Monday, February 23, 2009

The Arrival

I've finally made it to Vina after two flight cancellations, and 12 hours of actual flying time. My layover took me through Dallas, where I ended up spending the night due to the second flight cancellation. That was my first time actually being outside of any airport in Texas. I arrived in Santiago on the 20th so I've been here for about 3 days now.
I met my friend Linnea at the airport after being stuck in customs for smuggling a banana into the country. I didn't even want the thing. I had shoved in my bag at the last minute upon leaving the hotel in Dallas. Customs was not very happy about finding it though, and I ended up having to pay a $200 fine.
On our first night, even though I was exhausted, with all the adrenaline of actually getting here I decided to go out with Linnea and her friends. We went to a club called Scratch, which is an 18 and older club, so at 21, Linnea and I felt kind of old. Everyone there was closer to 19. Chileans know how to dance though and ooh do they love their 90's rap and hair bands too. We danced until closing -- around 5 am -- and left to get completos, which are two hot dogs in a huge bun with avocado and mayo. Linnea and I shared one. It was good even though usually I'm afraid of mayo.
Erika, Linnea's friend who was visiting for a week before going on to her homestay in Uraguay, was my roommate for a night at the hostel where I'm currently staying. So we went back to the room and fell into bed around 5:30 am. The next morning while Erika and I were waiting to meet up with Linnea we walked down to Okay Market to get something to eat. We grabbed what we thought were little packs of donuts, some orange juice, paid, and went to eat outside. what we found were not donuts but little cookies shaped like donuts and covered in chocolate. False advertising if I've ever seen it.
After eating our little cookies and juice we walked to Linnea's house. We were a funny trio walking down the streets of Vina. Three blonde girls speaking English. We attracted a lot of attention, to say the least. So Linnea suggested we start speaking in Spanish. It worked like a charm. So now I'm not sure if it was the language we were speaking or the way that we looked that triggered so much attention. I guess it really doesn't matter to me either way now, because by speaking less English I'm picking up Spanish more quickly.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Some of the things I've been up to, part two

Egypt is definitely a different animal from India. The men in Egypt are pretty aggressive in the way that they stare women down. I'm assuming and hoping this applies mostly to foreign women. I can't imagine living with that kind of treatment 24/7. 


Below is Cairo... in all it's beauty. 

And then there were the pyramids. It was so strange to hear the honking of cars coming from one direction and to look out to the other and only see desert. 

Here's Justin with the Sphinx in the background. 

Some of the things I've been up to

I took this fall semester off before studying abroad to travel and volunteer. I'll dedicate this post to India:

The photo at right was taken in Delhi, where the group met up and was introduced to Indian culture and FOOD!

Then we were off to Dharamsala where we were volunteering for Cross-Cultural Solutions.
I would recommend this program to anyone looking to volunteer. I met a lot of incredible people and got the chance to experience a new culture from a local's perspective.
Above are two of the students (Kajal and ?) that my roommate, Mo, and I taught.

I also learned some Hindi.
Aap ka naam kia hay?
Mira naam Caitlin hay

Before I Go

Since I've been waiting around to go to South America I've been baking a lot and I do love to bakity bake. 
These were my Halloween cupcakes. They came out a little pink, but pretty friggen' tasty if i do say so myself. 

My family and I also decided to celebrate Swedish Christmas this year seeing as we are, in fact, Swedish. I made Lussekatter, literally translated meaning "Lucy's Cats." They're sweet saffron buns with two little raisins set into their creases. So cute. 

Then cousin Kelsey came to visit and we found the biggest zucchini I've ever seen. Unfortunately, it was too woody to make any zucchini bread. Shucks.
Behold, next year's Puyallup Fair first prize winner:

The Countdown Begins...

Hola amigos! Aye yai yaii 
There are officially less than 2 more days until I will be in Valparaiso, Chile. Hooray!
I've almost finished reading Isabel Allende's Ines of My Soul, which has been a good introduction to the history of Chile. Now I'm excited to see it for myself.