My updates have been few and far between this month…I’ve been busy traveling, doing homework (yes, I actually do have class and homework on occasion now, even though strikes and protests are still in full swing)…and dealing with a broken computer. After a weekend away in Argentina (stories to follow!), I came home to a computer that wouldn’t turn on. Long story short, my beloved Macbook will be fixed when I’m back in the states, and for now, I own a netbook- with a Spanish-language keyboard! They’re definitely different, but useful when typing in Spanish! (It took me three months to learn how to insert an @ symbol on the keyboards at my university, but I finally mastered it). It was a test of patience and strength to be here without a computer for a week, but I made it through! So, I’m finally back, but for now, not posting pictures…
Two weekends ago I traveled to Mendoza, Argentina with my 3 best friends from my study abroad program, Nona, Katie, and Brita. We took the bus up and over the Andes, which was a beautiful, but long, drive. Brita’s friend’s aunt & uncle (distant connection) live in Mendoza and offered us their apartment for the weekend. They were traveling to Chile, while were were in Argentina, so we got to stay for free in a lovely apartment, a few blocks from the center of Mendoza. Truly a gift. Our first full day there we took the bus about 30 minutes outside of the city and rented bikes to visit wineries. It was cold and misting rain when we started out, but it ended up being a lovely day. We visited 2 “bodegas” – one old and one new, and then ended our day at a chocolate factory where we ate lots of samples and bought treats to bring back to our families (Chilean families, that is…sorry!). That night we went out for dinner and Nona and I ate steak (you kind of have to if you’re in Argentina)- yum!
Sunday morning we went to Parque San Martín and hiked around. I’ve heard it’s the largest park in South America…I haven’t confirmed this, but I can say from experience (and getting a tad lost there) that it is huge! We went back into town for lunch, and then spent the afternoon lingering at an arts and crafts market in plaza. Mendoza was a sleepy town in the morning, but in the afternoon and evening, it seems like everyone comes out!
Monday was our last day, so we took a walk downtown in the morning and did some last minute shopping and eating (found a café that served maté and “medias lunas,” aka croissants). We took another long bus ride back over the Andes, turned in our fruit to the Border Police (no apples allowed over the border!) and arrived back in Santiago that night.
Last weekend was a family weekend. I spent Saturday and Sunday at family asados, meeting MORE family members and eating lots of meat! Chileans definitely know how to do family time/linger over a meal…in my experience, it’s rare to spend less than 6 hours at a family gathering!
In other news, Bieber fever hit Santiago this past weekend. On Saturday night when we were driving back from the asado, we stopped by the national soccer stadium to try to hear Justin Bieber in concert. He was performing and Trini was crushed that she didn’t get to go see him…so my parents obliged and we drove by to try to listen. So, I can now say I’ve heard Justin Bieber in concert, in Chile.
I’m actually leaving today for more travels! In a few hours I’m hopping on a plane with the 30 other students in my program and we’re traveling down south to Temuco, to get to know southern Chile and a few Mapuche (indigenous) communities. Another post to follow when I return!