Dieciocho Celebrations in Chile

Here in Chile the Dieciocho y the other holidays following the Independence Day are comparable to a combination of the Fourth of July and Christmas. The holidays last around four to five days, and they usually consist of asados, dancing, partying, and the cueca, the traditional Chilean dance. For my Dieciocho holiday I was lucky enough to be invited to La Moya and La Serena by a Chilean friend, and his group of friends, which was basically a soccer team. His dad’s lovely boss let us use her vacation house for the holiday.

Day 1: Sept 17

The first day was spent driving five hours to the north of Chile to the small pueblo of La Moya. Since it is popular to leave the city during this holiday, there were a lot of tacos, the Chilean words for traffic jams. However it was quite refreshing to see countryside outside of the gross smog of Santiago. Once we arrived in La Moya, we had the lovely task of unpacking and getting greeted by a dead lamb hanging outside.  It should be noted that I and the other three foreign girls did not know any of our friend’s friends. Since there were a total of 18 people at the house, introductions took a bit of time. After all the room arrangements were made, some of the guys from the soccer team decided to teach us foreign girls the cueca and other Latin American dances. It was so much fun! (American guys should learn a thing or two about dancing from these guys)

18th Decor

18th Decor

Posing in "The RIver"

Posing in “The RIver”

Day 2: Sept 18

On the Independence Day, we started the day out with an asado. They considering asado a barbecue, but I consider it grilling. Anyway we had a lovely spread of chicken, beef, choripans, salad, ensalada chilena, and some type of potatoes with mayo (they love mayo in Chile). After lunch terremotos (a typical Chilean alcoholic beverage with pineapple ice cream, wine, and grenidine) were made and we decided to explore the “river” behind the house. This river is more like a small stream, and to my surprise the current was quite strong. The weather was very nice during the day, mid 80s, but once the sun went down I was quickly reminded that I was in the desert. That being said, the night sky was absolutely beautiful as I could see so many stars.

Asado

Asado

More Food

More Food

Day 3: Sept 19

During the third day, my friend decided to take the foreign girls on a little tour of the Valley del Elqui. We first went to see the Elqui Dam, and that was neat. The most memorable part of the dam was the park guide who told me and the other gringas that we should visit more because we are too darn white. Next we went to a quaint little town where they had a feria (an outdoor marketing that has booths full of crafts and what not), and my friend bought paper kites for us to fly. Once we returned home, the guys decided to try out the kites. I was amazed at how good some of them were! My gringa friend and I were not so successful and pitifully gave up once we destroyed the kite three times. As the day wore on we played some card games and I practiced my Spanish a lot. Sometimes Chileans are so hard to understand when they are in a good group of friends. I really have to pay attention to all of the slang in order to understand half of what is going on. For dinner, homemade fried cheese empanandas were made. These were the best empanadas ever!! I mean who doesn’t love fried cheese? The night ended with more dancing and a nice bonfire to keep us warm. Note: the dead lamb was still hanging outside and there were flies around it.

 

Elqui Dam

Elqui Dam

Day 4: Sept 20

We all woke up to the awful smell of the dead lamb. During the night someone had moved the lamb inside. It turned out that they guys didn’t know they had to take out the organs of the lamb on the first day. I just shook my head. Anyway on the final day in La Moya, some of the group and I went to the Capel Pisco Factory. Pisco could be considered the national liquor of Chile. After the factory, it was time to eat the lamb. Yes, the lamb that had been sitting around for days. I decided that I was going to try it because after all I am in South America. Y’all should have seen how they cooked this lamb. They had it hanging by a chair over a fire. It was the funniest sight. After lunch everyone packed up their bag and headed up. However my car took a detour to La Serena, where my friend’s parents house was. He decided that we were going to spent the night there.

Capel Pisco Factory Tour

Capel Pisco Factory Tour

The Group in Front of "The Lamb"

The Group in Front of “The Lamb”

 

"The Lamb"

“The Lamb”

Because Why Not Swim in the Freezing River

Because Why Not Swim in the Freezing River

Day 5: Sept 21

The last day of our holiday was spent exploring the beach town of La Serena. It was quite cold, so no one dared to enter the water. However we were able to collect some pretty seashells (I foreshadow a craft in the future) and take some neat pictures. We also went souvenir shopping and found a really awesome fresh fruit smoothie place. Before we left, my friend’s parents had a nice lunch prepared for us of kebabs and salad. Then around 6 pm we started on our journey home.

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At the end of the day I was so grateful to have met so many great people who I can now call my friends during Dieciocho.  I felt quite blessed that Chileans took us foreign girls in and let us celebrate the national holiday with them.

Lesson for Future Study Abroad Students: Always try to befriend locals. You will not be disappointed.

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Weekends in Italy

Venice Weekend!

Getting lost in Venice was not a bad thing, it’s actually recommended! ;)

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Verona Weekend!

This is Italy’s romantic city! Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet story lives in Verona, with a mock balcony belonging to Juliet and a wall to leave Letters to Juliet!

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Too Short Searching Seoul!

Let me introduce myself as this is the first blog I have put on this site. (It is a reeeeeaally late blog but so many things have happened!) I am currently a Supply Chain Management major as a “senior.” I have changed majors too many times to count. I have never travelled out of the The United States of America…ever. I decided that if I am going travel, I will experience a completely different culture that I will make me extremely uncomfortable. Did I choose the right place. I am currently studying in Seoul, Korea at Seoul National University. Why Korea? Good question. However, the real question is why not Korea? Being a business major, many people study Chinese and Japanese. I have yet to hear anyone mention that they are studying Korea as a language. I am going for it. I will learn Korean (until the point that I can pass the TOPIK with flying colors and lean business jargon).

But enough about me and my reasons. About South Korea! I have been at the university here for about one month. This place is A-MAH-ZING! Completely different from what I am used to in Austin and Plano. Selfie sticks, Korea’s version of pizza, temples, beautiful foliage, more temples, water, 치맥, 소맥, FOOD, etc. I can seriously go on and on and on about Korea. Being here for only one month has made me realize things about myself that I would have completely looked over otherwise in my hometown. I will drop some pictures for you guys so you can get a taste of what I have experienced in the past month. I will also update you on my past adventures plus my future endeavors. (I will update this blog more frequently!) I hope you will enjoy the scenes and I will keep everyone updated~

[Just to mention, Seoul National University does a program called SNU Buddy. SNU Buddy is a student organization that matches up foreign students with a person buddy that attends SNU. There are generally 3-5 students matched up to one buddy. All of these pictures come from this organization. I used to have more pictures not from this...but I lost my camera and never ended up uploading the pictures from my camera :( Lesson learned real quick. And to anyone else that loves pictures but say, "I will upload them tomorrow," don't. Do it then and now!]

Rafting on a Saturday afternoon with SNU Buddy!

Rafting on a Saturday afternoon with SNU Buddy!

I am group 10 with SNU Buddy. We tried to make a 10......kind of

I am group 10 with SNU Buddy. We tried to make a 10……kind of

Rafting with SNU Buddy!

Rafting with SNU Buddy!

At the river with friends!

At the river with friends!

Look at the food!

Look at the food!

OP! (Office Pub) Where everyone in SNU Buddy gets to meet up and make new friends.

OP! (Office Pub)
Where everyone in SNU Buddy gets to meet up and make new friends.

Everland! Kind of reminded me of Disney World.....but a lot smaller.

Everland! Kind of reminded me of Disney World…..but a lot smaller.

Everland! Walking Dead Square. Unfortunately, did not really see dead people walking around :(

Everland! Walking Dead Square. Unfortunately, did not really see dead people walking around :(

This was the whole group I went with at Everland.

This was the whole group I went with at Everland.

This ride was called the double twist spin.....thing. I do not remember but it was fun!

This ride was called the double twist spin…..thing. I do not remember but it was fun!

We decided to all wear ears. Why not?

We decided to all wear ears. Why not?

On the log flume ride. It was a little more fun than the one in Six Flags at Arlington.

On the log flume ride. It was a little more fun than the one in Six Flags at Arlington.

Two Months in Singapore!

It has been exactly two months since I’ve been here and it has been amazing. I’ve made so many new, international friends and visited so many beautiful places. When you come to Singapore, you’ll realize that everywhere in Southeast Asia is just a short (and cheap) flight away. I found myself leaving the country almost every weekend with other exchangers. Last week as the recess week and a couple of friends and I went to Borneo, an island that is a part of Malaysia and Indonesia. We climbed the highest peak in Southeast Asia, which took about 2 days. It was probably the most amazing view I’ve seen. I would recommend it to anyone that loves to hike and be outdoors.

Finally made it to the top!

Finally made it to the top!

Sunrise

Sunrise

Mount Kinabalu in Sabah, Malaysia (a part of the island Borneo)

Mount Kinabalu in Sabah, Malaysia (a part of the island Borneo)