2 meses y más

Oh hi! How are you all? It’s been more than a week. Did you miss me? (Please say yes.)

In case you weren’t aware, it’s September. And I’m in Chile. September 18th is Chilean Independence Day. This means that I have the entire week of September 17-24th off, and also that the entire month is just a huge party. My vacation began today after my last test. You have no idea how ready I am for a week off.

Which means I finally have time to write a post!

It’s been so many days that it’s useless to try and organize this post day by day. Let’s just recap overall.

First, one of my friends celebrated the big 2-1 (yay S.!). This was probably one of the funnest nights I’ve had so far. It was just all gringos, eating food, speaking a lot of English. Everything on study abroad doesn’t have to be a big trip or something planned or something “cultural.” You can still just hang out.

Second, real schoolwork decided to rear its ugly head and remind me that there is indeed a “study” in study abroad. This involved a personal essay proposal, which my host mom very kindly corrected and edited, and a group project proposal. Fun fact about group projects while on study abroad: you still have all the same problems, but in your second language. It’s a hoot, let me tell you. All I can say is thank goodness for Google docs.

Third, I went to daily Mass on campus. It turns out college Mass is pretty much the best Mass no matter where you are, no matter what the language.

Fourth, spring is coming. It might actually be here already. But I don’t want to jinx things, because I’ve thought that about four times now and every time there’s always a nice brisk 50-and-rainy day to shake things up. It’s been around 70 and sunny for three days now…so here’s hoping! With this has come a resentment of my closet and the quantity of winter clothes I have versus cute spring/summer items. Paired with my unwillingness to spend money on “unnecessary” shopping, you can imagine how getting dressed has been lately.

Question for Chileans: how do you wear all those layers when it’s 75 and sunny out? Yes, it’s chilly in the morning. But you’re really going to keep wearing your chaleco and bufanda at 3 PM?

Finally, I went on another vineyard tour.

There was a gate like this at Hallie’s dad’s vineyard in The Parent Trap, right?

Obviously a visit to a vineyard must include references the Lindsay Lohan version of The Parent Trap. We had the pleasure of visiting Viña Concha y Toro, way out on the southern border of the Santiago metropolitan region. Unlike our trip to the artisanal vineyard in Linares, this trip featured a lot less lecturing and a lot more picture-taking. Let’s take a brief photo tour, shall we?

I just like the pictures my camera takes in landscape shooting mode.

Also: people used to live here. Can you imagine?

The former main house of the estate. See previous caption.

It all looks the same, but there’s actually a lot of different wine dormant (it’s winter) here.

There’s a mountain or a cerro in the back! Of course I took a photo of it!

Things I learned: the climate in the central zone of Chile, where Santiago is, is excellent for growing wine grapes. There’s a type of red wine here called carménère, which is only grown in Chile. Keys to tasting wine: see (color), smell, swirl (to oxygenate) and smell again (it WILL smell different!), and sip. I feel smarter drinking wine now.

First wine tasting: a carménère.

El Casillero del Diablo, or “The Devil’s Cellar.” Where the best wine is kept.

Why this picture? The entire cellar- which was huge- was made of bricks laid with limestone, sand, and egg whites. Yes, egg whites.

Camera fun. Thank you for indulging me.

Wine tasting #2: the Trio, a combination of 70% cabernet sauvignon, 15% shiraz/syrah?, 15% carménère. I think.

Just another nice, classy, relaxing paseo. And of course we finished the day with food.

Empanada de pino and a Coca-Cola. Welcome to Chile.

Guess how long I’ve been here now? That’s right! TWO MONTHS. The time is flying by, people. I could do for it to slow down juuuuust a tad if you please.

So what’s next? A fiesta dieciochera for fiestas patria at my volunteer site. Which will feature me in traditional Chilean dress. A nearly 10-day vacation. Four days in Linares! Lots and lots and lots of food. And hopefully a zillion pictures and stories to share with you.

Chao chao! Besos! Cuídate!

Much love,

Gaby

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