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Stop and smell the flowers in Maipu!

I know you’ve all been wondering about Maipu. So I wanted to take some time to share with you exactly how Maipu feels, looks, sounds, and smells.


Maipu is very diverse; there are many colors in Maipu!


Maipu floods, so it gets per-ty diry in Maipu.

Maipu is very flammable due to all the gas.


Maipu can take soooooo long…….on a Metro! And Maipu is not a smooth ride out!


There’s an odd smell in Maipu, and you can hear some weird noises in Maipu. The  smell could be due to all of the trash in Maipu.


Things go missing in Maipu, and nobody wants to search through Maipu for things!


There’s corn in Maipu, nuts in Maipu, and good greens.

I found a huuuuge nut in Maipu once!


When Maipu is cold, phew its a damp cold, but as I leave it seems to warm up, and Maipu can get per-ty steamy.


Maipu is fairly easy going, I enjoy Maipu!

Here’s some questions I thought you may be asking:

Topic: Transportation

“How long…..?”

“Is my Maipu?……Oh about an hour and a half”

“Why does my Maipu take so long?”

“It’s a bit rough….a lot of stop and go, you never know when you’re finally to the end.”

Topic: Sights and Smells

“How’s it like in Maipu?”

“Maipu’s pretty nice all around. It’s painfully big….just takes forever to get through!

“Is there good food in Maipu?”

“Oh yeah, Maipu has a variety of foods! OH and the smell when they’re finally coming out. DE-LISH!”

There’s good and bad things about Maipu, but I”m learning a lot about Maipu and frankly…….I LOVE MAIPU!



Re-Learning Spanish

My Spanish skills were far from perfect before arriving in Santiago, but I felt I had a general grasp on the language and basic vocabulary. Once I got to Chile, though, a lot of my pre-learned Spanish was rendered useless (mostly with food). Chilean slang is thick, but easy to understand once you know what you’re listening for. Here’s my short, very un-comprehensive, list of some language comparisons I’ve noticed so far.


Spanish Class vs. Chilean Spanish vs. English

  • Aquí – Acá – Here (Allí – Allá – There)
  • Autobús – Micro – Bus
  • Fiesta – Carrete – Party
  • Novio – Pololo – Boyfriend
  • Bebé – Guagua – Baby
  • Pastel – Queque – Cake
  • Maíz – Choclo – Corn
  • Frijoles – Porotos – Beans
  • Fresa – Frutilla – Strawberry
  • Cacahuate – Maní – Peanut
  • Aguacate – Palta – Avocado

It needs to be noted that there is a TON of palta in Chile. It’s on almost everything and it’s inexpensive, too! It also needs to be noted that porotos are NOT common in Chile. In some supermarkets you can find boxed (one of those tetra-box containers) black beans and white beans, but it’s not a standard fare.


Chilean Slang

  • Po
    This word is added to the end of a lot of sentences without any real meaning. The equivalent of over-using “like” in English. No meaning is added or detracted.
    EX: Quieres ir al cine?” “Sí po.”
  • Cachai?
    You can loosely translate this to “right?” or “you know?” at the end of pretty much any sentence.
    EX: “Acá está La Moneda, cachai?”
  • Luca
    Equivalent of “bucks” in English. However, one luca is one thousand (mil) cents, whereas one buck is one hundred cents (i.e. a dollar).

As far as I know, these slang words are only used in Chile. However, I also have no idea, so don’t take my word for it. 🙂

// Katie

Month One – Summary & Reflections


This first month in Santiago as been interesting. I expected to experience many changes, of course (that’s the whole point of moving to a new country), but I came here without knowing exactly what I was getting into. There are some key moments and observations that stand out particularly clearly…


Hot Showers

A lot of factors attribute to the level of happiness of a person (friends, family, a healthy level of vitamin D), and I’ve decided that a hot shower in winter is definitely in the top 5. During the first month, I was in a hostel with an unpredictable shower situation. In the summer, it wouldn’t be a problem. In the winter, the only solace from the cold is a hot shower and, without it, life becomes that much more unpleasant. Everything becomes a struggle… sleeping, waking up, trying to maintain an acceptable level of hygiene. Luckily, I’m now in an apartment with two wonderful roommates and a wonderful HOT SHOWER.


Living out of a suitcase while also having a job is possible, but difficult to sustain. Unfortunately, I had to sustain this lifestyle for an entire month. If I were to describe my first month here in one word it would be “unsettling”. Although we signed the contract for our adorable apartment within the first two weeks, our move in date was not until the end of the first month. Knowing that I would be leaving the hostel, but also not knowing how my life would be in the apartment is a very unsettling feeling. Waiting. Of course, everything worked out, but the unsettling feeling of my first month here made me realize how important being comfortable/stable really is.


Before I left for Chile, I was going to be living in the small city/town of Los Andes, Chile. I would, most likely, be the only extranjero living there. A few days before leaving Austin, I was able to switch to a Santiago position. I’m so thankful that I did. My friends here have been so positive in every sense of the word. I know that if I had been in Los Andes, I would have had many moments of loneliness. Here in Santiago, I’ve always felt the comfort of having friends. Living with two of them makes it that much better! Having friends is right up there with having access to a hot shower! 😉


What’s a good adventure without a montage to go with it?

// Katie

Around Town: PDA, Street Dogs, & Hobbit Doors



The picture says it all! Hanky panky in the park is the norm. There’s really not much else to say other than… “Let’s get it on. Heeeeeeeey, let’s get it ooooooOOOOooooon”


Street Dogs


There are A LOT of street dogs in Santiago. The dogs are part of the landscape of the city: they chase the taxis, they hop on the busses, they nap with the lovers in the park. They definitely group up and have their own territory and all of those other typical street dog things, but the most interesting thing of all: the sweaters (see above). If I was a dog on the streets, Santiago would be in one of my top 5 cities FOR SURE.


Hobbit Doors


“Do you remember the Shire, Mr. Frodo? It’ll be spring soon. And the orchards will be in blossom. And the birds will be nesting in the hazel thicket. Do you remember the taste of strawberries? What about the doors with the knobs in the middle of the door? Do you remember the doorknobs, Mr. Frodo?” -Samwise Gamgee (paraphrased  JUST A LITTLE)

Sam’s nostalgia for the Shire could have been satiated by visiting Santiago! So many doors have the knobs in the middle, which is quite Hobbiton-esque. Also, they might not have second breakfast, but they definitely know about elevenses (onces)! Conclusion: Santiago is the Shire! Chile is Hobbiton! And South America is Middle Earth! Sorry, New Zealand…


// Katie

Around Town: Pinchos, Guateros, & Sandwiches



To call someone in Chile, you are charged by the second. (To receive the call, it’s free.) When you want to meet up with someone, but don’t want to waste a text or spend a fortune on a phone call to say you’ve arrived, you can give someone a pincho. A pincho is a call-and-hang-up, essentially. Just pre-arrange where you will give the pincho, and you can save money.

“Let’s meet at the Plaza de Armas around 5.”
“I’ll give you a pincho when I arrive.”




Central heating is virtually unheard of in Chile. But, it’s also super cold (it hits freezing every night during the winter). Most people own estufas (gas-powered portable heaters). The estufas are totally a fire-hazard and make everything smell like gas. The alternative to an estufa is the just-as-smelly-but-in-a-different-way guatero. A guatero is just a hot water bag (fondly nicknamed “water baby”). It has saved my life, though. For real. Love that water baby!




What kind of food is Chile known for? Oh, Chilean Sea Bass! Sure, maybe. But, really, though, it’s sandwiches & hot dogs. I guess, empanadas, too maybe. (Empanadas are pretty much just sandwiches that are enclosed by the bread, though.) No joke, though, sandwiches are everywhere. I personally like mine italiano style – palta (avocado), mayo & tomato. (Get it? Green, white and red… the colors of the Italian flag.) On a side note: I’m SO over sandwiches.

// Katie

Pretending to NOT be American!

When your in a new country, especially one where you don’t speak the language at all you feel very vulnerable.  So as a def mech I try to just blend on in like I know what’s up……..but I truly have no idea what’s going on around me half the time. It’s an internal game I’ve been playing with myself how many people can I fool that I’m not American.


Katy: 0

Chileans: WINNING!!!!!!!!!!!

Chilly in Chile!!!

Chillin’ in Chile has been very chilly! I had like ten million checklists for packing; I literally spent 2 weeks preparing to pack, but yet I still feel like I packed things that were just not needed. Why did I not bring a WINTER COAT? I KNEW IT WAS WINTER HERE!!!! The weather does definitely fluctuate, so my theory was just layer layer layer, but daaaaaaang it gets cold in the mornings and the night time ain’t no different.
Anywho, it’s been absolutely amazing. There’s been so many firsts’ and I KNOW there’s more to come.  The people are nice, genuine, and helpful. I have been totally dependent on my TeachingChile comrades for their wonderful Spanish knowledge, but I feel like I have been improving daily.
So………….. I can ask what I want, but I have NO idea what their response is hahahaha. I use a lot of hand gestures and smiles to get my information across. I love the blank stare they give you when they ask YOU something and you have absolutely no idea what their saying and they want you so bad to know what they mean. So you give that thinking face like “mmmhhhmmm yeah sure I know what you mean” and nod your head and shake it at the same time like “mmmhhhhmm no I really have no idea I’m just pretending”. Then you find someone else to ask the same question in hopes that they may explain it a little easier or have more patience with you.
In time…………….
Just look……
At the top of Cerro San Cristobal! Hardest hike eva!!!

At the top of Cerro San Cristobal! Hardest hike eva!!!