“I say my hell is the closet I’m stuck inside, can’t see the light. And my heaven is a nice house in the sky, got central heating, and I’m alright.” – Dave Matthews Band, So Much to Say
I open up this blog post with this particular Dave Matthews quote because here in Chile we do not have central heating and I am not alright. While you are are reading this in the comfort of your Northern hemisphere house, embracing the warmth and green colors of Spring, I am sitting here during Chile’s autumn at my desk wearing wool socks and an oversized Penn State hoody wondering why Chilean architects will go to all the trouble to build structures that can withstand the force of earthquakes but for some odd reason don’t feel that it’s important to install heating systems in their buildings. Alongside the fact that Chileans consider fruits to be deserts and platform shoes to be stylish, this is simply one of the many mysteries of this country that keep me awake at night. While most houses possess a few space heaters, these small heaters never seem to strong enough to ward off the powerful hand of the fall air. Up to this point, I’ve been quite fond of the weather. Until last week, it had only rained in Santiago about two or three times since I had been here and the skies had been cloudy perhaps only 6-8 of those days, but now that fall has finally settled in, this last week has been characterized by overcast and melancholy days. Although, the temperature has not yet been unbearably uncomfortable. Recently the days have been hovering in the mid-50s (Fahrenheit of course) and sinking to the upper-40s at night. This wouldn’t be an issue for me having grown up in Western Pennsylvania, but because we do not have central heating here, the core temperature in my house will essentially rise and fall with the outdoor temperature. So generally my house has been fairly comfortable during the day, but recently, each sunset has left me feeling as if my house is being invaded by a horde of dementors.
Despite the fact that the house drops to Antarctic temperatures during the night, fall in Santiago is not as awful as I make it out to be. While it might not compare to the fiery cascade of colors I could observe in the Appalachian forests at Penn State, it’s been pleasant to walk to down the streets and see the shifting colors of the trees backed by the city aesthetic. And because it’s raining down here in the valley, it’s snowing up in the mountains. I think in one of my first posts I described the “white hats” of the mountain peaks after the first snowfall in the Andes here. Well those peaks were the highest peaks in the area that are in reality quite far off. But now, as winter comes closer and bad weather grows more frequent, even the mountains fairly close to my house are taking out there “white caps”, although I suppose now the caps are really more like white sweaters or jackets that not only engulf the mountain peaks, but essentially consume the entire upper portions of the mountains. Not only do the mountains grow more beautiful with the transition of the seasons, but through each steady rain, the airs of the city are cleansed of nearly all their smog and contamination, resulting in a crystal clear view of the skyscrapers and mountains that compose the area. Yesterday morning I was walking outside following a night of non-stop rain and I looked up to the mountains surrounding the city. To be able to see the Andes in such a state of clarity after the nighttime snowfall was unlike anything I have seen down here. The mountains were simply so raw and pristine, they’re white peaks glowing in glory in the fresh morning sun.
So, maybe I lied. Despite the fact that we don’t have central heating, I’m quite alright.
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<p>Hello and welcome to my blog! My name is Matt Osche and my two greatest passions are my writing and my travels! I’m just your average 20-year old college student trying to “carpe diem” while balancing my studies and my passions. Having grown up in Penn Trafford, PA, a small suburb of Pittsburgh, I’ve come a long way from my humble beginnings as my semester in Santiago, Chile, is my second adventure after my junior year of high school spent in a small town outside of Oslo, Norway as a foreign exchange student. Take a look at my blog and read about my adventures here in South America!</p>