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Chile and Chocolate Chip Cookies

Hey everyone,

Life down here in Argentina has been going well. Last weekend I went to Chile for our last Monday holiday and spent four days exploring Santiago, Viña del Mar and Valparaiso. It was beautiful. I spent a night in a hostel for the first time in my life, and it was nothing like I imagined, much cleaner and friendlier. Chile was beautiful in a very different way from Argentina. Since it is right between the mountains and the ocean and so much thinner, it is greener but still has the mountain back drop. The people were also very nice and I didn´t think their accent was too hard to understand, although I did here come ¨como estáy¨ instead of ¨como estás¨, as they are apparently known for. Our hostel when we went to Viña del Mar and Valparaíso was amazing. It was three little houses at Ritoque Beach, a tiny little beach community (probably 20 houses and a restaurante) outside the town of Quintero about an hour from Viña del Mar. It was much, much quieter than the city and as if we had rented a beach house for a couple days. It was awesome to see the ocean again after 3 months of mountains. There is something calming about the ocean and it is almost as if when I don´t see it for a long time I start to get a little  claustrophobic. The little beach community was so calm and friendly that the owner of our hostel, a German woman who one day just decided to learn Spanish the hard way by moving to Chile, suggested we hitch hike into town in the morning. Apparently it was very easy; just start walking down the road and someone will pick you up. It was! We just started walking and this adorable older couple in a nice new car that had just moved to Ritoque from Santiago picked us up and gave us a ride. Apparently the people in Ritoque love foreigners and love to talk. This couple has a son in Florida and a niece in Colorado. They told us all about their trip to their niece´s wedding, and how beautiful America is. So, now I can say I hitch hiked and stayed in hostels! Which sounds silly but were both things I always wanted to do but was leery of.

route to chile

The route to Chile. There are somewhere between 27 and 47 curves. Talk about mariada.

santiago

Santiago, Chile

ojo

Ojo!! with the subway.

mar

Viña del Mar

boat restaurant

Boat restaurant!

This past week in Mendoza has been very lazy. It has been cloudy and rainy, which is very rare here. Wednesday night we had an intense thunderstorm, which was beautiful. Mía, the little three year old kept saying, ¨trueno! trueno! trueno!” which means thunder.  I´ve been doing a lot of researching for my art history paper. It´s funny because as we don´t really have that much work here, what wouldn´t be so much in the States seems like a lot, especially when you add how long it takes to get to the library, wait for them to find you books, wait in line with a number for photo copies (with a number machine like the ones we have at delis!), and then wait almost an hour in the cold for the bus to take you back.. it is exhausting and you haven´t even begun the actual note-taking part yet!  As you can tell, this was my afternoon yesterday. My morning was filled with notetaking from a previous batch of books and delicious chocolate chip cookies! A week ago, I began the attempt at making chocolate chip cookies here but got derailed and frustrated with the lack of brown sugar in our supermarket. Then, everyone was busy at different times and they just never got made. Yesterday we spent the morning making cookies and eating cookie dough. They came out great even without the brown sugar, just used all granulated sugar instead and they had a hint of sugar cookie to them! They were perfect, and all of them were gone before dinner. So, after dinner we made homemade kettle corn!! Or, po choclo as they say here. It was delicious. Now we are planning what food we will make for mother´s day, which is tomorrow (Sunday).

Hasta luego, un beso,

Nikki

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