Thankful is an understatement

I just finished my finals and last day of class yesterday. Today is Thanksgiving and it is weird not being in Michigan for our annual family reunion. However, the staff at my program center have been extremely kind in helping us gringos and gringas in preparing our own goodbye/Thanksgiving festivities. I’d like to take a minute to reflect on everything for which I am thankful, like any good little United Stater would do on this fine day of feasting (and celebrating almost completely wiping out the Native American population).

  1. My parents – I cannot thank them enough for making this semester possible, financially and otherwise. From dealing with poking fun at them on my blog, to staying up past there bedtime every week so I can Skype with them, they have been incredibly supportive and I cannot thank them enough.
  2. Did I mention my parents?
  3. IES Staff – Thank you. Just thank you. From me crying in your office because I was sick and did not want to go to the doctor to all of us laughing in Chiloé at an asado to just helping me adjust to my new life in Chile. Thank you.
  4. My host Mom – While living with a host family is not exactly what I expected, my host mom has been very kind in opening up her home to me. She has invited me to little excursions to the grocery store with her and her friends and shopping. This might not seem like a big deal to anyone else, but when it means sitting in your room studying by yourself, or practicing Spanish in the real world, it makes all of the difference.  She also hes been extremely patient with me and my exercise schedule. If I am at the gym, she will make sure to wait for me to get home before eating so that I can sit with the family and have every opportunity to listen and speak Spanish.
  5. Exercise – I always knew I loved exercising, but I never realized how essential it was to my happiness until coming to Chile. Joining Crossfit Korua has been one of the best decisions I have made. I was looking for a way to stay active while abroad and ended up realizing how much happier I was when I was exercising on a regular basis again. Plus the coaches there have been extremely patient as I cannot count the number of times I have asked them to demonstrate skills because I have no idea what they are asking me to do. And I have to thank them for dealing with my awkwardness when saying goodbye and hello. Do I kiss them on the cheek, do I not? Is a wave sufficient?
  6. This video – A big thank you to my gringa-crossfit buddy, Katie, for showing it to me. It still makes me crack up even though I joined a crossfit gym myself.
  7. Laughter – Laughter in general. Super important. Super thankful for everyone who has even just made me smile during my time here in Chile.
  8. Friends – To all of the new friends I have made here in Chile and to all of my friends back at home in the US, thank you. I know I’m weird, so thanks for putting up with me. I question your sanity because you are friends with me.
  9. Surfing and trekking – I suck at both, but I have a new found love for those two activities. Shout out to my Chilepo friends! Surfs up brah.
  10. My parents
  11. …12…13…

…100. And one more time…my parents.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Location: Providencia, Santiago, Chile

Week 11 & 12–Data Analysis


Sunday, November 16, I didn’t do a whole lot. I relaxed most of the morning and watched Easy A. Our advisor/professor met with us at 2 PM, after he went to church, to begin the data analysis process.. or something like that. We met in his office to turn in our original data sheet from the field and copies. We also went over our objectives. This was the beginning of the next few important and VERY NERVE WRECKING steps of our research. I found the most joy in collecting the data.. Obviously, because we were in the Ngorongoro Crater. It was fun too, though once we got to know what we were doing!

Monday, November 17, I watched Perks of Being a Wallflower for the first time, which I realized was set in Pittsburgh. They also talk about Penn State and the Ye Old Old Diner sticky buns! Anyways, we met again with our advisor, Shem, at to go over some statistics for our analysis. It was helpful but I was still so lost!
Tuesday, November 18, our group met again to learn how to conduct statistical analysis such as how to do regressions, correlations and t-tests. I get it, but I don’t get it. I don’t understand when and where to do each of these tests. I was MOD, so we played a game called Celebrity, but used the name of fellow SFS students for the people to guess. Like a guess who kind of game. People liked it though.
Wednesday, November 19, I organized some of my data and attempted to run normality tests. Still confused but I’m trying. Other that that, I relaxed a little. The MOD made nutella and peanut butter fudge… it was ABSOLUTELY amazing! 
Thursday, November 20, I conducted more data organization and ran a few insignificant normality tests on my data. In the evening, I played human Foosball on the soccer field for the first time, and then afterwards, I played soccer with everyone. 
Friday, November 21.. I…….you guessed it.. I organized more data! Finally, I tried conducting normality tests and correlations in the evening, hoping that something would come out significant! I still need to interpret the values. In the evening before dinner, I stopped doing data analysis for a bit, because I was in need of a break. I went out and played a round of volleyball with everyone, and also watched a little. It was fun, and helped get some stuff off my mind.
Saturday, November 22 I continued to work on my paper!
Sunday, November 23, I don’t even remember what I did besides play volleyball, worked on my paper and stayed up late.
Monday, November 24.. literally worked on my paper all day.
Tuesday, November 25 was one of our non-program days. I spent my day in Karatu. First, we went to Carnivore, a local bar and restaurant with unbelievably cheap drinks! We relaxed there for a while and left around 2 to go to the large monthly Karatu Market. There, I was looking to buy some fabric but had no luck finding anything I like; however, I did buy three scarves. I also bought some tire shoes (rubber flip flops). On my way out, I found some cute baby chickens and got to hold them. Right before we left, we even got some ice cream! We went to the roof top bar and had some drinks then went off to Happy Days to complete our day. There, I had some delicious french fries! When we got back to camp, my friends and I laid on the grass and looked up at the sky. We then realized that there’s a pretty good chance of getting jiggers, so we moved to laying on the picnic tables. It was a nice evening. 
Wednesday, November 26, I had cook crew at 6:30 AM. After breakfast, I went back to my banda and played on the internet a little bit, and then napped from 9-12, when I ate lunch. I worked on my paper until dinner time. After dinner, Katrina and I cooked two pumpkin pies for the next day (Thanksgiving). 
Thursday, November 27 was Thanksgiving!! I worked on my paper most of the day until 5, when I decided to join the others in a football game at the soccer fields. It was a lot of fun, and I hadn’t played football for years, although, I’ve watched it. After football, I came back and showered and got dressed up for dinner. We all took some pictures and proceeded to dinner around 6:30. The dining hall was slightly decorated with “Happy Thanksgiving” written on paper and hung upon the wall. In addition, some really pretty table pieces were made from toilet paper rolls and leaves/flowers. They were really nice! Dinner was massive. Turkey, sheep, mashed potatoes, yams, stuffing, quiche, corn on the cob, and more! The turkey was so juicy and delicious. Afterwards, for desert there was pumpkin pie (ours :)), apple crumble, apple pie, fruit salad, and cookie dough balls. Overall, we had a great Thanksgiving here!
Friday, November 28, our final paper was due. Shem’s group got an extension, so I did not have to stay up all night to work on it. I stopped working around 11. I only had the discussion left to complete anyways.
Saturday, November 29, we had a Q&A session with Dr. Shem about our individual projects. I was pretty nervous, but he Q&A turned out ok. I then completed my discussion and organized my data to turn in. I relaxed the rest of the day with ease. Even cleaned off my desk for the first time in a month and watched a movie.
Sunday, November 30, we ate breakfast at 9 AM and left for the Mto wa Mbu waterfall hike by 9:30. The hike was absolutely beautiful. There was no actual path to follow. We kind of just weaved our way through the banana plantation and up the rocks that led to the waterfall. Mud was immediately caked onto the bottom of my shoes, so it made climbing across rocks a litltle slippery. On our way in, we could see the waterfall flowing over the escarpment from a distance. It was beautiful. Once we got to the waterfall, I put my camera down and climbed across the rocks to stand underneath of it. The water was cold, but felt good after the humid walk up the river of rocks. We saw a few crabs in the water. We moved up higher on the rocks to stand underneath the waterfall and the water hit you hard at this point, but we all had a great time. Once most people were done at the lower part of the waterfall, we took some paths up the side and climbed up some rocks to reach the point above the waterfall. The overlook was beautiful. I didn’t take my camera with me, so I never got a shot of the overlook, but seeing it was enough of an amazing moment. We climbed across some more rocks and took some pictures with other people’s cameras. Then I sat down and just watched over the landscape. The way down was the same path, but much easier than I had thought it would be to go down. After the hike, we went to Karatu to finish our non-program day up. I went to Milanos to have my first experience (other than at camp) eating nyama choma (grilled meat) and chipsi mayai (french fries in eggs). It was delicious. They served the grilled beef with a side of juice from a chili pepper and salt. The chipsi mayai was served like an omlet. It’s different eating out here, because they serve it all on one tray and you get no plates. You share the entire meal from one plate with your groups. They always bring a pitcher of water and a bowl to catch the water to the table so that you can wash your hands. They walk around to each person and pour water over their hands. It’s all a unique experience. 

Monday, December 1, together with my DR group, we worked on our presentation and then presented it to Shem. He was quite interesting this morning. He was his normal self, only with a little added feistiness. When he asked us what percent cover constitutes and invasive plant, no one knew. And he told us that he needed to get a cane so he could “cane” us. It was actually hilarious, because he’s a hysterical older guy, but he never says anything like that. Of course, he was joking. In addition, he claimed to be a tad upset that he didn’t have Tuesday off (tomorrow), and told us that he planned on getting soaked. So, we left that up for interpretation, but he is a great guy. And literally knows how to make us laugh without even trying very hard. I’m going to miss him very much. He’s like a father to us all. When he goes on leave, he always comes back with a smile on his face and tells us how much he missed us all. He really loves what he does, and SFS will be losing a great guy when he goes back to his original university in Kenya to teach there again.
Tuesday, December 2, all groups presented their presentations to the faculty and students in the morning. The NCA (my group) were the first ones to present. It went fairly smooth actually. Afterwards, I went and found the 2 kittens and their mom that we have running around here on campus. I call the mother cat, Lady. She’s small for a mother and this has to be her first litter of kittens. I was surprised to see that they are actually healthy looking, at least. She’s kind of skinny, but is very friendly towards us. Some people feed her, while they shouldn’t because I don’t think the staff will be tending to her like we do. However, she does well on her own too, she is a feral cat though. One kitten is striped like their mother and the other is mostly white with black patches on its body and nose. The kittens mostly avoid the people, they are kind of skittish. Lady is funny though, because when you approach her, she looks somewhat vicious and with meow very loudly with her mouth wide and teeth out, but when you show her that you want to pet her, she’ll come right over to you and rub up against you and purr. She’s really sweet. 

Location: Rhotia, TZ

$703 MOM! You should’ve know I was going to be your obnoxious middle child!

  1. There is a chart in this blog post. I know it is scary and looks boring, but push through.
  2. If you are not my parents, you have no obligation to read this post.
  3. I have not written in a while so I apologize if my thoughts are a little cluttered. I feel like I tried to shove a bunch of ideas into one post. I prefer to blame any grammar, spelling, or other mistakes on the late hour at which I am writing this.
  4. I’m sorry, Mom.

During my Chilean Culture class, the professor lectured about the poverty rate in Chile. I don’t know about you, but when a bunch of statistics are being thrown my way, they don’t really sink in or have any meaning for me unless I have some sort of context or basis for comparison. Well then the professor put the data for poverty rates in Chile next to those of the U.S. Guess what. The United State poverty rate is higher than that of Chile. What really hit me was when he showed this graph:


This graph is not mine. I’m not saying it’s mine. It’s just not mine. It was taken from José G. Díaz’s lecture at Pontifica Universidad Católica de Chile for the class Seminario de Cultura Chilena on November 2, 2015.

So take the median income of someone living in the U.S. We will call this person Mel Median. Half the country is making more than Mel and half the country making less than her. Now take Mel’s income and divide it by 2. This is the income of Poor Pete. Poor Pete is living on the poverty line. Anyone with Poor Pete’s income or less is considered poor like Pete. This graph shows the Poor Petes of 34 countries plus what the OECD thinks Poor Pete’s income should be. Now you would expect that U.S. Poor Pete would have an income similar to Poor Petes with whom U.S. Poor Pete can relate – for example, New Zealand Poor Pete, British Poor Pete, and Canadian Poor Pete – other Poor Petes from “developed” countries. Well guess what. They don’t. U.S. Poor Pete’s income isn’t even close to the other Petes with whom he thought he could relate. U.S. Poor Pete on this chart is snuggled right between Turkish Poor Pete and Chilean Poor Pete. Turkish Poor Pete and Chilean Poor Pete hail from countries which U.S. Poor Pete considers “developing.” I as well as U.S. Poor Pete were quite shocked by this data in class the other day. Now, I’m not saying that this rule is perfect. This method for determining the poverty line definitely has its flaws. And I’m not saying that countries surrounding the U.S. don’t have other problems (for example in Chile, a high income inequality) that can affect their positions on the chart. However, it does portray a basic picture of where the U.S. stands among other countries.

So why do we call other countries “developing” and ourselves “developed” when we share many of the same issues. Why must we put other countries below us? Why is U.S. Poor Pete any better than Chilean or Turkish Poor Pete? Why are we going to “save” Latin American Poor Petes and other Poor Petes of the world through volunteer work while we ourselves need saving? (Disclaimer: I think volunteering in foreign countries is a great opportunity as long you realize why you are doing it. You are helping yourself to an experience of traveling and living abroad just as much, if not more than you are helping others.)

When my friends and family think about me studying abroad in Chile, many of them think I’m living in another world. Chile is classified as a developing country, which I think causes many of them to believe that I am indeed living in another world. Developing countries are “dangerous” and “scary.” While I am definitely a culprit for thinking this way, especially when I first arrived, you have to realize how many people are terrified to go to the U.S. because it is dangerous. One of my peers recently expressed her fear to go back to the U.S. because of racial tension at her school which she fears could lead to gun violence. That is right. She is scared to go back to the U.S. I can guarantee her biggest fear in Santiago is getting her wallet stolen. Yeah it’s a pain to have your money and credit card stolen, even your passport. But when your options are passport versus life, I think most people would chose passport. So once again, how is the U.S. any better than Chile or any other country for that matter?

I bring these points up not just because of my class, but also because my mom will not allow my sister to come visit me. Yeah that is right, Mom. I am calling you out. I found a super cheap, direct flight from the U.S. to Santiago and wanted my 16 year-old sister to visit me because she is studying Spanish in high school right now and seems to really enjoy it. She could be dropped off at the airport in the U.S. and I could pick her up directly at the Santiago airport – no connections, just my Mom’s hands to mine. But my Mom said no. Her reasoning is that she cannot send my little sister alone and cannot take off work to come with her. But why can’t my little sister come alone? If I were studying abroad in Spain, I feel like my mom would be much more inclined to let her travel by herself.

It is easy to focus on the differences between the U.S. and another country, but I ask you to look at the similarities because there are many. Look at ourselves, the United States, before judging another country. My mom might see this as a last ditch effort for her to allow my little sister to come visit me, but hey…can you blame a big sis for wanting to see her little sis.

P.S. Just to summarize everything you just read because it is late and I don’t exactly know what I just wrote:

  1. I’m not saying that you can go prancing around Chile without a care in the world. But I’m also not saying that you can go prancing around the U.S. without a care in the world.
  2. Mom, let Lanie come to Chile.
  3. Sorry for being your obnoxious middle child. I want you to come to Chile too, but one is better that none.

Location: San Joaquin, Santiago, Chile

San Pedro Day 3: Time to relax

To start our third day off in San Pedro, we had a fun but relaxing morning eating ice cream and playing on the playground.

Different but delicious ice cream flavors

Different but delicious ice cream flavors

Dat landscape doe

Dat landscape doe

We are children and we are proud of it

We are children and we are proud of it

In the afternoon we went to Termas de Puritama and boy were they relaxing. It was freezing and I could not get myself to change into my swimsuit. Then once I was in the water, I couldn’t get myself to get out.

Valley leading down to the hot springs

Valley leading down to the hot springs

Selfie in the hot springs

Selfie in the hot springs

And back to San Pedro we went.

Location: Termas de Puritama, Chile

San Pedro Day 2: Flamingos and lakes and valleys, oh my!

First thing in the morning my friend Callie and I were off to the National Flamingo Reserve and boy was it beautiful. After passing through the town of Toconao, we arrived at the reserve, walked around, and ate breakfast served.

National Flamingo Reserve

National Flamingo Reserve

As part of our breakfast, we drank coca tea to prevent altitude sickness. Yes, coca is the plant used to make cocaine. No, the tea does not get you high. We also packed caramelos de coca (hard candies with coca leaves in them) for later in the day just in case we starting feel sick.

Tea made from coca leaves called mate

Tea made from coca leaves called mate

Next we stopped in a town called Socaire to look at a church and the landscape. Special farming techniques were used in the area because of the dry conditions. We had learned that the natives from this area had been using these techniques for ages in our Native Cultures class, so it was cool to see in person.

Church in Socaire

Church in Socaire


Rica-rica plant, also used to brew tea to help with altitude sickness


Stepped land to farm in the dry and hilly area

And then we were off to Lagunas Altipanicas, the main show. I’ll just let the pictures speak for themselves. It felt like I was standing in a painting.

Even prettier in person

Even prettier in person

The lake sparked like Edward Cullen. EDWARD CULLEN!

The lake sparked like Edward Cullen. EDWARD CULLEN!

I swear it is real and not painted

I swear it is real and not painted

We left the lakes and headed back towards San Pedro.

The little guy we met on our way back from Lagunas Altiplanicas

The little guy we met on our way back from Lagunas Altiplanicas

Looks like someone's a little tired...

Looks like someone’s a little tired…

Tropic of Capricorn

Tropic of Capricorn

We were back in San Pedro after stopping for ice cream in Toconao for a short rest and some lunch before heading off the the afternoon’s activities. First we went to Valle de la Luna.


Valle de la Luna

Valle de la luna

The white stuff is salt

On our way out of Valle de the Luna we stopped to go on a short spelunking adventure. Callie was hesitant because she a little claustrophobic, but she made it through.


Caving adventures! Callie is scared…

And off the Valle de la Muerte we went!

Selfie in Valle de le Muerte

Selfie in Valle de le Muerte

And finally to watch the sun set over the valley.

Very pretty sunset but...

Very pretty sunset but…

...way too many people.

…way too many people.

I wasn’t expecting too much from the Lagunas Altiplanicas and absolutely amazed. But I had very high expectations for the valleys and ended up being slightly disappointed with the crowds of people. If I did it over again, I would go to the valleys on bike and see the sunset from a different location without the hundreds of people. All in all an amazing day.

Location: Valle de la Luna

Coming to Big Cities in China from a Rural Perspective

An international traveler in China is still a relatively new experience from the Chinese perspective.  Although the country officially opened back up to the outside world in 1978, there has been a few number of outsiders coming to China (although that number is increasing and has been increasing since after the Beijing Olympic Games).  However, there are parts of China that still have never seen a person that isn’t Chinese before.  With the traveling season, a large influx of these Chinese travelers flock to big cities to see the famous sites, and Beijing is a prime destination for all of them.  Thus, going to the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, The Summer Palace, The Bird’s Nest, etc, you will encounter a wide variety of people from extremely rural areas who have never encountered a foreigner before.  The results for a foreigner like myself can be an interesting mix of flattery, excitement, and extreme annoyance and frustration.  You feel like a celebrity when people come up to you and take photos with you, or sneakily take photos of you from a distance; but after this happening hundreds of times… begin to feel like an animal trapped in a zoo.

There are several ways for them to do get their coveted foreigner photos.  The first is simply asking you to take a picture with them, which is obviously the most polite method.


Ask and you shall receive! The best way to get a photo is just to ask.

Then there’s the classic, candid shot of foreigners from a distance,  This is the paparazzi money shot when they think you’re not paying attention.


Taking photos at a safe distance is the best way to prevent injury


These photos will never come out the way you want, it’s best just to ask nicely.

Then there’s my personal favorite.  The “They still haven’t discovered i’m not one of them” shot.  They sneak into your group and act like they’re listening to what you’re saying, infiltrating your group and taking surprise photos when you least expect it!


Taking photos with a group works best when you’re part of the group yourself.


You only need one brave soul to infiltrate a group for that perfect shot

Last but not least, there’s the “Pose with foreigners in their natural environment” shot.  They pretend to be on a wildlife safari and take photos posing with these wild animals that aren’t native to China.


It’s not wise to turn your back to a herd, always keep wild animals in plain sight

In all seriousness, with China’s growing economy and global influence on the world, it is sometimes difficult to imagine China as a place where people are still surprised to see a non-native face.  Despite having 56 different ethnic minorities in China, some of which appear very different from the others, there are in fact many Chinese who have never encountered someone different from themselves.  When you think about it, it makes sense.  While there are projected to be over one million foreigners living in Mainland China, the vast majority of those are in Beijing or Shanghai.  Similar to Chinese migrant workers, international traveler’s and workers flock to the big cities which offer more western amenities and comforts that are simply not available in the countryside.

The ultimate problem with this phenomenon directly mirrors problems within China as well.  The developed areas are developing both economically and culturally, but the rural countrysides and villages aren’t getting the support necessary.  There’s every reason to leave and no reason to stay unless you own land, and even then, land can only make you stay for so long when riches await in the big cities.

Location: Beijing, China

China’s 70th Anniversary of the Victory over Japan Parade

     This past week China enjoyed the 70th anniversary of the victory over Japan during World War 2.  It’s very strange that a country that was completely militarily decimated and nearly conquered by a foreign country and saved largely in part by foreign military, would then go on to celebrate 70 years later by throwing a huge parade celebrating the event, heavily censoring it it from foreign media, and parading their military up and down the streets to show the changes they have made.  But it seems this is typical of a Communist country.


The President of China stood where this guard was during the parade.


The Forbidden City with Mao ZeDong’s famed photo.

The way Beijing dealt with the parade was swift and efficient.  Security became more rigid a few weeks before parade, and the weekend of the parade the city was completely shut down.  No one was allowed to come into the city, the airport was shut down for hours, trains and buses stopped moving to prevent any dangers from entering the city, shops were forced to close down, school was let out and we had a 4 day weekend, and most major tourist and shopping districts were completely closed off.  It was incredibly inconvenient since many subway lines were closed, nothing was open so there wasn’t much to do or see.  Even traffic was controlled so if you had a even or odd license plate, you were designated which days you could drive, otherwise face a massive fine.  Factories were shut down to stop pollution, and birds were chased away by special bird chasing mutant hybrid robot killing machine dogs.  Imagine trying to do that in New York city….see how many people will complain.


A view of the entire Forbidden City


Built in 1420, one of the most historically significant places in China

The parade itself was lackluster.  Another Communist parade showcasing military might and weaponry and little else.  Even the commentators were force fed propaganda lines, my personal favorite being: “China is a peaceful nation and will always strive for peace……..but we will never hesitate to fight in order to keep the peace.”

What is the purpose of this parade?  China’s National Day is on October 1st, which is usually a good time to create craze of blind patriotism throughout the nation.  China’s go-to method for creating a patriotic frenzy is anti-Japan rhetoric.  Whenever there are problems in China (hint hint: China’s looming financial and economic crisis) they always turn to Japan in order to steer the public eye away from the problems on hand, and to force them to remember all the horrible things Japan did as the government attempts to sweep these looming disasters under the table and away from the public eye.  It has never failed and the best way to keep people from fighting each other or fighting the government, is to turn to a common scapegoat to prevent riots.  Unfortunately that scapegoat will always be Japan.


70 years since the end of the Japanese Invasion in 1945


The courtyards are all symmetrical

Location: Tiananmen square

San Pedro Day 1: Heavy breathing and empanadas

Before I even start, I just want to say that none of my pictures do San Pedro de Atacama justice. Everything landscape was unreal. It felt like I was living in a painting. That being said, here are some of my photos and experiences, but you must go see it for yourself in person.

¡Chao, Santiago!

Chao, Santiago!

¡Hola, Atacama desert!

¡Hola, Atacama desert!

After arriving in the Calama airport, we took a bus to our hostel in San Pedro called Aji Verde. We explored the town, booked tours for the week, went grocery shopping, napped, and socialized with people at our hostel. We could definitely feel the altitude as we breathed heavily just walking around town.

The town of San Pedro

The town of San Pedro

We met another group of gringo students studying in Viña who were also visiting San Pedro for the long weekend, so some of us went out to dinner together. Although I was a little skeptical about eating out after all that money I spend on tours, it was totally worth it:

My enormous and delicious cheese and chicken empanda

My enormous and delicious cheese and chicken empanda

My friend Andrea and I DESTROYED this thing. It was probably disgusting to watch, but I have no regrets.

Location: San Pedro de Atacama, Chile

El terremoto (my host niece, not the 8.4)

Antonia, el terremoto. That’s what they call her because she runs around the house leaving the apartment looking like an earthquake hit with all of her toys. She loves Frozen and can probably sing along most Disney songs better than I can (which is saying something since she is 3 and doesn’t speak English).

Mi familia Chilena and I had just finished eating lunch, so I went to my room to study. I can hear Antonia running around and playing in the living room. A little while later she comes running in screaming, “¡Apúrate! ¡Apúrate, Emma! ¡Está lloviendo mucho!” gesturing for me to follow her. I follow her out of my bedroom and see my entire host family. Standing under an umbrella. In the living room. After she decides it stops raining, everyone goes back to what they were doing chuckling to themselves. Then a few minutes later, it’s raining again. We all rush back to the living room to stand under the umbrella for a bit longer while she rescues one of my host sisters and the stuffed animals. Then rain stops and I go back to my room to work on more homework.

Then Doctor Antonia runs into my room with a flashlight telling me to open my mouth so she can look inside and make sure everything is alright. She runs out the door and back in, next checking my eyes.

What an adorable little earthquake. Antonia, el terremoto.

Location: Providencia, Santiago, Chile