Making endearing relationships abroad

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Chuby and her novio Cristóbal Eduardo light the candles on her birthday cake.

 

My dearest friend (and Zumba teacher) Chuby Andia Gonzalez just celebrated her birthday on Monday and invited me to join her friends and family for he cumpleaños.  My presence (according to her Facebook post) made it an international birthday celebration.  How cute!!  I so hope upon my return to the US, and after I have graduated to begin my next career phase, to have my Chilean friends visit with me.  Living abroad in Chile  has been a life changing experiences that I will treasure forever.❤

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These little biscuit-like cookies are common in the bake goods sections in Chile.  the have a creamy sweet milk filling that to me are a bit too sweet.  Nevertheless, folks here love ’em!  The other thing that is really big in Chile is mayonesa (Mayonnaise).  I never liked mayonnaise growing up as a child and only can tolerate Miracle Whip when its the dressing or chicken, tuna salad, or deviled eggs.  I was smart enough to bring me some sweet pickle relish back and am going to try an make some tuna salad and deviled eggs while here.  At one time I saw a bottle of miracle whip at the grocery story, but it wasn’t there when I visited this week.  A lot of imported American foods and products will surprising pop-up on the grocery store shelves here in Talca.  However, there is not guarantee you’ll see it in the grocery store on a regular bases.  Kinda frustrating at times for a woman who likes to make home-cooked meals like mía misma (myself).

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Chuby is such a sweetheart that she asked me what “I” wanted to eat at the party.  Of course, I requested empanadas, but only  if it wasn’t too much of an imposition.  Her mom made some especially for me (she lives in another city) and sent them to the party.  They were the best that I have tasted so far here in Chile.  ¡Muy rico!  Oh yeah, going back to the mayonesa.  Well it not only serves as a dressing for sandwiches and hotdogs, it is also a stand alone chip dip.  Our hosts Eduardo and Chuby were serving hotdogs (I had already had a bad experiences with some when I first arrived) to everyone.  Fortunately, for some reason, mine only had guacamole and diced tomatoes (no mayonnaise).  It was on a toasted bun and just tasted delicious!  I was so nervous as I didn’t want to insult my host by refusing the hot dog.  I certainly dodged a bullet on that one for sure! Ha ha :p

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Chuby told me that a lot of Universidad Católica del Maule (UCMaule) students at our university rent these apartamento during the time they are working on their degrees in Talca.  They reminded me of the types of apartments you would see in big city like Chicago, Cleveland, or New York.  One of the biggest surprises for me, when I arrived to Chile, was the fact that there were no on-campus residence halls or university managed housing that catered to undergraduate (or graduate) students.    So many things we just take for granted as common in the United States, simply are not true or the reality of another context when you travel abroad.

I recently submitted a manuscript where I make mention of this difference.  The research for the article allowed me to do a more in depth search about the history of residential college living as part of the US higher educational experience.  It was quite fascinating what I learned.  I hope that I will be able to post on this blog later that the manuscript was accepted for publishing.  I’ll be sure to provide the reference for anyone interested in reading it here on the blog when that happens. 🙂

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