The past 5 weeks have FLOWN by! (I love the Spanish word "volar" for this: "Las ultimas 5 semanas han pasado volando!")
Santiago - 4 weeks
Enjoyed: Amazingly unique teachers. Very high level of español. Great jogs in great parks. Daily (depressing) news from El Mercurio. The streets of Merced/Lastarria area with their colonial architecture, cafes, antiques vendors, and used bookstores. The locura that is Vega and Persa Bio-Bio. The students in Bellavista. Band of Horses live. Seeing documentaries come alive at La Moneda and Bella Vista. The de vez en cuando good eatery like vegan Indian food or Peruvian sandwiches. Chilean warmth and hospitality. Chilean acquaintances and amigos. Chilean slang.
Will NOT be missing: The metro. The smog. The horns. Ugh, the horns. Latin American machismo. PDA. Chilean TV (as bad as American TV). Nescafe. Chilean slang ("po"). Escudo aka Escupo. In your face social disparity and xenofobia.
Weekend trips: Valparaiso & Viña del mar
-I LOVE Valpo. Gorgeous, gorgeous architecture with so much personality!
Pichilemu - 2 weeks
-It's only been a week, but Pichilemu has already made it to my list of favorite places in the world. Sure, it's small and relatively uneventful, but you won't meet kinder people or more consistent waves. (Or tastier empanadas). I wake up to the sound and smell of ocean¡ Eat, surf, eat, Spanish, yoga, eat, study. Yup, that's pretty much a typical day.
1) It pays to travel light. One of everything, avoid liquids.
2) The best makeup really is none. (A good tan helps :)
3) Being honest about your shortcomings renders greater results.
4) Xenophobia toughens a traveler's skin.