It’s been about 10 days since I arrived here in sunny, warm Santiago and I’m in love.
Don’t get me wrong, it has been scary at times. The first few days I woke up saying, where am I? what am I doing?? Why would any sane person hop on a one way flight to Santiago with no apartment and no job? Still, when I walk down the bustling streets, feel the warm sun on my skin, and look around at the bright, colorful buildings, I feel more alive and present then I have in quite some time and I know it’ll be alright. I love hearing the murmurs of people talking in Spanish and continued to be thrilled every time I see a fruit cart selling avocados, tomatoes, bananas, and mangoes (there is one on almost every street corner).
This week has been spent hustling around the city, riding on hot, sweaty, packed metro rides, getting lost and asking for directions, and passing out resumes awkwardly to the receptionist at various English institutes. “Perdon….uh…puedo darte mi currículum?”
But besides the anxiety of finding an apartment (I just moved into my new place today…praise Jesus hallelujah!) and running around the city like a chicken with its head cut off, I’ve felt nothing but warmth from los chilenos. The people here are friendly, lively, open, kind, and happy to help a friend in need. Last weekend, I spent the day with a few chileans and they cooked me dinner, took me to see friends, bought me empanadas, and welcomed me with open arms. I couldn’t have been more grateful.
As part of meeting new people, chileans and gringos alike, there have been quite a few celebrations (carrete! carrete! mucha ropa! mucha ropa!) where the alcohol flowed pretty steadily, sometimes all night long (I got home at about 4 am to my hostel just last night). And a distinct part of my initiation to this wonderful city involved getting on the pisco train.
For those of you that are unfamiliar with South American beverages, pisco is an alcohol which is unique to South America and famous for its association with both Chile and Peru (the two countries fight over whose is best). It is a strong, colorless grape brandy and you can find bottles ranging in price at any local supermarket. You can drink pisco straight, with coca cola (piscola), juice, or pop, or make the classic pisco sour.
I ordered my first pisco sour just the other day:
Pisco sours are typically made with pisco, lemon or lime juice, egg whites, simple syrup, and bitters. I have yet to try to make it myself, but for now here’s a quick and easy recipe to try for yourself!