My name is Jamie, I'm a native of Kansas, USA. I currently live in Santiago, Chile where I am studying agricultural economics as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar. I've lived in both Spain and Mexico, but life in Chile is a whole new ball game! The purpose of this blog is to record the highs and lows of expat life and keep in touch with folks at home.
Disclaimer: The contents of this blog are my own personal thoughts and opinions. This blog does not reflect the position or policies of the U.S. government or the Rotary Foundation.
<------ My profile picture is from Rotorua, New Zealand, not Chile!
May 16th 2011
Over the Easter holidays, I went to Mendoza, Argentina with two other Rotary Scholars. It was a spontaneous trip. We booked bus tickets and rooms at the hostel about 24 hours before leaving. As a result our spontaneity, the "bus" was actually a van without any leg room or a bathroom. I do NOT recommend this method of travel. The trip across the Andes is ~8 hours, depending on border control and that van was mightily uncomfortable. We left Santiago late Thursday night, went through customs at the Chile/Argentina border at about 1:00 a.m. and finally arrived in Mendoza at 5:00 a.m. The taxis wouldn't accept the large bills that the ATM spit out, so we walked to our hostel and crashed into bed until about noon. Friday afternoon, after recovering from the international van ride, ... read more
March 26th 2011
This past weekend I went to Valparaíso with a group of students from my university. I needed to get the heck outta Dodge (Santiago) and desperately wanted to see the coast. Valpo, as it's known locally, is beautiful. It's an old port city and the hills are covered with colorful homes. The trip was fine, we left Santiago in the morning and arrived at the coast around noon. After a "typical Chilean" lunch, we visited the home of Pablo Neruda, a famous Chilean poet/diplomat. Neruda's home was truly the highlight of the visit. He purchased it for its views of the city and the harbor. The sea's influence in his life is apparent in his home, and in his work. Neruda has three homes in Chile; in Valparaiso, Santiago and La Isla Negra (which is rumored ... read more
March 17th 2011
Happy One-Month Anniversary to Santiago and I! We got off to a (predictably) rough start, but our relationship is certainly improving with time. With the coffee issue resolved and new pillows on my bed, I'm sleeping better and mornings are sweeter. If only I could block out the perpetual, grinding-on-my-nerves noise of traffic, life would be great. Today, March 13, is not only my one month anniversary of arriving in Chile, it's also my two-week anniversary of living in my new apartment. Without further ado, here is the GRAND TOUR (see photos). We have a spacious living room, dining room and kitchen. Both my roommates have their own balconies off their bedrooms, so the balcony off the living room is mine. We do have a washer in the apartment, but no dryer, so we hang everything ... read more
March 9th 2011
Chileans drink instant coffee. Specifically, Chileans drink Nescafe. I thought, initially, that this was some sort of strange cultural tick, that really, they save the good stuff for special occasions or something. Nope. It turns out that Nescafe is the ONLY sort of coffee-esque drink readily available here. It's so popular that there was even a Nescafe promotional trailer at my university for a week. I am NOT a coffee snob. Really. I just became addicted/accustomed to daily shots of espresso from working at my former job, where we have a fancy, professional-grade espresso machine at the office. The instant stuff just wasn't going to cut it. Three weeks without a decent cup of coffee drove me a bit mad this past weekend. In fact, it drove me to Starbucks. I caved. I'm not proud to ... read more
February 26th 2011
As predicted, it's been a frustrating two weeks. I arrived in Santiago on Sunday, February 13 after an uncomfortable flight (American Airlines apparently puts their oldest, most crowded planes on the South American routes). For the first two weeks here, I've been taking intensive language classes and staying with a teacher from the school. Meanwhile, I've been frantically looking for a place to live for the rest of the year, which is far easier said than done. I don't love Santiago yet. There is a lot of good and a lot of bad. In short, the jury is still out. Here is the short list... SANTIAGO: The Good - It's a cool city! There is art, music, culture, etc. It's pretty here, more or less. Think sort of European Architecture with a weird Mexican influence. The ... read more