i’m going vegan - hopefully.

First it was necessary to civilize man in relation to man. Now it is necessary to civilize man in relation to nature and the animals

-Victor Hugo

I’m going to take a go at it and write about it to keep myself accountable.

El odio nada engendra, sólo el amor es fecundo.

 arturo alessandri palma

wednesday 29: made a couple important stops on the way back; copiapo (the city where the chilean miner accident occurred), antofagasta, concepción/la serena and then finally made it home to viña!

tuesday 28: woke up at 3:30 am, by far the earliest i have woken up in chile, to go see the geysers of tatio. 

the tatio geyser field is one of the tallest in the world sitting at 4,200 meters above sea level. 

el tatio translates to the crying old man in español

hot springs at the geyser field.

llama kabobs in a little town named machuca. the town has a total of SEVEN residents. they survive economically by selling llama kabobs, empanadas, homemade goods and sopaipillas to tourists.

we went to a cactus field on the way back to san pedro atacama. the cacti were massive.

then we hopped on the bus out of san pedro to make our way back to viña del mar!

monday 27: woke up at 6 am for a tour of socoire (a small indigenous town) where we fed llamas! we also went to los flamencos national reserve, salar de atacama, laguna cejar, los ojos de cejar and watched an epic sunset.

there are six types of flamingos in the world, of those 3 live in los flamencos national reserve; chilean flamingo, andean flamingo and jame’s flamingo.

the salar de atacama is the third largest salt flat in the world and covers an area of over 3000 km squared (uyuni, bolivia being the largest, salt lake city the second largest). it has about 40% salt concentration which allows people to float!

sunday 26: continued the 24 hour bus ride to calama and then took a two hour bus ride to san pedro in the atacama desert. went to valle de la luna and valle de la muerte.

valle de la luna

las tres marías

valle de la muerte: two rumors surround this place. 1 - that rather than making it to mars in 1969, NASA travelled to valle de la muerte and took a photo here (because it supposedly looks like mars). 2 - that it is called valle de la muerte because a non-native speaker was trying to say valle de la MARTE (which is mars in spanish). 

we also went to the tropic of capricorn: the southernmost latitude where the sun can be seen directly overhead. it was also the crossing of the camino de inca which extends past cusco, peru!

near the camino de inca travelers used to mark their path with unique rock formations. they are now considered a form of good luck - but beware, if you knock one over it will lead to 40 years of bad luck.

saturday 25: 2 hour bus ride at six am to santiago in order to catch a 24 hour bus to san pedro de atacama.

friday 24: on a whim went to the bus station with my friends katrina and sarah and proceeded to buy bus tickets to san pedro for the next day.

thursday 23: took a random bus to santiago and bought a backpacking pack. finally experienced true santiago traffic/transit. one hour to the mall in a bus. one hour back in a taxi. two hours on bus to viña. finally experienced tear gas on a metro due to the student strikes; not a pleasant feeling but most bizarre because it was a scene from a movie, even with a little girl sobbing next to me due to it.  went to a bar with my economic/history professor with 5 other students and chatted about social and political issues - amazing experience.

tuesday 21: spent the entire evening in casa central for toma activities with friends (katrina, lilia, tamara, claudio) - concert of student bands. 

monday 20: near flooding in valpo - went for a very long walk in the rain! lilia, sari and i went to cafe amura to watch the massive olas (waves). 

sunday 19: father’s day with chilean grandparents - agua de hierba//delicious. 

saturday 18: Went to a peña (folklore event) at the Salvador Allende memorial bookstore/museum in Valpo. We tried to find a bar that had empanadas - instead we stumbled upon el gato en la ventana which didn’t have food - but provided us with our own personal tour guide of valpo at 1:00 am. he walked for about an hour with us to find a restaurant. eccentricity at it’s finest.

"life is either a great adventure or nothing"

 -helen keller

friday 17: Went for a run and happened upon a group of stunters on the beach - amazingly talented. 

found this in the sand while running. if i could describe the people of chile in one way it would be amoroso - they are truly loving and aren’t afraid to show it. while running i saw dozens of couples on the beach (típico) and was realizing how much i would miss that. right after taking this picture this little love note was swept away by the water.

and now a momentary break to remember all my favorite couples i have seen in chile.

continuing on…


group of stunters in viña.

thursday 16: Turned in a twelve page paper that i wrote over night on the effects of the voucher system in primary and secondary education in Chile - first all nighter abroad. Fiesta en Casa de Mexiclan - went to my friend Karla’s house who is an international student from Mexico; she and her roommates hosted a big party.

wednesday 15: Met with students at Santa María to learn about the schooling system here and what they think about the student movements going on in Chile. 

lilia being interviewed for a video project about the nationwide student movement.

tuesday 14: Made a double stack chocolate cake with Fernanda. Much success compared to our last cooking adventure!

monday 13: Went into Gimpert to meet with a bunch of the social work students that are in toma. 

sunday 12: Had huge lunch with my chilean family, friends and relatives.

saturday 11: IFSA took our program to Santiago to do a human rights tour; we heard the perspective of both the left and the right about Pinochet’s dictatorship (1973-1990). Visited the General Cemetery in Santiago and went to a park in honor of Victor Jara that was used as a torture center during the dictatorship.

ryan talking to two kids he met at the cemetery. 

standing in the monument for Salvador Allende. Violeta Parra, Victor Jara, family members of Augusto Pinochet, Pedro Montt and other (in)famous chileans are buried in the general cemetery.

friday 10: My friend Lilia and I ventured up north to see a few small beach towns ; Zapallar and Cachagua. 

ate incredibly fresh seafood at el chinguito.

met this guy while trying to get to isla de cachagua (also known as the penguin island). his name is manuel and he is a local fisherman  - great guy. when i asked him for his email so i could email him a few of the shots i took, he told me that he didn’t use a computer. got his real address. later, when lilia and i were lost trying to find the bus station in cachagua, manuel came up on his motorcycle and brought us there. great new friend.

isla de cachagua - a 100 m wide island that is home to various species of birds; but especially known for having magellanic and humboldt penguins! 

thursday 9: went to the Universidad de Playa Ancha campus for the first time to see a march for the toma. we missed the march but we did get to see how two other campus’ were decked out. watched sunset and we were able to see the mountains for the first time because the sky was amazingly clear. tried a churro relleno filled with manjar - delicioso. on the bus ride home a couple clowns boarded the micro and were extremely entertaining. all of the chileans on the bus thoroughly enjoyed the ride as they spent the entire time making fun of the three gringos.

toma “for an egalitarian education”

david, ryan and jordan loving/hating the churros.

wednesday 8: did a wednesday at Café Journal, one of the most known bars in town simply due to books like Lonely Planet, for the first time. 

playing beer pong at a local bar before going to cafe journal.

colliguay, cody and cow skulls

tuesday 7: Found an organic food store that makes excellent organic manjar treats. Went to the LAN store and found out that their plane tickets are a bigger rip off in person. Passed my second oral exam in spanish! bravissimo gelatería for first and last time. 

monday 6: Went to a Chinese restaurant to study - strangely, it sold both Chinese and chilean food. I ate an egg roll and an empanada simultaneously = brilliant.

sunday 5: Road in the back of a truck to town to buy more chorizo, a type of sausage, which was not available. Instead we toasted marshmallows on the grille with bread instead of graham crackers. Ed found a skull of a cow and a tiny little hut. First real rain I have seen in Viña….a couple inches completely flooded the streets.

saturday 4: Went to Colliguay in the cordillera de la costa, seaside mountain range, to rent a cabin with a few friends. Saw an epic sunset in the mountains and befriended a dog who we named Cody.

cody; dog model.

friday 3: Watched the sunset with Lilia and Sam from the sand dunes in Con Con. Was serenaded by 15 men with instruments, wearing costumes, outside my window for four full song. 

thursday 2: First day of toma, follows a paro, which is when the professors vote on whether they accept the students demands of the government. They also vote and if in toma - schools/universities are on lock-down (toma means occupation/taken over). All of my classes were cancelled! Also, made spaetzle (home-made german fideos, noodles) and beef stroganoff with my sister Fernanda.

Toma Video at PUCV - my university in Valparaíso

Video at Curauma of Toma: 2 am

wednesday 1: First day of paro, strike, which is due to the intense interest rates of student loans in Chile. Students all over the country are fighting to lower the rate from about 9% to 2.6% on their university loans. Paro is a type of civic engagement in which the students vote in their carreras, majors, to not attend class. 

tuesday 31: amazing conversation with my whole chilean family about history of chile and racism in south america.

monday 30: went to quinta vergara.

sunday 29: went on a ruta de inmigración today (of the italian community in valparaíso). went to museo fonck, palacio riojas and palacio carrasco (the last two still closed due to the earthquake last spring). rode on a trolley bus in valparaíso for the first time! 

antique store in the italian district owned by a italian-chilean man.

little art show outside of museo fonck by local artists.

saturday 28: went to trolley bar, practiced harmonica that i bought in santiago.

ajedrez, iglesias, museos, familia: week two of cultural adventures.

friday 27: museos museos museos. plus churches and cerros and lots of walking!

planning our day and practicing my french with this french guide book of santiago (compliments of la chimba hostal)

"ojo" - eyes to warn of low hanging things in la chascona - the third in the trilogy of pablo neruda homes.

tribute to pablo neruda poetry outside of his home made on the 35 year anniversary of his death. this is a snippet from a poem called poetry.

and it was at that age…poetry arrived

in search of me. i don’t know, i don’t know where

it came from, from winter or a river.

a large hydroelectric dam in hidroaysen was recently approved by the chilean government to be handled by ENDESAchile. there have been many protests against this project because of it’s invasion into the natural oasis in southern chile. 

inside the museo histórica nacional in the plaza de armas. it seems that augusto pinochet helped to fund, or approved the funding, of this museum. it was very unusual to see a placard praising pinochet. 

a group gathered to see a famous street performer. directly behind the crowd is the catedral metropolitana.

underground memorial in the cathedral to several deceased clergymen. the cathedral is the sight for the archdiocese of santiago and the principal catholic church in the country.  

people praying in the cathedral. 

stumbled upon a chess tournament in the plaza de armas and could not have been more excited. it was amazing. 

cerro santa lucia in downtown santiago. named by pedro de valdivia when he climbed it on december 13, 1541 due to santa lucia day in scandinavia. 

the absolutely beautiful view from a bridge over the mapocho river. katrina and i are still unsure why the river bed is dry. it is not due to damming but i also cannot find information about the drought causing it. the pictures on the ground are projections made that change every couple minutes. 


there is a type of cafe in chile called a “cafe con piernas” which is supposedly for business men to go and the baristas wear short dresses. we stumbled upon the three (club haíti being one of them) in the business district. and then between the streets “compañía de jesús” and “catedral” we saw several trashier ones. a little bit ironic. 

thursday 26: went to santiago with katrina and met up with a bunch of others to see the colo colo game.


(members of the garra blanca, the fans of colo colo, climbing on the fence 10 minutes into the game)

wednesday 25: tried to go to quinta vergara but got lost. turned on a calefont for the first time! tipped the singer/guitarist on the micro today. hoy=éxito.

tuesday 24: ate lunch with my chilean grandparents, my nana and brother and it was such a treat. we talked about how difficult it is for chileans to obtain visas to visit the US and about different types of discrimination. also, for the first time i was literally chased off the beach by dogs. quinta vergara park for the first time. finally made it to a vinyasa class!

monday 23: first group project in spanish in front of my geography class. first time riding on the micro with a guy playing guitar and singing - i was a little confused about the proper way to react…it turns out chileans are really generous and everyone (except me…oops!) gave the man about a quarter!

sunday 22: went to a new cafe on the beach called cafe amura. spent the entire night hanging out with my chilean sister - fernanda.

one new adventure every day: 2 1/2 months left

i am trying to really live during the last half of my study abroad experience.

the challenge: do something new and cultural every day (and learn something!) that i am here until i leave.

saturday 21: went to a run on the beach. watched the sunset completely on the beach.

friday 20: talked to my new host mom about the education system here compared to in the united states - learned a lot about how scholarships work (and don’t work) here. walked around playa ancha for the first time with my chilean friend, franz, from geography. learned a lot about remociones en masa. ¡que emocionante!

thursday 19: moved houses - that’s pretty new! ate real pizza for the first time here and lived with a nana for the first time! saw machuca - a chilean film. 

wednesday 18: went to the ballet folklorico at teatro municipal in valparaíso to see traditional chilean (and russian) dance.

also, tried a new chilean food: chorrillana - french fries covered with meat, onions and other delicious things.

tuesday 17: saw puerto cuba, a chilean band that plays cuban music, in a plaza in valparaíso. went to my first yoga class in spanish!

monday 16: ate pastel de choclo for the first time. presented in front of a class in which i am the only non-chilean.

sunday 15: took the “o” bus that drives through all the cerros with sarah. then, we visited a couple small art galleries in cerro concepción. learned a little about a puerteño artist.

saturday 14: went to “i love valpo” and spoke with a woman about human rights abuses in a plaza in valparaíso.

to be continued…

10 plays

stumbled upon a concert in a plaza in valparaíso last night on my way to yoga class. the band, Puerto Cuba, were uncannily similar to Buena Vista Social Club - bring me back to their concert in 2007 in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. turns out, they do mainly covers of Buena Vista and are really talented. during the concert, a little old man asked me to dance with him to which I said no. His response: “¿Me siento en sus rodillas?” = literally, “can i sit in your lap?”

this has been a week full of culture and lot’s of walking! besides the concert and newly found yoga place (which is excellent and only mil-quinientos for an 1 1/2 hour class), my friend lilia and i went to a play this past saturday too. it was called “i love valpo” and it was a social criticism about everything from globalization to human rights violations during the pinochet regime.

after the play, we walked down to the plaza de armas and passed a budding protest against the ship esmeralda that is the official embassador ship of chile and the chilean army.

a husband and wife and their daughter had put out candles and a message about torture that had taken place about the esmeralda after the golpe de estado (coup d’etat) in 1973. the protest, that was to happen on Sunday, was in response to the esmeralda starting a global tour including much of North America. 

the woman who was spearheading the protest grew up near a man named miguel woodward. woodward was a british man who fought for the rights of those who were silenced due to political and social repression. due to his outspokenness, he became a target for pinochet and was labeled as a political enemy. 

long story short, miguel woodward became one of 500 valparaíso (and surrounding areas) citizens that were tortured in various parts of the city. the majority of the torture took place in the armada and other government buildings. however, the pool at a local university (that some of my IFSA mates attend) was used as a torture center. 


the other little known torture center was the famous esmeralda. the boat is currently the second tallest and longest sailing ship in the world. it is something of pride in chile. in 1986, the boat was invited to attend 4th of july in new york harbour which was a gathering of the largest ships in the world. seems natural to invite the esmeralda but as cynthia brown, of the new york times, stated “it’s like inviting pinochet to the 4th.” quite contradictory to a celebration about liberty.

[[now, back to the protest last weekend]] due to their connection with miguel woodward, the only man who died due to the torture, the family does a protest each year on the day that the esmeralda embarks on global tours. 

this year was distinctive because president piñera came to see of the sailors with a special nod to the ladies on the ship because it was the first time that women were able to make the trip.

unfortunately, the claim that they were the first is false. of the 500 people tortured in 1973 on esmeralda, many were women. 

sadly, the avoidance of the horrific torture in valparaíso, and specifically aboard the esmeralda, exemplifies how national memory is formed by the news and the government. additionally, i believe it demonstrates the importance of historical honesty and recognition of human rights violations - which are too often erased from the collective memory. history is a powerful tool against repeating (or more succinctly, rhyming) horrible events of the past. 

read. remember. prevent future atrocities. 

for more information: 

Miguel Woodward - Memoria y Justicia (Santiago, Chile)

Article from the Philly about 4th of July, 1986

Article from SanDiego Indy News - 2004

Amnesty International Report about Esmeralda

pablo neruda aka. neftalí ricardo reyes basoalto

"i do not love you except because i love you"

I do not love you except because I love you;
I go from loving to not loving you,
From waiting to not waiting for you
My heart moves from cold to fire.

I love you only because it’s you the one I love;
I hate you deeply, and hating you
Bend to you, and the measure of my changing love for you
Is that I do not see you but love you blindly.

Maybe January light will consume
My heart with its cruel
Ray, stealing my key to true calm.

In this part of the story I am the one who
Dies, the only one, and I will die of love because I love you,
Because I love you, Love, in fire and blood.
pablo neruda was a true “amante chileno”. he lived and breathed romanticism and ended up sharing his love for three different wives throughout his lifetime.he lived a life that few can even comprehend.-he was offered a spot to run for the chilean presidency in 1970-he won a nobel prize for literature in 1971-he was a part of a failed assassination attempt of leon trotsky in 1940-uniquely, pablo neruda was something of a celebrity in chile while he was alive (often it takes until after someone dies to become famous….(i.e.http://www.toptenz.net/top-10-people-who-became-famous-after-death.php)-people mourned his death and used it is an opportunity to fight against the military dictatorship -he only used green ink
he was also a collector: sea shells, figureheads (exclusively women), houses, enemies (generally of the political sort), and wives.restaurant/bar now located at pablo neruda’s second house in isla negra, chile.

view from pablo’s bedroom - great inspiration for a poet. (he even made his house look like a boat to fit in with the scenery)

view from outside of the house.

i have now seen two of his three homes. fascinating man.

things i have learned//10 weeks in the skinniest country in the world

0. my name is really hard to pronounce for chileans. i usually receive blank stares, “wendy?” or “ohhhh, cómo Whitney Houston?”. 

1. always bring toilet paper to public places, ALWAYS. yet, never flush it down the toilet. that is what the little garbage cans are for.

2. wheat bread is a luxury.

3. avocados are sold by the kilo in chile.

4. going into a starbucks/mcdonalds etc. in any country in the world is immediately transports me back to the United States.

samantha studying so very hard.

my friend sarah trying to do IFSA spanish homework.

5. chile birthday traditions - 

—manteo: throwing a person in the air for how many years old they turned.

—the birthday boy/girl bites the cake and then everyone pushes their face in it.

6. christmas music can be played all year round. some favorites: it’s beginning to look a lot like christmas (bing crosby), white christmas (frank sinatra), have yourself a merry little christmas (frank sinatra) and the first noel (nat king cole).

7. asados (chilean barbeques) should be had as often as possible. 

8. when colo colo plays la u: it’s a tense day in viña del mar.

9. most of the words i am learning will not be recognized by any other spanish speakers in the world. my favorite examples of words/phrases so far (and most useful to know):

—chocopanda - mullets (still popular here)

—banano - fanny pack 

—a nonverbal cue, if one knocks three times on a table - is always an allusion to 


—chanta la monto - take it easy/hold your horses

—andar a lo gringo - to go “commando”

—googlear - literally “to google”

—bacán - great

—guagua - baby

additionally, -ita/-ito can be added to any word to give a sense of adoration.

10. chilean parents have begun naming their children based on united states films. several very popular names include; jonathan, michael (jackson) and denzel (washington). another new trend for new parents is to mix several “anglo” names together in unusual manners: brayatan (bryan and jonathan). lastly, very strange things such as a boy named Usnavy (US Navy).

11. if you can understand chilean spanish - you can understand all other dialects. the amount of slang and the speed at which chileans speak make the dialect seem completely unrelated to neighboring countries.

12. slamming car doors is a big no-no. i have been scolded more than once by collectivo drivers for that bad habit.

13. staying at a bar until 3 am is a very early night, my parents actually expect me to stay out until 6 am. 

14. a kiss on the right cheek is the only way to greet a friend/acquaintance. 

15. some of the best and some of the worst foods come from chile. best: alfajor (chocolate covered manjar/caramel filled cookie) and empanadas. worst: completos (hot dogs with mayo, avocado and tomato).

16. divorce was illegal until 2004 and abortion is yet to be legalized. this is often thought to be due to strong ties with the roman catholic church.

17. children usually live at home until they are married, often later than 25 or 26.

18. yellow roses indicate contempt and should not be given as a gift.

19. when toasting, you must look the person in the eye as you say “salud”.

20. chile has birthed two nobel laureates - Gabriela Mistral and Pablo Neruda.

21. nearly half of the population is under 25 years of age - over 70% under the age of 40. 

22. la nana is a very typical fixture in a chilean home. she works as a housekeeper/mom and sometimes even lives in the home. 

23. the current president of chile - sebastián piñera - is a very wealthy and successful businessman. before becoming president he owned: 100% of chilevisión (tv station), a quarter of the largest airline in Chile (LAN) and a good part of the most popular soccer team (Colo-Colo). 

24. chile has a tumultuous past and has outstanding land disputes with both peru and bolivia. 

25. chileans are extremely proud to be chilean - and it turns out, i am pretty proud to be studying here.

these next couple weeks are ramping up to be filled with homework and the fall weather is swooping in. with that being said, i received some really exciting news today….my sister hayley and uncle john will most likely be visiting me late july! i cannot wait to show them around my second home.

13 weeks to go - so much to see and do, so little time.

international worker’s day - día del trabajador

may 1 is an international holiday to remember worker’s rights. as a United States citizen, i am not terribly aware of this day because our “labor day” does not coincide with international workers day because it is celebrated on the first monday of september. incidentally, they have the same origin, but are celebrated in much different ways. 

labor day marks the beginning of the school year and the end of summer. we sometimes follow the mantra “no white after labor day” (the navy strictly follows this fashion advice by switching from their white uniforms to their blue uniforms.

now, international worker’s day is recognized in over 80 countries of the world as a reminder the Haymarket Massacre in Chicago. eight hours work, eight hours recreation and eight hours of sleep a day is the idea.

as a child growing up in the USA, may day means something completely different to me. a may day basket with a poem attached dropped off on the neighbors stoop, starting a chain reaction and may day baskets all over the neighborhood.

The moon shines bright, and the stars give light, 
A little before it is day; 
So God bless you all, both great and small, 
And send you a joyful May! 

May Day Santiago 2011

Arturo Martínez is leading the event off and hoping that there will be over 50,000 workers united in Santiago for a demonstration. 

"Chile will not come out of poverty until it values the work product, because employers feel they are doing people a favor by hiring them,” said Martínez.

Hip hip hooray for workers rights and happy may day!