Tag Archives: love life

Santiago – funky, gritty and beautiful

My first couple of days here have been spent wandering the streets of Santiago.  Taking in the vibes of the city.  Learning about the area I am staying in.  It is a beautiful city, with some European feel to it.


Santiago has a funky edge to it.  Barrio Bellavista is definitely a part of it.  A barrio at the base of Cerro San Cristobal, it is teeming with bars, restaurants, cool shops, and graffiti-filled buildings.  Some people are put off by graffiti but I think it gives the neighbourhood part of its vibrancy and coolness.  Lots of young people walking about, lots of families headed to Cerro San Cristobal and the zoo.


I decided to walk up San Cristobal, as it was a beautiful day and I was told it was about an hour and a half walk.  The walk did not disappoint!  The views – incredible.  The peacefulness of the walk.  Seeing the bicyclists and hearing them grunt as they made their way up the steep slopes.  It was an incredible way to go.  I ended my walk at the cable car and took the cable car the rest of the way.  I was proud to have made  it up 2/3 of the way!!  At the top – the incredible beauty.



Another part of Santiago I have walked to is the Plaza de Armas area.  It is filled with people, and while there were restaurants and bars around, I found it more crowded than I wanted.  Perhaps I will go back later this week, and see if it is always like that.  I did go into a church I passed along the way, and as it was Sunday morning, a church service was going on.  I decided to sit down, say a prayer of thanks for the incredible journey I am on, and watch the service.  It was a very passionate sermon, and while I could not understand what the priest was saying, I could feel the intensity in his voice.  A great way to start my time in South America.


After seeing the church service, I walked up another hill (lots of hills here!), Cerro Saint Lucia.  I am presuming because it was Sunday was the reason for so many people around.  Families having picnics, despite the cloudy cool day.  Teenagers having some fun.


I love the feel I am getting already from South America.  The language, the food (yes I have had an empanada already – first of many I am sure!!!), the vibes.  Very different from China ~ I am loving Santiago!!!



Things I will miss about China


In three days, I will be on a plane heading to Chile.   It’s been an interesting year, with many ups and downs.  I am happy to say that I have come through all of the ups and downs as a stronger, more determined person.


Despite having things I won’t miss, there are definitely things I will miss about being here.


  1. The kids. The kids I have taught this past year have taught me so much – they taught me that I have more patience than I thought I did!  They have shown me that I am a good teacher and that they have learned confidence in themselves, which has made me more confident in return.  The hugs, the shouts of Louisa in the streets, running up to me to say hi – I am going to miss them so much!   Can I bring them with me?  Maybe a few?  haha32debf354b8bc33b992f971b40528ea552064386


  2. The food – I am definitely going to miss the food here!! Noodles, dumplings, beef and rice, chicken and rice, tofu, the produce – the list just goes on and on.  The food was delicious and cheap – my two favourite things!!   I will be on the lookout to try Chinese food wherever I go, just to compare.  I will be happy to compare it to what I have had here.
  3. The generous nature of the Chinese people – at least where I live. I don’t know what it is like in the southern part of China, but for the most part, the people I have met here have been so generous and so kind to me.   I have really been lucky with the people I have encountered.


  1. The greenness of this area that I live in – such an odd thing to say but they really keep my area nice. There are lots of trees, a beautiful park area to walk in and have picnics, and of course the community garden.  I am sure I will find beautiful areas to walk in once I get to South America, but I will miss that about this area.


  1. The friends that I have made here – Zero, Cinderella, Nancy, Cassie, Blaze, Michael and so many others – teachers and friends – they have made my time here very special.


  1. Nanhu Park – Changchun does not have a lot of touristy places to see. Nanhu Park is a big and beautiful park and lake in the middle of the city – it was a nice escape and made the city almost seem like it was smog free.    It was a great place to walk.20170430131353_IMG_0288_1493542960445


  1. The school – Livon was a special place to teach. The school looked like a mall.  Lots of modern amenities.  The atmosphere was great.  I was very lucky to have been placed in the best school in Changchun!IMG_20161215_120321_HDR



I am sure that, as I continue on with this journey of mine, I will realize how much I miss other things about China.  It is inevitable to happen but these are the things that I know I will  miss the most.

People of Changchun 2

Pictures of new friends, colleagues, and people I have come across during the year of being here.


20170430131620_IMG_0289Playing at Nanhu Park



Lovely mothers and a grandmother of students


Owner of my favourite cafe


Owner’s wife of the cafe


Two sisters out for dinner


The dancers at night


Dancing at Nanhu Park, love the costumes!!


Playground near my home – a wonderful family oriented area!