Title: Living in Las Condes Location: Santiago, Chile
I moved in with my Santiago family last Monday, and I'm still amazed at this city. Most especially because of the contrast to San Dionisio and Bolivia. This city is so modern and has some really beautiful parks and architecture, as well as a very efficient and safe metro and public transportation system. Most of us are indeed living in one of the most well off areas of Santiago, Las Condes. I've gone running a little bit and it's a fun way to see more of the area. There are lots of other people out biking, running, and walking. I stick out a little bit as a gringa, but when I'm by myself it's not too bad. Everyone is always on the go in this city, and Chile's population is actually pretty diverse in terms of personal appearances. As there is a German heritage in Santiago, blondes are definitely not as scarce as they are in Cochabamba.
Spanish Immersion Classes start tomorrow- still have to pick which wants I want! I can't believe Notre Dame is on Spring Break right now and we're just starting. I've absolutely loved the past few weeks though of just seeing Chile and living in this surreal world. Or rather, the real world.
My family is great, I felt comfortable with them instantly. The mom, is jovencita- 33 yrs old! My dad, is 47 and my two chilean siblings are 11, and 10. They're timid but cute, and love the fact that I have a computer so they can play their computer games! I can't tell them no. I have my own room and they even got the Internet for me, which is amazing. As is Skype, which everyone should download because you can talk on it for free to anyone all over the world. Talked with Hannah last night- it was nice to hear her voice! Breakfast is cereal or bread (pan), lunch is around 3 or 4, and "onces" or dinner is really late, around 8:30- 9:30. That's when my family at home eats anyway though :). I eat too much here! My sibs and I are bonding through music (especially Daddy Yankee haha), the pool (they live in an apartment complex that has a pool), playing cards, and the chocolate cereal we have every morning. Hey I'll bond over anything!
It's a lot easier to get around this city than trying to figure out Cochabamba I think. Santiago has their micro (bus) schedule online!
Yesterday the group went to Isla Negra, which is one of Pablo Neruda's homes, Chile's most famous and accomplished poet. The house was amazing, with every room overlooking the ocean and the house was just filled with cosas (things) from all over the world. He himself called himself a "cosista"- a thing person. On our way back to Santiago, Seth and I had an interesting talk about having a profession that would allow us to have such a house, on the beach with so many things versus living more simply and "doing what we love" regardless of the money. Because, ideally, that's what we want, but seeing such an amazing house, in this amazing country, raises doubts and I realize I still really don't know what I want to do with myself... Anyway, we all spent some time at the playa, and it was one of my favorite days apart from one day in San Dionisio. It just felt good to laugh and talk and look out at the ocean. Although I realized I will always be a lake kind of girl :)