Santiago, so far, I must admit it’s been a good one!
Now that I’ve officially been in Santiago for over a month, it’s about time I share a little about what’s been going on!
Sorry, the blogging block has been REAL lately…
Also, life has been nonstop flying by and pretty damn crazy! In the last few weeks, I arrived for my first time in South America, started yet another new job, commenced the apartment hunt, searched, searched and finally found one, moved into said apartment (still in progress) and have been planning weekend trips with visitors and friends! Oh, and not to mention I’m still adjusting to life here on the other side of the equator!
All a whirlwind to say the least!
I’ve barely had time to process it all, let alone write about it here! But I’m done outlining out my excuses. I’ve simply let it drag on toooooo long, without a word. And I’m finally ready to share a quick synopsis of my life in Santiago so far!
So far, in Santiago– I’m Loving
How warm and friendly the people are here! Everyone has been so nice, welcoming and willing to help/answer all of my many questions! I’ve been told many times that compared to other Latin American cultures, Chileans can be rather “cold,” but so far I’ve experienced quite the opposite! If this country’s culture is cold, I’m not sure I’d be able to handle the (quite possibly) overwhelming warmth of the others ….
I’ve already made a few Chilean friends who have welcomed me into their friend groups and their homes (something that took way longer for me in Spain!). So far I’m lovin’ that Chile isn’t living up to this part of it’s reputation!
The Santiago Skyline. If you follow me on Instagram, you already know that I can’t get enough of the Santiago skyline. I mean, can you blame me? It’s stunning. Every which way you look in this city is a captivating scene- the contrast of a bustling South American capital amidst a dramatic mountainous backdrop. It helps that there are tons of rooftop terraces around the city where you can just sit and gaze, undisturbed for hours on end!
So far, in Santiago- I could do without
Mayo and Hotdogs. Don’t get me wrong, I like a good char-grilled hotdog as much as the next guy, but seriously who could have guessed how much Chileans love their precious processed meat? I always assumed that hotdogs were a gross American thing, but to my surprise (and dismay) I’ve seen more hotdogs eaten in Chile over the course of a month than I have in my entire life in the USA! Chileans even pride themselves on one of their national dishes, the Chilean ‘completo,’ an extra long hot dog topped with chopped tomatoes, avocado and doused in a thick layer of mayonnaise. If you know me AT ALL, I’m not one to bash any kind of food, but ew. I’ll take one completo, hold the mayo …. and the hotdog please.
The Smog. I guess I can’t get too mad about this one, since many warned me about smog beforehand, but the pollution in Santiago is serious. I’ve been getting a lot of headaches, colds and selfishly, I just really don’t like anything blocking my view to Santiago’s breathtaking surroundings. Smog, smog go awayyy …
So far, in Santiago- I’m Shocked
Americanized Grocery Stores. American multinational retail corporation, Walmart, has acquired one of Chile’s main grocery stores, Lider. I have to admit, I’m still not too sure how I feel about this. What does it mean? Lider is an affordable option for buying groceries and other everyday household goods, so unlike Spain, I don’t have to pay an arm and a leg for my American comfort foods (ahem, peanut butter and Kraft mac and cheese). BUT- the whole reason I like traveling is to immerse myself in a new culture and challenge myself to get by without my everyday American comforts. So for now, I’ll call it a love-hate thing.
Stray Dogs. There are SO MANY stray dogs in Chile! It seriously breaks my heart. Not to mention, these dogs aren’t your run-of-the-mill mixed mutts (not that that would be any better), but they’re good looking purebreds! Sure they’re a little dirty, but it’s seriously shocking to see stray Golden Retrievers, Black Labs and Dachshunds running around! These dogs cost hundreds even thousands of dollars in the US! They’re all also extremely friendly, loving and smart! If I was staying here a little longer, I swear I’d adopt one………or five.
You can’t Flush the Toilet Paper. Talk about shocking. This was a first for me. And a whoops moment at that! Apparently this is a thing alllll over South America, not only Chile. In some newer establishments, this isn’t a problem, but it’s still a norm in most places to ‘throw out’ your toilet paper, rather than flush it! Not a big deal, just something to get used to!
So far in Santiago – I’m Confused
Chilean Spanish. Well, thanks for nothing Spain. My two years soaking up Spanish vocabulary will be put to no good use in Chile!
Spanish in Chile is a language of it’s own, I’m not even sure I’d call it Castilian! Chileans speak extremely quickly and colloquially using “modismos” or as they like to call them “chilenismos.” These are phrases that only a Chilean would understand, seriously, they make no sense otherwise. So far it’s been pretty frustrating, but also really fun to learn all the slang! I’ve had to relearn soooo many words, from boyfriend (pololo) and avocado (palta) to cool (bacan) and traffic (taco). Post on all these new silly words coming soon ….
So, what’s coming up?!
- This past weekend, for Easter, a few friends and I visited Pichilemu, a small surfer/beach town about 3 hours south of Santiago! Post coming on this soon!
- I have two rounds of visitors coming up quick! Who would’ve thought that I’d get people down here so soon! So, so excited to share this experience with them, but also been running around and doing some crazy planning! Hoping everything goes smoothly!
- In two weeks, I’ll be heading to Chile’s infamous desert, San Pedro de Atacama! There are already some tours and plans in the works and after the Sahara last year, I couldn’t be more excited to get back to the wondrous desert!