Hola a todos!
This past weekend, my program cohort and I traveled to Valparaiso, a city about an hour bus ride from Santiago. Once we arrived, I instantly knew it was a special place. The initial qualities that attracted us there were warmer weather and a beach, but it had so much more to offer. Without regulations on how buildings/streets must look, Valparaiso is a city of limitless artistic expression. Everywhere we looked there were beautiful art pieces painted on buildings, streets, steps, etc. Truly, I had never seen a place like it. The amazing beach was just an added quality. Furthermore, the town had a very vintage vibe to it. The streets were paved differently; the buildings were conservative in size; the ambience was peaceful and relaxed. On the contrary, Viña Del Mar is a vibrant industrialized city adjacent to Valparaiso, so there was a concrete jungle only a 10 minute train ride away.
Here is a picture of easily the most beautiful sunset I have ever seen. Props to my iPhone 7 camera for capturing this breathtaking moment in time!
Here is the “mom pic” I took on some of the city’s beautifully designed and painted steps. You can see the actual steps below!
These steps are a small representation of the city’s vibrant nature.
With regards to my Spanish progress, I am still steadfastly improving. My most difficult struggle is understanding people when they speak here, since the people of Chile speak very rapidly and unclearly (quite the unfortunate combination for a student of Spanish). Nevertheless, I am primarily focusing on staying motivated and encouraged to continue pushing forward despite the adversity; this has been hard, because sometimes I become frustrated and feel like I will never learn, or that I will not learn as much as I would like before I leave back to the States. Irrespective of the struggles I have with the language, I try to enjoy the progress and remember that there’s beauty in the struggle – you just have to find it.
Lastly, I want to include a picture of some of the great friends I have made here in Chile so far. That has definitely been one of my favorite things about my time here. The landscapes, cities, and monuments are great, but I would not have enjoyed any of these things nearly as much had it not been for the amazing people I’ve experienced them with. There’s something very nuanced and indescribably special about being in the presence of good people. It augments experiences and almost makes the other conditions around you subordinate. The fact that we just so happened to be in one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever come across was the cherry on top.
Until next time!