Wednesday, December 29, 2004


sorry this has to be brief, but i'm going to valparaiso to celebrate new years (and enjoy the carnaval they have there before hand) today in about an hour and still need to get everything ready to go.

once again, happy christmas, and new years too.

i spent christmas eve and christmas day with icha's family and had a great time. the turkey al cubano, cooked by icha's cuban uncle, was really good - interesting flavor i'd never tasted before.

i'll try and write more and post some photos (once i fix them in photoshop) when i get back.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

apartment jazz

writing this post from my new apartment. i'm almost moved in now. still have a few bags of things to bring over from the other apartment, but that should be done today (it sure is annoying taking the metro and buses with huge bags, but i suppose that's life - a taxi would be pretty expensive, and not really worth it).

the apartment's nice - well, i like it at least. the other people who live in the building are pretty nice - all in their 20's. they've been helpful so far, telling me things like where the not-quite-nearest but cheapest supermarket is, and the fastest way to get to places i need to go. the only problem thus far is the refrigerator - it doesn't quite work, but that should be fixed today or tomorrow. and i figure i can live without such convenience for a few days, especially when the grocery is within walking distance.

this post is also being written from my newly installed ubuntu system (linux, for those of you who don't know ubuntu, and for those of you who don't know linux, it's another operating system, like windows, but free, and somehow better in some indescribable way). new, fun toy. and, as i suppose is obvious, the internet (included in my rent :-) works. it's not a direct line, though; appears to be through a router, which is fine, except i'm not sure how to get bittorrent working well. but i've plenty of time to play with it and try and figure that out.

definitely doesn't feel like christmas is 3 days away. i'm sure that's mostly the weather - somehow summer != christmas in my mind. i suppose that makes sense. the displays in the mall with fake snow look so, umm, fake.

still not sure what i'll be doing to celebrate the holidays - my host family invited me to come have dinner with them, so we'll see - that seems the most viable option, especially if i don't leave santiago. i thought i might be travelling with a girl from the program, but i've yet to hear from her, so we'll see.

time to take a shower . . . wait, that's not the best idea if i'm going to be spending hours in public transportation dragging large bags of belongings across the city. so i suppose i'll postpone that and instead get dressed and try and finish this moving bit.

oh, almost forgot: happy holidays to all of you; i miss you and am sorry i can't be there with you.

Monday, December 13, 2004

things a'changin'

i signed the lease on an apartment today. i'll probably be getting the keys and starting to move in wednesday. so i guess you could start sending things there now seeing as it takes a few days for things to get here.

Lucrecia Valdes de Barros 333
Departamento B
Santiago, Chile

it looks to be a nice place, but i guess that's obvious since i signed the lease. $250 monthly, including internet, cable (though i don't as of now have a tv), and water. i'm going to have to buy things for the kitchen, but i figure if i cook mcgyver-style i shouldn't need too much.

yesterday my eye got some cat fur/dead skin in it and got all inflamed. allergic reactions are no fun. but the pharmacy gave me some anti-inflammotory anti-biotic drops, and that made it better in about 40 minutes, and about 6 hours later it felt normal. well, a bit tired and strained, but not swollen or painful anymore.

alright. it's sweltering in this apartment so i'm going to go outside and write some letters or read a book.

Friday, December 10, 2004

same old

not much new here. still looking for an apartment (got some visits scheduled for tomorrow), still yet to take that one last exam. otherwise, school's over and i'm free to do whatever i want, once i decide what that is. as for today, i'm going to go get some coffee and a french press from a friend who's going back to the u.s. and doesn't need/want them. later i'm going to a moive - drops of water falling over hot rocks, or something like that is the title. we'll see how it goes. i also talked to that professor who's willing to teach me things over the summer - tuesday or wednesday i'm gonig to go talk to him and get a book, and start learning, i guess. hopefully i'll be able to fulfill a graduation requirement for free while giving myself something to do all summer.

alright, i'm hungry. lunch time.

oh, and for those of you who want to talk to me (yes, with your voice and not via written words) you should get a microphone for your computer and download skype (user name: aschwieter). it's great fun.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

school's out . . . almost

so it appears that all i have left for the semester is one essay on globalization (which i'm writing with another gringa (well, a gringa since i'm a gringo, gender, you know) [ed. note: gringo = pale skinned person, sometimes used to refer to an english speaker; unlike in mexico, it carries no negative connotation in chile]) since you've forgotten what was before the parenthesis, i'll just say that all i have left for this semester is an essay which is half done and an exam. the paper is due tuesday and the exam the following tuesday. hopefully all this time means i won't have to work for hours the night before it's due to finish it, but you never know what heights procrastination can reach.

tomorrow i'm going to go look at an apartment, actually two in the same building, in which i might live the coming semester. rent is $284 a month, including utilities, or so i am led to believe. we'll see if that information is amended tomorrow.

what else . . . tomorrow i'm also going to go talk to my math professor about the summer - he offered to lend me a book and help me learn it over the summer, which would be great not only to give me something to do but also because when i get back to the u of i i can take a proficiency test and get credit for whatever it is i learned. great way to get free credit that counts towards graduation. also in my plans for the summer, besides traveling, are maybe teaching some english - the director of my program says she knows someone who wants conversational english lessons, which i don't think would be very hard, since i can converse in english and all. there's also the potential for house/apartment-sitting for people rich enough to pay for such a service. i can act like i live in someone's house (in fact, i've been doing it all semester).

not much else going on . . . other than all that jazz with my mom. the internet sure is wonderful, allowing my dad to send me updates on her (although i'd love to hear more). it sure is hard being 5000 miles away when your mother is in the hospital.

ok. i guess i should work on that paper since i haven't all day. what better time than now to fight procrastination.

Saturday, November 27, 2004


yesterday was the first time i've ever eaten thanksgiving dinner in a restaurant. it's not something i'd recommend. you miss out on some of the best parts of thanksgiving, such as seeing the platter piled high with turkey, getting a choice between light and dark meat, eating until you couldn't possibly eat anymore, the sense of family, and, of course, the leftovers. here's what the main plate looked like - some mashed potatoes, turkey with a bit of gravy and stuffing, and a bit of what i assume was cranberry sauce. the food did taste pretty good, and was preceeded by a caesar salad and followed by pumpkin pie, so it sufficiently reminded me of thanksgiving. but it was in no way the same. oh, and i forgot to mention that it's almost summer here so it was warm out too.

classes are winding down, so that means i get to write a couple of papers this weekend. i'm so excited. yay . . . well, i suppose i don't have much choice. it looks like i'll only be taking exams for two of my four classes since i'm exempt from the other two, so i guess that's good.

time to go work on those papers and then go see a photography exhibition.

oh - in case you didn't notice, over there in the sidebar of this page, underneath the stuff about the past, is a link to some photo albums i put in internetland.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

ultimate photos

it's late, i have to get up early to go to the beach tomorrow, but here's the link to the photos from ultimate on the beach. photos let me know if it doesn't work, or if there are problems viewing this blog. i'd be glad to fix them for your viewing pleasure.

Friday, November 19, 2004


just a quick update: there's all sorts of interesting things going on in santiago because of the APEC meetings - lots of detours, protests, and universities being closed. of course, none of this really affects me personally since i live so far from downtown and i'm certainly not going to be doing any protesting (i'm told to do so would risk my visa being revoked, and i wouldn't want any of that).

today's been a nice day so far - went to look at an apartment which was pretty nice, though i'd like to find somewhere a bit cheaper or maybe a couple blocks off the main street so it isn't so loud. after that i went to the museum of beautiful arts (museo de bellas artes - maybe i should translate it as fine arts, but i prefer the literal translation) and saw a couple really cool photography exhibitions.

now it's time for some reading and/or a short nap

Monday, November 15, 2004


back from the beach with a sore body and some sunburnt feet. yes, i know, sunscreen. trust me, i put it on. but apparently i didn't reapply appropriatly, and there is also the possiblitlty that the ocean washed of some of the sunscreen, as well as the other alternative that the sand, known for its exfoliating properties, exfoliated the protected layer of skin and left me with softer yet more vulnerable feet. in any case, they are nice and red now - we'll see if wearing shoes is possible tomorrow - it might be a few days of sandal wearing for "medical" purposes.

don't think that this hot sun burning my feet in any way affected my weekend. i quite enjoyed myself. we played probably 5 or 6 games (5 on 5 with 1 or 2 subs, play to 7) on saturday and another 3 sunday. i was right about the beach being windy - luckly though the wind was essentially parallel to the field, so we didn't have to deal with the oh so annoying and unpredictable crosswind. instead, the team that was throwing with the wind just had a tremendous advantage. this led to a number of games being point for point races, and the winning team was the one that could score into the wind. we played on the beach (so a couple discs did land in the surf when thrown particularly horribly) on a field marked off with some white elastic bands staked into the sand. at first, the field was nice and flat, relatively well-packed sand. that of course changed after one or two games, making all those muscles in your feet have to work extra hard to run, well, as close to running as you can get on the beach. after a long day of playing ultimate, we had an asado at the cabañas (read cookout at the cabins). chorripans, antichuchos, y pollo (sausage-on-bread, shish kabobs, and chicken). quite satisfying.

it's getting late, so i am going to get to sleep - i slept well last night, but all that exercise made me a bit tired. my body needs to rebuild all the muscles i tore.

oh, i suppose i forgot to mention earlier that i'm probably one of the worst players who went to the beach. it could be that i'm out of practice, but i blame it more on my overall lack of athletic ability. but not to worry - it was still a good time, and maybe i learned a thing or too, or at least found people with which to play in the future. they play once or twice a week, so hopefully that practice will allow me to improve.

i suppose i'm not supposed to comment on the title i just decided upon, but it makes me wonder: how is it that i never ate any beets before i came here? not that i've had a lot here, but i did have them for dinner 2 nights on my trip to the south - and they are good, not to mention beautiful to look at. such a rich color.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

ice cream

well. i am officially bad at keeping an up to date web log, even though i am probably on the internet every day. somehow the urge to update this site doesn't come to me when i am at the computer, and when i am not it is a bit tough to do so. yeah, i could right these posts on real paper and then post them later, but i don't much like that idea. well, rather i like it but don't do it. i think i fear the electronicization process, and the fact that i would want to change what i had written to such a degree that there really is no point in writing anything out before i sit down at the computer. now, if i had a secretary, or a voluntary secrectary, things would be different. or maybe if i actually wrote things here that i felt expressed anything more than the moment i am writing them - i mean, if i put some really well-written things in a notebook, i don't think it would bother me much transfering them. but this page isn't so much well written, and i don't see that changing in the near future.

enough blather. you are reading this not to find out about how i write these silly posts but instead to find out about this city and country i am living in, or at least my actions in this strange place. hmm. well, today i went to a couple classes, read a really good story on the micro (micro=bus)("cuello de gatito negro" [translates as "the neck of a little black cat"] by julio cortázar), and went and saw some bad music performed by a group of musicians who wear clown noses. don't ask. the tickets were free. that is definitly the only reason i went. now i understand why they were giving away tickets. beware of free tickets found on the internet: there is a reason they are free.

i asked my math profesor if there were any math-related things i could do in the summer in the city. short answer: yes, but they are boring or unofficial. long answer: i could be a ta or something, but the word on the street is that in the summer that is not the best job to have. lots of discussion sessions, lots of papers to grade, and students who don't care to much and just want to pass the class they failed so they don't get behind. so my profesor offered to lend me a book which i could work through and learn things, and he'd be about to help me and talk about things. while this might be nice, it is in no way something i can use in any official sense in the future. well, i realize now as i write this, i could take a proficiency exam when i get back to school and get credit for a class about what i learned. so this idea just got a bit more attractive, but i'm still looking for something better to do with my summer. and there's always traveling . . .

this saturday i am taking a little trip to the beach to play ultimate on the beach. never played frisbee on the beach - i fear it might be a bit windy, but we'll see how it goes. this is related to the fact that on sunday i played ultimate for 3 hours or so with a bunch of americans and a handful of chileans. they are a group who plays 2 times a week (though i have class during one of them), made up mostly of americans who are in santiago for various reasons, but in the past it was apparently half chilean and half estadounidense. {now is as good a time as any to point out that this whole continent is america, and chileans are americans too. i can't say "i want to go back to america" because in reality i never left. that being said, it is hard to refer to residents of the united states in english in any other manner. so i will most likely continue to do so, but you should be aware there is a cultural issue here, and i cringe every time i am forced to call my compatriates americans.}

yesterday i saw some really amazing improvisational jazz (and free too). the piano player played the inside of the piano, something i hadn't seen before, and also put a piece of paper in the piano to make it sound differently. good music. tomorrow i might go see another trio in the same program.

hmm. i seem to have run out of words to add to this mountain. just one more to top it off:


Wednesday, November 03, 2004

books and movies

sorry for the excessive delay in posting anything.

last week i had to write a paper and give a presentation on "anything that has to do with latin america." obviously the idea was that we chose topics that were interesting to us. i chose to write and talk about nicanor parra, a chilean poet, or, as he is known, antipoet. antipoetry is just poetry that breaks with the erudite poetic tradition and brings poetry to both everyday life and coloquial language. basically, makes written poems be like the poems we see an experience every day. quite a good poet. he also makes, well i guess he still does though he is 90 years old, artifacts, which are objects together with a few short verses, for example, a bottle of cocacola and a little card that says "message in a bottle." the idea is to mix common objects with common phrase and create an altogether uncommon result that he then procedes to call art. the mere act of calling it art makes people look at it differently. i could obviously continue on for 7 pages about him, but i'll refrain from that for now. i'll post any poems i find that he wrote entirely in english (since he has a graduate degree in physics from brown university and speaks english fluently).

friday (and i guess saturday too) i went to a 24 hour movie marathon, cine adiccion, of movies that are hard to find in chile. unfortunatly i fell asleep during the one movie a really wanted to see, the holy mountain, directed by aleandro jodorowsky, so i'll just have to find it somewhere and watch it again. another good movie was the tulse luper suitcases, and also i will walk like a crazy horse. 24 hours is a long time to spend in a movie theater.

tonight, or rather in about 10 minutes, i'm going to the 24th international book fair, where i'm hopefully going to hear a professor of mine talk since he is one of 14 new chilean poets there is a presentation about (and i know he will be there since he cancelled class so he could go). hopefully i'll also find some more good books to read - i'm almost done with the perfume: story of an assasin that i'm reading in spanish, translated from the original german. if not, i'll just go to the library - i want to read more by jodorowsky and parra.

time to go.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

trip, round 2

so this time maybe i will decribe what the trip was like.
the digital photos i took are here (click to enlarge, obviously) (sorry there aren't many - there are some "real" photos too which i will develop after i use the last 4 pics on the roll and then get scanned so as to share via the wonderful internet)

university of concepción
i couldn't understand why we were stopping in a university. i mean, i've seen universities before, i currently attend 3 chilean ones. didn't make much sense to me. however, in retrospect, it was nice. there was a really cool mural painted by a group of mexican painters in one of the art buildings there. amazing.

chiflon del diablo, a coal mine that is no longer in use.
there was a movie filmed here about the chilean coal mines - subterra. i haven't seen it, but i might after having been inside the mine. one thing is for sure, i could never have been a coal miner. just a bit too tall for that. i only really hit my head once, and thanks to the hard hat, nothing happened. if i hadn't been wearing it, i would probably have had a big gash, or at least a huge bump. the mine is actually under the ocean, which was cool. don't think i'd ever been under the ocean before.

lago lanalhue
sacred lake of the mapuches. didn't look to sacred to me - looked like any other relatively unpopular lake, with houses built around it, many of which have their own little dock in the water with the family ski boat. it sure would have been fun to go skiing or tubing instead of just riding around in a relatively slow moving catamaran.

an organic farm
pretty much the classic farm, where the animals are treated with respect instead of being forced to live in little metal boxes like the superfarms of today. tasted some good fresh cows milk, and had some really good shishkabobs.

a forest preserve
my favorite part of the trip. a chance to see what this part of the world used to look like before the people tore it apart. it just so happens that in this area pine trees reach their optimal size (optimal in the minds of the forestry industry) in just 6 years, where in other places it takes 26. as such, the hills are covered in fake forests of pine and eucalyptus trees, neither of which are native to chile. in fact, there are no native conifers, just the aurucaria, an ancient ancestor of conifers that grows insanely slow. in english, it is called the monkey puzzle tree (there's a picture of one in fake nature on the photos page). anyway, all these forestales are really ugly. you can sometimes see the lines between the trees, like in a corn field, but instead with trees. and there are of course the bald spots left after the trees are cut down before more are planted. it is amazing though how much of the land is covered by these nonnative trees.
anyway, the forest preserve. it is one of the few examples left of what the forest was like in that part of the country. pretty cool. it was nice to walk through real nature.

a mapuche town
we got to listen to the leader (patriarch) of a mapuche family talk about the culture and the place of the mapuches in chile today. in case i didn't say it earlier, mapuches are the natives of chile. they resisted the spanish successfully until they made a treaty in the 1800s. some are still considered violent by chileans and resist development of their ancestral lands, sometimes by senting buildings on fire. to be fair, those acts are perpetrated by members of a militant group of mapuches, and do not reflect the beliefs of the rest. moreover, mapuches do not and did not live as one large group with a single set of leaders. rather, each family was essentially on its own, lead by its own patriarch, called the lonco.
this lonco who we talked to told us that the world is sick and that we need to heal it or else the world is going to end. he believes that mapuche culture is much cleaner, much healthier, and that if the world were to adapt it things would change, the wars would stop, the environment would start to revive, etc. it is also believed by the mapuches that when there are no more mapuches the world as a whole will come to an end.

caverns on the ocean where some theives hid out
probably one of the best parts of the trip. climbing around on rocks on the beach is really entertaining. one of the caves there was amazingly large, and a perfect place for a bandit to hide out. just being there makes you want to rob some haciendas robin hood style. in one of the rocks there was a hole that aparently went all the way down to the water. when the waves came in, the air rushed out, making a really cool noise. too bad i couldn't record it.

overall, the trip was good. did things i wouldn't have done had i been traveling on my own. mostly, though, it just makes me want to travel more. this weekend, though, i have to prepare for a presentation on monday about the parra family.

time to go get ready and go to a concert of the "universal orchestra"

Friday, October 22, 2004

el dia del cine

tuesday was el dia del cine in all of chile. all movie theatres were showing all movies for $1.60 or so. the lines were insanely long, so much so that i would prefer to pay twice as much so the theatre isn't completely filled with people. however, i did celebrate the day by watching a bunch of shorts for free, shown on a plaza. sitting outside and watching shorts is a really good time. one of the shorts, from italy, was really good: el ultimo pistolero. it was in black and white, all dramatic-style, set in an abandoned building. as the title indicates, the only character was a lone gunman. he walked about the building, fixed a sign that was dangling, moved a door a bit, etc. eventually, as the music climaxed and the camera showed the dust in the light that came in through the almost cathedral-like windows, he finally drew his gun and aimed straight ahead at the non-existent dueler, and fired. the shot ricocheted off all the things he had looked at and adjusted, ending by slamming into his stomach. he fell dead on a rug placed behind him for that exact purpose. it was like the crazy pepsi(?) commericials with the insane basketball shots. quite entertaining.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004


so, where i went:
university of concepción
chiflon del diablo, a coal mine that is no longer in use.
lago lanalhue
an organic farm
a forest preserve
a mapuche town
caverns on the ocean where some theives hid out

i'm pretty hungry, so i'm going to eat. hopefully i'll fill in the details of all these places today. if not, tomorrow.

Saturday, October 09, 2004


the play yesterday was pretty good - and unexpectedly free, which is always nice. it was called "the condmenation" and based on a story of the same name by kafka. even in spanish, it still had the distinct kafka feel to it. it should be noted, though, that since i don't know any german, all of my experience with kafka has been in translation, just like this play. ok, looking about online, i think that the title in english might be "the judgement," but i don't really have time to read the story now and find out. looking at the ending, though, it seems to be the case. regardless, the play was good - better than the other 2 plays i've seen here, even if the acting wasn't quite as good. maybe i just like kafka.

now i need to leave to go see an exhibition of industrial design sculptures. it should be really cool, and best of all i can walk there.

Friday, October 08, 2004

ahh, gotta go

woah. this updating regularly thing appears to be a challenge.

this coming wednesday i'm going to go on a trip with the program to the south - it should be a really good time. we will be doing things that tourists don't usually do, such as meeting mapuches, the native people of chile. other than that, though, i really don't know what the trip entails. they like to make all our plans surprises - that way we can't really be disappointed.

alright, i promise i'll add something more tonight or tomorrow, but now i'm going to go see a play by kafka, i think.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

interesting morning

so at about 7:30 this morning i woke up. no, not for class, or on purpose. just a tremor, gently shaking me awake. craziness. not something i've felt before. no, there wasn't any damage or anything like that, it was just a little tremor, a friendly reminder that the city i live in is on the pacific rim, and has seismic activity.

Monday, September 27, 2004

woah, a week

one of those sayings i was taught when i went to peru is proving true again: the days are long, but the weeks are short. somehow, another week has gone by. every day it seems like i've nothing to do, but somehow i do things and it becomes another day. on wednesday i went and saw mala leche, a chilean movie. yay free cinema. it was really good - though i didn't understand probably half the dialogue, due to the excessive use of slang and mumbling. but that didn't really matter - i got the idea, enjoyed the movie. thursday i saw a really bad concert, but i suppose they can't all be good. friday i saw elephant, a movie directed by gus van sant (who also directed good will hunting and a number of other movies). i'd seen it already, but not on "the big screen." it's really well done, makes you want to take pictures or make movies or something. yesterday i saw a jazz concert that was pretty good, i really enjoyed the saxophone. today i saw amelie for just 100 pesos, which is, umm, 16 cents. such a good movie. i mean, i have it on dvd and all, but for 16 cents, how can you pass it up.

i was informed of two good poets this week: oliverio girondo (argentina) and mario benedetti (uruguay). what little of them i've read so far i've enjoyed, and this week i'm going to either buy some of their books or at least check them out of a library (something i've yet to do in chile, but probably should start doing. i seem to have stopped reading for the most part since i don't want to read in english and haven't found much that i want to read in spanish. there are easy solutions to this problem, i just haven't implemented them. one answer is to read the newspaper, and another is to just start trying books. hopefully i'll start reading more soon.).

there were some other things i wanted to say, but i seem to have forgotten them. if i remember, i'll write them down and add them later. for now, i'm going to edit my essay for tomorrow and go to bed.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

on dreams - the last photo is also a part of the same project about dreams. the girl in this photo is her cousin.

auto retrato (self portrait) by/of icha

Monday, September 20, 2004

fiestas patrias

once again, i hate the internet. well, not the internet, but microsoft, more specifically, msn messenger - when you click a link, it should not open in the same window as the webpage you are currently looking at. perhaps on that webpage you were filling in a field, such as writing an entry for your blog. unless you're quick draw mcgraw with the mouse, or the backspace button, odds are you will lose those 3 paragraphs you spent the last 20 minutes writing.

anyway, what i wrote already and now get to say again was mostly about this weekend. it was fiestas patrias, roughly equivalent to the 4th of july, but with hints of thanksgiving thrown in. rather than set of fireworks, chileans eat chilean foods (empanadas, shish kabobs, and above all asado - grilled meat), drink chilean drinks (wine and chicha - fermented grape or apple juice), and dance chilean dances (cueca). kids play with kites all day (i'm not sure why, but it is aparently a traditional activity) and get them stuck in trees (i would have loved to take a picture, but the park i was at is "bien popular" according to my host brother, meaning it's a bit dangerous to walk about with expensive toys - well, not dangerous, just maybe you won't get to take your toy home with you).

on saturday i went to one of the biggest parks in the city where they have a festival to celebrate the holiday. there were insane amounts of people, families barbecuing, kids running about playing, lots and lots of kite strings to dodge. the music was mostly rumba and other pop music, but there were a couple of places playing traditional chilean cuecas. after i walked around the park and saw what there was to see (mostly other people doing the same thing or sitting around talking, eating, and drinking) i went to the gran fonda guachaca. a fonda is a tent/building with tables set up for people to eat and drink at, dance floor and live music, traditionally cueca. the fonda guachaca was in an old train station that is now a cultural center. quite a cool-looking building. as to a translation of guachaca, i'm not quite sure. it has to do with the pueblo, countryside, and the common people. i was also told things like it's the opposite of cuico (upper-class, with a strong negative connotation, usually refering to people who do things to distinguish themselves from the lower class, such as talk, dress, and act differently), and that to be a real guachaca all you have to do is drink a lot. in any case, the fonda guachaca was nice, with some really good music, and some rather annoying cuecas that can somewhat be related to bad country music. oh, fusbol is also a tradition chilean game (i'm using traditional loosely here, but supposedly they have it at all the fondas), so of course i played a game (and, not that it matters, but i won - maybe that has something to do with the table in the basement at home).

the rest of this past week was pretty eventless. i took my first test on wednesday, in abstract algebra. i think i did well, but we'll see when i get the results. on tuesday i went to a concert of XXth century french classical music, for saxophone and piano - quite good. on thursday i went to a play that reminded me of the armory free theater at the u of i, except it wasn't free (only $1.50, but that's ∞*0) nor was it affiliated with a university. it was decent, but not amazing - this could have something to do with my inability to understand any sort of artistic use of spanish, but i think it has more to do with it being an average play trying to do above average things.

now that i've had to rewrite all this, i'm going to do some reading and get to sleep.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

a week in review

this coming week looks to be lazy. i only have one class that meets on monday and wednesday since the other universities i am studying at have a week of vacation for the fiestas patrias. in theory, i could have talked to the professor and skipped class to travel, but there's a complication: our first exam is on wednesday. so much for a week of freedom and traveling. but it's no big deal - there'll be time to travel later.

let's see, this past week . . . i went to the two large cemeteries here - the catholic one and the general one. very interesting to see the difference between the two, and how it they are different from the cemeteries i'm used to - there were a lot more mausoleums that i'm used to seeing. in the general cemetery there is also a big wall with the names of all the disappeared persons from the time of the dictatorship. today, in fact, there's a number of marches going there - historical note: army General Pinochet, along with the leaders of the navy, air force, and police, overthrew the democratically elected communist/socialist government of Salvador Allende on 9/11/1973.

on wednesday i saw underground, a pretty crazy movie. yay cheap art theaters. the movie was mostly in german, i think, but maybe i'm wrong. it was directed by a yugoslavian (well, what is now bosnia) and set in belgrade, starting during WWII and continuing. definitely worth seeing, and should be available in the u.s. at a video store.

thursday i went to the top of cerro san cristobal, a big hill in downtown santiago that is a park - there's also a zoo there. from the top, you can see all of santiago in its smoggy glory. due to said glory, i didn't take any fotos - i'll wait for a clear day and then give it a shot. the city is really quite large, but seems to fit nicely inside the basin created by the mountains. after coming down from the hill, i was sitting in a park with a friend and got to have my first experience with caribineros (chilean police - since chile doesn't follow the federalist model of government, there's only two police forces in the country, both national: caribineros, just regular police, and investigarors, who do detective-like things). the caribinero came up to us and asked us for identification - not because we were doing anything or looked suspicious, but just because. "a routine check" he said. if we refused, aparently he could take us to the police station and hold us under suspicion due to refusal to identify ourselves. crazy. needless to say, we gave him our identities and therefore had no problem. my friend seemed to think that chilean law now says you don't have to identify yourself like this, but my family says otherwise (as did the program coordinators in orientation). there was a case in the supreme court about similar situation in the us.

alright, it's a beautiful day. time to go outside.

a picture of icha she doesn't know i took - despite, or perhaps because of, being a photographer she doesn't like to be in front of the camera

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

me and some girls in the program at neruda's house

Monday, September 06, 2004

trip to isla negra

yesterday i went to isla negra with the program. it's not really an island, despite the name. got to see pablo neruda's house that he designed - he always said it was really a boat. it has small doors and there are those statues from the prows of boats all over the place. there are also bits of art from all over the world. pretty cool house. after seeing his house and hanging out on the beach for a bit we went to the little town of Curacaví were there is a little chocolate factory that makes some of the best chocolates in the world. the chocolate is made with an old artesenal recipe, and thus contains no sugar. only 20 people work in the factory and they make 40,000 chocolates a day. the chocolates contain unconventional things: cheese, lime, chile peppers, rosemary, or basil, just to name a few. they were different, obviously, but really good. unfortunately i can't bring any home since they only have a life of 30 days, even less if they contain cheese. we also visited a chichería, where they make chicha, which is fermented grape or apple juice, a sort of hard cider more or less. it is considered a traditional chilean beverage, and will be very popular in two weeks during the fiestas patrias, the equivalent of the 4th of july.

today i went and saw the excellent chilean film machuca which won some sort of award at cannes. now i get to write and essay about it. of to work . . .

in the window of the bar in neruda's house

tomb of pablo neruda and his third wife Matilde Urrutia

pablo neruda's head sculpted on the beach

pacific ocean at isla negra

Sunday, September 05, 2004

cordillera nevada, a few weeks ago

matahari - a picture icha took at the concert on tuesday

Friday, September 03, 2004

ah, participation

man. sometimes i hate shortcut keys. why does the backspace have to be the back button in the browser? i mean, it's nice, i use it all the time. but i just erased what i spent 20 minutes writing, and this post won't be the same as the original. so it goes.

okay, so, this week was nice, i felt like i was actually a part of something, or maybe just like i actually live in this city. tuesday i went and saw a chilean band, matahari, record an acoustic cd. their music was good, "soul," or so i was told, though i'm not sure i agree with the classification, i haven't a better one to offer. i would probably see them again if given the chance, and i will hopefully buy the cd i watched them make. that would be a nice souvenir.

umm, yesterday. i saw the best movie i've seen in a while: y las vacas vuelan. literally, "and cows fly," but more accurately "and pigs fly." it was a metafilm, that is, a movie about making a movie, which of course makes it nice and onionlike. it was directed by a (okay, hold on. i just checked using this wonderful resource of an interenet, and have to change what i was about to say) chilean and filmed in santiago. the main character, though, is from denmark (and in the movie he makes a movie, hence the confusion) and therefore i could empathize with him throughout, in his troubles with the language and his overall perspective on the city as an outsider. as the title indicates, it was also a movie about lying - for example, they lied to me and made me think it was by a danish director. the last scene of the movie is the best 5 minutes of cinema i've ever seen. i'd tell you all about it, but i don't want to ruin the surprise. i don't know if you'll be able to find the movie in the u.s., so i'll try to bring it home with that cd if i can find them. after the movie, which i saw with two girls from the program, ie gringas, we went to a meeting of miercoles po, a group of students (the name translates as "wednesday, of course") from one of the universities i'm studying at, where i got to meet a bunch of other foreign students, notably many from france, as well as chileans.

today: no classes. fun fun. went to another language partners meeting, and this time i had a language partner, named pilar, instead of a whole group of chileans to talk to. she, like all the other language partner chileans, studies english in the university, so we talked half in english, half in spanish, and for a while each of us in our nonnative tongue. all this talking in spanish is heloing, i can tell, but i still don't speak as well as i would like. conjugating verbs on the fly is rather cumbersome at times, but i suppose that's why i am here, or at least that's what i keep telling myself. later, i went and saw a play with icha (the friend i made on friday, "icha" is short for "maritza") at the spanish (as in spain) cultural center. it was a part of the IV Festival de Dramaturgia Europea Contemporánea (4th festival of contemporary european drama), a collection of a bunch of new european dramas that are being shown for free. it was called "extinción" written by a spanish playwright. good and modern - the fourth wall was completely shattered, including one part in which a row of lights sitting on the stage was turned on, illuminating the whole audience. i like the show, and understood most of it, except a few bits of rapid dialogue (or monologue) and some of the jokes. overall a good show.

ok, now i'm tired, after writing this whole thing twice. so i'm going to bed, hopefully tomorrow i'll find a good book to read (something i've been meaning to do for oh so long) and maybe take pictures of the city to show you what some things look like.

ok, goodnight. and maybe i won't delete this before i post it . . .

Monday, August 30, 2004

a wonderful weekend

this weekend was the best i've had so far. on friday i chose not to go out with other students in the program and instead went out by myself. luckily, it worked - that is, i made a chilean friend. it was so nice to converse in spanish in a real life situation - somehow school, living with a family, restaurants, etc. aren't quite what i consider real life. or maybe the idea is that i was using the language not out of necesity, as in if i don't talk to this person i won't get to eat, but instead because i wanted to, just conversing.

that being said, i now need to practice my purposeful spanish and write and essay about a pablo neruda poem for class tomorrow. not that it's challenging or has to be long, but it just needs to be done. at least i got to choose the poem. time to work . . .

Friday, August 27, 2004

language partners

today went well. i went to a "language partners" meeting - some students from the U.S. and some (more) Chileans who study english in the univeristy, eating free pizza. it was a nice opportunity to practice spanish with people my age without having anything in particular to talk about. it appears that our spanish is better than their english, but we have been living in chile for 5 weeks now, and i'd hope we've learned something. i'm looking forward to future meetings and more conversation.

hmm, weekend. maybe i'll go see a chilean movie or play. for now, it's about tea time, so i'm going to go.

Monday, August 23, 2004

viva chile

man, it sure is loud outside. people cheering, honking horns, blowing those annoying plastic horns you see at soccer games, playing drums, etc. i think i watched more tennis this weekend than in the rest of my life. chile won its first gold medal ever yesterday, in mens doubles, and a bronze in the singles. just five minutes ago they won the gold in singles too. chi chi chi, le le le, viva chile!

in singles, they beat united states guys, so i was in a win-win situation. fortunately, the people i'm currently with won too so i could join in their celebration. i wasn't quite as enthusiastic as my host brothers, that's for sure, but still it was fun.

hmm, que más. i started reading a spanish book yesterday, one my host brother just finished: la hermandad de la sábana santa (the brotherhood of the shroud of turín). it's not too complicated, written sort of like the davinci code, which i refuse to read, at least for the time being. i'm not really interested too much in this book, it's not literature or anything, but i have to start somewhere. the problem with trying to read good books in spanish right now is that the words lack connotation, they don't have any feeling, so i don't get anything out of the book but the story, which isn't why i usually read books. i tried to find che guevara's motorcycle diaries, since i am interested in that story, but couldn't - all the booksellers i asked had some sort of unidentifiable tone in their negative replies, as if i shouldn't even be asking for such a book. oh well - maybe after i finish this book i'll figure out where i can find that one.

let's see, it's sunday, so i guess that means i should do the little bit of reading i have for my spanish class tomorrow, and then continue reading hermandad. alright. off to read.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

feeling better

yes, thankfully i'm feeling better today. my stomach still hurts a bit, but not at all like yesterday. i hardly got out of bed yesterday. however, i'm still not supposed to eat anything that will upset my stomach. looks like crackers and more cinnamon water for lunch. i only have 2 classes today, so it won't be bad. and tonight, i'm probably going to go see machuca with my host brother and a friend of his. it is a good movie, or so i am told. well, off to class . . .

Wednesday, August 18, 2004


so. sick is me. bleh. couldn't hardly sleep last night. woke up at 3 or so with diharea, puked twice. all day i only got out of bed to go to the bathroom. still don't feel very good. my mom gave me some medicine, some water with cinnamon in it, and some pseduo-oatmeal - rice with water and cinnamon. i sure hope cinnamon makes me feel better. i also got to drink some carbón thing. it seems to have worked - i feel way better than i did during the night, but if i feel like this tomorrow, i'm still not going to class. sick feeling all over my body. my mom thinks it was the choripan (sausage on a bun, like a hotdog, but not) because she and her brother also had diahrea, and we are the only ones who ate it. good news is that they feel better, so hopefully i will tomorrow too.

Monday, August 16, 2004

my first trip

we (the students in the program) went to valparaiso and viña del mar yesterday. unfortunately, it was a rainy day - it didn't rain too hard, but it didn't stop until 20 minutes or so before sunset. because of this weather, the city, particularly valparaiso, which is probably the most important port in chile, was not particularly beautiful. the city is built on the 42 or so hills that surround the bay, and supposedly resembles san francisco. many of the houses are painted bright colors - if i lived there, and every winter day looked like yesterday, i'd paint my house bright pink and green too, just to see if it made me any happier. we visit one of pablo neruda's three houses - la sebastiana - which is built on top of a hill, and supposedly has the best view of the city. there are a lot of windows with great views, including the huge one next to his bed overlooking the pacific ocean - "El océano Pacífico salía del mapa. No había dónde ponerlo. Era tan grande, desordenado y azul, que no cabía en ninguna parte. Por eso lo dejaron frente a mi ventana" - what a view it must be right after you wake up. his house is architechtually amazing, and would be a great place to live. just seeing it makes me want to design a house, or maybe just read some of his poems.

the weather was a little nicer in viña than it was in valparaiso. we walked along the beach, and had tea in a nice little restaurant on the beach from which we could watch the surfers. how nice. on the bus back, we drove along the coast for as long as we could, and watched the beginings of sunset on the ocean, something i've never seen. while this was going on, in the east there was the biggest rainbow i've ever seen - we could see both ends and the whole arc in between. if only i'd remembered my camera . . . looks like i'll just have to go back.

oh, almost forgot. friday i went to see some international symphonic orchestra - it only cost $1.58 with the student discount. i wasn't going to go, but when i saw they were playing "a night on bald mountain," i just had to go - such a good song, and they played it well. there weren't many people there, but that just meant i got to sit on the ground floor. it was nice, probably not as good as CSO, but i couldn't see any difference. i'll probably go back.

for now, i'm watching the olympics - swimming, now gymnastics. and it's just about lunchtime, so i'm going to go.


Saturday, August 14, 2004

why isn't it friday today

ah, friday morning. no classes today, nor yesterday for that matter. i think i've finally set my schedule: algebra, spanish, great poets of the 20th century (we're reading ts elliot, lorca, neruda, and kavafis), and the state and politics in the 21st century. i'm not sure how much i'm going to enjoy that last class, but i'm intersted in the subject matter: what relavence does the state have when, for example, the revenue of general motors is greater than the gdp of denmark? (list) i don't know if this topic will be covered by the class, but it is certainly relevant.

i'm still enjoying being here, but still don't really have chilean friends. again, that will change soon. tomorrow i'm going with the program to valparaiso / viña del mar, twin cities on the coast that resemble san franciso (someday i'll go to california and find out if it's true). it won't be warm enough (probably) to enjoy the beach, ie swim, but at least this way i'll know the city so when it gets warmer i can go there and come back without any problems, like being unable to find the bus back or something.

today i think i'm going to go see machuca, a chilean film that won some sort of award at cannes this year. it's supposed to be really good, so i'm looking forward to it. i have to find a movie theater first, but after that, it should work well. since it's almost noon, i guess i should take a shower and get going.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

starting to feel like a student

i had to write my first essay for yesterday about statistics in chile, and, after today, i think i´ll have gone to all of my classes. the great poets of the twentieth century class looks interesting - we get to read elliot, neruda, lorca, and some greek poet whose name i forget. in a little bit, i´m going to go to a class about the state and politics in the 21st century. it should be interesting, especially coming from a chilean perspective. for now, i´m going to go to a bookstore and try and get some good spanish novels so i can stop thinking in english because i´m reading english (east of eden by steinbeck, such a great book, only 100 or so pages left). chao.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

such a nice, warm day

today the high was about 70 - so nice, being able to sit in the park with a tshirt and sandals, almost like the summer i left. i went to the park that's just a half block from my house and read some of East of Eden by John Steinbeck. after this book, i think i'm going to read Cien Años de Soledad por Gabriel García Márquez, the famous colombian author. it's supposed to be a good novel, and i figure if i want to learn spanish, reading would be a good way to increase my vocabulary.
the park i went to is right next to a really old dominican church, and there is a artisan fair there. there was also an art gallery with some amazing paintings.
well, i'm going to get going and let fidel use the internet - my computer works here (apartment) now, but only one computer at a time. but still, it's great.

Friday, August 06, 2004

keep on keepin on

today i went to a class - introduction to probability and statistics. the teacher was nice, but she is only teaching the first three weeks, then the real professor will start. that´s only a problem because i might not be able to understand him. more importantly, the goal of the class is to give the students a practical, not mathematical, knowledge of the subject. thanks to smokin´joe at st. x, i already have that. so i´m not going to gake the course. this means, though, that i might only take classes on monday, tuesday, and wednesday. that sure would be convenient for traveling. it looks like my classes are going to be the mandatory spanish class, abstract algebra, and two of the following: social psychology, cultural anthropology, great poets of the 20th century, the dark face of technological development, and latin american integration through trade agreements.

the other day i asked my family, at the promting of mo, what chileans think of bush. the first reply: él es loco. the second: es un maldito ladrón. basically, they think that he has done bad things for both the country and the world. somehow, i´m inclined to agree.

umm, what else, what else. everything seems just like daily life. i met up with sonal, a girl i know from the u of i who is also studying here. when went to catch the bus home, we hesitated; why, i don´t know - it was the right bus and we knew it. so we finally went to it (it being stopped at a stoplight) and i got on. just as sonal grabbed the railing, the bus started moving. what fun for her, jumping on to a moving bus. sometimes we make our lives interesting.

i will hopefully have internet in my house soon. the easy way would have been for me to bring my wireless router with me - i almost did, and i so wish i had. they probably cost around a hundred dollars here. i might just fool the cable company into thinking my computer is the same as my host brother´s . we shall see.

i´m going to head back out into the world now, maybe go home and have tea.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

maria paz, my host niece (solarized)

maria paz's barbie - she made me take the picture, i swear

a sunset over northern santiago

las clases empiezan

most of the classes start this week. this morning i went to an algebra class this morning - it is an introduction to abstract algebra, which is basically a review of an honors math class i already took, but didn´t really learn much in. so this should help solidify my knowledge of algebra.
on thursday, i went to another class - contemporary international conflicts. it´s a study of what has happened in the world since the formation of the united nations. i´m interested in a non-united-states perspective on the world, and this class will definitly provide it. it includes writing a paper about some conflict not covered by the class, so i can do a bit of research, maybe into sendero luminoso in peru or the continuing civil war in colombia.
i could understand the professors in both classes, so it looks like i will take them and not be lost in the language.

the family is cool - i had a ten year old, umm, host niece, i guess, for the past week, but now she has to go back to school in a different city about an hour south of here - she lives with her mom, and her parents are separated, her dad being my host brother. it was interesting to have her around - i even taught her how to play the supersheep training exercise of worms. i also watched a bootleg of shrek 2 (yes, filmed in the theatre) with her.

i´m learning my way around the city, with only 2 erroneous bus trips so far. i live about 35 minutes from downtown, about an hour during rush hour though. it´s not a problem, just makes getting places take a little longer. i don´t mind - i get to sit and read.

well, i´m going to go eat now, and later go to my mandatory spanish class. hopefully they don´t make us work too hard . . .

Monday, July 26, 2004

back in santiago

sorry for not writing for those of you so kind as to complain - i was in the town of Olmue for orientation and did not have any access to a computer. now, i am back in my host family´s apartment in Santiago, using their computer on their cable modem. hopefully i´ll figure out how to properly configure my computer so i can use the internet connection.
orientation was nice, though it didn´t feel very much like chile. yes, the food was different (but very good) and the people in the hotel and from the program spoke spanish, and we had to with them, but among ourselves, we stuck mostly to english, despite my desire to do otherwise. it´s just so easy to slip into english when you run into difficulty. the weather was nice, but colder than expected. fortunatly the nicest day was the one on which we went to la viña sauce, a vineyard that produces wonderful organic wine.  the port was amazingly good.  we also watched some chilean movies, the best being the independtly-funded el chacocero sentimental, which i would have easily paid money to see.  a groundbreaking chilean film.
i only have a book of couses i can take from one of the universities, but there are some interesting classes.  hopefully i´ll get to take bridge - if no one at school wants to play, i´ll go to the end of the world to find people who will.  tomorrow i get to be oriented again, and maybe attend some classes i might take.  also i get to figure out how to get from this apartment to school - it will involve a micro (bus) and the metro (subway).  we´ll see how it goes.
for now, i´m going to take advantage of my location and watch the final match of the copa america on tv.


Wednesday, July 14, 2004

one week

good news: i got an appointment at the chilean consulate in chicago to get my visa
funny news: it's at 9:30 on tuesday and i leave cincinnati at 10 or chicago at 1

what an interesting departure day.

time spent at home is surreal - it's a home i didn't live in for a year and won't for another. and, somehow, i don't have friends here. strange how the world changes.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004


it's hard to look at the future. it's just too big, too overwhelming to focus on. but it's bluriness is mesmerizing.

it's hard to look at the present. it's going to change, and i don't know if i want that. but if i don't look now, i'll never know.

Sunday, July 04, 2004

it's coming

in just 18 days i'll be in a different country, a different continent, a different season. the world will be turned upsidedown, and maybe people have to walk that way too.