I was extremely happy/excited to be back in Santiago was to see my Chilean parents. A main reason I had such an unforgettable experience while studying in Chile was because of the family that I lived with. Probably the nicest, most wonderful people I have ever met, Norma and Carlos truly made me feel like a member of their family. We made plans to meet for dinner after the New Year, and I literally could not wait. We shared a lovely meal (Norma is an amazing cook), and also had delicious homemade pisco sours. It was so surreal to be back in their home (which feels so much like home to me), and to share dinner and catch up with mis padres chilenos. It was also really nice to meet the new students from Delaware that were living there for Winter Session. I am so glad that I was able to spend time with Norma and Carlos…they have taught me so much and I am so grateful to have met them.
We wanted to make New Year’s extra special, so we decided to make a nice meal before meeting up with some friends. After a very delicious fajita dinner, we got ready for our New Year’s Eve festivities. We shared a few delicious cocktails (pisco with Watt’s orange juice…so good) while chatting about our New Year’s traditions from home. Steph (whose family is from El Salvador) had the most interesting traditions to share, some of which we actually reenacted in Santiago. At midnight we walked towards the center of the city to watch an unbelievable firework show. Upon Steph’s request we ate twelve grapes each (one for every month of the new year to bring goodluck in 2013) and shared a bottle of champagne as we walked towards Bella Vista to meet with some friends. We celebrated the rest of the night at Galpon 9, and had such an amazing/interesting night. As the clock struck twelve, I could not have been happier to start the New Year in such an amazing place while on one of the best adventures of my life…2012 was fantastic, but I am excited to see where 2013 takes me.
I was also happy to be back in Santiago because there were so many things I did not get a chance to do while I was there for Winter Session. The first place on my list to visit was Cerro Santa Lucia. It’s hard to explain Santa Lucia, but it’s basically a hill in the middle of the city that has different pathways, gardens, and patios with phenomenal views of Santiago. Its really beautiful and it was cool to walk all the way to the top (after having a brief anxiety attack due to the elevation).
Another activity on my list was to hike to the top of Cerro San Cristobal. An even bigger hill than Santa Lucia, Cerro San Cristobal towers over the city and makes up Parque Metropolitano. At the top of the hill there is a huge statue of the Virgin Mary, which is illuminated at night and can be seen from all over the city. Although there is a lift that takes visitors on a leisurely ride to the top of the hill, people can also hike to see the statue at the top. We woke up early, had a nice breakfast (with real coffee!!), and headed out to conquer Cerro San Cristobal. It was (like some friends had warned me) a little more strenuous than we originally anticipated, but it was really worth it. The walk is beautiful and the views of the city are truly spectacular, and by the time we made it to the top I felt very accomplished and proud of myself (so I obviously rewarded myself with a Magnum ice cream bar). Feeling pretty impressed with our hiking skills on the way up, we took a path down that was marked as being highly difficult. It was a really fun hike down, probably because of Steph’s salsa dance breaks or Tim’s reenactments of his teenage mountain conquering days.