Thanks for checking out my blog. I will work to keep it current, with photos and posts. YOU CAN FIND THE PHOTOS AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS PAGE. ¡gracias!

Saturday, February 27, 2010


I will blog about the experience later. but for right now. I am safe. all is well. this city is built for this kind of thing. it was a crazy experience. i was in the street. everything was moving. in waves like they say. Not much destruction around where I am. in fact my host father said the stores are open, taxis are running, almost ALMOST a normal day. not really of course. 

love to all of you.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

valaparaiso and viña del mar

I am currently on my first trip away from santiago, and i already miss the city. I have made quite a home for myself there. BUT it is good, I came here to travel and see a lot... so here I am. Trying to be as cheap as possible, while having a good time. which has been an adventure in itself. every dollar i spend is calculated, and even then i think i am spending more than i need to.

So i got into Valaparaiso this morning with a group of sweedes, germans and a dutch girl, all very nice (sweedes LOVE south america). the city is nice, a little dirty and crowded, but full of life and history (picture long beach with mountains and 300 years of history). I took a solo trip to viña, no one else was craving the beach like i was. i came to realize how lucky those of us who live in southern california are, the beach was nice, but no comparison. CROWDED, and not all that swimable. but i really enjoyed napping and reading on the beach (don´t worry mom i wore sunscreen). tonight me and my deutch speaking friends are going out, should be fun. sweedes love me. haha.

Santiago has been simply wonderful. i am at the point where i am becoming familiar and don´t feel like such a douchebag walking around or taking a metro. my family amazes me with their kindness and positive spirit on a daily basis. me and mike made konos food for them yesterday, and it was so fun. they would not stop talking about how much they loved it. the potatoes i made tasted EXACTLY like konos potatoes, im not talking similar, i mean the same. and that is not easy with weird chilean cheese. it was delicious, i have also never felt so full here. it gave them a taste of the american diet, haha, they want more.

school is good. my spanish is progressing. but i still want more. I am set on learning the language, for real. I don´t just want to be able to buy a peice of bread, I want a conversation. Chileans are such interesting people. they resemble us in a lot of ways but their is an indescribable latin spirit in them that I love. It is this beautiful combination of resiliance, positivity, warmth, and a general enthusiasm for life. It is very refreshing.

Hope you guys are enjoying my blog. feel free to comment below. or send me an email anytime. i check it obsessively: i want to know how you are doing as well. this is fun but it feels a little egotistic (is that a word, there is a word spanish similar, i am forgetting english!) i would love to make this more of a forum, if you guys are up to it. this blog is not about patriarchal forms of education (that was for you rose e)

Love to all of you.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

notes on my political observations of Chile.

I have to say that traveling as a United States citizen in another country has brought about a lot of thought on what it means to be an "american". i want to preface this with three things:
1. I may generalize. But, I know that many of these issues are complex and are found more in shades of grey than I may portray them.
2. These perceptions have not colored my trip in a negative way, in fact part of the reason I wanted to travel was to gain a bigger perspective about these issues.
3. I have not been here that long, and so I have much to learn. But, I wanted to record my early thoughts to see how they develop throughout my trip.

Santiago, Chile is unlike any other city in Latin America (this is what I am told, by tourists and Chileans), it enjoys a great deal of wealth and relative peace amongst its people (although the political divisions make ours look like childs play). First I want to point out the benefits of this wealth. A large percentage of Chileans enjoy a higher standard of living; although FAR from perfect or even decent they have a health care system that is somewhat capable to treat most of its people; they share our passion for innovative new technologies and many are fortunate enough to enjoy them; they have a somewhat stable middle class (although much smaller than other developed countries); and they enjoy many of the other benefits of wealth, which are not to be discounted. However, there is much they have lost as a result. primarily the loss of culture and identity. Who do many chileans look to as models for their cultural lives? The same false idols of media that we look to. However, I think that our image abroad has a far more damaging affect than it does in our country, because the chileans (not all!) look to our culture as a model for their own, as if the one that they had was inferior.
These are the methods of an empire. To instill in the native (new native, not indigenous) people a subtle yet powerful feeling of inferiority which then allows the dominating culutre to take control and extract the resources. I know that our methods are far less pronounced than the conquistadores who came before us, but the effects are no less damaging. We do not plant flags, instead we plant our brands in stores and advertisements and tv screens. we do not force the religion of a deity (except mormonism), instead we subtly entice the people with the religion of greed and money. we do not tear down any man made temples and yet we destroy the greatest, most sacred, oldest temple of them all: the natural world. All the while acting as though their country was a blank slate with no history or culture of its own.
The flase name which we have given our country is emblematic of our empiric nature. When asked what country I am from it is hard not to say the name which I have been taught since birth: America. The power that this name alone has is far more potent than we realize.
Our methods are not always so subtle at times we have down right forced our policies on Chile. The coup of 1973 in Chile brought about a 17 year long Pinochet dictatoriship in Chile, which some could say has not ended. Yes, there is a democratic system in place and people enjoy similar freedoms to our country, however, the current president is a descendent of the Pinochet´s administration. Pinochet and his followers have brought about the opening of Chile´s market and the invasion of our culture.
What were our motives? did we sincerely want to help the people avoid the tragedy of soviety style communism or were we puting in place a president whom we knew would open the doors of commerce for our country to proffit from.

I must say that it is not just the U.S. which is profitting from the natural wealth of Chile, the Netherlands, Norway and Denmark share huge profits from the mining in the north. But the children here are not watching Danish TV wishing they could someday be in Denmark.
The alternative to Chile´s open economic policies may resemble something like other Latin American countries: extreme poverty. I can´t say what is worse, but it is my hope that there is some middle ground, in which countries can have a healthy economy without giving themselves away to the US and other "developed" countires. But maybe we have gone so far down the path of globalization that it is better for countries to simply give in, than resist and face poverty.
At this point in history Empire´s are not gone, they seem to be so pervasive and extensive that we simply do not see them.

That being said I am having an amazing time in Chile. I am contiuing to open myself up, to loose pre-conceptions, to meet Chileans and people form all around the world. I am also finding one of my most important missions is to learn the language. Apart from being seen as pretentious to other cultures, being monolingual is downright embarassing. I am here to learn, I am here to honor another culture, and without apoligizing, represent my own in a humble and positive light.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


I love this city. A lot of people don't seem to enjoy it, but santiago has been very good to me. The more people I meet the more I like the city. It reminds me of LA in a lot of ways, big and spread out, similar climate, surrounded by mountains, but with a bit more spice and community. Living with a host family was an excellent decision. They are so loving and have embraced me and mike like family.

My one frustration is with the language. it is hard to live in a place without being able to talk to the people (although many speak english). I want to learn it overnight, but unfortunately it doesnt work that way. I also feel incompetent because i think that i am one of only a few people who are learning their second language, most are on their 4th or 5th even 6th. The US needs to catch up in this respect.

I am just so grateful to have the opportunity to come here, and grateful that I went with my gut on this one. I feel myself opening up in a lot of ways. and also as many of you told me before I went, I do not stress as easily here, part of being here is letting the moment happen, opportunities are everywhere I just have to go with it. I know most of you have traveled and done something like this, so I am sure you know what I am talking about. If this at all entices any of you to join me, feel free! I will put up santiago pics soon.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

el primero aventura: Pucon!

Me and Mike got into Pucon, Chile Thursday morning (Think Mammoth meets Lake Tahoe). and went almost directly to the beach(lake). after some kayaking and tanning we got set up at our hostel. The next day friday we went to the Ojos de Caburgua, beautiful waterfalls and walked the 15 kilometers back to Pucon, long but beautiful. the next day we chilled in Pucon, eating delicious food and talking with incredibly friendly chileans. We just arrived back in Santiago and met our host family, the set up could not be better. They are a beautiful family with 3 children and 2 awesome parents, Paz y Rodrigo.

The trip has been wonderful! Me and mike are trying to set the tone for the rest of our trip, that means being super money conscious, meeting as many people as we can and exploring this beautiful country. The Andes are incredible. huge, steep and very lush. On our long walk we saw beautiful views of the range and  a crystal blue river that runs through it. It is hard not to be inspired by the beauty of this place. The people are definitely a product of this, welcoming and open to visitors, we have been treated like old friends by everyone.

I thought that being here I would feel far from home, but it seems surprisingly familiar and comfortable. Some of this is the pervasive nature of our culture, which although I had expected, to what degree I was unaware. A lot of people here watch the same television shows, and the same movies. they all know about California and dream of traveling there.

In Short I am having an amazing time. I am trying to let go and get out of my way so that I can just enjoy it. Take risks without being risky. and be an ambassador to our country, which we are in great need of. We definitely have some kissing up to do, luckily they seem ready to embrace us.

Hasta Luego

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Soy en Santiago

I made it! I`m in the Bus terminal in center of Santiago, Me and Mike are waiting for our bus to Pucon. which leaves at 11pm. What a day, or couple days...I can´t tell at this point. It feels like so much has happened so quickly. LAN airlines was awesome. My plane was half empty, and it went by fast. almost without any problems. but me and mike managed to miss each other in the arrivals terminal. anyway, we found each other and headed into the city. The first thing you notice about santiago is the mountains. you are surrounded by HUGE beautiful mountains. next, I was suprised to find a very clean city, that is very easy to navigate. We started by going to the language school to drop off mike´s bags and check in with them. they are so sweet, and started our trip off beautifully. Then after that we basically wandered. at about 12pm the 1 hour of sleep hit us both at the same time and we could barely get up to try and find a place to nap. luckily we found the perfect spot: right in front of the Chilean white house!!! haha. there was plenty of shade and guards keeping watch all around. and they didnt mind. The Chileans we´ve meet have been extremely hospitable and welcoming to me and mike. they immeadiately recognize we are gringos, but don´t treat us poorly because of it. after our nap we felt rejuvinated and had some coffee at a little outdoor cafe. their coffee is awesome, i hear it´s instant coffee, but whatever it is i want to bring some back. we wandered more exploring as much as we could before dark. and then headed here to the bus station. ready to sleep through our entire trip.
this wasnt the liveliest post, i´m bushed. being so out of it, it doesnt seem real yet, more like a dream.
we are looking forward to coming back and spending time here, but for now: onward to Pucon!!

PS mike is an expert at spanish and has saved me many times from being a complete asshole.