Classes @ Drake

So I feel like for the past couple of semesters I’ve given my readers an unsolicited rundown of what my class schedule looks like. And every semester I say the same thing – that I’m majorly excited because my classes all seem super interesting. I’m just now realizing how incredibly lucky I am to be able to say this. A lot of college students have at least a few semesters where they are dreading each and every one of their courses. But after I leave every first day of class here at Drake, I’m actually pumped to see what the semester has in store for me.

I think Drake is great at customizing your path. For instance, I wanted to learn about culture. That was basically my one and only request when I entered this university. So they placed me in International Business. Now, not only do I get to learn about culture in almost every class I take, but I also get to learn about business, which is how I decided to add my second major, marketing. Along with this double major, I’ve been able to complete a semester abroad and a certificate of competence in Spanish. What an incredible way to combine everything I love into my four year program.

This semester I’m taking Globalization, Global Marketing, Internet Marketing, International Finance, Consumer Behavior, and Electronic Commerce. All classes that apply to my life, apply to my interests, and apply to my future career.

When I graduate, and someone asks me my major, I’m not just going to say IB/Marketing. I’m going to say I focused on International Business from a Marketing perspective, looking specifically at how cultural aspects affect international trade and promotion, and within that, concentrating on Latin America: their culture, language, geography, and current economic state. I was also able to take classes specific to my marketing interests, such as Integrative Marketing Communications and others that helped me learn more about social media and the ad campaigns that can be used with this channel.

Like that’s not something I even had to prepare. That’s just naturally what I would respond if someone asked me to go more in depth about what I’ve learned in my time here at Drake. But the only reason that’s natural is because of how the business school and language center have helped me grow and have shaped me as a professional.

I’m just really happy about choosing this school. And I cannot wait to see how my senior year turns out.

No Hay Segundo Sin Tercero

(for contextual support I wrote this two days ago in the airport at like 5:00 AM, enjoy)

As I sit in the airport, back in the US of A, I can’t help but to start planning my next adventures. I want to go to Europe, Spain specifically. I want to return to South America, to see Machu Picchu and Patagonia, everything I missed the first time. I want to return to Santiago and Viña del Mar, to visit friends and enjoy my second homes.

This is what I did the first time I got back to the US, after studying abroad last year. I immediately started planning trips to see my abroad friends, tried to map out ways to leave the country again, really anything I could do to relive my incredible semester. This time, my future planning is not in order to grasp at the past, but rather to continue my growth, to continue learning about new places, to continue to meet new people and adapt to new cultures. A continuation. Moving forward.

As I move forward though I am looking back at the past. My first semester abroad, where I learned about change, ambiguity, language barriers, love, home. My year back in the states, where I learned about independence, heartbreak, strength, and determination. And now my summer in Santiago.

This summer was an incredible test for me. I realized that (and this may seem obvious for some) you cannot relive the past. No matter how hard you try. Once I understood that, it was much easier for me to look to the future, and live in the present. I made new memories with old friends, and made new friends with old cab drivers. I showed love to my favorite street dogs, learned more Spanish, and explored a new city all by myself. The first two months were more of a struggle, as my 8:30 to 6:30 daily, unpaid internship, while interesting and highly beneficial, was basically all I had time for during the week. I didn’t get to travel the same way I did the past year when I was a student, and I didn’t have a solid group of friends to rely on (there were zero other interns). I ended up making temporary friends from all over- some Chileans, some gringos, a Britt here and there.

While the first two months in Santiago were difficult, they were also incredibly beneficial for my professional and personal growth. However, my favorite part of this experience was my 6 day trip to Argentina. I met people from all over, toured a new city, and visited my 2nd and 3rd foreign countries. This was the greatest reminder for me that I love to travel. Even more, I love to travel with someone. My German friend who had studied in Viña was also in the city at the same time, a bit of luck and fate working on my side. It was awesome to have someone take lame city tours with me, and visit cafes, and talk to about travel and the future (she’s coming back to Chile to find an internship and be with her Chilean novio after she graduates, it’s a cute story). Travel is just more fun when you have someone to joke with and complain with and explore with. On my own though, I discovered that I love Buenos Aires, like crazy love it. It was gorgeous with it’s plazas and cafes and shoe stores… I had fallen so hard for Chile that I didn’t even think about all the other places out there that might hold something for me. So I’ve got to keep going.

My next stop is Salamanca, Spain next January, to take a class in Spanish and maybe see a little bit of Europe. After that, who knows, but I’m positive I’ll return to Chile some day. My host sister, on our Sunday walk (trek… it was miles and I was wearing my new Argentine platforms, bad decisions follow me daily), told me this “no hay segundo sin tercero.” And that probably isn’t word for word or maybe not even grammatically correct but the point is, there isn’t a second visit without a third visit. I said I would return, and while not everyone was as 100% sure as I was, I did it. And I’d like to do it again.

For now, I am happy (ecstatic) to be back where I belong (for now). To see my family tonight and to eat buffalo wings (and ranch dressing!!!) tomorrow night with some of my favorite girls. Viva Chile, but I <3 DSM.

xoxo

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Argentina: Another collection of short stories

IMG_4928These Cab Drivers, I Swear

The taxi drivers in South America are the best breed of people, I’ve decided. After arriving in Argentina on Friday, I found my cab driver holding a sign with my name on it (which would have been more exciting if it was spelled right, tbh). He helped me find the atm and then the car. On our 30 minute drive into the city from the airport, he allowed me to practice my broken Spanish with him and even complimented me on my level of competence. I legitimately could understand everything we talked about (probably because it was about accents and rain and language learning and travel, things I have words for in Spanish). It was the absolute best way to start a solo trip to an unknown place, real confidence boost.

On my second to last night, I also took a taxi. He lit up a cigarette (which apparently it’s illegal to smoke and drive in Argentina, who knew) and we got to talking about basically everything: foreigners and Argentina and food and politics and Spanish (again, because I’m really good at saying “I’m trying to learn, but it’s super hard sometimes” en español). Just meeting total strangers who make you feel special really renews your hope in humanity (and I hope the taxi drivers go home and say the same. i officially understand why my dad makes airplane friends (more on that later)).

I Left My Heart (& My Charger) In Argentina

Like wow I loved Buenos Aires. But one of my favorite things was just getting to travel again. If I had gone to Peru or Bolivia I think it would have been just as incredible of an experience, although Buenos Aires is one of a kind and definitely a place I hope to return to. Travel is just such a cool thing. I met people from Portugal, Germany, Argentina, Chile, Spain, Peru, Uruguay, New Zealand, Brasil, and the U.S. And it’s not just that I met them, I made memories with them. Memories I will not soon forget. Like clubbing on a Tuesday or seeing a movie for 50 cents or visiting a cute town in Uruguay for a short day trip.

I also learned a lot about my organizational skills. I tried to make an itinerary for this trip (which I promptly lost soon after entering the country) but that was as organized as it got. My side of the room was a trainwreck 5/6 of the days I stayed there. I checked in super last minute to my flights. I walked home from the bus port without a clue as to where my hostel was (because a taxi was 20 bucks and I am not made of money, like come on). I had to be reminded last night to pack up my ish since I was “leaving in the morning, remember?” So basically what I learned was that I must have a really special guardian angel to have survived this long in a foreign country. The girl I met from New Zealand had all 50 of her days in South America mapped out. From tours to busses to maps from one hostel to the next. And I’m sure that works for some people but I would be so nervous about losing everything I would probably end up more lost and confused that without any direction at all. If my future employer is reading this (because ayoo it’s on my resume and my linked in), please note that 1) this is now a personal blog, not a marketing blog and 2) everyone has their own style. I’m semi organized it’s just hard to explain to people how exactly that organization works.

Also I guess to explain this title, I luv BA and I left my charger at the hostel (my only casualty, not bad at all I’d say).

en la boca, cutest area of the city

en la boca, cutest area of the city

I Bought A Pair Of Platforms

And I have no regrets. Aside from the few times I’ve slipped a little bit. I’ll blame the rain and the super smooth floors at the metro (I almost fall in normal shoes most of the time). They’re not like extreme but what I’m trying to say is that I’ll basically be the most fashionable person in Iowa when I return.

Two Marriage Proposals

Must be because I’m so fashionable. (see previous 3 sentence short story)

Number One was at La Boca, a touristy part of town that, if you step too far to the left or the right, could turn into a dangerous neighborhood (it’s like Drake, to the east). This was not actually a marriage proposal, and while I’m on the subject the second one wasn’t either. But some guy was handing out flyers for this cafe and said in Spanish “if you want to have a coffee or something later (he was promoting the cafe there not himself) or if you want a boyfriend later– I cook and clean (he was promoting himself there not the cafe).” It was funny but maybe one of those had to be there moments. But also a moment in which I realized that I could now joke around in Spanish. So one of my favorite moments of the trip.

Number Two was on the flight home to Santiago. I sat next to a mother and daughter from Peru. I was completely ready for a nap but it was not in cards for me, because la señora to my right was an airplane talker. I only like 75% of airplane talkers (because if it gets creepy or annoying or boring, you can’t leave). But as I said before, strangers can sometimes be the nicest. I understood maybe half of what this lady said to me but I think we talked about fish at one point. She said I needed to visit Peru, which of course I would love to visit Peru someday, Machu Picchu is like a dream of mine. So she gave me her address and full name and phone number and email, in case I ever did come and needed a room. I almost cried because some people are just so open, especially down here in South America, and I love it. She continued to attempt to set me up with her son, although she became a little hesitant when she asked if I could cook and I answered honestly. We laughed about my cereal and toast joke but I could see the disappointment in her eyes.

Always Look Up

For those of you who have read some of my other posts from this summer, I’m sure you know this wasn’t exactly the trip I had planned on. I had a really hard time always finding the silver lining, even though I’m actually a pretty positive person. I even wrote a post on how I love to find the beauty in everything and was having a difficult time finding it here. One thing our tour guide said, on my second day in Buenos Aires, was that sometimes in order to appreciate the beauty of the city you just have to look up. What she meant was that some of the ground floor stores or doors or windows are kind of ugly looking, but when you look up, you can see the amazing architecture, the eclectic buildings, the never-ending ivy covered balconies.

What I forgot to do a lot this trip was look up. And this was such an amazing chance for me to do that. As I spoke to my roommates on the first day, in Spanish, that mostly made sense, I finally looked up and realized how much more comfortable I am with this language. Give me a menu and I can find something I’ll love. Give me an address and I can ask someone for directions. Give me a New Zealander who has been in the country for just 24 hours and speaks very very little Spanish and I can help her change money on the black market (this isn’t as illegal as it sounds (that’s probably a lie, we got led like 3 different places before we finally got to change our money in the back of some random restaurant with a guy who actually looked like a rich mobster, so cool)). Sorry for the tangent but last year at this time, I couldn’t do ANY of those things. I learned so little my first time in South America compared to these past few months, in regards to the language at least.

Even the culture though– I’ve become a part of a new culture without realizing it was even happening. I’m consistently late (a custom I kind of like honestly, bc in the U.S. people get annoyed when I’m late but like I have a lot going on, uk?), I eat bread and cheese as a full meal, I’m pretty into tea, I know a lot of the modismos and slang from Chile, I eat lunch at 2 and dinner at 8, and I know how/when to use public transportation. When people ask me if I’m from here, not only do I beam with pride but I also start to consider whether I could actually live here one day. I defend Chile’s claim to pisco against Peru, I brag about our Copa America win, and I laugh at the fact that their Spanish really is the most difficult in South America.

While I was looking at the excel spreadsheets on my work computer or the subway that just arrived full of people or that one shop owner who refuses to try to understand my Spanish, I forgot to look up. Santiago is BEAUTIFUL, and I have learned so much during my time here.

(I learned more about myself as well but that would be a sappy paragraph to read so just know that I now feel braver and happier than I have felt in a long time and I am so ready to take on my senior year.)

this might be congress but don't take my word for it

this might be congress but don’t take my word for it

with my drake frand calleigh and the obelisk in the background

with my drake frand calleigh and the obelisk in the background

sunrise on the way to uruguay, from the boat

sunrise on the way to uruguay, from the boat

Mi Último Día

My walk to work is always interesting. I leave my apartment, slamming the door because there is absolutely no way to shut that door quietly, at 8:00 am. Walking downstairs and outside, sometimes there is a cat. He is loud and friendly, I enjoy his presence.

Walking down Obispo Salas, the name of my street, I see shop owners sweeping the leaves off the sidewalk as they get ready for the day. I also see the white paint splatter on the ground, from some protest held here about a month ago (before dawn, it was a nice wake-up call). Turning the street onto Condell, I see everyone else on their way. To work or school or home. If someone is walking a dog, I smile at them. Otherwise I stare blankly ahead, like a true Chilean.

Now I can see Cerro San Cristobal. The center of city (from my perspective). You can see it from almost anywhere. Mother Mary has her throne at the top of the hill, blessing the city, joined today by 8 or 9 (holy?) cell towers. Turning onto Calle Providencia, the fast pace of the city hits me. Cars speed by, honking impatiently and swerving around each other (miraculously I have yet to see an accident, although I have almost gotten hit like 8 times. I need to pay more attention). People here run to the bus stop, because they’re mostly likely running late. At this point, the frigid Santiago air that caused me to leave the house with a coat is no longer a match for how hot I got from walking 7 blocks. Like there might be something wrong with me, I’m always overheated (is menopause a thing for 21 year olds?). I pass tall buildings on my right, a park across the street on my left. Here I see a church that’s gates have been locked since my arrival, but it’s beautiful and it always makes me sad that no one really gets to appreciate it anymore.

Crossing to the metro station, I pass the street vendors (shoe inserts, ear buds, scarves, boxer briefs – name any random item and there’s probably someone selling it on a street in Santiago). They joke around with each other in between repeated chants letting you know how cheap their quality products are. Cross under the street to the actual station, there’s always a few straggling salesmen that are usually gone (aka told to leave) before I return that evening.

The subway ride is the most dreaded part of my day generally, but it is significantly easier to handle in the morning. I’ve got the system down- I walk to the end of the platform and sort of play the field to see which cars people get out of. And then you like walk run to the nearest one with an opening and shove your way on. I’m a PRO. I stand by the door so my hot flashes don’t overtake me in this humid underground box full of people.

Coming up the subway steps at El Golf, I already described to you the way the mountains look. Snowcapped and beautiful and double trouble with their reflection off of the buildings. At this point I’m running late so I don’t really take in the sights as much, but they’re mostly just buildings and restaurants and cafés.

Then I enter my office building, say hola to the two guards, wait for my elevator, and I’m here.

Writing this, I’m literally packing up my stuff to leave and I can’t really believe it’s been two months. I was so blessed to have this experience and to be able to work with good people. I’ll definitely miss it.

 

Goodbyes from around the world

This is my last paid blog post for Drake University. As you may have read in one of my previous blogs, the student blog program was cancelled this month. So to say goodbye (which is more symbolic than practical seeing as I am definitely going to continue posting here), I thought I would share with you all some goodbyes from other cultures.

The Irish Goodbye : You may have heard of this already. In modern society, an Irish Goodbye is one where a guest leaves a party or event without saying goodbye. They just slip out quietly and abruptly. In our culture it’s a little bit rude to do an Irish goodbye. Think about it- when you leave a friend’s house, it’s polite to say bye to your host and let them know you’re heading out, right? In Ireland though it is not rude, but rather the norm. This is not because they’re a cold culture. In fact they’re supposed to be super welcoming and friendly. From what I’ve found from my brief google search, Irish goodbyes are due to the fact that hosts are SO welcoming, that if they know you’re leaving they’ll try to restart the convo, offering you more food or tea and attempting to convince you to stay.

(This is not an Irish goodbye, because I’m drawing it out for an entire blog post, and you’re welcome.)

A Goodbye I wrote in Des Moines

A Classic Italian Goodbye Sonnet

Chinese Goodbyes : Different sources here have informed me of different things here, but this was most common- make a fist with your right hand and place it in the palm of your left hand but DON’T CLOSE YOUR LEFT HAND and DEFINITELY DO NOT LOOK THE OTHER PERSON IN THE EYE. There’s also some goodbye phrase that they say here but I can’t pronounce it so if you’re really that curious, you’re just a google search away from finding out what that is.

Saying Goodbye in Chile : “Chao” followed by a kiss on the cheek (generally an air kiss but some people really just go for it here)

Carlin’s Impression of a Chilean Goodbye (AKA the Opposite of an Irish Goodbye) : I met this girl Carlin while I was hear, who was dating this Chilean guy Daniel. From her experiences in the country, she decided that Chilean goodbyes are the opposite of an Irish goodbye. Like they’ll say goodbye and they want you to know that they are officially leaving. Her example came from a night when she and some friends were playing cards at Daniel’s place, and at around 12 pm, Daniel stood up, said good night, and went to his room. Like he was done hanging out and he was just letting them know (and kicking them out at the same time). It’s an interesting theory. Chileans can definitely be abrupt and straightforward, so I think it has some merit.

Saying Goodbye in Spain : “Adiós” followed by a kiss on each cheek

A Train Song about Goodbyes

Handshakes : I think this is mostly a teenage boy custom. Teenage to young adult.

See Ya Fred : This is something my mom says sometimes to me and I’m not sure why. Maybe she’s becoming senile and has forgotten my name.

Saying Goodbye in Chile Part 3 : Tomorrow is my despedida, or Chilean send off that usually involves alcohol and reminiscing. I’m not leaving Chile yet, but I do finish up my internship on Friday. Chileans find an excuse to celebrate anything and I love that. Birthdays, send offs, babies, new apartment, new job, new shoes, like anything.

And I guess that’s it! There are probably more ways to say goodbye but I can’t be sure really. Thanks for reading about my life, I try to live it interestingly so I hope that has been translated well over the past three years.

xxoxoxoooxooxoooxox

Coming to an End

For my last few weeks in Chile, I’ve really stepped up my explorations. Saturday, my friend and I went to La Vega, a giant fresh food market in Santiago. It was interesting to see this side of town, as it was much dirtier than Providencia and Los Condes, where I live and work. My friend reminded me that this is how a lot of Chileans live. Which is hard to take in. At La Vega, mi amiga bought her groceries while I observed. They sell cereal and nuts out of barrels, and everything is by the kilo. We also got to eat some street food, get fresh juice, and I found a dog to play with because that’s just who I am. Afterwards we went to La Piojera, a bar nearby that is supposed to be a must see when you come to Santiago. There were tons of people, chanting and cheering with Chilean pride, most of them probably (definitely) a little drunk. It was like 6 PM. We got a couple of terremotos, which is the word for earthquake and also the word for the best drink in town. It’s cheap wine, grenadine, and pineapple ice cream. You’d like it probably. Anyways by the time we left, the sun was doing beautiful things over the mountains. Súper buen día.

Yesterday, I went to a cafe near my house that I had been wanting to try and read poetry. I accidentally kept pressing the “hear” button on my google translate (my book was in Spanish for practice) and it was absolutely so embarrassing in the almost empty cafe. So I can’t go back there but good experience. Afterward, my fellow Iowan (who I met basically through fate) and I headed slightly out of town to visit the Concha y Toro winery. Only 24 metro stops from my house. Probably an exaggeration but who can be sure. It was super fun, except for the part where the normal wine tour turned into a lame haunted house (one of their most famous wines is called Casillero del Diablo so they told this legend with lights and creepy noises in their basement wine cellar and it was like a little too Satanic for me)(and also way lame). But the wine at the end of the tour was not lame, and they gave us a free wine glass! We decided to continue our elegance by ordering ceviche and a cheese plate and oxigenating what was left of our wine. Because we’re wine snobs now. At the end of the evening, a waiter came up to talk to us and asked where we were from and if we spoke Spanish and was very suprised that we did. My very smart Iowan friend followed up with “Solo entendemos ‘gratis’ y ‘vino’” which means “we only understand ‘free’ and ‘wine’,” so he brought us free wine. Sometimes it pays to be foreign here.

This week I have plenty planned as well. Tomorrow, I’m meeting up with a girl who will be studying with AIFS in Viña for the next semester (I’d like to think because of my convincing) to show her the ropes of Santiago before she heads to the coast. And other than that my big plans include cafes and new restaurants. So I guess that’s not that exciting (for you) but I’m pumped. And it’s my last week in my internship! So it’s both a happy and sad week. That ends with my traveling back to the USA for 4 days (I <3 the US) and hopefully getting some kind of boneless wing. Wing makes it sound singular, there will be an abundance of wings I’m sure.

Chao chao.

Natural Beauty

No not me, but thank u I’m blushing.

Chile has an overabundance of natural beauty. I think that’s one of the things that draws me so much to this country.

Take Santiago, for example. I leave my house at the exact right time in the morning to walk toward the sunrise on my way to work. By the time I get to my subway stop, the whole world is a little brighter and the giant buildings of the financial district are shimmering from the fresh light of a new day. I literally think those words every time I climb the steps up to street level. Like the type of beauty that inspires poetic thoughts, that’s that I’m working with here.

On top of that, if it’s a clear day, you can see mountains. Snow capped, towering, gigantic mountains. From my office I day dream about attempting to ski someday, and the injuries that will undoubtedly result. Half of me can’t wait and the other half is trying her hardest to convice the adventurous half that there’s an 80% chance of both halves getting seriously hurt. Someday <3

Walking down the street to lunch, I see that I’m surrounded. The buildings mirror back the mountains and everyone looks so small in comparison.

And that’s another beautiful thing about Santiago. The magnitude of it all. There are a little less than 1 million coffee shops, although half of those are admittedly Starbucks. There are a little more than one million pharmacies. The main street is safe, but once you turn the corner, you’re sure to find something that you didn’t know existed before. And how exciting and scary is that. You’ve lived in this city for who knows how long, and you’ve never seen this restaurant before. It makes you feel a little insignificant, but also a little more determined to explore as much as possible while you still have the time.

The sunsets here are another story. The purple, blue, and pink that takes over the sky at 7 pm every day is breathtaking. It also happens to occur exactly when I’m arriving home. I look back and see the world darkening, around cerro san cristobal as the statue of mother Mary enters her place in the spotlight for the evening.

It’s not just Santiago though. It’s everywhere here. Viña is full of fresh air, of beachy scenes and the sound of crashing waves. You can see all the way down the coast, peeking into Valpo while you rest contentedly by the sea. The trees are tropical, the people are nice, and the dogs are loyal. The sunsets in Stgo have nothing on Viña. Here you can watch the sun as he fights the long descent into the ocean, sitting on la playa and soaking up every last second of sunlight.

That is the central region of Chile. Up north there is more coast. More beautiful sunsets and even warmer beaches. The desert rests here as well. Mountains surrounding a wasteland of dust sand. The vastness of it all is beautiful in itself. In the mountains, there are new animals, canyons that have yet to be explored, and geysers that are centuries old. At night, lying on the street looking up, you get a picture of our galaxy that you’ll never be able to put into words. You can put it into smiles or tears, but not words.

And then you go south. And you see the uninhabited countryside, full of glaciers and mountains, volcanoes and valleys. There are small scattered towns that try to share some of their southern culture with tourists. The people take you on treks, they help you find camping spots, they introduce you to the nature that their ancestors have preserved so tactfully. Nature has never been my thing – I love a good view but I cannot imagine spending a night in a tent. It seems unsafe to me. But seeing this part of the world, I understand why some people become obsessed with nature. With thick woods, tiny streams, hidden waterfalls, and a hint of danger lying around every corner. It’s peaceful and scary and blissful and intimidating all at one time.

There are places I still want to go. I want to go to Chiloe, and see the villages, the colorful old churches from years ago. I want to go to Easter Island, to see the crazy cool things men were able to accomplish there. I want to go to real Patagonia, not Pucon but farther south. I want to brave the wilderness and see the Torres del Paine that I’ve only seen in pictures. I want to visit Temuco, and the native villages that exist there. I want to explore further into Valparaiso. To discover more murals and stores and cafes.

I’m still here though. And happy to take in every bit of beauty the country has to offer me each day. Don’t get me wrong- it’s not all beautiful. The smog would shock you. And rainy days keep me planted in bed. And the coldest week of winter is currently upon us. And some streets are littered with trash and cigarette butts. But I’d say the good outweighs the bad. (for further support see above descriptions)

xoxo

Why I Love Chilean Cab Drivers, and other short stories

Chilean Men

…suck. No I’m not in 6th grade, all boys don’t suck. But the Chilean guys I’ve met, aside from my wonderful roommates and super nice boss, suck. It’s probably because I’m a gringa. Every Chilean guy in my age range that I meet is fascinated that I’m from the U.S. but would much rather dance with me than have an actual conversation. Don’t get me wrong I love to dance, especially in Latin America (but please don’t think that means I have any skill whatsoever in the area, I’m actually so embarrassing). However, I want to meet people to form like actual relationships with not just to dance reggaeton with. Chilean cab drivers are another story. Those 50 year old men keep me going I swear. Whether they’re asking where I’m from and assuming it’s France rather than the U.S., or being absolutely shocked that I’m not dating right now, they are my favorite kind of Chilean man. I’m also a fan of the homeless man who lives outside my building and calls me la reina. But actual regular guys in their 20s, mega pass. I was not meant to date a Chilean.

Unneeded Explanations 

Last night, there was a going away party for one of my friends (Chao Ari!) at this house in Las Condes. While I was standing and talking with a few other ladies from the U.S., a Chilean woman (and I say woman because I’m pretty sure she was 40) came up to give us all big hugs and proclaim her love for gringas. She proceeded to tell us why we’re called gringos, an explanation I am very familiar with and don’t necessarily like. I’ll fill you in- apparently in some Latin American country a few years back, the citizens didn’t appreciate the presence of the American soldiers (crazy ik), who were wearing green, and would tell the soldiers “green, go.” Like leave. It’s is an interesting origin for the word, which now represents anyone from the U.S., but telling a gringa that story at a party will only serve to annoy her. Probably only if that gringa is me but still. I know the term isn’t deragatory now, although it can be in the right context, but it’s still like wow I hope you don’t actually still want me to leave because I really like this country. This is why I’m flattered when someone asks if I’m from Brazil (lol r u blind) or France or Germany. There’s still such a negative view of gringos in Latin America by some and that’s so rough but all you can do is keep representing yourself, and the U.S., in the best way possible.

The Smallest World

It’s a small world. Last night, when we were saying goodbye to Ari and hello to the new CIEE exchange students for the upcoming semester, I met this girl who was so nice. After talking for a bit, I told her I went to Drake (which 50% of the time leads to a blank stare and polite nod), and she informed me that her 2 best friends also went to Drake! SMALL. WORLD. We continued to talk and she had actually been to Des Moines a few times, something maybe 2% of the U.S. population can claim. After we laughed about our commonality, she asked if, by chance, I was related to any other Wheelers in Iowa. Wheeler is a super common name so I said yes but wasn’t expecting a connection, until she asked if I was related to Nic Wheeler. To which I replied by spelling his name, because how many Nics do you know, and she freaked out. Her sister had actually dated my cousin Nic, for an extended period of time, and I had definitely met her at family gatherings. My new friend was shocked and we talked about the family and how both her sister and my cousin are now married (to other people but everything works out how it’s supposed to) and how she had met my cousins before and how it is absolutely insane that we were meeting for the first time in Santiago de Chile. Small world. You might not find that interesting but my family will.

Translation Nation

Aforementioned family- I did not let you down this time. The postcards are in the mail. (hold the applause, thx) Last year I brought my family and friends post cards and personally delivered them, which I still considered a thoughtful gesture but I gues kind of takes away from the excitement. I was just way too busy last time (read: scared to go to the post office). This time, I braved Correos Chile, ready to use hand signals and broken sentences in order to send my postcards off. I was surprised to walk in and have the woman behind the counter immediately recognize that I was a foreigner. She asked if I could speak English and I said yes but you can speak to me in Spanish I can take it. And she told me this gentleman next to me at the counter spoke only English and would I maybe be able to help translate for them? Suddenly, out of nowhere, I could understand Spanish and was able to translate for this nice gringo man, who was sending a postcard to his daughter at camp. Proudest moment of my time in Chile. I was taken down a few notches when I purchased my stamps and couldn’t figure out how to attach them to the postcards (that’s right family, I licked all of those stamps, enjoy). But it was still a very proud moment for me.

Why I Can’t Diet

How rough is it gonna be when I have winter weight going back to the end of Iowa summer? Rhetorical question. I need to be eating healthier but you do understand the abundance of avocado and carbs here? It’s all I eat. And I’m not that upset about it. Maybe I throw in a yogurt if I’m feeling ambitious. So I decided yesterday I really do need to start a diet. Not ten minutes later I sought out (and obtained) the largest burger in Chile. No regrets. Diet’s aren’t my thing. I’m just gonna accept the love handles for now, maybe I’ll work out when I’m back in my clean-aired home state. Maybe not, I’m good with the way I look and I think I completely avoided bikini season anyways so I think I came out of this situation on top.

I Met a Girl from Iowa

That’s basically the start and end of that story, but she loves the state as much if not more than me and that is so exciting. I love Iowans. She said she’d go to vineyard with me so she’s already my fave Iowan in Chile.

Other relevant updates…

-Desperate Housewives is going well

-Work is going slow

-I’m missing my friends and family

-I might actually be learning to cook

-I’m excited to return to the U.S. briefly next week

-I’m excited for Buenos Aires in less than a month

xoxo

Accomplishments this weekend

Is finishing one and a half seasons of Desperate Housewives considered an accomplishment? No? Ok then we’re back at square one.

Chile had a holiday last Thursday (which I googled but still do not fully understand), which meant Thursday and Friday off for me. Total bliss. I got to relax and hang out and yes watch an absurd amount of DH. I also got to visit Pablo Neruda’s Santiago home, La Chascona. To commemorate this day, I sat down and started reading one of his poetry books that I had bought from the street a few weeks back. Spanish is really so rough but I do think I’m getting more of a handle on it.

Other than that one thing I did, the rest of the weekend was pretty chill. My roommates and I have weekly turnos, or chores, which is hard for me since I hate to clean but it’s all good. So I got that checked off. I also got a LOT of cooking practice. This is valuable for me as I will be living on my own this next year and will most likely need to eat something other than cereal for every meal. And almost all of the cooking was done on the skillet, my new favorite cooking utensil. I’m definitely getting braver in the kitchen.

Yesterday I had plans to explore a little bit, or go for a run maybe, or read in the park. But it was rainy so my bed was calling my name. And by calling I mean basically yelling for me to stay and lounge 4ever.

These were my only two tweets from the past 4 days.

tweets

I am happy to be back to work today after that nice four day break though. I need a little intellectual stimulation every once and a while.

Devastating News

This just in, a breaking news update, student blogs at Drake University have just been cut– I repeat, I am out of a job.

Many today are mourning the loss of this particular program, as it served to help some students pay for meals and those students will, as a result, now have to cut back to ramen and cheese cubes.

By many I mean me. And by some students I also mean me. However, I am finding a silver lining here in that 1) I won’t get depressed when I don’t always have something to write about and 2) I will get to write whatever I want. But actually, I pretty much write whatever I want now, just with some filters here and there. I also tend to write towards a specific audience, aka I am almost always trying to sell Drake when I write about my experiences. Not sell in a way where I twist the truth, but sell in a way where I am always talking about my classes, my organizations, my overall enjoyment of this beautiful school.

Now, I can have my very own personal blog! Although I don’t think I can get rid of the “Drake” part in my site link so, I may have to change my last name to WheelerDrake. In order not to confuse my readers. I’ll still write about Drake of course, since it’s a huge part of my life. But now, I’ll just be one of those 21 year olds who pretends she can write, instead of one of those 21 year olds with a paycheck as an excuse to pretend she can write.

So if you’re still interested in how my life is going to turn out (I know I am), feel free to continue reading. But I can’t promise it won’t get cheesy, especially going into my senior year. It’s really only going to get lamer.

xoxo