Family in China Part 3: Exploring Beijing

Day 7: We took the bullet train from Hangzhou to Beijing. I highly recommend this journey for 3 reasons: 1. Trains are more often than not, on time. 2. There is more leg room. 3. You can see more countryside views by train.

Once we arrived to Beijing we took the metro to our hotel, The Great Wall Marriott. I also highly recommend staying here for excellent customer service, comfort, and convenience.

Then we took a walking tour courtesy of TimeOut Beijing through hutongs and side streets to Tian’amen Square to view the flag lowering ceremony (check here for times). The Dashilan area has excellent local cuisine and we ordered lots of veggies, noodles, and rice dishes for super cheap.



Crashed out early tonight for our super early drive to the Great Wall.

Day 8: We hired a driver (through multiple connections on my wechat app I hired him and have used his service on both drives to the Great Wall. if you have wechat I can connect you with him!) to take us to the Great Wall, it’s definitely easier this way. I originally scheduled our trip to the section called Simatai, which ended up being this fake water town tourist trap and you must buy tickets in advance. Our driver was awesome and led us to the area about 15 minutes up the road called Gubeikou or Panlongshan. If you want an “off the beaten path” experience, go here. It’s absolutely beautiful, with less crowds, in fact, we were the only ones on the trail. It’s a bit of a hike, but it’s an easy path. Just as we saw the Wall, took some awesome photos, and stunned in the grandeur of just how Great the Wall was, hiked down and got in the car it down poured. Great luck.



For dinner we ate Peking Duck. Just as your hotel’s staff for recommendations. There are plenty of choices. Peking Duck is a must eat Beijing specialty. Delicious.

We went back to the hotel for drinks and sleep.

Day 9: Before leaving Beijing we did one last walk to the Temple of Heaven, the entrance fee is reasonable, but make sure to get all the add-ons for the ultimate experience. We just bought the regular pass and wandered through the gardens before making our way to the train station to go back to Shanghai.


I took my parents to my Shanghai street noodle lady, I think she was thrilled that I had company with me. Dad and I ordered fried noodles and Mom ordered fried rice. They pretty much mastered their chopsticks skills on this trip.

"Tempt your sense of Exploration" ~Dove Dark Chocolate

Sunday August 4th, 2013

There is no place like home. There is no place like home. Sometimes I feel like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz clicking my converse shoes on the streets of a foreign city…anxiously awaiting for my next flight…and in 9 hours and 36 minutes I arrived back in the US of A. In HoTLanta, I sleepily went through immigration and admitted to having an orange from the market in my purse. Waited for my bags, went through a checkpoint and got redirected to a second screening for bringing an agriculture product into the country. Never again will I spend an extra 30 minutes in line for an orange that I should have eaten on the plane. (Really, Megan?) Security also took a long time. And in total, before 8 am, I had stood in lines for about an hour and half. Get me on that plane. Changed clothes and put on make-up and got my first iced coffee of summer. Not gonna lie I felt pretty good after 11 hours of traveling so far. 2 more hours to go!

I arrived in Omaha to my cousin and friend’s smiling faces! The best ever! We had brunch, then sat on a bench outside and played scattergories, saw a movie, and caught up on life. Later we went to my grandparents’ house for a delicious Welcome Back to America dinner of chicken garlic pizza and homemade peach berry pie. Being home is wonderful…summertime heat, evening walk with the family, country music, laughter, Sunday morning coffee with another dear friend, family, and friends…I could not ask for more.

Eighteen days until my next ESL teaching adventure to Hsinchu County, Taiwan. I am helping mom out during this time as well as catching up with friends. I head to St. Louis two weeks from today to spend time with Timmie before flying to Taiwan.

I’m so happy to be home in Nebraska during this time and am soaking up all the love and hugs from the amazing people here!

Tuesday August 13th, 2013
the secret to island juicy mangoes is to let them sit on the counter in the warmth of the sun for a few days…

Last Saturday, my friend Angie and I woke up at 6:45 isn to head into Kearney to get our hair done and have a girl’s day. Beautiful country sunrise. Coffee. Morning chatter as we cruised the interstate. Arrived at the hair salon…5 hours later we had fabulous hair! A little TLC, dye, and cut goes a long way for a new look and uplifted attitude. After lunch and a few shops, we headed back to town and went on an evening walk. We have been walking every night and our two hour long conversations have been much needed, I am so blessed to have her in my life!

On Sunday, another dear friend, Mandy, drove down from Lincoln. We had a lovely brunch and coffee and caught up. It was a crazy busy summer for her, and it was so so wonderful to spend the afternoon with her. What a special friend she is to me…very motivating and inspiring! My grandparents also stopped by Panera to say hello before heading out to California for a summer vacation.

The past couple days of country highway driving back and forth to Kearney reminded me how much I love driving in the wide open spaces with the windows rolled down and the radio up, wind blowing through my hair… so many thoughts whipping through the strands, but I know that everything’s gonna be alright… summer jams on the radio…wishful thinking…so much excitement…in love with life…and then I remind myself that I really shouldn’t sing, but I continue to blast the radio so it drowns my off-key notes out.

Now that I’m in the single digits (9) before flying to Taiwan, I’m trying to pack and prepare for another year of new sites, sounds, language, and people. I have had great conversations and hang outs with close friends here and I’m focused on enjoying those before focused on the upcoming newness…but it’s hitting me now! 🙂

Summertime rain this morning, and dad and I drove to Lex to get groceries…have a few errands to run and things to do for Mom, but gotta love an early morning workout…coffee and cookies…and little bit of laziness with the clouds.

new hair

love this little girl!

fabulous friends
fabulous hair!

Monday August 19th

A quick recap…
Phew! What a blur of activity the past week! Finished helping mom with her classroom projects. On Thursday, Dad and I drove to Norfolk to have dinner with Grandma, Uncle Mike, Aunt Laurie, and Jason. It was great seeing them for the evening. We drove to Omaha that night. Friday was spent relaxing at Stories Coffeehouse with a good book and an iced coffee. Went to Lincoln that night to hang with Lori. We ate at Leadbellies, one of many new restaurants in the Haymarket area and visited an old college bar hang out as well. Good times. Saturday morning on my drive back to Omaha I saw the most electric sunrise, what a beautiful drive, in the afternoon I went for a lovely summer walk, got my nails done, ran some errands, and visited with another sweet friend, Liz. That evening Dad and I went to California Taco for tacos (duh!) and margaritas. It’s been nice having time to myself with both Dad and Mom this past week. 🙂 Sunday, I met up with my friend Ann, who was also in Korea at the same time as me, and is now headed to China to finish her Masters and teach English…what an inspiring conversation about teaching and traveling! Allison took me to the airport…my cousin is the best…so lucky to have her in my life. My suitcase only weighed 49.0 lbs! Yay! The first time for not having to take stuff out on the airport floor. One bag, one small rolling carry-on and a shoulder bag. Think I’m getting this packing thing down! Had a interesting chat with the girl sitting next to me on my flight to STL…her sister had just gotten back from teaching in China a couple months ago. Of course you tell each other your life stories in just one hour…! 🙂
Four days to Taiwan! I feel like I’ve had a lot of thoughts to share, but I can’t remember them now…One thing never ceases to amaze me is the amount of love and support I have from family and friends back home in Nebraska. I cannot express enough my gratitude for each and every person in my home state. I had the most wonderful 2 weeks back home and now I am in Missouri, spending time with Timmie before I fly out on Thursday.

“There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” -Nelson Mandela

I was asked the other day…”So..why Taiwan?” I honestly cannot answer that question. I was applying for jobs and apartment hunting in Chicago and an ad popped up on the side advertising the website: (I googled searched a few others as well). So I filled out a generic application that gets blasted to different recruiters in various countries of choice. A school in Cambodia contacted me, and my school in Taiwan. I went through interviews and within two weeks time had switched my Chicago mindset to Taiwan. In 2013, I have experienced two winters, warmth and sunshine would be welcomed! and I haven’t received a paycheck since September of 2012. My financial stability was counting on a good job and cheap apartment. With my desire to still complete my bucket list of travel experiences and countries, I knew I had to save as well…at this point in time Chicago was not offering both. As much as I told myself I would never sign another full year contract…and the chance of going back to Asia to teach was slim…the pull was there…the pay, the conveniences, the close vicinity to other dream destinations, the opportunity to gain more teaching experience…and attempt to learn a third language. So off I go. Something totally unexpected and somewhat out of the blue…but I am ready…(even though the turn around time from Chile to home to Taiwan was short)!!! I’m excited for this next adventure: learning another way of teaching, developing myself, getting my healthy routines back, and adapting to another culture and corner of the world!!! 

My Chilean guilty pleasure? Manjar and Crackers

My time in Chile is coming to an end. Last week at my host family’s was spent relaxing and hanging out with them. We ate late lunches everyday. It was nice to spend time with them when my host mom wasn’t working and her Columbian man had finally moved in! 

I was able to meet my yoga student’s mother and see her art shop. She makes jewelry out of copper and Chilean stones. I also spent time with another dear student of mine and her family one evening. Said goodbye to my cafe guy and to the people at my gym. The receptionist and my spinning instructor both were teary eyed. I am going to miss these special people! 
One of the last onces I had was empanadas from Casa de Empanadas (based in Pichilemu, but they have a branch in Rancagua). On Friday the 26th, my host family drove  me to Santiago and we ate lunch above the market place. Best Cazuela ever! My host family is the sweetest. So hospitable and kind. I wrote them a letter and gave my host mom a necklace thanking her for welcoming me into their home. 

Arrived to my hostel I would be staying at with my friend Maria from NY (she left today!) for the next few days around early evening. I met up with other volunteers that I had befriended the first week in Chile during orientation. Had a pisco sour with LA Hannah, coffee the next day with UK Hannah, and saw my Camp friend Hannah very briefly as she was on her way back to Chanco… I’m so glad I could meet these fun friends! 
Since I didn’t earn any money these past few months as the English Opens Doors Program is a volunteer service, I had to do Santiago on the cheap- spending lots of money is not really an option at this point! Went to art museums, market places, ate fresh fruit and street food, walked around in the San Cristóbal and Santa Lucia parks, worked out, and found happy hours. So many things to do for free or almost free in this amazing city! (Think its one of my favorite international cities!) 

Back to the states in a few days! Thank you Chile for the laughs, the memories, the delightful kids to teach, the crazy Chilean slang, for teaching me so much about myself, and for all the new friends I’ve made!!! ~Besos 

Reir…to laugh.

July 9th, 2013

Happy Birthday to my Dad today!

Today the Basico classes went on a field trip to Santiago to visit the Museum of Science and Natural History. I got to go… and be “sponsor!” It was so much fun! The kids seem to enjoy the day! It’s always interesting to see other countries’ display their history. We toured through each region of Chile. Very cool to see different things from each region.

July 11th, 2013

Pisco sours and sushi with my host mom- yay!

July 13th, 2013

Reflecting the past four months. Yesterday was the last day with the kids. We listened to music and had the kids state whether they liked it or not and why. I called on a kid who never raises his hand because I wanted to participate. He stammered through his opinion and I gave him a high five. His face lit up and he raised his hand for the next song. I continued to give him a high five. When I called on him and because I was on the other side of the room I didn’t give him a high five. He came up to me later and was like high-five? Yes. This is what it’s all about. Seeing his face light up because he was encouraged to try…priceless. Because you know what? Learning another language is HARD! I am so impressed with any ability and enthusiasm to try. Kids these days are smart. Two or three languages by the time High School hits and even though their fluency isn’t perfect, it’s the effort…it’s the practice, to have the chance to speak with a foreigner, whether it’s me or another person visiting the city.

Lately the song “Jesus Loves the Little Children,” keeps playing on repeat in my head. Kids need someone to love them despite their mistakes…someone to give them hug, a star on their homework, and a high-five. Another time we had the kids listed as many words as they knew in given category i/e school, home, places, animals, food, etc…one kids didn’t do the listed categories, instead he did his own…Mindcraft and listed as many words as he could…words like armor, enemy, fight, diamonds, adventure, etc…I wrote great on his paper. Seriously? How creative is that?! And in English?

Today I had a final luncheon with the teachers for the end of the semester. They gave me a plaque and flowers. So many kinds words were said. Love that school. Despite the challenges against my Type A personality, I am going to miss it. The teachers, the smiles, the hugs…and the Kids. Good-byes are tough, my only hope is that I helped someone, somehow, in some small way and helped to make a difference in their life. I am so thankful for this opportunity to give a piece of myself to Chile. Dear people, I will miss you and you have touched me more than you will ever know.

feeling the LOVE

science fair!

view at school

flowers AND chocolate…my students are amazing!

my terrific troublemakers!!!


love sunny days!

teacher’s happy hour!


July 21st, 2013

Ahhh!!! I can’t keep up with time!

Let me back up. July 13th. My host mom’s man moved in from Columbia. He is a delight. He cooks…likes wine. And he makes her laugh. She is so happy! Absolutely glowing. I’m so happy I could meet him and see how happy he makes her, as I have seen how exhausted she has been in the past few months from staying up late talking to him.
July 21st. Got up and attempted to run, but a dog kept following me- even when I crossed the street so I gave up and went to the gym, lifted weights, came home, and packed my backpack for…Winter English Camp! I bussed from Rancagua to Talca, about a 2 hour ride. I arrived in Talca and had adequate amount of time to find the restaurant where we were supposed to meet. I had to asked for brief directions then set out…I turned the right way the lady told me, but I couldn’t follow what else she said so I continued my meandering. I then turned the right way…not going to lie, I was pretty proud of my sense of direction and knowledge of how towns are usually set up in Chile to use my context clues to find the right area of town. Travel Expert? Check and check. Met up with the other volunteers and the the coordinators. Then the other four girls from the EODP along with other Chilean volunteers were bussed to Chanco. About two and half hours west (ish) of Talca.
July 14th through 20th
Chanco is a quaint country town about 30 minutes walking from the coastline in the middle of a National Forest. All week, despite the cool air, it was sunny! Thank goodness… The school hosts many students from surrounding towns and has boarding facilities, thus having the capability of being an overnight camp. Five days. Sixty students. Lots of laughter and activities. We had a lyrics contest, stomp contest, a lip dub contest, and a talent show. We won the Lip Dub Contest for our zone!!! Check out the video: Lots of new friends made…gonna miss my group- The Eagles!
Friday evening after camp we got together for a nice dinner and conversation. Afterwards (2 of the volunteers had to leave before dinner to catch various buses) the last volunteer and I edited one of the monitor’s papers, as he is getting his masters. Around 11 p.m. we, along with the others, went for drinks. Great time…and worth the 3:30 in the morning.
On Saturday, we boarded the bus around 10 a.m. for Talca. I had to catch another bus at 12:30. When we arrived I had 7 minutes to catch it. No problem, right? Wrong. I got on the right company bus, but instead of heading north, it was heading farther south. About 30 minutes into the ride the conductor looks at my tickets and says to me in (of course in rapid Spanish) that I needed to get off at the next town and switch buses. Luckily he helped me switch my ticket. Another hour to wait. Instead of a 4 hour traveling day it ended up being about 8 hours. Exhausted. Came home to a delicious lunch at 5pm! Took a nap, then went over to a couple’s house and drank wine and chatted until 6 a.m.
Needless to say today, July 21st, I spent the day in bed!

I learned a lot at camp. I must be honest…I’m not keen on camp and I was almost dreading going to Chanco. But in the end, I was pleasantly surprised at how much fun it was! It was amazing to see students speak English, make new friends, become close with their project groups, and leave with happy tears. What an experience! It also proved to me, that even in a short amount of time, the volunteers and I had a huge impact on the kids…truly an incredible feeling.

care package sent from KOREA!!! love you Taryn!

Sunday morning run

2 minutes til GOAL time!


country town

working together!!!



WE WON!!!!

gotta love the Madagascar pineapple hat.


love the freshness of a brief morning rain…

orange house en route home…

country towns on the back roads..

gray day.


Miss Megan, thanks for your help and for coming to my country…

Add caption
this girl makes me smile everytime on FaceTime
love her!

Sunset from my bathroom window…
peaceful Monday…

What’s your view from Zumba class?!! 


just another horse and cart on my run…

Sunset Saturday…
listening to Easy like Sunday morning
cake and coffee…
Reading Radical…


Friday June 28th

6 a.m. came way too early with the sound of rain pounding on the roof…but today was the English Competition! My friend in the English department, Camila, and I attended the competition with 8 kids ranging from first to eighth grade. The morning started a bit slow, but by the end we were awake! So EXCITING! 1 third place, 2 second places, and 1 first place in the various age groups and categories! We are so proud of our students— they did amazing!!! Went back to classes in the afternoon then watched the school academies do their semester presentations. The “basico” cheerleaders’ routine could kick any U.S. team’s butt, they were crazy good! 🙂

my dear Cami!


my minion present! Thanks Francisco!

Saturday June 29th

Last minute on Friday night my friend Hannah and I decided on a quick afternoon in Santiago. Much needed. It was so nice to catch up face to face, have a Starbucks Vanilla latte, a delicious lunch and almond ice-cream dessert, and walk in the city! I love Santiago. It’s probably one of my most favorite cities ever! I’m so glad we could meet up especially since her birthday is on Monday. We also went back to our health food store to get almond and soy milk…and this time…they had SILK. Vanilla. Almond Milk! Happiness in a box. Got home and had a lovely conversation with Grandma and my sister. What a great weekend!

Written on Sunday July 7th…

Wednesday was my last yoga class…so sad! We took pictures and ate cake. On Thursday the girls came in with a framed photo of us! So incredibly sweet. I love them. We also had a 4th of July Celebration!!!

Friday I had solo classes because the other English teachers had meetings in Santiago. My kids were so well-behaved, I was so proud of them. Two boys who usually misbehave offered to help me get the class in order. They wrote me cards and notes. When I feel like I haven’t made a difference and I read a card that says, “I will remember everything you taught me, please don’t forget me, I love you;” my heart melts into a puddle.

One student writes…

Miss Megan, thanks for your help and for coming to my country. I know that you return to your country, but I will not forget everything you taught me and I hope we meet again someday Miss Megan. from R.S. the boy who won the second place in the English Competition of 5B.

Sunday, today, I met with my student-friends, we went to McDonalds and had McFlurries! (Sometimes a girl needs her french fries and ice-cream.) I am gonna miss these kids, they are so cool…one of the girls plays the guitar and sings- she played me a song she had “covered.”

my sweet yoga girls!

gonna miss these smiling faces!

Happy Fourth of July!

He was an exchange student in NE!
my 5B class
my 6A class

movie watching…


my 5C class!

Gonna miss alll these crazy kids!!!
I thank them for all their laughs and smiles and hugs and enthusiasm!

yummy snickers McFlurry and fries…
showing the kids to dip the fries in the ice-cteam…

mi amiga- Sophie!!! 🙂

These are the days of miracles and wonder. This is a long distance call.

It’s been awhile since I’ve just written. So here goes my ramblings…you know when you think your life is headed in one direction and within two weeks it does a complete 180? Well it seems to always happen to me…sometimes I face that direction and the scenery changes or I see the scenery before me and everything changes including the scenery. What once made sense as a direction to follow no longer does. I’m not completely sure where this next direction is taking me…but I’ll give you a hint…I. am. so. excited! The last couple of weeks have been a mental challenge for me, however, I am beginning to see my life in a new light!

I have also been reading this short-read called Radical. Yes, I am only on chapter 3, but it’s hitting home hard. I just can’t grasp the fact that churches are spending millions of dollars on state of the art facilities, yet can barely scrape up the money to help Sudanese refugees. I can’t. stand. it. I really hope that God can hear me without a microphone…especially when there are people huddled in a secret place whispering so they aren’t heard by persecutors, praying that God hears their prayers. It’s also changing my thought process…the little things I complain about like having to get out of my hot shower because I know the air is freezing and the house isn’t heated. Petty problems like this I have started to make note of and just. stop. Chiding myself for being so complanitive when I know others may not even have A. hot water B. clean water to shower in or C. the ability to shower… And this is what I think of as my hot shower turns luke-warm.

So this week I have focused on things that make me happy…here are some snapshots that make my day!

sea lions from Valdivia

Monday Morning

love my cousin!

Love my Wednesday yoga class!

Miss can we do yoga longer?

just add wine and fabulous friends! 

getting ready to act out the dialogue!

the peace sign exists in Chile!


Wednesdays are my favorite day. They have been since high school. Wednesdays in Chile are my yoga classes and often times I hang out with friends. Last night we ate this delicious dish and played cards and drank wine. I do enjoy evenings in just hanging out.

Today, June 20th…I started my day with the 5th graders acting out a dialogue. They did awesome! And I definitely helped them on their exclamation point usage! haha. Then I left that class early because the preK and K needed a sub (45 minutes each). I was really proud of myself for just going into the class and not having it totally fall apart. In K, we went over professions and did a workbook activity; then in PreK I read them the “Little Red Hen.” I made up actions as I went along…so fun! After those classes I went back to my 6th graders as they were finishing giving their final debates on the topic of “school uniforms.” Francisco and I are so proud of them!!! The students have worked really hard preparing and thinking of their own opinions. Us allowing them to create something of their own is a huge step! 🙂 We are so excited about our students’ improvements!

June 21st…

The day started out a bit odd…we were running late to begin with..then my host mom gets a phone call. A student had passed away during the night. A 7th grader…A tragedy. Walked into a class of sobbing 4th graders…what do you do when you can’t communicate during a devastating time? Hugs. Lots of hugs. The rest of the day went downhill from there as I tried to manage 7 classes with chaotic distracted kids. It’s not their fault and I felt terrible for breaking down…but please kids could you just be quiet for 2 seconds so I can explain the activity and then you can talk in your groups? What do you do when an announcement comes about the student’s death in the middle of an already crazy class? I tried to keep it together. I was so thankful when 3:45 rolled around and I could just breathe.

Sometimes a hug and a phone call are the best answers. God’s hug in the sunken clouds on this solemn day. Add Paul Simon and this gray day is complete.

Why would you get on a bus for 12 hours?

June 17th, 2013

So why would I get on a bus for 12 hours? To see great friends, visit another Chilean city, drink coffee, and see sea lions of course! Last Thursday, Hannah and I met at the Landay Barceló Hostel in Santiago to catch an early bus to Valdivia on Friday. The hostel was beautiful…hardwood floors, rod iron spirals in the entrance. Though a bit difficult to find, it was on a quiet street and a true gem in the city. We found a classy cafe called the Cosmopolitan (Brasil 268), with the best dessert. Cheers to being reunited!

In the morning we got on the 7 a.m. bus for Valdivia. The 12 hours flew by, being able to catch up and look out at the scenery passing helped pass the time. We met Hannah at our hostel, Totem, in Valdivia that night and went out for our traditional pisco sours and food at Cafe Palace. 
The rest of the weekend flew by. We visited the Kuntsmann brewery and drank honey and blueberry beer, drank coffee and enjoyed cake at Entrelagos Chocolateria, and ate at local restaurants, and walked through the quaint city of Valdivia. It was a rainy weekend, but the lush green landscapes, laughs, and chats made for a great time!

al fin de semana en Valparaiso y Santiago!

Korean bests
miss you!

Ahhh…time is flying!!!

lunch in Valpo

fun friends, oreos, and wine…
sitting on a park bench
near the port…

people watching
and pigeons

our seal lion friend..
it’s like the zoo came to us today!

angry bird cupcakes!

gray rainy day in Valpo…

creme brulee…
coffee in the rain…

in a bar that played awesome live music…
we ate lunch above the market!

view from my bus window


hostel graffiti 

attempt at finding a winery

beautiful area…
but no luck
at sitting on a patio sipping a glass…

instead we found a yummy restaurant
and bought a bottle…

sunset in Santiago!

sunset in Machali after one tough day of teaching


God is good!

sunny Saturday…

walking around Machali

more sun!

sunrise on a Sunday…

my student!

my student!
more fun with my HS students!

no te preocupes
se feliz…
don’t worry,
be happy! 🙂

Ok…here goes for the last few weeks!

Holiday weekend. Heck yes. Having Monday and Tuesday May 21 and 22 off work meant meeting up with my two Hannahs from orientation…one from L.A. and the other from England. After school on Friday the 17th I headed to the bus stop. I actually got an earlier bus from the time on my ticket I had bought the day before. Traffic to Santiago wasn’t bad, but once in the city it was jam packed. I met this random guy on the bus and he chatted with me a bit and gave me directions to the subway stop (in Spanish) as I ended up getting off the bus and walking to the actual stop because it was going to take another half hour or so to drive 3 blocks. Crazy. We arrived within a half hour or so of each other, but it was so crowded and we ended up being at three separate stations, all within a couple blocks, so we grabbed the subways and met up at Bellavista nook. Time for pisco-sours and nachoes at a Mexican place on Dardignac street! We stayed at Hostel 269 (the one I stayed at my first night in Santiago). We love that place! So clean and comfortable!

The next day (Saturday) we got up early for breakfast before heading to the bus station to catch our bus to Valparaiso. It was a rainy day, but the clouds were cool and the air smelled like fall. I didn’t mind having a little rain on my head. Taxied it to Angel Hostal (Cumming 160, Valparaíso 2371935, Quinta Región de Valparaíso, Chile) and landed ourselves in a prime location brimming with colorful walls, cafes, bars, and restaurants, and a short walk to the port. We had lunch at a lovely place with a combination: a meat dish served with a salad, side, dessert, and wine for 4200 pesos. What a steal. The place was literally steps from our hostel. The rain had died down…only a few off and on sprinkles at this point. Walked up and down hills and made our way to the local convenient store for oreos and wine. Once getting our provisions we headed down to the port. Lovely view of the ships, a stray seal lion, stray dogs, pigeons, and people…lead to lots of laughs! Wandered around for a bit more. Went to a cafe on a hill…coffess and creme bruless of lavander, chocolate, and mint as the rain started again. Relaxed after that and took a short nap. Later that evening we went for sushi (again just around the corner) and drinks with ginger that were amazing!!! (think it may have helped with my cold?) Headed to random bar with live music. Dad, you would’ve loved this place. Such talented artists. Perfect end to a fun day!

Sunday meant getting up and finding a delicious breakfast and coffee…again just up the hill and around the corner. Cutest cafe. With books. And coffee. And amazing cake. I have the biggest sweet tooth ever. Give me something chocolate at 10 a.m. and I’m happy. 🙂 We walked around a bit back towards the market so Hannah could meet a friend from the states who happened to also be teaching in Chile. Ended up eating lunch above the market. Though I wasn’t really hungry I just ate an empanada. Still delicious. Found the bus stop and headed to Santiago around 3 p.m. Arrived and headed to our new hostel. Bellavista Hostel
(Dardignac 0184 – Providencia, Barrio Bellavista)..another lucky pick…again blocks from restaurants, subway, and night life. We had Mediterranean food and wine tonight. Went to bed a bit early to try an attempt at finding a winery the following day.

Monday. After subwaying it to the middle of almost nowhere, then getting in a collectivo searching for the winery, we got on a bus back to sit on a patio and just drink wine while enjoying a few hours of daylight and warmth. Excellent wine and Bistec a lo pobre- french fries with meat, onions, and fried egg topped…delicious! Then we decided to go to HM for some shopping! It was kinda late afterwards…had onces at Starbucks, but on our way back we decided to go to the Plaza and walk around. Wandered and ending up finding a health food store with almond milk in the Bellas Artes barrio, also picked up some wine and snacks to eat on our outdoor patio at the hostel. What a relaxing weekend with two fabulous friends!!!

Tuesday morning brought melancholy good-byes to Han on her 8 hour bus ride and future planning to visit Valdivia soon! Had a Starbucks with Hannah before catching a noon bus. Since it was a holiday the streets were quiet making for a pleasant fall morning in the city.

Wednesday and Friday (22 and 24)…my head teacher was judging debates these days and I had about 8 hours of 35 kids to myself. I was so proud of them. They were so well-behaved. Though Wednesday was more stressful than Friday, the kids were fairly good except for the fourth graders who were chaotic. Yikes! My 5th graders were so awesome that during one of the writing exercises you could hear a pin drop. They spoke so much English and seemed very motivated as well which is a huge plus! On Wednesday after my yoga workshop my high school girls asked for it to go longer because they were enjoying it so much, so now we are doing an hour and 15 minutesish! Even though one of them admitted that she couldn’t understand all of my words, she loves the class because it’s relaxing to her…yay!

Over the weekend I just hung out and went to a couple cafes to think and write and spend time with God. I’m starting this new study on Prayer and it’s giving me a better perspective on Prayer with God and deepening my faith and confidence on a new level. My quiet time was needed; I have realized that sometimes I need that alone time to make me more aware of myself as a person and what makes sense in life. Though it may not be a cultural norm, I need to realize that it’s ok to be different. 🙂 I was able to catch up with friends and family which was so nice!

Monday May 27th brought a rainy morning and soaking wet feet all day, though I did remember my umbrella, skyped a dear friend, and got an Americano to start my day! Apparently we are in flood warnings and it’s supposed to rain for 3 days. Maybe I’ll risk getting made fun of and wear my rain boots! 🙂 Went to a random High School class today…they are so entertaining…I just love them! I helped grade a presentation then went to my normal class. Had my English conversation workshop and this is what one of my sweetest students says to me…””Miss I just have to tell you how I always tell my mom that I love Mondays and she thinks I’m crazy, but I tell her I get to see Megan and speak English and I just love English and you are so cool. So I was thinking you could come have lunch with my family someday?” Heartmelt. Being in Chile? Worth it. Teaching? Worth it. Love love love!

Sunday June 2nd
I had lunch with my student’s family today. They are so sweet and kind. Fernanda speaks English very well and it was a lot of fun hanging out with her and her family. We ate a delicious lunch, then went for a walk…and they showed me vacation pictures of Easter Island. Lots of laughter…

Oh my goodness time is flying…it’s now June 7th! This week I was with the little kids and I reviewed vocabulary with them using actions…it was awesome to get them all participating and having fun! They are adorable. Had my yoga workshop this week as well…and the girls wanted to stay til 5:30 so we did. Went to cardiobox and spinning class on Monday, yesterday went to ZUMBA. I’ve never had a male ZUMBA instructor before…he was quite the character and did some slightly provocative moves if I do say so myself. Eek! I’m going to rest this weekend, next week is busy, and then I’m heading to Valdivia with Hannah and Hannah!

June 8th: What a fun day!!! On Friday I spent the day with a high school teacher, and I assisted with a couple assignments including interview questions and have you ever? In one of my classes a group of students sat me down…the conversation basically went like this: “Miss, get over here. we need to chat.¨ uh ok. (they pull up a chair for me) “sit down miss. you need to speak Spanish with us.” alright I´ll try. ¨ok good miss. now miss, say something in Spanish for us.¨ I say a few words. (there’s like 10 of them gathered in a circle) ¨so miss, we are going to get food next Saturday, will you join us?¨ aww well next Saturday I’m traveling to Valdivia. “aw miss…we all want to talk to you so how about this weekend?” We set a time and met at a cafe. It was one of the best afternoons. They are so funny!!! We are going to see a movie together in a couple weeks. After hanging out with them I went to meet Jeka (my friend I go to the gym with- she is also a P.E. teacher at the school) and her mom, and Francisco for onces. It was delicious…a lomo (meat) sandwich with tomato and avocado! Her mother is so sweet and her home is beautiful, cozy, and warm. When I got back home, I was able to FaceTime Brittany and Sarah…they were in NY together for Jen’s shower. I am super bummed I couldn’t make it, but it was wonderful to talk to them together…missing them both so much! (Seriously, gotta love technology!)

"Limbo" by Daddy Yankee

Saturday May 11th

Oh my goodness today was a productive day! Laundry done in the a.m. (Gotta love just tossing everything in one load!) Then set off on my second post office adventure (The first in Santiago, now my town.) My host mom had made me a map (You all know how well I can read maps and follow street directions. Lost. Every time.) I got into a colectivo around 11. The post office is only open from 10 til 1p.m. on Saturdays. Today I found it…after heading down a street just a block over for a few minutes…however, I knew where I was from my getting lost the other week. After mailing my things, I set out to just wander and find a fun place to have coffee. I was walking along the main street behind the plaza area where there isn’t a main street…just a sidewalk lined with shops and restaurants and vendors and came across a bookstore that read Cafe 2* Piso…cafe on the second floor…so I wandered in and went upstairs…at first I didn’t see the cafe area…there was a painting area near the windows and more shelves of books, and an artists nook to buy paints and supplies. When I found it the barista showed me the coffee beans…Starbucks. Dark Espresso Roast. (My favorite!) He gave me a funny look when I wanted it black. No sugar or milk. A lovely cup of coffee after missing my sisters and family and Saturday mornings laughs and waffles, my day is getting better. I chatted with the barista in Spanish for a bit. I got out of the conversation as best I could that apparently he wants to have wine with me…hmmm. I’ll probably just end up giggling the whole time because I get so nervous and I can’t speak Spanish enough to have a fluent conversation. One can only say “me gusta…blah blah blah” so many times. Oh dear. (little did I know he would become a stalker 2 days later! ack!)
Places in Chile sometimes don’t have their own restrooms. Supposedly there are public restrooms in the main market area but I didn’t realize this until I was at a different place hoping to sit down and have lunch. The place ended up not having lunch items like I thought, so I ended up ordering a decadent lemon pastry with blueberries and more imported coffee that was delicious as well. And the whole time I really just had to use the restroom. Then I tried hailing a colectivo which was taking forever so I just hopped on a micro instead and of course he has to stop every 10 feet or so it seemed! Finally I was near the cinema, so I got off and ran into the cafe and said as fast as I could ¿Dónde está el baño por favor? Seriously. It’s just one thing I am not used to is trying to find a restroom in a cafe area! Now on to the fruit stand.
The lady at the fruit stand and I are friends. I think. Except today she was rambling on in English words and I was so confused because she was also speaking randomly in Spanish really fast. Anyways…she’s the nicest lady and I buy a lot of fruit from her; it’s so cheap!
On my way home now… for the past few weeks I’ve really gotten out of shape…I mean I still run about 5 times a week, but not very far. I had been lifting a ton of weights and had been doing so much cardio in the past few months that I’ve really begun to miss it…sooo…I forked over the money and got a gym membership. They have spin, yoga, zumba, salsa, cardio pump…etc! I’m so excited! 2 months of kicking my butt at the gym and my Chilean diet of artisan bread (I can’t say no to that toasted with avocado!) and cappuccino cookies (so good) won’t have anything on me! I’ve gotta do this!

Sunday May 12th

Happy Mother’s Day to my beautiful mother! Thank you for always believing in me and encouraging me to follow my dreams and for loving me unconditionally…I love you!!!

Congratulations to my brother for graduating HS…Jake, I’m so proud of you and I wish I could be there to help celebrate today! Love ya!

Called my Mom this morning. 5,400 miles apart…thank goodness for technology in times like this. Missing my family this weekend. Everyone was all together for my brother’s HS graduation. I knew I would be missing it…but when the time comes around I always get melancholy and a bit homesick.

Spent the day relaxing, cleaning, and…going to the gym! I loved it! They have equipment from the states and so many machines. Beautiful sunset tonight and a quiet evening to myself before another busy week. 🙂

Monday May 13th

Most. Intense. Spinning. one hour solid of fast music. no down time. and I forgot my towel and water bottle. never again will I do that…oops. Ugh it feels good to sweat! Feeling great after a hectic morning.

15 minutes before classes started we decided to split the class. I reviewed for the test…months, days, numbers, and how to write the date. I also worked on the pronunciation of  ¨November.¨ During the game I had the opportunity to show them how important it is to pronounce the word right or you wll spell it wrong…one student wrote ¨Nobenber¨ because that´s how she kept pronouncing it…the other wrote ¨November.¨ I hope they do well on their tests on Tuesday.

After classes and my English workshop, I attended a Mother´s day presentation by the Pre-K and K classes. Oh. my. goodness. The most adorable program I have ever seen. Each class had a different song and theme. They sang snipets of each song dubbed with Mother´s day lyrics. For example, Rock You was dubbed with ¨she rocks like a star¨ or something like that and the kids dressed up like rockstars! Precious. 🙂

Tuesday May 14th
3 days til wine and ocean with my lovely volunteer friends! simply cannot wait!

Made an avocado, spinach, strawberry, chocolate smoothie this afternoon after an awesome weight lifting session. Gotta kick it into gear. I love the feeling of feeling stronger! I never used to lift weights this much and now…welllll I really like it!

Tonight I got on a Micro towards Jumbo by myself. (yay!) It was a bummer when my friend couldn’t make it because of staying late, but it turned out to be a nice evening. I went to get a pedicure and manicure at French Beauty in the marketplace area. Best pedicure ever! So wonderful. And only 16,000 pesos. Not bad for a great service! I also found a Dunkin Donuts…yummy hot chocolate on this cold evening! Took a taxi home…ugh they are kinda pricey, but it was late and I didn’t want to wait around for a micro.

You know the best people that you have met? You always remember the place and time where you had your first connection. Whether it’s on a vacation or regular cafe or in a living situation; I always remember first laughing with the people in my life. I’m just reflecting on the past 4 years…so much has happened since graduating college…it’s life happening…I know life happens everyday…even when I’m in school…but this I feel is “real life.” Making plans and following through with dreams and inviting people to spend time in your own crazy life. Not just partying and saying hi, but really getting to know these people and each time spent, creating a memory to last more than a couple hours. My mind is so happy, but sometimes my heart is heavy, for I wish I could share so many experiences with everyone that I’m close to. I hope each knows that I think of them and cherish our friendship no matter what the circumstance. You know who you are. 🙂

Wednesday May 15th
mucho frioooo!!!! oh so very cold!

Held another yoga session today. I adore it. Absolutely adore teaching each class. I don’t think I’m very flowy, but I think it’s so cool that the girls enjoy the classes. Yay! (Maybe I’ll go to India someday and get certified…) My regular classes are going quite well too.

After school, Francisco and Catalina and I went and got coffee…they are so much fun! Now I’m just catching up on my blog and thinking about life…

Went to salsa and spin class with F…dancing salsa is one of my favorites- in workout clothes it’s even better and Spin class was a tough workout! Whohoo! “Limbo,” by Daddy Yankee

Thursday May 16th
Happy Anniversary to my lovely parents!!! yes. perfect. love this mix!

Today I had class with 5B by myself. My head teacher had a meeting so he asked me to just take the class. They were so talkative today, but they accomplished taking the quiz, so I guess it was a productive day! Serious craziness though. So many kids speaking Spanish a mile a minute…so many voices, so many words I don’t understand, and so many questions…ahhhh! Thank goodness for two of my best students who helped to translate. 🙂 They were awesome today!

After school I went to the bus terminal to buy my ticket for tomorrow…I didn’t realize that there would be so many companies saying Sanitago! Santiago! Ummm…Necesito un pasaje a Santiago para el viernes a las cuatro y media por favor?! Well they all wanted me to get on the next bus to Santiago…so I had to explain that I needed a ticket for tomorrow…so I make sure I get a seat since it’s a holiday weekend! Cannot wait T-24 hours til I’m drinking wine with two lovely ladies!

This evening I went over to another teacher’s home where she had onces for a small group of us teachers. I enjoy hanging out with everyone and listening to their Spanish trying to figure out and learn what they are saying. I am getting better at understanding and comprehending their rapid speaking! yay! The teachers showed me the National Dance- “Cueca.”

If it’s one thing Chile has helped me do is go with the flow…relax…and laugh. So much. 
Laugh and laugh and laugh. 

my Starbucks!


2nd cafe!

I have the biggest sweet tooth ever…
no wonder I joined the gym!

biggest avocados ever!!!


pretty mountains!

spinning room!

sun coming through the clouds on my Monday morning!

I’m the freak who asks strangers who are
wearing Nebraska clothing if they have
traveled to Nebraska.
And then ask them to take a picture with me.
In Spanish.

my nails! ahh!
sometimes a girls gotta feel pretty!

Britney- this one is for you!!!

my toes!
ahhmazing pedicure!

tiniest mocha! cute 🙂

a perk to having a window in the bathroom…

Monday May 6th
I’ve started to crave my daily avocado and bread…

Mission for the day? Go to the Registro Civil to pick up my ID card. Alone. (Check!) I got into a collectivo, said the place, went in, waited 10 minutes or so, walked out and directed another collectivo back to my area. I found out today that my cafe opens at 9 a.m.! So happy.

My musings as I sit and enjoy the morning…
clear blue skies edged with white tips from the mountains. for the next few months this won’t ever get old and I’ll probably continue to talk aout this majestic site.
I woke up early to go to the Registro Civil to pick up my ID card, and now I sit having a conversation in her fluent and my broken Spanish with my cafe lady, Jessica. Slowly I am learning to speak. I have the words in my head I just can’t spit them out. So she continues to talk. She is studying kinesiology. Her mom and brother have lieved in Atlanta for 10 years. But she has a boyfriend and is studying and working here in Chile. The thing about cafes in other countries is the people there like to talk. About anything. Especially when I come at the quietest hours. This is going to be the best way to practice my Spanish because I don’t feel rushed in what I want to say and she helps me say the phrase right. and for this I am ever grateful.

Someday…I’m going to open a cafe, learn common phrases in many languages, have my menu in multiple “alphabets,” and advertise in a variety of countries. Because I want visitors in my city, wherever I am, to feel at home, like I have in the countries I have lived and visited. Even when seasoned travelers are on the road a simple comfort could be being able to read a menu in a familiar language on a coffee break from seeing the sites. Java House in Kenya. Dozens of cafes (especially Cafe Muse) in Korea. And now Deleitte in Chile.

Great English workshop this afternoon. We played a fun clean version of Never Have I Ever…

Tuesday May 7th
Baby you gotta get to me…new music from Lady A called “Get to Me.” Amazing.

Split the 6th grade A class today, had to review the months and ordinal numbers for their test. Fun lesson and they were so well-behaved. So impressed. I have this weird way to get the students to be quiet…maybe not for the whole class, but the initial welcome and most of the time…Sometimes I shock myself. Out at 2…my how I love my Tuesday afternoons…lovely warm run in the sun!

So I must say something about the windows in the bathrooms. Most homes have windows in the bathrooms because the water is heated by a gas boiler thing, therefore if there’s a gas leak and the window is open I won’t suffocate. However, my window is not exactly at a decent height. Thank goodness my bathroom is on the second floor! During my shower this evening, I had a clear view of the sunset between the mountains…gorgeous. At night sometimes the batteries get really cold so I have to go outside and flip the switch a few times to warm up the batteries so I can have hot water; my host mom told me I could shower at night if I didn’t want to do that, but I don’t mind…

Wednesday May 8th

As a part of the English Opens Doors Program we are required to conduct extra-curricular activities. On Mondays, I hold a conversation class and on Wednesdays I have started a yoga class. Today was my first yoga class! It went so well and I had about 5 7/8 graders and 8 HS students- which is a great turn out for my tiny space and other club involvement! The girls had so much fun and were excited about the following weeks! Yay!!! 🙂

Thursday May 9th
Teacher…your eyes look brighter with that sweater! Awww…

Awesome day of split classes…review of the months, ordinal numbers, and days of the week for 6th graders, and directions and places around town for my 5th graders! They told my co- teacher they wished they could have English class allll day! 🙂

Tonight’s run was crisp…like Fall weather in Nebraska. It was hazy out and covered my usual mountain view…

Yesterday, Mom emailed me about her receiving the Master Teacher award…so proud of her. My mother is amazing…and she is the one of the most dedicated people I know…in everything she does…her family, school, and extra-curricular activities. Love you Mom!

I got my “U”

my classroom is HUGE- I’m spoiled! 

need to decorate!

mountain view outside window…
sometimes it’s so distracting!

I found a Natural Medicine Dr. Office-
Acupuncture and Chiropractor
Now I just need to go…

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