Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The mountains after a rain/snowfall


Last week it rained more, and apparently the mountains got some snow.  They looked so pretty!  But it's melted a lot since then, so I'm glad I got the pictures!  It sure is getting to be summer here :)  These pictures are from my view as I'm leaving work.  Not bad, huh?

This is the back of the building where you buy tickets to get in.  It's an entirely separate building from the rest of the museum, and it's pink:

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The rest of our weekend: Making Chilean Friends, and It's a Small World When You Are American in Santiago

I mentioned in a previous post that we had a fun and busy weekend, so here's the rest of the story.

Friday night
When we were in Cambridge, Caroline had found an MIT language connection website that helps people find a language practice buddy so they can meet up and practice. Not only did Caroline find a good spanish buddy, but she even happened to be Chilean! So over last winter and spring Caroline met about once a week with her Chilean buddy, Ana. I met her once, and she was very friendly and eager to tell us all about Chile.

After arriving here, Ana was very nice and emailed with Caroline to see how things were going. Caroline - as her usual bold self - decided to ask Ana if she had any friends here that wanted to be friends with us. A few rounds of emails later and we had dinner plans with Claudia and Alejandra for Friday night!

We were a little late getting to the restaurant (of course), and a little unsure how we would identify them when we got there. Turned out to be no problem, because they were seated at a patio table right near the entrance and easily recognized us as the two gringos they were waiting for  :)

Caroline's emails with them had been in Spanish, so I was a little nervous that we were in for a whole evening of speaking Spanish, but fortunately they both spoke very good English. We had a great time with them, and ended up staying out much later than we expected because we were having so much fun! They are both very worldly, and have traveled to some cool places. They gave us some suggestions about India, if we do end up traveling there.

I suppose it should be no surprise that they were both excited about the chance to practice their English with us, so they actually proposed that we should meet regularly here. They can show us cool places around Santiago, and we can help them with their English. Sounds like a good deal to us! Hopefully we will have more stories to share soon about our new Chilean friends.

Saturday night
I know what you are thinking. "What?! You guys had social plans on both Friday and Saturday night?"

That's right, we are moving up in the world here! We have started to make enough friends with Americans and Chileans that we actually had plans two weekend nights in a row for the first time. Obviously I was very excited about that.

Saturday night we were invited to the birthday party of a fellow American traveler named Jenn, who we met on our trip to Mendoza. She was in Mendoza with a group of folks from her program, and we all ended up getting dinner together. They were fun and we got along well, so we were excited to go to her party. At the same time, we were exhausted from our Yerba Loca picnic that day, so we almost didn't go to the party.

Her apartment building is one of the zillions of high-rise residences in Santiago, and those buildings often have roof decks for social events. This party was on the roof, with a BBQ and a great view of the city. And luckily, it was the warmest night we've had yet, so being outside was quite comfortable (even Caroline agreed she was warm enough).

Well, we found out that Jenn is VERY popular. I was extremely impressed, because she probably had 40 people at her party, Chilean and American, and she has only lived in Santiago for about 6 months. She is a good friend to know, because we had a really fun time at her party and met a bunch more cool people. We also had a "small world" moment, because we were chatting with two girls here on an exchange from their US college, and we realized they were on the same program as Sarah (the girl that Caroline used to babysit). I think these two girls were sort of blown away that they had just run into their college friend's babysitter.

The party was scheduled as 10pm to 3am, so we had intentionally arrived around 10:30 because we figured we were so tired that we'd probably want to leave early. We ended up having so much fun that we stayed until 1:45am, much later than we expected! It was a great cap to a weekend of busy plans and tons of fun.

And on Sunday, we just stayed inside and rested all day :)

This is for real, I think

What parents would actually name their kid John Doe?

Monday, October 29, 2012

Our birds


We have two baby birds and one mother bird that have taken up residence in the windowbox outside our apartment.  It's been pretty awesome watching them hanging out there.  The babies are always there, and the mother comes and goes, presumably bringing food back.  We don't think the babies can fly yet, or if they can, they haven't been doing it.  I really enjoy checking on them before I leave for work in the morning and when I get home in the evening.  They are sort of like having no-maintenance pets, which is about my style.  I never had anything more than fish as pets growing up, and I don't recall ever begging for a puppy.  I guess I just don't really have the pet-wanting gene.  But I have been enjoying having these birds to observe outside our window.  They are bigger than I would have expected for baby birds, and I don't know what kind they are.  But (now) I'm sure they're babies because the mother bird is even bigger.  Here are some more pictures of them:

Not the cutest birds, but they're what we've got!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Our Chilean family picnic day

Just one of many things we did on a great weekend!
This weekend was fantastic. We had tons of plans with different people - heck, I'll even say with friends. We saw Santiago and we got out of the city. And on top of that, the weather is getting better and better every day. We will post about a few different things we did this weekend. First up is our Chilean family picnic.

A little background: At La Bici Verde, I am usually there on the same shift as a cool guy named Martin. He and I get along really well. His English is pretty good, so we can have good conversations, and he is patient and helpful when I speak in Spanish. We talk a lot about music, and compare life in our two countries. Also, because he is studying tourism, he loves to tell me about all the places I should go in Chile, and has suggested that we go together.

This week, we finally made firm plans, and we decided that on Saturday we would go to a nearby national park called Yerba Loca. Based on our planning, I thought that Caroline and I would meet up with him and his girlfriend and then we would drive together. That turned out to be true, but what I didn't realize is that we would also be joined by his mom, dad, brother (who also interns at Bici Verde), sister and nephew! And so, at 11am on Saturday we found ourselves heading out on a family picnic with our very own Chilean family.
Here we are with Martin and his little nephew Rafael
The whole day was a ton of fun, and the family could not have been friendlier and more welcoming. Though it was a warm day in the city, it was cold and overcast in the mountains. But no worries, they had brought tons of extra jackets, scarves, and even fleece pants! Caroline was happy to put them to use and stay warm:
It's sort of hard to see, but she is also wearing giant purple fleece pants :)
They were also very prepared to make a great picnic meal. We didn't feel like moochers since we had brought veggie burgers and some other things for ourselves and to share, but these guys really knew how to have a family barbeque (which is called asado here). We tried a new dessert: cut up apples and pears topped with papaya syrup. Muy rico! (literally means very rich, but rico is the standard thing to say for "delicious" when you have good food)

While we were preparing the food, we got all the usual questions that we always get: what are you each doing here? where do you live in Chile? How long have you been here and how long are you staying? etc. We also got a question that is always a little tricky: Why on earth did you guys choose Chile? It seems like Chileans are still not used to having a lot of foreigners visit, and they seem to have a little inferiority complex about the appeal of their country. So when we get that question we always try to say how we knew Chile would be so great, and fortunately it's proving to be true!

After the cook-out, we did a very small amount of hiking and exploring, but because it was kind of chilly we didn't do much. We did go check out the river. The colors were beautiful and very vibrant, because of the copper mines nearby. In the pictures you can see how the rocks are very red and the river water is very green or bluish.
I'm not sure, but I am guessing that the green water color comes from oxidized copper
We also played cards with Martin and his girlfriend, which was fun and now I learned the names of the suits and some useful words when playing cards. Martin and his girlfriend trash-talked a lot during the game, which was a little unfair because we don't know how to trash talk back in Spanish :(

There's probably more to tell, but you can just view the slideshow below to see the rest. It was a very fun day overall, and I think they must have had fun with us too, because they invited us for Christmas!

Everyone is honking now outside

We think it's because of the Chilean elections, which were today.  I suppose someone won, but I haven't been paying enough attention to the situation to know much about anything, except that there have been campaign posters everywhere for the entire time we've been here.  Boy, it sure is a lot of honking!

Update from Sam: it's now been almost an hour and the honking is still happening! I almost can't believe this is all for the election, but we don't have a great way to figure out what is going on. Maybe we'll try watching TV in Spanish to watch the news.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Finally, the southern hemisphere delivers good weather!

Thank you, Southern Hemisphere! (and no, I am not using Celsius here, when I get to choose)
Well, it's about time.

When Caroline and I first envisioned this crazy round-the-world adventure, we thought we had a brilliant idea: with the right timing, a trip to the southern hemisphere could let us avoid cold weather for 18 months. As we settled on Santiago, we thought we had the perfect plan: summer in Boston 2012, then summer in Santiago 2012-2013, then summer in Israel 2013.

Unfortunately, we got a bit carried away with this idea, and never really checked out the facts. As we could have easily found out, Santiago doesn't really start getting warm until November. After all, when we arrived in early September, that was still the tail end of winter! On top of that, we've also had slightly bad luck. When it rained a few weeks ago, people said "oh, this is very rare, but I promise this is the last rain of the season." Since then, we've had 3 more rainy days, and each time people told us the same thing :)

But now, for the first time, when I check the 10-day forecast I see nothing but good weather on the horizon. Sweet.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

New comment system

Hi All -

We have received a number of emails from people having difficulty commenting on the blog. We want to encourage comments, so I have changed a setting that will make commenting simpler. From now on, you don't need to sign in to leave a comment.
Please select Name/URL and leave your name. Please do NOT leave anonymous comments.
However, please DO NOT leave anonymous comments because we love to know who you are and respond to you. Instead, choose "Name/URL" from the list and enter in your name. You can leave the URL line blank.

If you had trouble in the past leaving comments, you can try leaving a comment on this post to see how it works for you now. If you still have trouble, please email me and I will try to troubleshoot further.

Sam and Caroline

P.S. Sometimes when anonymous comments are permitted, a blog can start accumulating a lot of spam comments from advertisers. If that does start to happen, we will have to turn this setting off. Hopefully this won't happen and everyone can keep commenting by entering just their name!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

More pics through the mountains

Slideshow with many more pics below
Caroline took a lot of pictures on our bus ride through the mountains. I gave her a hard time about the number of pictures at the time, but now that I look through them I am glad she did - though I did winnow them down quite a bit :) Here are some of the most spectacular views we had:

More on the trip to Mendoza

I just uploaded an album of pics from Mendoza. You can view the slideshow on this page, and the captions kind of tell the story.

If you'd prefer, you can also click through the album at your own pace here.

A haul video for my foodie friends

Pic from
Apparently, there is a concept on YouTube called a "haul video." After you go shopping, especially if you are a teenage girl, you unpack all the stuff that you bought and show it off for the camera. You can read NPR's take on it here.

Oftentimes, after Caroline or I come back from the farmer's market, we will show off the "haul" to each other. Caroline sometimes jokes that we should do a haul video, so here you have it: Our farmer's market haul video.

Friday, October 19, 2012

The first day in Mendoza

Last weekend we did our first big trip outside the city, and in fact outside the country. We took a bus from Santiago to a city in Argentina called Mendoza. The city is one of the larger cities in Argentina, and is a tourist destination because it is located right in the heart of wine country.
Map of World Wine Producers. Argentina and Chile have taken their place on the map. Thanks to for the image.

As our guide explained: in order to be known as a world class wine producer, a country must have a specialty that it does better than anyone else. France has Cabernets, California has Zinfandels, Australia has Shiraz, and Argentina does Malbecs. Maybe not quite as common as some others, but if you want a Malbec then you should go with Argentina.  (I'm repeating all of this from the tour guide; people who know something about wine may disagree here)

But our trip was not totally about wine.

As Caroline mentioned, the trip started off great because the bus ride crosses over the Andes mountains, and the views were incredible.

You get the idea. This was a bus ride that you could probably sell as a tour all by itself!

One of the most amazing parts was when we made our way up over the pass to the border crossing. In order to climb the mountains on the Chilean side, you go through a series of 40+ switchbacks. It's a little nerve wracking when you look out the window and see how far down below you were:
It might be hard to see, but you can kind of see the road snaking back and forth all the way down. And we were not nearly at the top at this point!
The border crossing itself was the one frustrating part of the trip. They could seriously use some efficiency consultants there! Getting off the bus, standing in line, getting on the bus, getting off the bus, standing in line again, etc. It's kind of funny though, because you have to show your passport to both the Chilean control and the Argentinean control, and they are right next to each other. So you wait in the Chilean line for like 45 min, then you get to the window and get your stamp, and step 5 feet to the right to the Argentinian window to get processed again!
The border control is in a giant hangar-like building, and there is a long line of fancy tour buses. I think a certain uncle of mine would really enjoy checking out the buses :)
When we got to Mendoza, it was already around 5pm, so we made our way to the hostel. We had a private double room with our own bathroom, which was a nice setup. It wasn't exactly the fanciest place we've ever stayed, but it was clean and private, so that was a good start.

From there, we explored the city a bit. Mendoza is a beautiful town, and very friendly to tourists. A lot of the main attractions are within a close walk of each other, there are parks and plazas everywhere, and lots of shops with delicious things to try. We couldn't resist getting some helado (ice cream), and the shop had a Malbec wine flavor. Fortunately, they also offered double cones with room for two flavors side-by-side, so Caroline got Malbec on one side and Dulce de Leche con Brownies on the other (yum!).
Truthfully, the Malbec flavor was kind of gross. It actually tasted like wine, so it wasn't sweet like you expect ice cream to be. Not my favorite.
We went out for a nice dinner sitting on the sidewalk patio of a restaurant (starting dinner at like 9:30!). It was enjoyable, though we didn't pick the place with the best food. After that, we went back to the hostel and to sleep. I'll do another post about the next day, but I don't have those photos right now.

Leave comments! What weird ice cream flavors would you want to try? Any wines that you would recommend? Was my wine knowledge at the start of this post abysmal? Let us know!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

A sneak preview of our trip to Mendoza

We went to Mendoza this past weekend, and it was awesome.  One of the best parts of the trip was the bus ride, believe it or not.  This post by someone else does a better job of describing it than I could.  The differences between what they described and what we experienced were that we went both from Santiago to Mendoza and back rather than just one way, and that our time at the border crossing from Argentina to Chile was more like 3 hours than 2.  Oh well!

A new thing I ate

This is a tuna, or what a tuna is here.  It's a fruit, not a fish!  This is what it looks like inside:

It tastes pretty nice, and the one I had was very juicy.  I had to ask as I was eating it whether I was supposed to eat the seeds :)  The answer is yes.  Yummy!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Update: Sam didn't notice the earthquake

I can't believe this, but he says he was in the metro on the way to tutoring when it happened, and I suppose that is already rumbly anyway, so what's a little more earthquake on top of that?  The word for what we had today is temblor in Spanish.  A bigger version would be a terremoto.  Now you know!

Sam of all trades

Caroline works at a science museum here, as you have probably read about. Many people have been asking me what the heck I am doing here, and that's a good question with a sort of complicated answer. Instead of having one job, I have a whole lot of different jobs, and they don't always fit well together. Here's the rundown of what I'm doing:

Short version: I'm volunteering at a bike shop 2 days/week, working remotely with a tutoring startup based in Chicago, and doing private math/science tutoring classes weekday evenings from 3:30 - 8:30 or so.

And now, the long version, if you want to hear about it...

La Bicicleta Verde
This the bike tour company where I am volunteering. That's right, I don't get paid here, but I do love working there and the people are really great, so I'm happy to do it. I am working as a bike mechanic with three Chilean university students (senior year) who are all majoring in eco-tourism. After they graduate, they will either get hired by or start their own tour companies of some sort. One wants to do jeep tours, one wants to do photography guided tours, and one wants to open a skatepark at the ski resorts here. Cool stuff!

The great part is that they are all VERY interested in improving their English, so while we work on bikes together, they help me with my Spanish and I help them with their English. It's a great situation for me, because it means that they have the patience to really slow down and teach me, because they want the same from me. And all the while, we are tuning up bikes - which I also love. Before getting here, I had taught myself how to do many bike repair jobs, but now I'm getting tons of practice which means I'm getting faster and learning how to handle more unusual situations. Also, there's an older guy who is very experienced with bikes and he helps me or teaches me sometimes, so I learn a lot there too.

I had originally thought that I would be trying to learn the tours and become a paid guide, but now that I have plenty of hours tutoring, I'm happy to stick with volunteering as a bike mechanic instead of pushing to become a guide. (The nice thing about volunteering is that I can leave early or decide not to come in on a given day).

All in all, it's a fun group of people and a fun job. The only catch is that I don't get paid, but that's ok because I have these other jobs...

MyGuru Tutoring
Over the past summer, in Boston, I wanted to do a little tutoring with my free time, so I signed up for a tutor matching service called MyGuru. The founder happened to be a guy who had formerly worked in consulting, and so based on my experience he called me up and asked if I wanted to do some work for the company in addition to tutoring work. That has turned out to be a great partnership, from my point of view.

MyGuru mostly matches tutors for in-person tutoring in the Chicago area right now, but we are aiming to expand into online tutoring through the web. This is my project with the company - I am researching useful online meeting tools and environments for tutoring, doing some "beta testing" tutoring to see what works and what doesn't, and now I'm also doing marketing for the online business.

There are a lot of reasons I like this job. It's a good combination of things that I really know how to do (tutoring, figuring out the tech of how to tutor over the web) along with some things that I want to learn how to do (web marketing). Also, because the work is all remote, I can do it on my own schedule and that flexibility is really helpful. If you want to see an example of what I've done there, you can check out this video that I made for the website.

I hope to expand my work with MyGuru and pick up more hours there, since I like the work and it's so flexible.

Math and Science Tutoring
I've just recently started seeking out tutoring for local students here in Santiago. There are a lot of international schools where the students speak English, so there are plenty of people interested in an english-speaking math/science tutor.

I first got the connection because I had been talking to one of the guys who runs the bike shop about my attempts to find tutoring, and he offered to email a friend who was one of the parents on the welcoming committee at a private international school. It turned out that not only was this woman interested in tutoring for her own son, but she also sent out my tutoring info to an email list of families at the school.

Well, I am very grateful for her email, because since then I have had more tutoring requests than I could possibly make time for! The tricky thing is that I can only tutor kids after about 3:30pm, because that is when they get home from high school. This means that I'm now spending my days working at La Bicicleta Verde or doing work for MyGuru remotely, and then around 3pm I head out to my various tutoring jobs (they are all over the city, and I tutor in-home, so it also means that I'm getting to see homes and neighborhoods all around the city).

English Teaching
You might be thinking "wait, Sam, I thought you were going to be teaching English!" Well, that was my original plan, but as of this week I actually quit from the job. First of all, the company that I was working for had only given me one class so far. Second, the pay is faaaar less than private tutoring, and the class was during the peak evening hours that I wanted to be tutoring. And finally, it was also a bit stressful due to the unpredictability. They could call me any day and say "Hey Sam, we have a class that starts at 7:30am and is an hour away from your house. Have fun!" I like the private tutoring better because I get to decide when I work and when I don't.

So, that is what I am up to. Since the tutoring kicked in, I have definitely been VERY busy, but I like that much more than when I had too much free time. Of course, as the weather gets good and we continue to make more friends and travel plans, I might wish to go back to lots of free time.

We just had our first Chilean earthquake!

Today at 2:22pm local time we had our first Chilean earthquake!  It was magnitude 5.7 and the epicenter was off the coast of Valparaíso, so all in all it was pretty minimal for us here.  I think it's the biggest earthquake I've been in so far, but not by that much.  Pretty much as soon as I realized what was going on, it was over.  But it was very exciting!

Nothing fell over or broke that I noticed, but we did evacuate the museum building.  Or, if we wanted to we did.  Some people didn't go outside, but all the school groups had to.  And just for the heck of it I went outside because I was curious where one of the exits went, and it turns out it went to a nice green area where I would want to eat lunch if everyone I eat with brought their lunch like I do.  But instead we go over to the cafeteria building, which is just fine too because it has outdoor tables with umbrellas.

This weekend we're going to Mendoza, Argentina!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Caroline y Sam en E! Entertainment!

We had a lot of real fun on our fake bike tour :)
This post was originally from Saturday, Sept. 29, but I didn't get around to finishing it until today. So even though it's written in the present tense, remember that it took place a couple weeks ago.

What an exhausting day today! My day started early, since I got up at 8am to go volunteer at La Bicicleta Verde. Even though I'm not getting paid, I really enjoy going to work there. The people are great, and I'm learning a lot - both about bikes and spanish.

After that, Caroline met me at LBV and we went together to La Vega, the major open-air market of the city. We bought a lot of fruits and vegetables, and discovered that they are also booths that sell lots of other things: books, hardware, underwear and socks, bike parts and more. We also tried to go to the food booths and get something very authentic to eat, but the menus were very difficult to understand. It seemed like it was barely even spanish, I could only find a handful of words that were familiar. In the end, we skipped it for today.

Well, after that, we had a fun opportunity. Peter, the owner of La Bicicleta Verde, had asked Caroline and me to come be part of a fake tour that would be filmed for a tourism show on E! Entertainment that is featuring Santiago. We showed up around 5pm, and there was a small film crew and a guy with a microphone acting as the host. The other fake tourists were a mix of nationalities: Chileans, Brazilians and another American.

We got going on the "tour" and it was pretty fun. We didn't actually get much explanation from the tour guide. We just biked around to different photogenic parts of the city, and often had to bike up to a spot repeatedly so that the camera guy could get the shot. They also did a lot of in-motion shots, by having the camera guy ride on the back part of a tandem bicycle (a bicycle built for two, as they say).

Below are a bunch of photos from the fake tour:

This is the fine arts musuem, called Bellas Artes. We haven't been yet, but it's free on Sunday so I'm sure we'll go at some point.

This is a cool ceiling at a cultural center called GAM. The building was constructed during the dictatorship as a seat of government, but in 2006 was re-built and opened as a cultural center.

Another view of GAM

This view of GAM sort of shows the old and the new. On the right is the big concrete pillar from the '70s original construction. On the left is a very modern metal facade that is part of the 2006 reconstruction.

The guy in the green shirt is our tour guide.

Not sure what this is, but kind of cool looking.

We have a tradition of posing in front of sculptures imitating the pose.

I think Caroline did a better job :)

The Bellas Artes museum again.

What a fun day!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

My legs are sore

After the stairs adventure on Sunday, my legs are really sore, especially my calves.  I'm having a hard time with stairs now, ironically, especially going down them.  Well, I guess that means it was a good workout!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Fiesta de la Neurociencia (Neuroscience Party!)

On Thursday for work I went to the Fiesta de la Neurociencia.  It was held in a giant tent outside the National Museum of Natural History.

Well, it was more like a whole tent complex:

And because it was outside of the National Museum of Natural History, there was a dinosaur exhibit:

Did you know that dinosaurs had feathers now?  Research is pointing in that direction, which sure makes them look sillier! A cool thing that was at the fair was an exhibit about chronobiology, which is more or less what my thesis addressed in the context of space robotics operations.  So it was really cool to see this exhibit.  Here are the first two panels:

And it stretched around for 15 panels, and tons of students were checking it out.  Yay sleep science!

The reason I was there was because the MIM had a whole section of the giant tent.  We had an outside table which was the sort of what I'm used to with having a table at an event with the Museum of Science in Boston.  We had some cool demos and kids came up to check them out and we explained the science.  Here I am with my coworker Mindy (not the most Chilean name, but she is definitely Chilean):

We had magnets and iron filings, plasma balls (only one worked), mirror illusions, and optical illusions on rulers:

But what was different was that behind our table was the entrance to 3 workshop areas where guides from MIM were doing 30-minute workshops, alternating between one about fluids and one about pressure.  Each had space for about 20 kids, and schools had to sign up to attend the workshops by coming by and seeing when we had space open.  I think if this were happening in the US, the schools would have signed up ahead of time and known the plan before they got there.  Things here are different in some subtle ways.  Anyway, here's a picture of the fluids workshop:

And another cool thing that I saw there was a built periodic table of the elements.  As you can see, it was arranged in the shape of the periodic table (even including the lanthanides).  Inside each element box, there was a picture of something practical it's used for, if applicable.  Some of the higher elements said that they didn't have commercial applications.  They also had facts and the standard periodic table symbols and numbers:

At one point during the fair, there was a contest for people to come up with 7 facts about copper.  Copper is one of the biggest national industries in Chile and is a big point of national pride.  Anyway, so there wasn't a huge rush on this contest because it was during lunch, so my museum colleagues and I were sitting at our booth and writing down facts about copper.  No one else had won the contest by the time we came up with enough facts (it has antibacterial effects, it's solid at room temperature, it's maleable and ductile, and some others that I don't remember now), so of course they sent the gringa (me) to go win the contest.  Well, it took a little effort because I got up there and first they wanted me to say my facts into the microphone, but I wasn't confident enough with my Spanish to do that.  Then I had some trouble reading one of my coworkers' handwriting, and they asked me who wrote it.  I think all of this was not to get me in trouble (no one else was even trying in this contest, so they were probably just glad to have me), but I think sometimes it's fun to mess with the gringa. 

Long story short, I won a bright red hat for my efforts!  It says Codelco on it, which stands for Corporación Nacional del Cobre.  It was fun!

I also got 2 cool astronomy posters from the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), which had the space next to us.  One has the Milky Way (Vía Láctea) and the other has some observatories in the north of Chile.  You should be jealous of these posters!

And I'll leave you with an awesome video I took of some tadpoles and frogs (I think).  The small ones are all 8 months old but different kinds, which is why they're at very different stages of development.  And the biggest one I think is 25 years old, which I find unbelievable and it's things like that that make me doubt my Spanish.  But I really think that's what she said!  Here's the video:

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Alleviating some of my dad's concerns

Sometimes my dad worries that I'm not getting enough sugar.  I want to show some photographic evidence to alleviate that concern.  Tonight we made cookies with the Chilean version of M&Ms, which are called Rocklets.  Not Rockets, as I originally thought.  We were out of eggs, so we made shortbread cookies, which are just butter, sugar, and flour.

Not sure what happened to that last cookie in the top left corner.  You can see they expanded while baking.

Another thing I've gotten very into while we've been here is artichokes, or ask they call them here, alcachofas.