When in Santiago, do as the Chileans do

When in Santiago, do as the Chileans do

Accompanying song: Oh Land – White Nights

I’ve now been in Santiago for ONE month… and to be honest it’s been lovely so far. I’ve only had one day of homesickness, mostly due to missing my fantastic friends back-home and the fact that food just doesn’t taste how I expect here! It is impossible to make a meal like I’m used to. All the ingredients are different (my self-saucing chocolate pudding tastes so strange here, I think it’s the cocoa) and none of the supermarkets I’ve visted have pre-made recipe bases! Seriously, I used to think I could cook. If I wanted to make a curry, a mince dish, well anything savory for that matter, I just went to the wall of Maggi recipe base mixes in any supermarket and looked for a sachet to my liking, followed the instructions and presto, a delicious meal! Here you cook from scratch. On the upside I now know how to cook some meals from scratch (I have an aweeeeesssome recipe for Chicken Curry which I might post on here soon). (more…)

Pretty picks: Flores Mosqueto

Accompanying song: Oh Land – Sun Of A Gun

Today I thought I would introduce you to one of my favourite places that I have discovered in Santiago so far, Flores Mosqueto.

It’s the most enchanted cafe that doubles as a florist shop and is situated on Mosqueto calle, a little road next to my apartment which I am in love with, in Santiago Central. They have a whole cabinet full of delicious sweets, lovely waiters and a fantastic avocado and chicken sandwich. Ñam! (“yum” in Spanish). (more…)

Serenaded at university

Serenaded at university

Last week while sitting at my desk at uni a man started singing, at the top of his lungs, to me…

There is famous song in Chile with my name in it… Te Recuerdo Amanda. After one of the ladies in the room sighed loudly and sharply spoke a phrase in Spanish, the singing came to an end and we all got back to work.

It turns out that the song, Te Recuerdo Amanda, is actually a sad song that is used as an emblem to mark the tough political journey Chile has had over the past fifty years. It is this very political journey that you cannot ignore while spending time in Santiago. (more…)

Nightmares of cash machines

Before coming to Chile I felt reasonably well informed about the culture, the climate, the beauty, the risks. I was told about/read about pick-pocketers, muggings, robberies, pollution – but didn’t feel too concerned with all of this, as I felt prepared. A nightmare where I was at a money machine and couldn’t read the many words on the screen however was the one thing that really scared me. In the dream I was desperate, but couldn’t get the money that was necessary for my survival.

I’ve now spent one whole week in Chile. I’ve eaten the most tasty avocados every day, talked with amazing and beautiful people, seen the most spectacular architecture, attended a lecture in Spanish, waited in government lines, seen a “real” protest, giggled at the cuteness of animals on the streets, ridden the subway, reunited with a dear friend, settled in at my university, wrestled with the time difference, caught one attempted pick-pocketer, ordered food in Spanish,  worked, studied, spoken with strangers in broken Spanish and loved every single moment of it, all of it.

I have had the blessing to have a dear friend show me around the city, escort me on the subway, translate for me when necessary, teach me how to operate in a city that  has both its charms and its  dangers – so couldn’t have had a better introduction to my new home.

I’ve tried new food. Including tuna, chirimoya, pepino….

 

Chile, it’s like different worlds within one city. It’s beautiful yet it’s also ugly in places,  it’s hostile on the streets yet people are friendly when talking in private. It’s diverse. It’s alive. It’s different to what I am used to, yet I really think I am going to like it here – and I feel there is so much I can learn here. I still have so much to explore and will write more once I feel I have some perspective. But for now it’s all just so new. Every single day, every hour I’m experiencing something different. This really is an adventure and better than I had hoped and yet it already feels normal.

I feel like I have been none-stop with errands and study, which is why life here already feels normal. The feeling of stress doesn’t need a passport. I have a very exciting weekend ahead to look forward to however. I’ll go shopping at a very cheap outdoor (and highly dangerous) market on Saturday, a party with a girl I meet in a very very long line while getting my Chilean ID registered – that night, then Sunday I’ll be experiencing one of Chile’s favourite pastimes it seems, church, before having lunch with one of my best friend’s family two hours out of the city.

Now my biggest barrier to overcome is the money machine. Just like the nightmare I had back in New Zealand, I was standing infront of a money machine yesterday, with the most unaccommodating font, a whole screen stuffed full of words with different options – none of which I am familiar with, and a huge queue of people waiting for me to get out my money and move along. I couldn’t do it. I explored all my options and even waiting in line for another ten minutes to give it a second go. My heart was beating, I was trying so hard to make sense of the options – but didn’t figure it out. I might see if I can scout out an unoccupied money machine this weekend so I can take my time to translate the options. Fingers crossed I can get out cash by myself…