Saturday, March 14, 2015


When I was writing my essays for my study abroad application I talked a lot about consumerism in the US and how I felt challenged in India by the absence of variety. I wrote about how I wanted to adopt a more simplistic lifestyle because I feel like I buy so many things I don't need. It was a lie. I don't think I could truly be happy living here for a long period of time. Judge me please- but I like pretzels, chobani, spinach and good coffee. Yes I could adapt- but after being raised in the US I am spoiled little princess. I am so used to living in a house where there is a constant supply of food- when people buy things they are almost out of and usually have small stockpile of pantry staples. When I'm at school I never run out of dark chocolate, yogurt or berries. 
On the other hand, when faced with some Chilean realities I have realized that I will be eating peanut butter sandwiches on white bread and salads with iceburg lettuce and the last tomato we have on Thursdays because Mama Isabel is not going to the store until Saturday. After she gives the house a good scrubbing, washes all the dirty clothes from the past day and makes sure that my bed is made, my floor has been swept and once again moves everything around. 
But I am there lovely guest. And I love Mama Isabel. Especially because today she went to the store and got all the good stuff! And this week I'm going to try one of two methods to address the running out of food issue- A) Pace myself B) hide my rations(; 
When I left the house this morning we had 5 slices of white bread, half a head of iceburg lettuce, granola, peanut butter, milk...and thats about it- no meat, eggs, vegetables- ie: no sustenance. Maybe she didn't realize I eat like I'm a growing teenage boy...she will learn.
On the bright side- today she got fresh strawberries, avocados, eggs, deli turkey meat, yogurt, cereal, broccoli, tomatoes, pears, grapes and GREEN LEAF LETTUCE
praise the lord. 

The second best thing that happened to me this beautiful Saturday (it's not 95 degrees anymore! It's only 88!) was  my trip to Paseo Cajon in the Maipo region of Santiago which is the more rustic, indigenous, mountainous region. Here's how it went down- because we all know by now that nothing here is going to leave you without a story-
It all started this morning at 8am- bright and early when we all met up at the house of the girl who planned this excursion. There were 22 of us and we all piled into two large vans (maybe a 12 and 9 passenger van). We drove for about 2 hours when we started driving on gravel road. In a stick shift car. This was when I decided it would be a good idea to say, "Wow, it would be hard to drive a stick shift on this hill." No joke- just after I finish uttering this statement of foolishness- the car starts rolling backwards. Now whether our driver had intended to do this or not- we were scared shitless. Casually rolling backwards down a gravel hill road was not on the itinerary. When the driver stops the car with the emergency break we all jump out of the car as soon as we get the doors to unlock. Next thing ya know this chick (the driver) opens the hood of the car and there is slight smoking action going on. She asks for our newly purchased mineral water (freaking buying water all the time is getting just about as old as paying to pee). After pouring a bottle of water on the engine she decides that we should let the engine cool down for 20 minutes. We make use of this time taking some incredible shots of the mountains and of course by climbing up some small rocks for a miniature photo shoot. 

When we finally make it up to the top, where there are natural hot springs, made my volcanic heat runoff or something like that. Not only are these 'outdoor hot tubs' natural and beautiful, they also apparently contain minerals that are good for your skin. Win-win. 
Whether or not the part about rubbing the clay from the bottom of the 110ºF+ pools was made up to make gringos look stupid- we participated in this fun activity as well(: Mmmm...smelly clay. 

On the way back from the hot springs we all some how passed out in the van despite the roller coaster style of driving we experienced on the way down- I was in the very back- not sure how I feel asleep, but nevertheless, the journey down the mountain was uneventful and it was nice to get some shut eye. 
Last but not least we stopped to get empanadas- and of course I frantically looked for a bathroom. By now I have perfected the smile and "¿Tiene un baño?" or if necessary "¿Hay un baño cerca?" (Do you have a bathroom and Is there a bathroom closeby?). 
Chilean empanadas! So yummy. There are some interesting combinations though. My favorites so far have been de Jaiba which is crab, onion, pepper and a corn mixture and then de Ave which is chicken, hard boiled egg and onion with spices. But Chile is most known for it's Empanada Pino which includes ground beef, onions, raisins and hard boiled egg. mmhmm. Don't order that one. Order the Napolitana instead- tomatoes, olives, ham and onions. Enjoy!


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