Tag Archives: weather

It’s on my to-do list

Well, that might be how this works now that school has started again. It has been around 2 weeks since I last posted. For the 20 of you who read this blog, I apologize if I have left you lacking something to do/a way to procrastinate. The reason I am writing this right now, at 11:45 PM when I have class in the morning, is because it is on my to-do list, and if I can’t cross it off it will drive me nuts. (I promise all my homework for tomorrow is done.)

I figured since it’s just about the end of the month now, it’s a good time to review how I’m doing on my New Year’s resolutions.

FOOD: Eh. Food has been okay. My food habits haven’t deteriorated, but I could do better. I am refocusing this week. I need to find a way to stop being so hungry at night. I eat dinner between 5 and 7, but I often don’t go to bed until 12 or later. Somewhere in those 5 hours I really want a snack, and I overindulge more often than I should. Suggestions are appreciated!

EXERCISE: I have recommitted to exercise. I’m solid on my cardio; I’m good friends with the new elliptical in my dorm’s workout room, and I’m going to start running on the treadmill again this week. I also walk pretty much everywhere, and I am now living on the third floor of my building- yay stairs! For this week, I will make a better effort to lift weights and work my abs.

BEAUTY: Two days a week, I have classes which require me to wear clothes I can get dirty and/or move around in. On the other three days of the week, I have more formal classes and my job. So I’ve been fairly professional looking on those days. And I’m trying to find outfits that I can wear for the other classes that I can change quickly (i.e., jeans to sweats, take a sweater off, etc.) so I don’t look like a total slob.

WORK BETTER: I haven’t had a lot of work yet, so I’ve been taking it easy- I haven’t been to the library yet, I’ll do stuff with the TV on, I’ll leave Facebook up in the background, and so on. This week, I’m going to try and get into the library, maybe with friends who want library buddies, even if I don’t have a lot of work. I know I will focus better when I am removed from my room. I just haven’t had the motivation to do that yet.

LIFE: I am saying yes more! I have been out and about on the weekends, nothing crazy, but I have been hanging out with new and old groups of people and trying to take advantage of things while I have the time. I’ve been to a hockey game, a free concert, the student film festival, an ice carving, a Chile reunion party, gone to Spanish Mass, attended a current events discussion- it’s keeping me busy! And I’m getting busier. I have various meetings and events every day this week. This is why I took it easy my first couple of weeks. The storm is coming.

I’ve also had to practice a little bit of patience. I did get a little bored during my first week, since I had no work but there wasn’t much else to do during the week. It’s also interesting coming back to old friend groups and not seeing as much of the people you just spent half a year with in a foreign country. I’ve had to remind myself that it’s fine, it’s perfectly normal, it’s nothing personal, not to see everybody and do something every single night.

And then the theme of big life decisions has started to come up again. I’ve been reminded of some things I really love to do, but I just don’t have as much time for anymore- like theater. But I don’t have time for it because I’m making time for other stuff I’m really excited about- like my Chile internship. It’s a really awesome situation to be in, actually, as much as it sometimes bums me out. I am taking a break from one thing to explore something new, something fun, something potentially powerful and life-changing. Something that could actually turn into the rest of my life. Unfortunately, we can’t always do everything we want to. We can only hope that we get to choose between awesome stuff, and that the best option or the “have-to” isn’t something we don’t enjoy.

Oh. I’ve also done a little bit of baking.

Brownie chip cookies! Specially made for the first day of classes and work.

Brownie chip cookies! Specially made for the first day of classes and work.

Carrot cake cake balls! Not pretty. But delicious.

Carrot cake cake balls! Not pretty. But delicious.

I’m hoping to make some banana muffins tomorrow night to bring in to work. I’ve got some dining hall bananas here smelling up my room, just about to perfect muffin/bread ripeness. We’ll see how that goes!

Chile-related thoughts: it’s been freezing here. The early part of last week was brutal. Chileans have no concept of how cold this actually is. I know, the damp cold they have in their winter is hard to shake because there’s no central heating, and it might be the coldest I’ve been in my life. But I never felt like my thighs or nose were going to freeze right off of my body after a 10-minute walk outside.

Also, the fact that it’s summer there and my host family is going on a beach vacation this week while I walk around in cold and slush makes me incredibly jealous. I mean, it’s 86 and sunny there every single day. We swing between the 40’s and -10, and rarely is there sun. Why did I leave? And why am I going back in their WINTER?!

The other day I craved some Chilean-style salad: for example, raw shredded cabbage and carrots, tossed in olive oil and lemon juice and sprinkled (or showered, depending on the mamá) with salt. I also wanted avocado, but that’s not just the other day, that’s like everyday.

I’ve been drinking agua de hierbas (well, Sleepytime tea) most nights. But really, I would just love me some plain agua de menta (mint) or manzanilla (chamomile) right now.

I had a dream the other night that I was leaving for the airport to go back to Santiago in an hour, and I had absolutely nothing packed. I woke up panicked. Goodness.

I will try to write a little more again soon! Please comment and leave me your thoughts. I love hearing from you- whether I know you or not!

With love,

Gaby

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Volando

Has anyone figured out how to make time stop yet? Or at least slow down? I’ve been in Santiago for 3 months. Which means I’ve been in Chile for about 3.5 months. Which leaves me about a month and half left.

I don’t want to talk about it. We dropped someone off at the airport last week, and I started crying. It got me thinking about how I’ll be leaving soon enough and then I’ll be one dragging my bags through the airport again and saying goodbye. My host mom just brought up how quickly the time has flown by, and I literally could not look at her because I started tearing up. I’ve had a bunch of moments like that this week, and mixed in with seeing people’s fall pictures from the States, plus a very full academic workload, it’s been emotional. I’m mostly blaming it on being tired and hormonal (you didn’t need to know that, but whatever, it’s the truth!), but we all know that that’s not the whole reason.

My real parents and my host parents have both told me that they know I will be coming back one day. And maybe it will be soon. I’ve decided to apply for an internship which would put me back here for 10 weeks next summer (or winter, in the Southern hemisphere). It would be a very valuable experience for me besides just getting some more time here, I promise. But it’s a competitive program, so who knows my chances of actually being accepted? Which means I don’t know when I’ll be able to come back. And that’s hard for me to deal with. I’ve done exactly what I wanted to do here. I didn’t really want to come here to travel every other weekend or go out three nights a week or anything. I cam here to live here. I came here in the hope that I could lay down some roots and that I would have a life here. And I do. Which means it’s going to be hard to leave.

I’ll be incredibly excited to go home and see my family and celebrate the holidays, of course. It’s gonna be an awesome Christmas. That doesn’t mean I’ll be any less sad or teary in that airport come December.

Several weeks ago, I was discussing how I don’t want to be seen as a tourist here. Then a Chilean asked me, “So what are you doing here?” And I didn’t really have a good answer for him. I am not a tourist. Do I occasionally do tourist-y things? Yes. Occasionally. Infrequently. I’m not an expatriate, because I’m not here for good. Am I just a foreigner? Just a student? Is that the easiest way to describe what I’m doing here? I wish there were a word that aptly described my temporarily-settled state. I know that, no matter how hard I try, no matter how many gringo students are overly impressed by my Spanish, I am not Chilean. Not by a long shot. So what do we think I am?

Oh hey! I finally went to a club!

Tip #1: if you want to drink, previa- or as American college students call it, pre-game. Drinks in the clubs are generally expensive, and you don’t want to fight the crowd at the bar, then have to sit at the bar with your drink while you’d rather be out dancing.

Tip #2: nothing really gets going until after 12, and a lot of people stay out until at least 4. So get yourself ready for a long night.

Tip #3: wear clothing with pockets. Try to avoid bringing a purse, because it’s hard to dance with your purse hanging off of you. It’s also easier to keep track of your stuff when it’s very close to your person.

Tip #4: take cab money to get home. Try not to ride the buses, especially alone, especially if you haven’t planned out multiple bus routes before you leave. Just take the cab.

Tip #5: try to get in for free! This is much easier for the ladies, especially the foreign ladies (sorry, guys). Covers can be ridiculous. Sometimes all it takes is getting there a little early or say you’re attending a club’s event on Facebook. But you’ll appreciate saving those 3.000 pesos or whatever it is.

Tip #6: just dance! Get in there and get going. That’s what you’re there for anyways, right?

Let’s talk about fashion! Santiago, like any other big city, exhibits a wide range of styles. You can get a good sense of it just by riding the metro. Let’s discuss some trends, shall we?

You can find every kind of sweater, or chaleco, in Chile. Like, every kind of style, knit, wool, size, shape, color you could possibly imagine. Chilean women wear sweaters in every kind of weather. It’s almost the only thing you’ll see them wearing on colder days, and I’ve even seen them when the temperature goes above 70.

Boots are also an essential part of the wardrobe, and they usually come with some kind of heel. I actually found it a little difficult to find flat boots at the beginning of the semester. Wedge boots, with laces, seem to have been the hot thing this season. Boots are still in full force now that spring has come to stay. I wonder if it’s an all-season thing.

Chilean women wear scrunchies. Not even kidding. We’ve been making fun of them for years, and they’re selling them new, in all kinds of prints and fabrics, in higher-end accessory stores. And the women make them work too! There’s nothing ridiculous about them! I might actually give one a try. Maybe we can bring it back?

There’s also a lot of acid-wash or very light denim around. Just another trend that I thought was gone with the 90’s until I got down here.

Scarves are everywhere, and with the wide range in temperatures you can experience in a day, they’re a must-have item. There are two words for scarves here. You’ve got the bufanda, which is usually a larger scarf made of thicker or heavier materials. There’s also the pañuelo, which appears to be more common and certainly so in the springtime. Pañuelos- also the word for handkerchief- are smaller and made of lighter materials.

I’ve seen a lot of ponchos. Mostly in the rural areas, but I’ve seen many a little bitty Chilean wrapped up in a poncho in Santiago when it gets cold. Side note: when it gets cooler here- and I mean, in the 40’s and 50’s, so not freezing- they wrap their babies up. Multiple blankets, poncho, ski jacket, boots, hats, gloves, the whole shebang. Chilean babies do not get cold.

Last thing, and probably the most unusual: printed parachute or harem pants. You know, the pants made out of some kind of jersey-like material that are tight at the ankles but baggy everywhere else? I’ve seen them all over the place. It’s a very specific Chilean woman who wears them- young, artsy, and hip. But really. Printed parachute pants! Are common!

One thing you don’t see: a lot of athletic wear. I’ve left my house in yoga pants just once this semester. Once. I have never gone to class in anything less than jeans. I also have yet to see many shorts, particularly on women. I’ll update you soon on that front now that the weather is regularly getting above 70-75. Because I don’t know how I’ll be able to wear full-length when it gets to be 80 and brilliantly sunny every day and I have to ride a crowded metro that hits 90 degrees during rush hour.

Oh, there was another temblor! I was sound asleep and felt nothing, but apparently it was stronger than the last one. It really makes me believe what the Chileans say about weird weather (which we had again recently: a full week of sun and 70’s followed by two days of under 60 with pouring rain) meaning more seismic activity. The scientists say no, but I’m inclined to side with the locals on this one.

We’ll see what adventures or thoughts I have in store for you next time! Until then, chao chao y cuídate mucho!

With love,

Gaby

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Ocupada

Oh hello.

I am still in Chile. I am still working on this blog. It’s just that the “study” part of study abroad has been a little more important lately and I’ve been short on time. I’m really ocupada right now.

I’m still short on time, but here’s a little resumen of what I’ve been up to lately:

I’ve been in Chile for more than 3 months. We’re about to hit the 3 month mark here in Santiago, specifically. What is happening??

There was a tremor- in Spanish, a temblor. That means a little earthquake, or more like seismic activity that isn’t quite as strong as an earthquake. It was scary. I was at my service site and I thought a big truck was driving by and was just really noisy. And then things started to shake. It probably lasted all of 15 seconds, and really, the shaking wasn’t that strong, but still. I was a little shaky after that. And this was a little one.

They (as in, Chileans) say that weird weather, like what we’ve been experiencing lately, corresponds to greater tectonic movement- aka, when the climate changes from warm and nice to cold and rainy, like it did the week before the tremor and like it was here this weekend. And this weekend’s weather was really quite a big change. It was in the 70’s and sunny all last week. And then Saturday it got cool and drizzled. And Sunday was cold and boy, did it pour.

So I’m just gonna review what to do in case of an earthquake…

Another gringo in one of my classes heard me speaking in English and was floored. He turned around to me and said, “Wait a minute. I totally thought you were Chilean,” based on the one time I’ve asked a question in class. Keep in mind, folks, I don’t look Chilean. At all. That means my Spanish must be pretty good, right? Right?

When it gets sunny here, it gets SUNNY. The ozone layer is weaker here, so the UV rays are actually stronger. You can sense it, too- I swear it’s actually brighter than it is at home. This means fair folks like me must absolutely always wear sunscreen on sunny days. Some people wear it even when it’s cloudy. But seriously- if you come to Chile in the spring or summer, bring the sunscreen and put it on any day you’ll be heading outside.

I spent most of this weekend hanging out with my host family, including the girl who lived with them a year ago, which, because she was also their daughter at one point, makes her my other host sister. I learned that describing her as my host sister is much easier than “the girl who lived with my family this semester last year.” We made a surprise cheesecake for our parents’ anniversary and bonded over our mutual love for our family.

Easy cheesecake. Recipe later!

I’ll write more about this later, but let me tell you, it’s pretty much the best thing ever to hang out with someone who has lived with your family before. You are reminded that you’re not the only one who’s done this before. Like, you’re not the only one who doesn’t know how to open the milk (it comes in a box. No, not a carton. I’ll show you sometime.). Or that salad and ice cream are indeed essential components of the family diet.

It also got me thinking about how I’m going to come back here myself after I leave. But that talk can come later.

Here’s what the mountains looked like today after the rain:

Puffy clouds. Clear blue sky. So much white snow. It’s unreal how beautiful and stunning it is.

Hope you’re all well! Look out for a bigger, better post soon.

With love,

Gaby

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