Monday, June 22, 2015

The crazy Italian lady that just so happens to be my Ceramics TA

And my personal assistant apparently...
Today Francisca, the peppy teaching assistant for my Ceramics class ended up essentially painting my one bowl for me. She kept showing me things and then I would intend to finish them myself but sometimes she just gets into it and she just is chatting and chatting and she is so good at fixing all my sub-par masterpieces that I am fine talking her up while she makes my pieces more beautiful. The best part though was when she was showing me how to dry the paint so that it doesn't drip by holding it next to the portable heater she found in the closet (probably from 1990). Next thing I know she is laughing as she wipes her finger on my piece to pick up the excess paint and then wipes it on a nearby stool. She giggles and tells me "we shouldn't do this". LOL she is a child I tell you. I love it. 
Other important things I know about this lady? Essentially her life story...or the bits and pieces I picked up. She is Italian, used to be an alcoholic and likes to wear colorful clothing because her grandmother used to dress her in bright colors so that she wouldn't get lost in the snow. She thinks that Americans use more color with their art and clothing but she told me that it reminds her of her there's that. I think we might be friends(;
Other schenanigans of Chile include my canine friend who decided he needed to take the bus to his next destination. One day I am minding my own business, sitting on the bus- when a dog hops up on the bus (from the middle doors- he didn't even have to pass the bus driver!) and sits right up under a seat. Guess he just needed a lift eh
Can you see him?!
How bout the fact that my cycling class was cancelled today along with all and any sports on campus due to the severity of the contamination. 
Even with the smog campus is GORGEOUS
Of course I didn't know this until I showed up (hey- walking across campus with the intent to exercise is kinda like the same thing as exercising right?) but I should have taken the hint last night when Mama informed me that there were going to be a lot of transportation restrictions today (only license plates with certain numbers, like odd/even, can drive on certain days) but then again she also informed me that I would get sick if I didn't blow dry my hair before going to bed- ain't nobody got time for that. Ps- my bed has Ariel sheets on it right now(;

On the bright side I went to this cute little cafe I had been eyeing for weeks. Whenever I am on the bus I like to look out the window and search for hidden gems or places that look worthwhile. Especially now that I am coming in on the home stretch I've been trying to check them out one by one. The lady was adorable- It is just too cute when older ladies call you "qué necesitas linda" // it's along the lines of "what can I do for you beautiful- and she made a fine Moccacino. Step one to effectively writing a 10 page paper in Spanish is getting coffee in your bloodstream. 
Step two is to repress any desire to have fun for the next 5 hours because while it may have taken me a week to write this paper in ENGLISH, my paper about the corruption and crime of Latin America can now be added to my list of things I've done that ate up a 1/100 of my lifetime that I can never get back. aka- too long. 
Something else interesting I wanted to mention before I forget is the absurdity of the way you sign credit card receipts. You sign your name of course but then you have to either put your passport number or your RUT (Chilean ID number) underneath. Seriously- are you going to track me down if I don't pay- granted that you can actually read my scribbles or that I put the right number....
Other things I will probably forget if I don't record them= everyday life
How bout them sheets- gotta love em'
I will never forget the street dogs
Some little fairy in Santiago has been putting jackets on the street dogs- it is TOO CUTE
or the MASSES of people waiting for the metro during rush hour
Street vendors selling sopapillas (fried dough- I'm almost positive a version of fried dough exists in every country- churros, donuts, funnel cakes...)

Things I will Miss // And things that I WONT

My friend on the program wrote this great blog post about the things that she "will probably miss" It's great. artsy and you should read it

Now I'm not going to even try to replicate that work but I do want to write down some things I will miss and things I am looking forward to. So here goes; 

At first I thought I was going to avoid the bread here. That's right- If I am being truly honest when I got here I was like dang- white bread is unhealthy and I should seek out alternatives if I can because I like to eat healthy and such. But now I am firm believer in the magic of fresh white fluffy bread that is still warm when you buy it at the store. At this point in my life I can say that if bread is not brought to my table at a restaurant you can bet your life that I will ask the waiter for some because it is usually the warm and magical variety. 
Another thing I'll miss is Mama's constant adoration. Okay so maybe it's not all genuine (like when she asks me how my day was and when I start to tell her a story about something that happened she interrupts me and asks if I need to pack a lunch for tomorrow..she really has no intention in listening to me struggle through the decisions of telling the story with verbs in the past tense or the imperfect tense (THEY BOTH ARE ACTIONS IN THE PAST- Spanish is freakin complicated I tell you) she just really is fulling her daily quota of asking me questions- my favorites include, what did you eat for lunch, what time do you have class, did you go to the university today, are you hot, what did you eat for dinner, why? (this usually happens when I eat before she gets home because I'm starving and don't want to wait for her to get home just to sit down and watch me eat while she merely sips some tea because apparently she isn't hungry...even though it's 8:30 by then) and last but not least why aren't you wearing shoes!?- as you can see that one is usually directed at me in a horrified, disbelieving manner) Anywho- back to the part about her being all cute and such and pretending that she will miss me and remember me amongst the other 18 exchange students she will when she says things like "ah pobrecita" because I say that I have a lot of HW or have to wake up early the next morning (yes dad- sometimes I do like some empathy every now and again instead of the standard- you can handle it) or when she laughs at my use of Chilean slang, or brings me home a chilean colored joker hat for the Copa America. 
On the other hand- things I will not miss about living with a Chilean family are thus:
Constant questions that usually receive the same answers, repeating my plans over and over because she didn't understand or forgot that I said I would be leaving for the next four days, making me get off of my bed at 8:30pm because she hadn't made it for the day and my convincing argument that I would just be undoing the sheets and blankets in about 2 hours was insufficient against her impending desire to clean. Or how about the two gates and one front door (without a handle which makes it sooo much harder to open) that stand between me and the toilet when I have to pee upon arriving back at home (which is about 90% of the time due both to the lack of public bathrooms and the amount of time it takes to get home...). I will most certainly not miss Mama's habit of pouring sunflower oil on perfectly beautiful and tasty things like ripe tomatoes or avocado (they are perfectly delicious without your highly processed trans fatty oil thank you very much)- I'm being a princess here but really tomatoes don't need to be greasy to taste good. 
I will not miss the people (ironically it is usually the women) that STARE at my on the metro, on the street, in the checkout line...even when I look back or smile they continue to crane their neck and look at me in awe. No I'm sorry I can't take this as a compliment...Chileans just don't have a sense of consideration or privacy. Although they are generally friendly and approachable one thing I can't stand is how nosy they are. Mama has no filter and asks me questions about every aspect of my life- do I have a boyfriend, do I get an allowance (back to the stupid assumptions that I am rich), how much did that cost, what do your parents do...ya no all the questions we were taught from a young age not to bring up. Ironically the other day I found out that Camila goes to one of the most expensive med schools in the country. Mama always complains about money and while I feel bad I know that they are making a decent living off of me...and the millions of Alfajors that Camila makes and sells. Literally half the time I walk into the house (gross exaggeration- it happens maybe once a month) She is piping dulce de leche in between two thin cookies and then covering them in chocolate and packaging them up. Alright- let's call it a day folks so I don't get all ranty (too late) and ramble on and on...

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

I'm a Troublemaker

So I like to be difficult- but only when I feel like I can get away with it. Usually Always when it has to do with food. Like today- I tried to convince the poor girl that scoops ice cream at the best ice cream place in Santiago (LAN Airlines magazine told me so- I think I have read every edition of LAN and Sky Airline's magazines from April on...frequent flyer alert) that she should break company policy and let me have three flavors instead of two. Even though they pile on the ice cream when you order two and I really just wanted a teensy bit of all three, she stood firm (she did still let me try virtually all the flavors though so I still like her) and only let me choose two flavors. I guess indecisiveness and high maintenance just come hand and hand. And in my hand I left with Mango and Paçoquinha (its from Argentina and it tastes like Peanutbutter- aka my favorite flavor at this place- and y'all know how I feel about my chocolate ice cream...). Last time I also got the Paçoquinha but with Dark chocolate. Holey Moley. If I go on and tell you all the delectable flavors I tried I may start salivating...but I'll do it anyways(; for the memories right! They had two yogurt flavors- one with berries and the other with sesame and honey, then they had tiramisu, raspberry, pistachio, and cherry. Those were just the ones I tried...My secret mission might just be to go to this place any time I am within two metro stops. Yeah good plan. Oh and I should probably take a pic next time eh?

More trouble? How bout the fact that I still need to re-cap my time in Colchagua Valle AND La Serena. Oops. Let's take a time out and I'll think of what to write...

Here- check out this pic I forgot to put up from the time my friends and I took a tour of La Moneda (the White House of Chile) where I also saw the VP of Chile!

In the courtyard with the orange trees!
Let us begin with Colchagua Valle- aka the Chilean city between the coast and the mountains that collects all the wine (get it? It's a Valley!). Anywho, this 'Valley' consists of like a billion vineyards- but with our program we only went to one...what a shame! 

A semi-decent photo of the vineyard entrance
Look I have friends!
Haha- We went to the Vineyard of Laura Hartwig for a wine tasting of three varieties; Carmenere, Syrah and Petit Verdot (Daddio- what's up with this one? I had never heard of such). 

I've heard the process of making wine twice now but always in Spanish- not positive I still actually understand it though
But let's back up a little before we get to the wine. Because when I say we 'went' to a vineyard I mean we biked for like a million miles (I wouldn't complain if I was on my road bike of course but these bikes were less than desirable to my rear end..)
Am I smiling because I love biking? Or because we were done for the day...?

Pichelemu, Chile aka Surf Central
The vineyards of Colchagua
The (overcast) view from our cabañas!
Coming in as runner up for things I spent the most time with on this trip is....BREAD. So much bread. Bread for breakfast x2, bread before lunch, bread delivered again during lunch, bread with pebre, bread with butter and even stranger, bread with marmalade and queso fresco (not like cream cheese at all but we can pretend). I think I may have eaten more bread during this trip than I do in a typical week (we were only there for three days...). Let's be real though. This trip exposed me to my love for Chilean Pan Amasado. Because while Chile boosts some darn good bread, I have no become a bread snob and highly capable of identifying the different types. Including when Mama gets the bread at the equivalent of Walmart instead of the local Panadería down the street #princess. 
Pan Amasado is this wonderful creation 
Look at that- I found you a nice lil' inforgraphic
 and now I seek it out whenever I can because it doesn't seem to be as popular in Santiago as it is in the outskirts, or what the Chileans like to call, 'el campo' // the countryside. 
Other food on this trip included a new to me dish that I actually enjoyed way more than I thought I would; Lomo al Pobre// Poor Man's steak. which looks a lil' something like this:
Hey Sophie(;
Not my pic obvi- but here's a close up
The cheapest cut of steak with a fried egg and french fries. 
If there is something I learned in Chile (actually I really had to resort to this survival skill in India.....) is that if you are served food (especially free food) you should try to eat it. It may be good- it may be unhealthy- but you won't die. In fact it's probably necessary if you don't want to live on bread (or rice if you are back in India). So the moral of the story is that although this wasn't the healthiest meal I've had here, and at first I was like ew, I don't want fast food fries and a fried egg, but after I tried the homemade fries and dipped them in that nice runny yolk I was actually quite content. Salty fries are almost as good as salty popcorn(;
After we were nice and filled up we biked more, kayaked some and had a lovely little asado (Chilean BBQ) the weekend was over before I knew it. 
I'd say we biked a good 40km that weekend
These kayaks were the topsy turvy type- hardcore for the (non-existent of course) cat. 5 rapids
My precious Hannah Banana <3
Punta de Lobos- world famous for extreme surfing!
The travels continued the next week in La Serena....I'll get there soon I swear!
Here's a teaser photo that contains no spoilers(;

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Playing Ketchup

So this post was gonna be a re-cap of my time at Colchagua Valley but then I got all rant-y and this happened haha-

I have been off my game lately. It got so bad that I started writing down the embarrassing things I have been doing lately. The list started off with the time when I pushed and said excuse me to everyone in the metro train so that I could fit in without the doors closing on me. Thirty seconds later, after I have annoyed just about the entire metro car, when I had semi-successfully arranged myself in a way that would only potentially allow my backpack to get smashed in the doors, I realized that I would have been going the wrong direction and therefore I jumped out of the metro car and ran over to the other side. Oops. 
Secret picture on a crowded bus- I counted 65 and then I stopped- because I couldn't count them all- also this is a school bus sized automobile....
The saga continued a week later when I got on a bus that I had taken before to meet up with my friends to watch the copa game. I wasn't sure exactly of the bus's route but I was pretty sure it would pass the station I needed. Nope. The sad part is that lately I had been bragging about how I knew the routes for like 7 buses to get home. However, after passing more and more unrecognizable land marks I realized that I was way off the route I thought the bus was going to take. I hopped off and paid a cab driver 6 dollah to salvage my pride and arrive on time because there was no way I would know any buses in that area. Oye.
The next and last story is just plain BAD- two days ago...I get off a metro to transfer to another metro and I just follow the herd of people to get on the next connection train. I sit down, mind my own business, do a little homework and nada más. It takes me FIVE STOPS before I realize I am going the wrong direction. In Santiago transit time that is a lot. I think my brain is deteriorating or something because my Spanish is plateauing, my English is getting worse and my ability to study or work for longer than 1 hour is virtually nonexistent. I blame jet lag (lies I've never been across a time zone- but maybe it's contagious and I got it on all the planes I've been on!) and pisco  (my favorite chilean brandy that goes great with coca cola) (;
Random beautiful sunset shot on my street- check that contaminación (;
In other news- it's been damn cold. the cold here will be hard for you to understand because I would wager a few dollars to bet that you have never woken up in 40 degree weather...unless...have you been camping? Alright- but.. were you camping for a month and a half? Oh yeah that's right- hand over the money son because I win this one(; 
In all honesty it could be worse really but nevertheless imma complain a little about how hard it is to get out of bed, from beneath five blankets (none of which are heating blankets that some of my friends have been blessed with) into the chill of my room. Let's not even talk about showering...can't even. The thing is- we Americans are used to a cold in which you suffer when you are outside but then once you get into your car, house, classroom, etc. you warm up pretty quick. But here....there is no refuge. Especially when mama decides that it's a bad idea for her little girl (me) to be at home alone with the heat on. What if there is an earthquake? What if I forget to turn off the gas when I leave? What if I'm an adult and deserve to spend my days in heat?! One day when there was an earthquake up north she called and asked if I had the heat on (which I did because Camila had just left the house). She told me I had to turn it off because there might be an earthquake in santiago (HIGHLY unlikely), and the heater might fall over and it could catch the house on fire (once again- the chances were like one in a million). That day from freakin 4:00 in the afternoon until 10:00 at night (when mama finally got home) I spent the day under my covers, essentially incapable of doing an homework. Well it was a pretty good excuse in theory not to do my homework...but the point is she doesn't trust me with the gas heater which is totally unjust because I am a young adult and can handle it just like everyone else in my program...

Intermission= some photos I've started taking to document my everyday life because I actually didn't take many in the beginning and I wanna remember everything(:
Mi casa is the one farthest to the left with the gate- it's like a town house so not all of that is our house 
always on strike- that big face on the side of the building is the boy that got seriously injured by the police repression in a recent protest (yes it was proven to be unprovoked and the police's fault)

Those would be chairs in the fencing- they are on strike- for reals 

I made them meatloaf with asparagus and they loved it!

Universidad Catolica and it's fall beauty 
The lovely gym and the view of the mountains
Fall on campus!

My street in three views

Last but not least we have the first Chilean fútbol game I watched at a bar with my friends. It was great (after we found a bar that had affordable beer and seats). I went with my Chilean friend I met at my salsa classes and his friend. The actual watching of the game involved lots of chanting, cursing, drinking and those loud noise maker things. But the aftermath is probably what I will remember most. We all headed to Plaza Italia (like a 5 minute walk from where we were) and we joined the masses that had migrated over to the heart of the party. Everyone was rallied up because we had just won 2-0 and thus just as those silly college kids climb the goal posts after their home football games- Santiago teens proceeded to climb the lovely Manuel Baquedano on his horse (statue). OF COURSE i did not participate in this grandad- I merely took pictures and scouted out the first taxi I could find (it was freezing and I was hungry). Thus I will leave you with these (;


Tuesday, June 9, 2015

A Day in the Life

7:05am- Mama knocks on my door "Permiso...La Carly..." (that's right; Chileans address other people by saying 
'the Carly' as if you are an object and not a person) She tells me that the micro (bus) workers are on strike and that I won't be able to catch a bus and therefore will have to walk to the nearest metro station if I want to get anywhere...lovely- the one place in Santiago that is just out of reach from the metro is Nunoa. This is where I live and this is where the workers conveniently decided that they needed better working conditions (maybe it has something to do with the fact that maybe half of the people I see getting on the bus ACTUALLY PAY). Of course if you live in Nunoa that means that you have to take a bus to get anywhere- aint no metro station for miles. Therefore the 30 minute walk to the nearest station plus the travel time from that point on was not going to allow me to arrive to class on time (or even before it was over for that matter...). Back to dreamland I went. 
9:30am- Wake up from a less than peaceful 2 hour semi-nap. Camila and Mama typically are incapable of keeping the noise to a minimum when they get ready...I'm talking blender usage, blow drying their hair, yelling up the stairs to one and another...Anywho- I finally drag myself out of bed and get some breakfast in my belly. Today I have cereal with strawberries and I eat it while checking my email and starting my homework.
12:00pm- I make myself some lunch after working on my homework, scrolling through facebook, emailing my professor to explain why I wasn't in class and reading up on the latest "contigency plan" the transantiago bus company has come up with. I re-heat some rice and chicken and eat that before I leave for my indoor cycling class.
1:00pm- I re-load my Bip! card with money (I seriously feel like I put money on my card like 2x a week...whoever said public transportation saves you money didn't know about the re-entry fee you have to pay if you get back on the metro even within a 5 minute time frame) so that I can catch a re-purposed bus that has my bus number in the front window. Apart from my typical 403 orange bus I instead board a turquoise bus that the lovely transantiago has employed to get all the Nunoa residents to a trusty metro station. 
2:00-3:00pm- after a 45ish minute commute I arrive at the San Joaquin campus for my indoor cycling class with my favorite 'prof' ever. We start the class off with some ab, tricep and push-up exercises and then make our way through a cycling workout that takes about 40 minutes. I really enjoy this class and it always goes by pretty fast- we do a combination of speed work, intervals and some high intensity pulsing. 
4:30-5:50pm- my Advanced Spanish class. Today we talked about some grammar concept having to do with indirect speech. Don't ask me what that means because I'm still not sure- which isn't surprising because apparently it's not a thing in English. It's just one more thing I have to memorize as far as which tense to use when talking about something someone said in the past...oye. 
5:00-5:45pm- in transit via metro to Plaza Egaña, the closest metro stop to my house and also the home of a pretty large shopping mall. Here I peruse the department stores for a Chilean futbol jersey and I finally decide on a white one with blue and red accents. When I bring it up to the cashier I am met with a dilemma I often face. The silly man wants me to speak english because apparently that would be "más fácil" for him. Newsflash- my spanish is not that bad and it would not be easier for me to speak english. I continue to answer him in spanish when he asks me questions in english because I know for a fact that he could understand me if he tried. That's the thing- lately I've noticed that often Chileans automatically try to speak to me in English instead of trying to understand my semi-decent spanish. They just give up trying to listen and move on. It's quite annoying and I just wasn't having it today. In fact he was all like are you accustomed to Chile? and of course I said yes and then I told him I was excited to go to the Copa America game and that was why I was buying the jersey, but I mentioned that I was a little nervous about it (all of this was in spanish and he understood it all mind you). What is his response? Well do you think you will be able to ask for help or directions if you need to? Seriously dude...I just spent the last 2 minutes talking to you in spanish, YES I CAN SPEAK SUFFICIENT SPANISH TO SURVIVE. rant over. 
7:15pm- Catch the bus back to my house and surprisingly enter to find that Mama is already home. She wants to have dinner together and of course I am more than happy to do so. Especially when she suggested that we have a (mini- maybe 1/3 of the typical) glass of wine with dinner(; She typically doesn't get back from work until 7:30ish and I usually opt to eat before then because she never really makes dinner for the night of- we typically eat leftovers or I make eggs if I don't want to have the same thing 3 meals in a row... (lunch-dinner-lunch). She heats me up some 'porotos' which is the chilean word for beans- this dish had a little bit of pumpkin sauce with collard greens, white beans and spaghetti. It is definitely one of my favorite dishes that she makes and I gladly ate some with her while I told her about my trip to La Serena and she told me about the meeting she had to go for the study abroad program and how she is a great host mom and about how some of other families just aren't up to par like she is. She really likes to tell me all about the things she does that are a part of her 'duties' because apparently not everyone enjoys the hospitality that I do. While this is probably true...I think I've heard her list off these things about 5 times I just sipped my wine and listened to the Gray's Anatomy theme song that played from Camila's room. The princess didn't join us for dinner because she has spent every waking moment in the house as of late binge watching Gray's Anatomy.
7:45pm- taking a's a process
First up, convince yourself that it's worth it because it is going to be freakin cold when you exit the shower (the house does not have heat- duh). Second, light the calefactor by turning on the gas, sparking the pilot light and turning the knob to full blast. Third- commandeer the heating device thing from Camila's room so that you can heat up the bathroom while you change out of your clothes so that at least when you first get out of the shower it won't be so cold. Fourth- turn on the shower, but make sure you don't put the water pressure on full blast because then the water won't be hot. This leaves us with a steady little stream of a shower but I'll take it because it's pretty warm...unless mama decides to do the dishes with hot water while I'm in the tonight. Oye. Finally- stand in about 6 inches of water while you shampoo, blah, blah, blah because the drain doesn't work as fast as any other shower I've ever been in (even the hostals have somehow had better drainage than this shower). 
8:00pm- scamper to my room and quickly put on layers to evade the cold. Notice that Mama has made your bed even though you just told her- right before you got in the shower that she didn't have to because you were going to go to sleep in a mere 3 hours or so. She also put the blanket you had taken off the bed back on it because it felt like you were suffocating when you sleep under the heavy weight of like 5 blankets.
The rest of the night- I made my typical after-dinner snack of fruit and yogurt, researched places in Bolivia to travel to, wrote this blog post and pondered the idea of waking up early to go to ceramics tomorrow before I have a tour of La Moneda....we shall see...Until next time folks.


Monday, June 8, 2015

That time I didn't blog for two weeks...and had a lot to say

It all started off with an innoncent suggestion- "Carly, you should come to my house, I'll show you southern Chile!"
Yeah yeah- that sounds amazing, but too good to be true. That was- until I bought my plane ticket(; Can you believe that? Let's call it Irish luck or something because looking back on that experience makes me realize how lucky I was to get matched up with a mentor who was a girl, incredibly friendly and someone who actually wanted to talk to me. Some of my other friends received mentors who never even contacted them or chatted with them once maybe and then forgot about their grand idea to "mentor" an America. lame. On the other hand- after our first meet-up, andrea literally invited me to her own house, where I would proceed to eat delicious homecooked food, have wine with virtually every meal, get chaufered all around town and sleep in a bed that was not in a room with gross hostel boys who snore! Irish luck I tell you.
Andrea and I booked our transfers, packed our rain jackets and ventured off to the lovely town of Puerto Varas two weekends ago. We were greeted by a rainbow and promptly picked up by Andrea
We drove straight back to her house where she toasted up some fresh homemade bread and we chatted over nescafe (I'm almost used to it by now...almost). That day we ventured off to Lagos Todos Los Santos- a beautiful lake that lines the shore of the two volcanoes in PV.
As you may remember, one of those volcanoes- Calbuco- erupted a few weeks.
This isn't the one that erupted but nevertheless you can kinda see it peeking out from under the clouds
In fact when we were driving to the lake area we passed a lot of destruction and there was a layer of soot that covered any and everything- eliminating the green beauty that once enveloped that region. 
Nevertheless our lovely chauffeur showed off the parts of PV that are still beautiful; aka the whole town. Really check out these views
the view from her house
It reminded me of Maine
Just a 5 minute drive from her house- the main strip of town
Since I'm so behind on my blogging (I'm cringing as I say this) but imma have to just give you the highlights of the rest of the trip..
One night we hit up the infamous club of PV (perhaps the only one? It was quite packed...) and proceeded to dance until they kicked us out- just a little past 4 in the morning(;
Other than that Andrea drove us around to take more pics and to check out their local seafood market

Speaking of seafood- I was BEYOND SPOILED on this trip in terms of food (and wine). Andrea's dad loved to cook (I'm pretty sure either he or Andrea's grandmother had made the fresh bread) and he made us a pressure cooker beef shoulder, homemade lasagna, king crab salad, steak (I have become a serious meat eater after this trip and Uruguay) and some fabulous seafood dishes so that we could try all the new fish and shellfish that we had never tried. That included this little sea urchin ceviche/chilled soup type thing
It was a little too strong/acidic/unknown fish taste for me
but hands down the best dish was the "Pulmai" 
which was a seafood boil of sorts made with smoked sausage, chicken drumsticks, white wine (they actually served the reserved broth that you strained the meat/seafood from in glasses to drink with the dish- interesting but it was so rich and delicious I couldn't resist drinking my whole glass), mussels, pyuras (these weird lookin' bivalves that actually just look like they are rocks but apparently there are little critters up in there too). 
I have to say I wasn't a fan but I did try it!
It was exquisite. In fact Andrea and her brother both thanked us multiple times for visiting because it prompted their dad to make some of his best/most delicious dishes (; 
On top of that- we had wine for both lunch and dinner....and how can you say no to a free glass of wine. I enjoyed some fresh chardonnay, a great carmenere and a cabernet sauvignon. I was a PRINCESS that is forshure. Now that you are salivating...I'm going to call it quits for this post so it doesn't get too long- My Colchagua Valle excursion is up next(;