Since moving to Chile a few weeks ago, I’ve been getting a lot of questions from family and friends about what it’s like living in Santiago. I figured I would take a minute to explain a little bit more about what my day-to-day life is like!
This is all a lethal combination of difficulty and I struggle to understand. Even though I’ve picked up on a few things, I’m not as good at speaking as I hoped. I understand when people talk clearly and I usually can figure out what they’re saying. But my replies probably sound like a 6 year old since I always use the same tense and verbs.
I’ve improved a lot and I am a lot more confident in my speaking abilities than I was when I arrived. When Sam arrived, he was like “Wow! You’re spanish is soo good”, so maybe I am selling myself short. I am comparing myself to Americans who have lived here for over a year. Nonetheless, I only want to continue improving my Spanish skills through conversation and lots and lots of practice!
Overall, I’m not super impressed with the cuisine here. It is fairly bland, which I was surprised about. There also isn’t really a culinary tradition that I can detect, so a lot of the dishes seem familiar to me. Chileans eat a lot of grilled meat, raw vegetables like onions and tomatoes, and carbs — lots and lots of carbs.
Chileans love ice cream though and that is something I can get behind! Daily ice cream stops, walks through the parks and naps characterized my relaxing first few days.
There are a few AMAZING dinners to highlight though, including Astrid and Garston, one of Chile’s premier Peruvian restaurant. I shelled out the big bucks for this meal, but was well worth it once we tasted our modern dishes. I had Chilean grouper with scallops over a asparagus risotto and a sweet potato sauce, while Sam had a squid ink gnocchi with calamari and grouper with a coriander and tamarind sauce. Wow, were we blown out of the water by the light but rich flavors of these complex dishes.
Experiencing an Earthquake!
The only means of long-distance transportation to use in Chile is the bus system. There are plenty of airplanes and they would certainly be faster, but they are quite expensive and infrequent. So bus becomes the preferred method of travel.
Thankfully the bus system here is INCREDIBLE. There are buses throughout the day that go to any destination you can think of. The buses are more comfortable than the coach buses in the States and way cheaper. For example, I took a 10 hour bus to Pucon and it cost $22. I don’t understand how it is so cheap, because everything else here costs about the same as in the States.
I was really surprised how modern Santiago was when I first got here. It has lots of skyscrapers, modern architecture and excellent public transportation. It is very easy to get around the city and a majority of the downtown area is quite safe! The subway runs until midnight and I live just off a major stop, so it’s really easy for me to get home at night. There are plenty of modern amenities here, and I packed way more than I needed because everything is available here!