Friday, September 28, 2012

Song/Artist of the Day

today's song is "Low Rising" by a band that i've really come to fancy the past couple months, The Swell Season


The Swell Season was first heard in the film Once with "Falling Slowly" and then they eventually released their first album. I love this song. . .it's sultry, jazzy, happy, and comforting. This is a song that I would totally fall in love to if I was listening to it with a cute foreign boy at the pub. I love the lead singer's voice, I love the band's instrumentals, and they also sound awesome live, which is a major perk.  And the fact that they're Irish makes it even better.

cheers,
hill

Monday, September 24, 2012

Carne: Fiestas Patrias

If you are a vegetarian, you should turn away now. Maybe it's too late, maybe you have seen the pictures of the stripped animal carcasses, crisping over a nice toasty fire, watching the fat drip off the animal, sizzling as it hits the hot wood. Or maybe you haven't and I just ruined it for you after I tried to protect you. Trust me, if you are a vegetarian, that is your prerogative, go for it, believe in something, that's great! But let me also tell you about my asado.  

In the campo of Valparaiso, in Casa Blanca, the wine and beer flows freely and the meat is served in two portions: too much and more. Families gather from afar to celebrate Chile's independence from Spain (the land of the oppressors) and this week long event is full of hugs and good food. Being a HUGE Anthony Bourdain fan, I have been waiting to experience a South American asado for a long time, and I would have to say Uncle Tony would be proud of this one. I was so blessed with this experience and feel very welcome in this country. 


Eating cordero (lamb) and watching the professionals at work, tying up the animal onto the metal cross 


This man was awesome, he was just throwing his knife is places that looked like bones and ribs and he cut everything perfectly. 


Me (the only girl) learning how to cut lamb and the correct parts to place in which part of the fire. 


CARNE!!


mmmm, can you smell it? It's almost done!


there it is, what a beautiful thing, so delicious


Pata de chancho or pig leg (BONUS: hoof included) nice and crudo


lets imagine thick cut fatty bacon, raw and salted. mmmm


In the words of Anthony Bourdain, “If some Birkenstock-wearing knucklehead driving around in a SUV and wearing sneakers someone was sold into slavery to make is sniffling about the poor animals, that person is clearly never going to experience the world.”

And let me tell you, I experienced the world, the world of meat and kite flying and playing soccer with babies, oh now that you mention babies, here are some more pictures that have nothing to do with meat...


 just flying some kites


Valentina, the cutest little muffin you have ever seen.


playing futbol with the kids in South America


SURPRISE! one more meat pic, just enjoying some aji flavored pork. 

eat, drink, and be merry, 
feliz dia de patrias
Rach


Monday, September 17, 2012

Living Simply or Simply Living?


This is actually my first article for the Holcad, which I'm extremely nervous about because I wasn't sure what to write. Hope the Westminnie fans like this. It'll be in the paper (hopefully) Friday :)

When studying abroad, there are only so many items you can fit into a suitcase.  For me, clothes was the biggest issue.  As a girl, it's hard to eliminate your favorites, even when you know they'd be impractical for the weather in your new home.  Shoes, jewelry, room decorations, and books also were stripped to a minimum or completely eliminated altogether.  After about 20 hours of packing, I finally had one trunk, one carry-on suitcase, and my trusty Jansport backpack to take on my long journey to the land of the Scots.
The hardest challenge I've faced so far at The University of Stirling (after the packing fiasco) is adjusting to a new environment with a lot less "stuff" than I would normally have at Westminster.  The biggest adjustment thus far is being without an iPhone; it almost feels as if I lost an essential organ.  Even though it was rough the first week leading an iPhone-less life, I've noticed myself striking up conversations with people more and more often because I'm not staring at a screen.  It's no secret that our generation can be seen walking around like zombies while they text their friends, but in Scotland, it's rare to see students consistently on their cellphones.  Out of all the interactions I've had with new acquaintances, I honestly can't remember one conversation that was interrupted by rude side-texting.  As much as I wish I could constantly refresh my Twitter and Instagram feeds, being iPhone-less is one of the best things that has happened to me so far on this trip.  I've been able to fully immerse myself in conversations with people which seems to be a skill that our generation has been slowly losing over the past ten years or so.
This new experience has taught me how to enjoy the simple things in life.  I've had to revert back to the basic necessities because the cost of living in Scotland is almost triple the cost of American living.  One pound in Great Britain is currently equal to $1.60 in the US;  it might not seem like that much of a difference when looking at small numbers, but once I purchase something that is 100 pounds, or 160 dollars, I have to start monitoring my spending or I'll run out of money in no time.  As a new student, the University luckily offers multiple free events for new student activities and clubs.  Even if it's a introductory meeting for the girls' rugby team, you can be sure I'm there eating tea and crumpets.
Owning a lot less clothes has enhanced my creativity,  buying fresh fruit and vegetables (because it's cheaper) has increased my health, carrying around less technology on a daily basis has increased my social life, and having fewer visual stimulants in my room has increased my focus while working on homework assignments.  Most people might think I'm crazy for enjoying a life without an iPhone, but this cutback, among others I've had to make, is causing this journey to be even more than I had hoped.  I'm not living simply; I'm simply living.

xx,
hill

Friday, September 14, 2012

All things happy

I hope everyone in the world is happy. I am happy. Let me show you why I am happy.
That's right weones y weonas... THE HAPPY LIST

If you are new to this blog or new to the concept of the Happy List, why let me explain: I was introduced to the happy list by a friend who was introduced by a friend who got it from his friend from his other friend and she got is from some guy named Adam. There is a little facebook group (one of the only reasons I check my facebook) that is the hub for all things happy. The description is simple:

All those who participate and want to share the healing properties of the happy list, a daily practice invlolving the recording of fifteen things that make you happy and shareing with freinds! Introduced to me by adam drummer the true creator of the happy list.

Here is an older post of my happy list. And with out further ado... here is my September edition.

1.) Singing 'Buenos Dias' with Mina (our cook/maid) during breakfast that welcomes the day
2.) Baking sweet apple pie 'squintchy' muffin tops at 11:30pm
3.) "Siempre me quedara, la voz suave del mar..."
4.) Hippie Cerros and pizza plans
5.) Belting Bob Dylan and screamin' them harmonies
6.) The feeling of walking on steamy tile after getting a much needed shower.
7.) Receiving back massages as an apology for telling sarcastic jokes in a foreign language
8.) Teaching precious Chilean teenage boys English
9.) Mountains, mountains, mountains
10.) Conducting an orchestra during dope presentations while drinking yerba tea
11.) That's the way it goes, traveling on
12.) Let's see the sea because ocean dog does what ocean dog wants
13.) Lemongrass warming tea
14.) Living here, not there or there, but here, now
15.) The following pictures...

Panda dance? 

share the road!!
super long syntax problems. 

just trying to write a poem with sancho poncho. 
 lots of lub,
rach

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

the desk diaries: scotland edition


belgian cidre for a night in with me, myself, and i. a free chalice from the student union so i can feel classy even when i'm drinking a glass of water. 2 tangerines from south africa. a pretty mug i bought for one pound because i can't live without tea (yep, i have turned into a tea drinker seeing as i haven't had coffee for 11 days!). A shot glass also given to me from the union...i think my new school has more alcoholics than my last. and the essential highlighters, sharpies, & markers for keeping up with school work. Keys, because i literally have 5 keys to different things on this campus.


the macbook pro...obvi can't go anywhere without this baby. that little card on my mac is my hall card. yep, for some reason i have to present my hall card (not student ID) every time i enter my building. and that's after i open the door with my room key. the funny thing about this campus is that there are no quiet hours and my kitchen is filled with 10-20 empty handles of liquor each morning, yet they have the strictest visitation rules and entry rules. all i really care about is my beauty sleep but unfortunately it looks like i won't be getting a lot of that this semester (at least judging from the past 4 nights). My mac is my only form of communicating with the outside world so i love love love it dearly.



to the right in this picture is a pile of hundreds of flyers i have received during freshers week. thank god freshers week is almost over! My desk light gives the room some ambiance since i yet again can't burn candles.  the only 3 pictures i brought with me include: me & derek at a very young age, a high school pic of me, em & alex, and halloween last year with my two lovely roommates rach & kelc. the kleenex box is there for various reasons including but not limited to: allergies (which actually don't exist here for me.... :D ), the "freshers flu", getting teary-eyed at the end of a scrubs ep, missing home, and using as a plate for my PB&Js since i don't have plates.

the atmosphere i have at stirling is a 180 from good old westminnie but i think it's important for me to embrace the differences and adjust accordingly. this is all a learning experience, and i knew going into it that the first week at stirling was going to be rough. but on a lighter & more positive note, i'm in love with the campus academic buildings and the student union. there are so many places to get food when i'm hanging out on the other side of the loch. i also think i could take lap after lap around our loch/campus because it is so beautiful. sometimes i can't believe i'm really here because the scenery feels like a fairy tale. 

this journey for me will be about embracing the loneliness, which comes in various forms when you study abroad. i can already tell this experience is going to change my life in the most positive way possible.

cheers,
hill

Irony of fate

Yesterday was September 11th. I bet you knew that. At least everyone in Chile and the States didn't forget. It didn't come as a surprise to me that we were going to watch a documentary in my culture class. Shout out to my favorite Dylan who would have been excited with me, because I don't know many people who actually enjoy documentaries.

Regardless of the harsh living conditions of the Chilean public during the democratically elected socialist regime of Allende, there was absoutly no reason for the military force to enter in and eliminate 3.000 people because they stood in Patriotic support of their beloved country. If there is anything students from the States can take home with them (myself is certainly included) is the brand of nationalism that is not blind and forced, but a true and pure respect for each other, allowing destruction to place hand in hand a communist rebel and a democracy washed extremist. How can violence every be the answer to suffering? Chile learned as a country that they are stronger than their government and that ideas (in this case, art and photographs) are bulletproof.

Some fast facts about the documentary:
La ciudad de los fotografos is about the riots that broke out in the early 80s in opposition to the government oppression, a back-lash to the coup in 73 that eventually led to the downfall of Agustus Pinochet's dictatorship.
Filmed in 2006, the main hero/fotografo is Luis Navarro and most of the documentation is done by his son.
Here is a video summary with English subtitles!! Watch it if you hate reading! Or just watch it anyway.


In 1987, the reality set in that Pinochet was responsible for all the civilian deaths and the surge of support he had during his overthrow were starting to step back and realize the transparency of this man as he was showing no remorse what-so-ever for the death and destruction of his own country. If anything, he was proud of the number of disappeared citizens. 

With that being said, in came a rag-tag group of fotographers, it didn't matter exactly what they did as their profession (take notes people in the States) as long as they had a reason for doing what they do (and that reason not being salary) Something had vanished with the country of Chile, along with the disappeared citizen, and it was the job of the fotographers to capture exactly what that was. 

when someone has to be shot-- let's make sure it is done the right way.

The violence of the riots was well know by the fotografos but they took on the responsibility to capture the injustice to make the information indisputable. The military back-lash was varied, the best of the worst outcomes was forced removal of film strips from the camera, the normal of the worst outcomes was hospitalized injuries from police beatings, and the worst of the worst outcomes was death. 
"no wonder they were after us..." these fotografos were relentless. 

"we were unaware of repercussion. if we had to be there -- we were there"

Not only did the photographs capture the military injustice, but also the heartbreak of the citizen who lost their family and loved ones. The majority of the Chileans interviewed told tear-causing testimonies of their hard working sons who has no political affiliation what so ever. Women chained themselves to the gates of government buildings with pictures of their loved ones, the victims, pinned to their chests. 

One woman retold the story of what happened to her sons who were part of a mining community of hard workers, as far removed from the government as possible in el campo de Chile. She did not hold back the information that her children were hung by their necks in a warehouse, found with grass shoved into their mouths and barbed wire piercing through their lips and wrapped around their head, like animals. (Where was PETA? they were founded in 1980 right? Or were they too concerned with animal rights to focus on human rights?) 

"you start to feel that a part of you is missing too"

To watch the facial expressions of my profe, a Chilean man, who is from the generation of the 80s riots, fill with tears during the documentary and not make one sarcastic joke or pun (this is my Jack Black from School of Rock profe, mind you) was a pure sign of the magnitude of this historical day. His reaction to the violence of many years ago gave the class a feeling of strength and pride that has emerged from the ashes of this country.  Setptember 11th is so close to September 18th (Chilean Independence Day) and the "irony of fate" as said in the documentary, reveals that what happened to this country was not the fault of a nation of loyal citizens, but a select group of people, who used a political affiliation as a vessel to cause destruction in a faceless, blameless way. 


Experiencing two September 11ths had given way to a day full of contemplation and such brash comparisons of the violence and injustice experienced by two nations in very different ways. But most important, we should realize the blame in misunderstanding and in violence. Let us remember those who were brave and truly embodied what it is to be a selfless human in the midst of a world history that is singed with dark instances of lifeless destruction. 


peace, 
rach

Monday, September 10, 2012

turbulent tea time

This was a conversation I was forced to overhear/be a part of today.

Girl: "What Pinochet did wasn't all just his fault, like he had other people help him"
Me: "Yes, but when you are the face of a military coup d'état, you should be ready to shoulder the blame for  what happened, because you are showing that your support your 'cause' with your life."
Girl: "But it's not like what Bush did, he was responsible for a war."
Me: "...."
Girl: "He was the one who was in charge of starting the war in the middle east, Pinochet had help"
Me: ".... I don't agree with you at all."
Girl: "...."
Me: "..........."
Girl: "................"
Me: "... gotta go work on home work."
Girl: *starts talking about the party she went to the other weekend*

Gotta love United States citizens, volunteering for the armed services (more or less defense and protection) while a democratically elected President, with the approval of congress, launching into a war (whether I feel the war was justified or not...) being compared to a military overthrow of a democratically elected socialist leader, under the name of one man who takes the responsibility of murdering 3.000 innocent citizen of his own country in the name of forced armed 'democracy'.

   

I NOW SEE THE SIMILARITIES!


blogs are for passive aggressive ranting,
rach

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Scottish Jibberish

video
Since today is the first day with official internet...(as in more than 1 hour of crappy WiFi connection), here is a brief (but actually really long) video summing up a couple things happening in the good ole UK.

cheers,
hill

Saturday, September 8, 2012

my thoughts were so loud, I couldn't hear my mouth

To be afloat in another country can lead to confusion and the inability to absorb all that you want to get out of a travel experience. I think goals are very important to help align and balance your life.  
studying and living in another country has been my dream since I was a little girl, making hand-drawn maps to Saudi Arabia and to my grandma's house. Going into this experience, I had a certain idea as to what I would want to accomplish and I just decided to make a short list of the first few thoughts that came to my head when I thought of goals for my semester in Chile. 















photos for thought, 
rach






de la misma onda


De la misma onda

Luchador del amor
Bonita del alma
Listo de la mente
Viva del espíritu
Profundo del hilo
Resuelta de palabras
El silencio, a veces 
La vibra de la vida
El foco de la tranquilidad
La forma de pensar 
El ser un poco solitario
La vista del mundo 
Mareomotriz de lazos 
Olas de sensaciones 





la paz es parte del amor, 
rach

Thursday, September 6, 2012

nothing but the truth

video

I sing nothing but the truth. Anticipate a big blog post coming your way.
don't criticize what you can't understand,
rach

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Love Is A Four Letter Word

Jason.Mraz. That is all that needs to be said. I have been a huge fan of Jason for a while and although I have seen Jason live once before, I have the wonderful oppertunity to see Jason once again in Ohio tomorrow night! Tenth row. center. VIP Passes. My excitement for tomorrow can not to be contained. So in honor of Jason, today's Artist of the day is, of course, Jason!


 
 
don't give up.
megs

Sunday, September 2, 2012

sitting, waiting, wishing



The day is finally here! After 7 solid months of preparing (or atleast trying to prepare...) I'm sitting at my gate for a flight to Chicago to catch a plane to London at the O'Hare Airport. Crazy.


I get extremely stressed out about airport security & baggage check so I almost went into a panic attack on the way over, but thankfully my parents were able to calm me down and reassure me that everything would work out. So after the three of us, like idiots, couldn't figure out where the check-in desks were, I finally got my luggage checked and tickets printed! I'm always scared that the airport workers are going to be so mean because everyone always complains about them, but honestly, i don't know if i've ever dealt with nicer people.  My luggage weighed under 50 pounds-HOLLA! (and I only checked one bag!), I easily bought a travel card and traded in my $$ for pounds, chatted with the security guy about flying internationally, got some breakfast and ate with both of my parents for the first time in maybe 5 years. Security also went brilliantly (I'm gonna start using UK slang now, k?) and now I'm taking some time to breathe before I get on my first flight. I'm feeling a lot better about everything now and I can't wait to hear English accents when I step off my plane in London. . .and maybe I'll even run into one of the One Direction members....a girl can dream.


happy september!
love,
hill

Saturday, September 1, 2012

maybe this is how it is supposed to be


welcome to the ocean, would you like to play today?


can you smell it? the salt water? the tranquility? the peace? 
I can, that is what I do, I find a piece of peace and go there, and all is good. 


except the fish heads, be careful for those. 


there is something about this country that turns your perceptions upside down. no where else can make me feel this way, and that makes sense because you should only feel a certain way in a certain place.  


namaste. एक भाषा कभी भी काफ़ी नहीं होती


are you listening? do you understand what I am typing? Really understand? maybe I am fighting for something that is lost, a sense of earthly perfection (oxymoron noted) but have you listened to yourself breathe lately? maybe you should breath in and out with the waves of the ocean. 


Im not so sure what I am certain of anymore when it comes to earthly actions. the only certainty is death. how do we all plug along knowing this? why do we all plug along? no matter. let's just keep plugging. promise me you will.

i will.

breathe, 
rach