Wednesday, May 14, 2014

LAN Airlines

Today we visited LAN Airlines! We had an hour and a half bus ride, so naturally we all refreshed with a Verschae nap. I was really excited about going around all of the company and seeing so many planes. We got to go inside their newest model of planes. It was called Dreamliner, 787 plane. It was huuuge! Their first class was ridiculously nice. The windows could tint, the seat go into a bed, personal TVs. Also, we got to go inside the cockpit. Which I’m pretty sure we’re not allowed to do that in the US unless you have a pilots’ license. There were so many gadgets and high-tech stuff. The tour guide let me touch the steering wheel thing. The tour was very short but it was interesting.

We then went to a cute little Chilean restaurant near Santiago. The waiters were dressed like cowboys. I just got something really simple, a ham and cheese sandwich. Apparently a very authentic Chilean dish is meat and sunny side up egg on top of fries. It’s actually really good! Then we went back to the hotel, and quick got ready for dance classes. We were all so tired from the whole trip, so it wasn’t as fun as the previous classes but it was fun. It was more like Zumba than learning to dance. Finally, since we got back late, we all got dinner at the OK Market down the street and hanging out with the Chileans tonight! 


We had a free morning today! It was our first free morning on a weekday. It was glorious. We all slept in until like 11:30 and then we woke up and just walked along the beach. Then we went to the mall and got food, I noticed how they have a lot of chain restaurants that we also have in the USA. I thought that was pretty interesting. Even Dunkin Donuts had the same motto, America Runs on Dunkin with a photo of the US. I thought that was peculiar since their business was in Chile.

Afterwards, we had a scheduled tour of the Port of Valparaiso. It was a shipping dock and we got to take a bus tour and have a brief lecture before. It was really interesting how everything worked together and all the machinery to lift the heavy containers. We saw shipping trucks as well as a giant German shipping boat. After the tour we had two hours to kill. Daniella and Ignacio were our students today so we hung out with them and they showed us around a little bit. We ended up taking a boat tour for $6! It was only 30 minutes but it was really cool and we saw seals! We then all went to Werner’s house for a BBQ. We had Chilean hot dog things as well as meat kabobs. All the Chilean students were there and it was so fun hanging out with everyone. People started leaving but the Chileans and a bunch of us stayed in the room and hung out for the rest of the night. They’re all so fun! I’m going to miss them so much once we go back home. 

Monday, May 12, 2014

Last day at the University

Today started off pretty hectic. Olivia, Jillian and I all woke up late. I set my alarm for the wrong time on accident, Jill’s didn’t go off and Olivia accidentally turned the alarm off after the snooze. We woke up at 8:23 and we were supposed to leave for the University at 8:30. We all just brought our contacts and toothbrushes to the University and got ready there, since we didn’t want to risk being late. After the chaos, we had class. Our professor was the same from the first day, Jami. We learned about Latin America and their economy. It was pretty interesting to see all of their economy’s compared to the USA. We only had one lecture for about an hour and a half, afterwards we did some company presentations. Latam Airlines and Vina Indomita Vineyards went today. We learned about how their companies function as well as their industry. We had some free time after class and it was so beautiful so a couple of us took some photos around the University. There was no fog in the sky and everything could be seen so clearly!

After that, about half of us went to a little café right next to the Hotel. The special was lasagna with soup, a drink, and desert for only like eight American dollars. It was soooo good, we all got it! We were so full so all of us pretty much took a nap afterwards and then went to play soccer with the Chilean students. They rented out this field for all of us. We played on four teams of 6. At first, I was pretty bad. But after about two games I felt more comfortable and actually started trying to play. I wasn’t that good…but I had a lot of fun! All the Chileans were so good! Soccer is a popular sport in Latin American countries, specifically Chile. So it wasn’t surprising that they all were amazing. We played soccer for about two and a half hours, which was exhausting.

At the end of the night, we went out to an authentic Chilean restaurant. I don’t remember the name but about ¾ of us went out for Jenny’s birthday. It was really fun! We split up the checks into one of 4 and two of 5 people. We each split like 3 entrees. They were huge!!! We couldn’t finish ours, not even close. We got leftovers though so hopefully those will come in handy whenever I don’t feel like leaving the hotel to eat. Tonight we are going to karaoke night for her birthday, which should be a blast! Talk to you tomorrow guys! 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Gone Surfin

Today was awesome!! We planned on going surfing since the beginning of the week but since we didn’t get much sleep last night everyone was sort of debating on going. But we ended up still going thankfully. There were 5 of us, Olivia, Jaclyn, Alex, Kelly and me. We left at around noon and made our way to the surfing place. Javier made arrangements for us to go surfing at a place but there were literally 15 surf shops along this strip and we couldn’t find the place we made arrangements for. Eventually we found this one where they spoke English and we actually got a better deal with this place. We warmed up at first by running and stretching – boy am I out of shape! Then after we learned the correct surfing techniques then we went in the water. It’s technically winter in Chile so we were a little nervous about how cold the water was going to be, but it wasn’t that bad! Kelly and Alex were really good at surfing while the rest of us weren’t that good. But it was still a blast! It was just really cool to say we went surfing in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Chile at Playa Boca. The most I stood up on the board was probably for like 10 seconds but I was still happy with myself!

After surfing we hungout in Concón for a bit. We stayed at the surf shop and talked to the guys for a bit and then we went for empanadas and pizza at a shop right next to the surfing place. It was a cute little place, I got a ham and cheese empanada and I ate almost an entire chicken pizza by myself. Safe to say I was a little bit hungry. After, we got back at around 5 and had a group dinner at around 6:30 at this really cute Italian place down the street. Tonight a couple of us are going to the casino because it’s legal to gamble here at 18. And when in Chile, do as the Chileans do – right? Well, hopefully I don’t lose all my money. Adios amigos! 

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Free Day 1

Today wasn’t very eventful. We started off a little late at around noon and planned to go to Valparaiso for the day but we all decided that it was too far and we were all tired. So we just went and walked around. We went to the mall first to eat, I had a completo. It’s like a hotdog with everything on it. I got guacamole, mayo, and queso. It really wasn’t as good as I thought it’d be – so I fed the ¼ that I didn’t eat to stray dogs. After that, we went back to the hotel quickly to regroup since we were all so tired and sore from horseback riding. We then just walked to the beach and shopped for souvenirs. There was a lot of cute homemade stuff that the vendors were selling. I really didn’t buy anything because I could not find something that I really wanted to get. A bunch of other people got stuff though, like alpaca socks (to match the alpaca sweaters) and jewelry, and mugs.

We then walked around Viña del Mar for a little bit and made our way back to the mall. This time we shopped around a bit. None of us found anything that we wanted, there was a lot of expensive stores which I didn’t expect. For example, there was a Polo Ralph Lauren Store, Lacoste, and others which I didn’t expect to find in Chile. Alright, well it’s nap time, hopefully tomorrow will be more exciting! 

Friday, May 9, 2014

The most beautiful day

Where do I even begin about today? Well we got to sleep in a bit and woke up at 9, and then made our way to go horseback riding with Javier, Paula and Andres. We all took our Versache nap (the name of the bus company that we always ride) and then we finally arrived at this quaint little house. The backyard was filled with animals, everything from new born puppies, to kittens, to chickens, to (obviously horses). There was this one kitten who was so playful and always jumped on your shoulders and rested on your head. It was the most adorable thing ever. There were so many animals that were all so friendly it was fun to play with all of them and not be scared how they will react, like strays.

We finally went horseback riding then, I got a cute little white horse which didn’t listen very well but we got along. We went all through the forest, amazing sand dunes, and of course the beaches. It was one of the most beautiful sites that I have ever seen. At one point in the sand dunes you could see over all of Viña del Mar. Everything from the mountains, the beaches to all of the sand dunes. I couldn’t believe how amazing this trip was. It was my favorite day so far, I am so happy that Jo and Dianne took us on that trip. Towards the end of the trip we did one final walk on the beach and this is where everyone could fully gallop with their horses. Throughout the entire trip we could periodically gallop but for this, we could gallop the entire beach. IT WAS AWESOME! I am so sore because of it but it was so worth it. My horse went to fast and I felt so free. It was honestly just amazing.

After the trip, we had a BBQ at the house that took us horseback riding. There was a sort of Chilean hotdog, pork, beef, potato salad, rice, salad, and tomato salad. Naturally, I ate all of it. Olivia and I would get extra food and feed it to the animals. It was so cute they were all surrounding us. We stayed a while after and roasted marshmallows and put them in cookies, unlike the typical US smore. We played with the animals until it was time to leave. Now I’m going to take a nap and then we’re hanging out with the Chilean students tonight! I have a free day tomorrow so I’ll let you know what I do tomorrow then!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Company Visits

Today started very early, we met in the lobby at 7:30am for breakfast. We’ve been having complimentary breakfast every morning. It’s actually charming, there’s always pound cake, apple butter, a biscuit, Jell-O, yogurt, with cheese and meat. It’s actually really good! We left for our first company which was Hela Tools, which is the company I researched. It was very interesting to see how much actually goes into the process of making something as simple as a paint brush. The tour was done completely in Spanish, but luckily Paula and Francisco (two Chilean students) and Werner (the director of the Plus 3 program at Santa Maria) translated everything for us. They helped me ask all of my questions and I got a really good look inside the industry as a whole as well the individual company. This company mainly focuses in producing all sorts of brushes and exports them directly to retailers domestically.

After Hela, we had an hour bus ride to the second company. The whole bus ride Jillian and I were talking to Francisco and we were teaching each other customs from our cultures. It was pretty interesting and funny most of the time. The Chilean students are really nice and I love to hear about how their life is here compared to ours at home. The second company was Conservas Centauro, which is a canning company. The tour was also done in Spanish and it was difficult to hear the translations because the factory was so loud. We toured their vegetable canning plant so we saw tomatoes and a variety of vegetables and how they were produced. We had to wear hair nets and face masks so we didn’t contaminate the food.

We had lunch after that, we stopped at a little empanada place which was sort of like a hut. It sounds weird but it was actually really cute and had its own character to it. I had a chicken and cheese as well as shrimp and cheese empanada. After that, we went to a mushroom factory called Nature’s Farm. I expected it to be a lot smellier but it wasn’t that unbearable. It was actually not that bad, it was pretty interesting how the mushrooms were grown and sold. Tonight we’re all getting pizza and then exploring again. I’ll talk to you guys tomorrow!