Saturday, September 26, 2009

Baking! (Hornear)

I think I have finally mastered the words HORNEAR (to bake) and ORINAR. :)

Once upon a time I wanted to spend a whole day in a Chilean bakery. So I got up my guts, talked with an owner of a bakery, made of fool out of myself, bought all white clothes, and my dream became a reality today. "Why the heck would you want to spend a day in a bakery?" That is the common question I have received from most. Honestly, baking is an ART form here. In the USA, most of the time we have our bread packaged or in a small, neglected section of Wal-Mart. Not so here. Almost every corner offers the smell of fresh-baked bread, with over 6 types to salivate over. This particular bakery is known for its bread, while others are known for its pastries. Another day for that one.

This was one of the first steps in making the French bread. It was a tie between being a trained juggler and a professional baker. So fast!

I could not help but laugh at the violence involved in this process, the pan de pañuelo. Jaime honestly should join a volleyball team, front center.

There is so much to learn in life. Honestly, no matter how much you think you know, you always are missing out on some part of God's creativity. Baking is such an intricate process, not nearly as easy as most people think. Today I learned not only the different types of Chilean bread -- but I made friends with the amazing baker, had some laughs with the owner, almost had a flour fight, and had a bundle of fun baking all morning.

One of my goals in life is to help people realize that you don't have to go partying all night while drinking alcohol from dawn to dusk. There is so much beauty and diversion swirling around us and within our grasp that we miss on a daily basis. CARPE DIEM, be a life long learner.

Monday, September 21, 2009


Nunca me imaginé que el desierto estuviera tan lleno de nada y lleno de belleza al mismo tiempo.
I never imagined how a desert could display
such nothingness and such beauty all at once
Please click on the link or see photo album "El Desierto Atacama"
Check out the captions beneath for more of an explanation.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

San Pedro, Chile

The ATACAMA desert is, according to NASA, National Geographic and many other publications, the driest desert in the world, 50 times drier than California's Death Valley. No wonder then it's sparsely populated. However, about five hours northeast of Antofagasta lies the village of San Pedro de Atacama. And that, my dear readers, is where I shall be gallivanting September 16th - 20th. *big smile*

Monday, September 14, 2009

Fiestas Patrias

This past Saturday, my program had a trip to Pomaire, Chile -- about an hour drive from Valparaíso. Pomaire is an artisan village, known mostly for its pottery and massive empanadas (=2.2 pounds worth). don't forget to check out pictures in "Viva CHILE"Then after Pomaire, we headed to Isla Negra (which is neither an island nor black), where Pablo Neruda's first house was built. We have visited them in reverse order. Even though this man had some serious issues, I find his life fascinating -- much like other artists, including Frida Kahlo. I believe out of his three houses (Santiago, Valparaíso, Isla Negra) that this one was my favorite. Although the construction of his house in Santiago is the most creative, the view and location of this house was out of this world.
Pablo Neruda was originally buried in Santiago in 1973, when he died from prostate cancer. However, in 1992, they got permission to move his body to Isla Negra, where Matilde Urrutia (originally lover then third wife) is also buried with him.
This week (18th-20th) is Independence Week ("Fiestas Patrias") in Chile; therefore, there are flags everywhere you look, heaven on earth for a person obsessed with flags. One thing I love about the Hispanic countries to where I have traveled: they all show such pride in their country. They know they have problems, but that does not keep them from uniting to celebrate the freedom and blessings that they DO have in the country.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Don't Worry, Be Happy

You know... joyful, crazy people experience the same emotions as other human beings do. Just in case you were not aware of the fact.

And don't even think that I love and adore Chile any less now -- I would stay here for a year if I could. My Spanish professor makes a good point when she says that when you study abroad, you are not only learning a language, you are learning how to live in the culture. It is such a blessing to be in a country where I get to see, hear, smell or experience something new daily. It is a treasure for my anti-monotonous personality! There are hippies on each corner, goths & punks, gangstas (not in the sense of gangs), wanna-be-Americans, wild little gypsies, & normal Chileans to behold. The micro buses are now nothing to me. I flag down and climb onto the micro, assert I am a student, and wait for them to give me the discount. If they still refuse to do so after I show them my student ID#, I say "Okay, well I would like to get off now. Thank you." I jump to the next one and get my discount.

Oh, and if I go back to that market in Valaparíso I plan on having some words with that vendor. I had talked and bought products from him no more than 60 seconds before the potential theft occurred. He was one of the passive onlookers. Therefore, if he tries to interest me in his particular kiosk again, I plan on getting in close and saying, "I was almost robbed and you did nothing. I do not buy from cowards." Try that on for size bubba.

Watch out world! Love you all. All with time and God's unending faithfulness. Don't worry, be happy. :)

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Thank you Lord for Sebastian who prayed with me so sweetly. Thank you Lord for Amelie who invited me to her house and drink tea at my lowest point. Thank you Lord for Dove & Courtney who let me be dramatic and complain. Thank you Lord for all those people who wrote me encouraging messages. Thank you Lord for my classmate who hugged me and let me hysterically cry on her shoulder.
The trauma of it all didn’t really hit me until one day after the incident (Tuesday). Trauma works like that. Whenever I first wrote the initial blog “Macha,” it had not completely soaked in what had happened. The next morning when I woke up sore, it started to dawn on me. Also, Tuesday morning a friend of mine (who didn’t know what happened) played a “joke” on me by pretending to rob me on the street. After that “joke,” I lost it completely with tears. My heart and mind were absolutely paranoid in that moment. The rest of my day was “pesado” (burdensome, heavy). It is my perspectives now that bother me. I tend to be a bit more pessimistic and firm when I walk the streets. Some people have told me I have to toughen up when out in public. What if I don’t want to? I still want to remain tender and lighthearted, just very smart and alert. Whether or not you agree with my opinion is up to you.

Let me just say with situations like this, God always allows us to learn from them in order to better understand and relate to others with similar experiences. So let me give you a heads start on the matter

DOs and DONTs of relating to those experiencing trauma…

1.) Stop waiting for people experiencing trauma to initiate their needs. That is stupidity on our part. Sorry but it is. After feeling so vulnerable in the attack or violation, they want someone else to initiate the empathy, conversation, or other forms healing. Be courageous and caring enough to start the hug or the prayer.
2.) Don’t ask the person the empty question, “How are you?” Be more specific. Be sensitive and calm in your tone of voice. If you are just asking to get the latest news, the trauamtized person might want to smack you.
3.) Don’t be so busy that the person feels like a burden taking up your minutes. Make yourself available, or at least look like it.
4.) Give them an outlet to express, complain, or be dramatic. And don’t make them feel guilty in the process, encourage them to do this – it is part of the healing process.
5.) Continue to follow up with them each day for the following week. The situation does not just happen one day, trauma the next, and the third day bada-bing-bada-boom you are 100%. Be an overachiever in compassion.
6.) If the victim finally gets up the nerve to tell you about how he is physically or emotionally hurting, do not respond with, “Just imagine the sufferings of Jesus Christ. That was even more painful.” Absolutely true but unacceptably insensitive. (Christians, honestly, we need to have more genuine empathy. What are we thinking? Or are we thinking?)

Time is the hardest element with any matter of the heart. But God is faithful in every second, don't cha know? MUCHO GUSTO.

*And if you ever see someone being dragged half a block, please don't play the PASSIVE role*

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


I started dancing about two years ago for the first time -- not counting my ballet classes when I was five or the years I've grown up with the Germanfests of polka. Since then my curiosity for the art form has only grown. I danced for about 4 hours today, preparing for my first dancing exam!
I have to say, my knees and shoulders were really sore from the incident on Monday. However, in a matter of 2 days, we choreographed 7 tropical dances (salsa, merengue, cumbia, rumba, chachacha, samba, zouk) in a five minute time frame. Harder than you would think. It brings a smile to my face to think how in the USA I am a relatively decent dancer, with rhythm and enthusiasm. But by Chilean (Latino) standards.... well, that's another story.
My hips do lie cross-culturally. Take that Shakira.

Monday, September 7, 2009


arrastrar = to drag

At 5:20pm tonight, a friend and I went to the Valparaiso market close to the university to buy some avocados and tomatoes. Since the market is kinda open, I decided to go around the corner to the next street where less people are (still open but safer) after my purchase. I had set my backpack down to place the produce in my backpack, having a firm grip on my bag that whole time. My right hand was on the left shoulder strap. The next moment someone grabbed the other shoulder strap of my backpack really forcefully, but I had a strong hold onto it. It was just my natural instinct to not let go... he grabbed it so hard I was on the ground immediately, reminding me of my past volleyball dives. I was not so worried about the $30 I had with me, BUT I had important school papers with me. I know, I am a nerd.

Anyway, the robber dragged me across the market for about 10-15 seconds, my body twisting like a fish out of water all over the uneven ground (a funny/serious sight all at once I am sure). At last he shouted "¡ya suéltala mujer!" meaning, “woman, let go of it already!” (Later, I was giggling about this part – duh dude, if you have dragged me this far I ain’t givin’ in NOW!) When he finally stopped dragging me, I was about ready to kick him in the privates, but he ran away quickly before I had the opportunity. He was unsuccessful in robbing anything. However, he got my beautiful $14 white coat dirty, not to mention my fingers were bleeding a bit. And I have some stellar bruises on my knees. Nice battle wounds. After the attack, everything just felt like a blur. Then I had this intense aggressive rush, where I just wanted to sprint or have a boxing match; I guess that would be the post-traumatism...

Some people naturally freeze up when attacked.
Some people naturally just resist as long as they can.
Thanks to the Lord, I am fine.
Thanks to the Lord, nothing was robbed.
Never a dull moment.
For better or for worse.
Still cannot believe it happened.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Not Just Any Perfume

I love my church here. Wouldn’t you know that God worked it out so that I would love my family not to mention love the church that my family attends? The Pastor of the church knows these random, little phrases in English and busts them out ever so often. Like one Sunday he was giving his sermon and he shouts, “NO WAY!” (in English) to emphasize his point. My American friend next to me and I laughed so loudly that 1/3 of the congregation turned around to scrutinize the wild, little gringas.

This past Sunday, Pastor had me chewing intensely on some meat, aka his sermon. He read one of my absolute favorite passages and BOOM my mind started rolling. I tend to get distracted with bunny trails in church. Confession made. The passage is from Luke 7:36-50, beautiful story. (the first part of the passage is posted at the very end of the blog, take a look) I have read this passage many times before; however, with any great piece of literature [especially the Bible], something new is always concocted the more thoroughly read it is.

He read how the sinner woman purchases this very expensive perfume. But where did she get the money to buy it? BOOM. I'd never thought of that (bunny trail commences). The prostitute had this luxurious perfume which she had bought with the money gained by her sinful acts of prostitution … and then is gutsy enough to wipe the holy feet of Jesus with this tainted liquid. WOWZERS. The Pharisee is probably thinkin' that Jesus has gone off the deep end, the beaten path by not asking any questions. But, Jesus saw more than just the tainted liquid. He saw her humility, faith, and heart in this daring act.

Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went to the Pharisee's house and reclined at the table. When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee's house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them. When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, "If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is — that she is a sinner."

I am not sure; it is possible that she had renounced the prostitution for quite some time, but nonetheless what an interesting thought.