I post!
The past few days have been wonderful! My host family has been so amazing in helping me figure out how to make my smartphone work here, and in helping me buy a coat and sweatpants. I didn't realize how cold it could be here! We are rapidly heading into spring/summer here, and I didn't need to buy much other than a coat and some warm pants to run in. I spent much of Friday attending the orientation at the university and then running errands with my host family/shopping with our new Chilean friends. I'm still not totally understanding the whole money system here — it is so, so different and I'm nervous to ride the buses until I have it figured out.
Yesterday we hopped on a bus at an insanely early hour (or, well, 8:30 which is early considering the time change and the fact I am having a hard time sleeping) and headed to Las Termas De Chillan, one of the most beautiful, calming places I have ever been. It is the last couple of days of ski season, so we split off into groups: The ones that wanted to ski on the not-so-great snow, and the ones that wanted to hike and sun themselves by the hot springs. I was a part of the second group, and I spent roughly two hours hiking around, and four or so hours lounging by the pool. I'm a bit lazy, yes! It was really nice though, because I actually had 3g coverage here. It is so weird to be surrounded by the Andes Mountains and yet still have full bars. Claro, you are AMAZING.
Last night we spent singing karaoke and then headed out to the discotheque to dance for a few hours. It is so different from the States! I don't even know how to describe it, but it was fun. We got home around four am, and tried to sleep — I didn't do as well with that as I had hoped. I can't wait to get a bit of a schedule going, and then hopefully my sleep will get better.
I didn't bring any clothes for clubbing, so I thought I would leave you with this gem:
Yes. I went out dancing in yoga pants and running shoes. SO sexy.
It has been a while, and for that I am sorry. It has been a whirlwind past few weeks. I drove to Seattle (twice!) for my passport, went on a spur of the moment road trip with Brandon, and flew to Chile.
I intended to post this last night, right after I got in, but my computer was dead because I didn't have a converter. I hope to post something every day when I have the time, but I will not let it interfere with my life here. I'm so excited for the opportunity! Needless to say, I feel much happier today. Jet lag is a beast.
Brandon and me, after a long hike through the redwood forest,
It feels rather strange to be writing this post, partially because I'm enjoying a lovely case of jet lag and also because the reality of being here hasn't sunken in yet. It still catches me by surprise when I'm walking around and everything around me is in Spanish. It doesn't help that my flights were difficult (Great pilots, but my flight was cancelled twice in a row. DFW airport is not that great my friends, not that great) or that my language barrier is greater than expected.
In fact, this is the post that everyone told me I would probably write the first day and I just couldn't hear it. I kind of nodded along, when the reality is that this is incredibly hard. Incredibly hard. My host family is great, but I'm probably coming off as some sort of ass because my Spanish is so poor. My ability to use the proper formality is iffy at best, and I'm lapsing back into English without realizing it. I just feel so incredibly lost.
It isn't that I have regrets, or even that I am especially homesick. I'm just at a loss for words as to what I feel.
I'm on the hunt for a new purse and wallet. I don't really change my purses often, and I tend to prefer something that is durable and classic, something that gets better with age. I'm incredibly picky though, and this is where it becomes difficult. I don't want something that is going to be too slouchy, but I don't want something that is ridiculously structured to the point of being hard.
The City Bag has been a longtime favorite of mine, partly because of its size, and partly because of the overall rugged-yet-elegant look. You can wear it anywhere without running the risk of it wearing you in the way that some other well-known bags can.
Unfortunately, this bag runs about $1,800. I've been saving up, and I think that it could be a truly lovely investment, but I feel so frivolous when I think of spending that much on a bag.
Any thoughts? Have you ever seen a City Bag in the wild? Do you think a nicer bag is worth the extra expense?
This summer I had this brilliant idea: I wouldn't put in an air conditioner. I mean, last year I didn't need one and they use a ton of electricity, so I thought I would be eco-friendly and save a bit of money at the same time.
Initially, I thought it was a brilliant idea. It hasn't been that hot, and I have been spending most of my days either at school or at work, therefore being in an air conditioned environment much of the time anyway. Unfortunately, the past three days have involved 100 degree temperatures and my hanging out at home, stressing about school. Any makeup I put on is gone by noon, and my hair that was immaculately curled at 9 is now limp and disgusting. My only savior is cold drinks and frozen banana-flavored popsicles.
How do you beat the heat? Are air conditioners the only way?
You have probably noticed this already, but I have a major affection for grey nail polishes. I feel like they are tasteful and elegant without being stuffy, and stylish without being trendy. I also just like the color grey (my favorite color.)
I've been trying to cut back on my polish purchasing, mainly because one can only justify so many grey polishes and because I'm (hopefully) leaving soon, but when I saw this in Sally's I decided it was unique enough to justify, and it was on sale.
You can't see it in the photos, but it has micro-glittery bits in it. Not enough to be difficult to remove, but enough to add a beautiful detail in the sun. The first coat applies a bit streaky, but two coats is absolutely perfect. In the photo I have two coats of the color and no top coat whatsoever.
Today was my last day of class for the summer! It feels strange to have finished off a year of Spanish in two months, and I already miss going to class. I'm one of those people who whines about getting up early, having homework and getting stuck working on projects, but misses the crap out of it when it is over. I guess I'm a glutton for punishment?
I'm completely and utterly terrified though. I'm not quite sure how well I did on the test today, and if I didn't do well, I may not be able to go to Chile. See, the previous terms consisted of four tests, each worth ten percent of your overall grade. That meant that if you struggled a bit with one of the concepts, you weren't completely out of luck. However, this term we only had two tests, and each test was worth 25% of your overall grade. This would have been fine, except for the fact that the tests were the same length as the previous tests, and the questions were very similar.
It doesn't seem like a big deal, but look at it this way: I usually scored about 88 on the previous tests. Not bad at all, considering we spent about two days on each chapter and I was working full time. This term we spent the same amount of time on each chapter, but everything was worth roughly twice as much as it was before, taking my comfortable 88 and making it 44. Not reassuring numbers in a 400 point class. Those numbers can make an A student a C student in no time flat.
I admit, I have checked the website over and over again, and my grade probably won't be posted for another three or four days. I feel like I'm dying!
I have an enormous amount of nervous energy because of it. I managed to finish putting away all of the bedroom boxes and reorganize all of the bedroom after class, and still feel twitchy and anxious, even though it is nearly midnight and I got very little sleep last night studying. I'm just stuck in this awful cycle of could have, would have, should have. What if I had studied harder? I should have quit my job sooner, and then I would have had more time to study.
I also fear that it is a self fulfilling prophecy. I haven't bought my plane ticket yet. Maybe I've known all along that I'm inadequate? Incapable of doing well enough to do something like this. Maybe I'm too stupid to try.
I've cut about eight inches of hair off! For the longest time I was trying to grow my hair out, trying to get it past my waist, and wearing it up nearly all the time to protect it. Last week I realized that not only did my hair look crappy, but it looked dull and lifeless. Why have long, long hair if you are going to leave it in a bun all the time?
I read about five thousand hair salon reviews in my area before deciding on one called "Big Funky Hair Salon."
I admit, I probably never would have gone in except for the glowing reviews that I saw online. When I called the stylist was able to get me in the same day, and the results were nothing short of miraculous. I know my skin looks awful and I seem a bit stoned here, but my hair is so much more attractive now than it was before. I'm in awe! I really don't miss the length as much as I thought I would, although the shock when I saw all the hair on the floor was intense.
I'm getting a new camera! A real, decent-quality camera. I'm still in the research stage, but I should be posting far better photos within the next week. I'm ridiculously excited!
You have to forgive me for the quickie review, but I had to share! This foundation is truly the best foundation I have ever used, and I have used just about every foundation that is easily found on the market. I'm typically too pale for drugstore foundations, but this one is just barely light enough for me to wear during the summer.
I use my fingers to apply this in the morning, and it lasts all day with medium-full coverage (very build able) and a natural finish. I have awkward combination skin, and it works beautifully on both the dry and the oily bits.
I know the photo is terrible, but my skin looks ten thousand times better there than it does without makeup. I have been wearing this foundation for eight hours, in 87 degree heat with high humidity, through classes, and now to an oil change that is taking forever.
I haven't been doing as many skincare or beauty related posts lately because my skin has been awful. I have been to a dermatologist, and we are working on it, but it isn't improving as rapidly as one would hope. Hopefully I will be back to posting regularly asap!
It has officially become real. I have a family assignment and an actual, physical address of where I will be living in Chile. My host mom has sent me an email. I have host siblings, and I know that it will be a roughly fifteen minute walk from where I'm going to live to the University.
It just... hasn't felt real until now. I have been going through the motions of filling out the applications, working on passport stuff, and looking at the dates, but it has been kind of a game up until now.
Now? It is real. I fly out in 41 days. I can't imagine what it is going to be like to wake up in the U.S., and fall asleep in another country.
The past couple of weeks have been crazy! So much has happened and I'm so excited. We got engaged, and are looking at summer/fall of 2014 for a wedding.
And... I'm studying in Chile this fall! I'm so nervous and excited. I'm buying my plane tickets tonight, and I leave September fourth. To be able to go I have had to take all of my first year Spanish over the summer, and it works out to be roughly 5 hours of work per day. Pretty difficult when you are working full time afternoon/night shifts. Plus, my manager was incredibly angry with me for not being able to take on day shifts due to my classes, classes that she already knew about when she hired me and shifts that she knew I would never be able to work. I was miserable and stressed out all the time. Which leads me to...
I just gave notice at my job! My last day is July 29, and I can't wait to be done. I was so miserable for so long, and I am so ready to be able to focus solely on my studies and trip preparations.
I have to say, If you had asked me a month ago if any of this would happen, I would have said you were crazy. And yet here we are!
During the move I came across a huge box of lipsticks I have used a couple of times and haven't touched since. I decided that I would use each one of them, try to make them work, and then toss them if I couldn't make the color or formula work. This is the first one I tried.
In the tube it comes off as a rose-gold sheer with a slight shimmer to it. On my lips it comes off as a granny red with a crap ton of gold Sharpie scribbled all over. It photographs far better than it looks in real life, and I think that this is one of the unfortunate shades that may have to go in the trash.
I'm going to try it with one more outfit, but I'm pretty sure that this was made for someone with a different skin tone. And maybe someone about fifty years older.