Hola de Chile! Hello from Chile!
Today is my fifth day in this amazing country and I am so excited to share some of what I have been experiencing over the past few days!
I began my travels to Chile very early with my parents on Valentine’s Day as we made our way to the airport in Washington, D.C. From D.C., I flew with my friend Katie to Panama and then Chile for a total of 11 hours and 40 minutes in the air. We touched down in Santiago around 12:30am Chilean time (10:30pm in Pennsylvania!) and made our way to our hotel for the next few days.
During our first couple days, we toured Chile’s capital city of Santiago. We visited some important cerros (hills), including Cerro San Cristobol and Cerro Santa Lucia. We also visited the Palacio de la Moneda, the Chilean equivalent of the White House, and the Plaza de Armas, which is home to Catedral de Santiago and other important (and old!) buildings in the capital. We then visited the Mercado Central where I ate my first official Chilean empanada! Que delicioso!
Next, we went to one of the oldest vineyards in Chile, Vina Cousino Macul, where we learned how the vineyard began and saw where they used to make and store the wine. The vineyard stores one of each type of wine they produce per batch, with the oldest bottle dating back to 1927! It is also one of the last old vineyards in the country to still be run by the same family. Then we toured La Chascona, one of three houses belonging to poet and Nobel Prize winner Pablo Neruda. We will be visiting the other two houses as well in the near future!
On Saturday afternoon, it was time to leave Santiago and go meet our families! After an hour and a half bus ride and lots of nerves, I met mi mama chilena Vivianna, mi hermano (brother) chileno Paulo, and mi tio (uncle) chileno, who helped me grab suitcases and head home to Vina del Mar! When we arrived home, I was also introduced to mi abuelita (grandmother) chilena Encarnacion! They are so wonderful and I am beyond lucky to have such an amazing family.
So far I am enjoying my time in Chile! Though I miss my family deeply, my greatest obstacle has been adjusting to how fast Chilean Spanish is! This week, we have orientation at my school as well as some touring of Vina del Mar and Valparaiso. I am anxious to begin classes and start this semester!