This week is the final week that I will be working in Santiago. It is my last time to be in the stable lifestyle with a wonderful host family, a caring workplace, and the Chilean structure.

There is something about leaving a place that makes you more thankful for it than when you are actually there. I felt these same thoughts as I left the states 7 weeks ago. To be honest, the first couple weeks were a struggle at times. Challenges included not being able to understand people well enough to have complete conversations as well as a sense that I was wasting days. I took for granted the ease to converse and have deep talks with people. Being in the big city, I developed a routine with work from nine to five every day. Since it is winter here, I would come home and have thirty five minutes of sunshine left in the day. At times my days would seem wasted because it was work for the day, and then I would come home and hang out until it was time to do it over again the next day.

 God has a knack for helping me identify my lows and transforming them into something that gives me joy. Through

day-by-day practice, I can definitely tell that my Spanish improved. In no way am I now fluent. The difference is the comfort I feel if I need to ask someone a question, or if I am talking to someone, I can put some personality into my responses instead of robot responses that I was taught at the beginning of Spanish. And because of my struggles before, I feel amazing when I talk to a random Chilean and feel accepted in the conversation. By this, I mean neither I nor the other person feel like we are pulling each other along in the discussion.

I have realized that it sucks to not feel involved or not be included in what is going on. It took me being on the outside to realize how nice it is to be on the inside. This is part of the personal growth I was hoping for when traveling. To the people who helped me when they had no need: thank you so much. One conversation can completely change someone’s outlook on the day. For me, this was a coworker who asked about my travel plans but ended up to asking about my family and the deeper things going on in my life.

That is another thing that I have learned since being here. To the people who want to get to know you not to just pass the time but to hear your story and are genuinely interested in you: you are the ones who make life wonderful. For the future, I will try to model my relationships after this. These developed relationships have brought me so much joy. I want to be able to give this feeling to others. This feeling is happiness. This feeling is joy. But most importantly, this feeling is love.

After this week, I begin an 11 day journey through northern Chile and Bolivia by myself. I am nervous, anxious, and excited for this experience to see some places that are so unique in this world. Throughout these days, I feel more personal growth coming.

This time abroad has helped me be able to enjoy time by myself. I have used this time for reflection and thoughts about my future, my past, and where I want to be. People need to learn to love spending time by themselves and love who they are. I know that this journey will give me plenty of this time to grow, I am looking forward to it for this reason as well as others.

In my reflections, I have thought about what I have been able to do in my time on this earth. I have been lucky enough to go to many places, learn so much, and have some great relationships. Going into college, I did not think I would spend extended periods in both Spain and Chile. My reflections have led me to have self-confidence to believe that I can do anything as long as I put in the time and am passionate enough. I think that is true for everyone. It is really tough to actually accept this. At least for me, it has taken this long in my life to have this as a core value. From the moment I first got to work, my supervisor/mentor/boss/friend has instilled this in me. He often jokes about thinking about him once I am so successful or me opening up a branch of the company in the U.S. From this, he gets serious and truly believes that I can have this financial success as well as success in my life. Sometimes all you need is someone believing in you to think it yourself and live life with this philosophy.

So as a rap up my time in Chile, I am thankful for the opportunities, people, places, and so much more that has shaped me into the person I am now. I can’t wait to go back home, but I am thankful for my time here. Vive chile.


FUTBOL: So Chile won the Copa de America this past Sunday. For Latin American countries, the fan base for futbol is like trying to imagine the fanbase for American football plus basketball plus baseball. People live for it, people die for it, and whatever happens, don’t lose to Argentina. Luckily they didn’t lose to Argentina. They ended up winning in penalty kicks which made for an interesting finish. I was lucky enough to watch the game with a family that I was staying with in Pucón for the weekend. They made it a big event, providing snacks beer, and entertainment. After every call, the entire family was either cheering or complaining, very involved in the game. Their emotions added to the environment around the game. As I headed back to Santiago, I could not stop seeing people in jerseys or waving flags out of their cars while honking. The city was so proud of their team, and they should be. My favorite part though is that for the next couple of days, every phone call or every conversation begins with CHI CHI CHI LE LE LE or a joke about Argentina. This Copa de America has been a wonderful experience to be in Chile, and I am sad that it is over because it brings joy and hope to people all around the country. The theme of this blog is about futbol and its effects on cities, countries, and more.

Just like American sports, futbol has gone from a fun game to a profiting business built on growth. With the entire world involved or at least with knowledge of the sport, its customer base is almost endless. I don’t know if this as a fact, but I assume almost every fifth person in Chile has a jersey to represent its team. Merchandise is huge, or at least it became huge after Chile began to excel in this tournament. On game days, people fill the streets selling gear with the flag on it ranging from horns to hats to cups. And from what I saw, they were very successful through it. People made the game into a business. But it is more than a game; it’s a lifestyle. Futbol has its highs and lows, and the people ride those highs and lows with their teams. The results of a match may drive how someone acts for the rest of the night, the week, or until the next time their team plays.

Throughout the tournament, I would come home on a night of a Chile game, and my host family would be having a party, celebrating the game with hopes of a win. My hostbrother has recently converted to the Uber world and has started Uberdriving. As much as he loves the Chile games, sometimes he loves money a little more. He told me that regardless the day of the week, when there is a Chile game, he makes three times the amount of money driving with uber because of the high demand on game day. Everyone watches, everyone goes out, and everyone makes the game into an event. In my time in Spain, there were similar representations of futbol. Restaurants would always advertise the games for that day first, and then food specials after.

What I am trying to say is that the world loves futbol. The United States is ahead of the world on a lot of things, but futbol is definitely not one of them. Actually, the United States might be the one place futbol can expand because we base our main sports on football, basketball, and baseball.  It might take a while, but with the talks of safety in American football, some parents are starting to not let their kids play. This shift might spring futbol forward in popularity. The American teams are starting to get bigger names and the although I do not watch the American teams, I am starting to learn more about them and see more games start to be televised. The curve may be slow but the United States will catch up to the rest of the world eventually.

In short: ball is life.


My weekend and Space

Over the weekend, I was lucky enough to travel to La Serena, a beach town in northern Chile. It had wonderful seafood, a great beach, and is within two hours of Vally Elqui, a national park/ valley in-between two mountain ranges. The valley is a picturesque paradise, containing dirt paths where I was able to bike from pueblo to pueblo and enjoy the river, the local food, and even a local pisco distillery. Vally Elqui also is a special place because it has close to zero light pollution, so you are able to see the beauty in the sky almost every night. I had never been to a space observatory, but after taking a tour and learning so much about space, I am questioning why I never got into space and how amazing it is.

So Chile is a special place for space observation. Here are some facts to show just how important it has become. Over 70% of space observations are done in Chile. It is estimated in the future that number will be 90%. Chile holds the Atacama Desert which is the driest place on earth. At some point in time, it had not received rain in over 40 years.

It may not have the technology, but it has the sky. Europe and the United States have the technology, but they have lost the sky. Light pollution has made so many places unable to see stars in the sky. The sky is now black in so many parts of the world. It is pretty disturbing that so many parts of the world are now unable to see space because of light pollution.

Crazy future thoughts: space may be the future for resources. The world will run out of resources eventually, and that will probably be sooner than people think. In order to accommodate the continued population increase, we may have to look outside of our planet. Things in space are made out of the same particles as things on earth. Because of this, there are some asteroids containing gold, steel, and platinum. Astronomers found an asteroid made out of almost complete platinum valued at 5 trillion dollars in 2015. I know that this may be crazy talk because we as a planet are nowhere close to being technologically ready for things like asteroid mining, but it may be the future.


I’m not done with the space stuff. Here comes some more:

So I also didn’t realize that the northern and southern hemispheres can see some different stars/constellations. Sailors in the northern hemisphere use Polaris to guide their direction. Well in the southern hemisphere, you can’t see Polaris. People use the Southern Cross made out of four stars that point towards true south. It isn´t as easy as Polaris though. From where the cross points down, use the length of the cross four and a half times. Where that position occurs is true south.

Also, as my group was finding constellations in the sky, I realized that almost all of the constellations don’t look like the picture that they are supposed to describe. Lots of imagination went into most of the constellations. That being said, they are all still so beautiful.

This past weekend was a learning experience as well as a growth experience. It was my first time traveling alone and I really only had one true conversation in English. That sense of discovery and accomplishment carried me over the feelings of being in a different place and not knowing anyone. I’m looking forward to more travels as well as personal growth and meeting new people.


It seems that I have had almost the same conversation with almost everyone I have met so far in Chile. It starts with introductions, where are you from, and once he/she hears United States, “awwww New York, Washington DC, Los Angeles.” …And then I disappoint all of them when I say that I have never been to any of these places. I don’t think it is uncommon among my country to not be familiar with the touristic cities. Of course, I would like to see all of these cities, but they aren’t very high on my list.

Well as I told people about my lack of visiting American touristic places, Chileans were the exact same on their responses of their own country. The two most touristic places that I think of when I think of Chile are the Atacama Dessert area and Torres del Paine. Well, no one in my host family or work has been to any of these places. They all said they wanted to and have plans in the future but it isn’t the first place they want to go.

I think it is a way of thinking, but when someone is asked a place they want to go and see, the majority of people think about foreign places. The point that I am trying to make is people have similar perspectives but expect foreigners to have a different mindset. This may seem like a very small thing, but I found it interesting.

Well, I went to one of those two touristic must do’s in Chile this past weekend, Torres del Paine and was blown away. I have never seen mountains like it, the way they are so defined and contrasted from the landscape and the teal blue lakes in front of it. A wonderful thing about Chile is that it is so tall (distance from top to bottom is more than The US is from east to west). Because of this, you get different climate areas with different environments. From desserts, to beach, to plains, to forests, to mountains, to glaciers, if you are an outdoors enthusiast, Chile’s landscape has so much to offer. I have enjoyed it so far!


First Impressions

Upon arriving to Chile five days ago, I have had many wonderful experiences as well as learning experiences. As with entering any new place, culture shock is destined to happen. These differences do not mean that one culture is supreme to another; there are many ways to do life, and it is a beautiful thing that we all interact differently. I start my internship tomorrow, but the learning began upon immediate arrival. I am very interested in the cultural effects of business and what is more successful in different places.

My first and favorite difference between Chile and, from my knowledge, any other place in the world is its use of “Quiltros.” Recently, Chile has accepted stray dogs in each municipality. It is the job of the region to give them the right shows and spade each dog, but yes, there are stray dogs hanging out everywhere, and it’s wonderful. There has not been a case of rabies in Chile to date, and so all of these quiltros are safe, free to touch, and surprisingly very intelligent. I first noticed this during a bike tour. Our tour went by a dog named rojo (red) who rode along with the tour. Our tour guide said that rojo hung out with every bike tour. Once one was finished, he would wait until the next to start. The amazing part is these dogs are so smart. They wait until the crosswalk is green to cross, they don’t mess with street vendors because they know what will happen, and if Chile allowed it, they would use the metro and buses to get around just like humans. Anyone can adopt a quiltro and are encouraged to. In the winter, bright jackets are put on each dog to make it easier to spot as well as keep it warm. This system is wonderful and has not caused any problems.

The next unique concept that I learned was with the firefighters in Chile. These bomberos are the only firefighters in the world who are one hundred percent volunteer. My host-mother is a bombera and is proud of it. She reminds me often of how people of all different classes come together to be firefighters, but once you put that uniform on, everyone is treated equal. Firefighters in this society are looked up to highly. My host-mom has even used it to get out of speeding tickets. Because of being a firewoman, she has had the opportunity to meet the past three presidents. The system to me is similar to fraternity the benefits that it receives. And their trucks are really cool. They have a retro look that shows pride when they race down a street towards trouble.

One social aspect that I really enjoy is that when someone enters a room, they greet each person individually before socializing. It doesn’t matter if they don’t know you which is mostly the case for me, they will come up and for guys, shake your hand and say “buenas”, and for women, kiss you once on the left cheek and say “buenas.” They don’t make it awkward either. It is a courtesy thing that makes even the outsiders feel included. And since I am that outsider gringo, it definitely has a warm feeling that doesn’t keep me isolated. I’m interested to see if this is the case with serious business and is looked as the way of starting any type of meeting.

As I continue to learn the Chilean lifestyle as well as their crazy Spanish, I am enjoying these differences and learning other ways of going through life.