My International Life (Canada)

My International Life

Was Skyping with my daughter at the airport, I initially thought I had capture my own fingers in this photo.

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Starbucks hand photobomb

UPDATE 6/23/14

Proof that I am  a futurist; as only a few days later did Starbucks announce their “free-tuition ” plan for working students that has many like myself wondering if it’s more of a challenge to freedom or at the least educational choice.

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I have now traveled within three different countries so I am going to official call myself an international scholar. 🙂 This connecting flight from Santiago through Canada to Columbus was one of the shorter flights.  The one to New York had a 23 hour lay-over.  I just couldn’t do that and was going nutty on this 15 hour flight.  I don’t like long plane rides in cramps airplanes with horrible airplane food.  Sorry AirCanada, you guys served the worst meals I’ve ever seen or attempted to eat (not to mention the spikey metal rod poking out of the seat in front of me that the steward gave me masking tape as a “fix”.  You all really need to reexamine you meal offerings and customs process.  That new computer process you’re testing seemed impractical and not very efficient.  Nevertheless, I’m glad I packed my own snack bag or I would have been on a fast during the flight.  This trip made me really appreciate my 9 hour trip on Delta from Atlanta to Santiago a lot more now.

Field Trip Tuesday with Cami to Pontificia Catholic University of Chile

Field Trip Tuesdaywith Cami to Pontificia Catholic University of Chile

The #1 Latin American University in the World.  The above sign’s US equivalent would be Office of Student Affairs.

Change of Plans

Initially, my good friend Camila and I were going to have a pleasant lunch and visit some Chilean museums around Santiago.  But, we were flexible and decided to do the museum visit another day.  Cami works in the microbiology lab at Pontificia pursing her graduate degree.  Since I have an undergraduate degree in biology, specializing in microbiology with a minor in Chemistry, her invitation to visit her campus and lab was met with great enthusiasm by me.   Below are some of our pictures from around town today and on her campus.  I’m not going to write a lot of text on this blog so just enjoy the pictures. 🙂

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A large statue depicting Jesus with outstretched arms adorns the rooftop at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (PUC).  Below you can see the statue on the building above my head.


Returning to the Barrio Lastarria District for lunch today was a must!

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My accidental artsy picture taking skills allowed me to create a mirror image illusion of the courtyard but they are actually separate left and right side photos.


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A statue of Pope John Paul II graces the courtyard at PUC, representing the dedication speech he gave there back in 1987.

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In Chile the academic program areas (Carrera) are represented by various Facultad versus the departments, schools, and colleges that we see in the United States.  Pictured here are the study areas of Law and Biological Sciences at Universidad Pontificia de Chile (PUC).

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Cami’s Laboratory on the PUC campus

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Just when I thought Lay’s potato chips had exhausted their flavor options they go all international on us. However, I’m pretty confident that this huge billboard was erected in honor of World Cup football participating countries. 🙂

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Mandarin oranges growing on a tree in a public park near my hotel.

Mini Vaca in Santiago, making new friends and colleagues.

Mini Vaca in Santiago and making new friends.

Profesora Paola Aceituno O. teaches at the Universidad Tecnológica Metropolitana (UTEM) in Santiago. We are both members of the WFSF (World Futures Studies Federation).

Mixing business with pleasure can actually be quite enjoyable sometimes.


The Santiago weather was not very kind to my hair outside today.  My “do” almost turned into a wavy Afro.  But, I think that would have been kinda cute. 🙂  Any-who, earlier in the year I was accepted into the WFSF (World Futures Studies Federation), which is a worldwide organization of scholars, researchers, policy-makers, and world-citizens who have an interest in forecasting and futures studies.  Profesor Aceituno meet during the grand discussions worldwide during the March 1st International Futures Day.  She learned that my research was in Chile and we agreed to make time to meet upon my return to continue my dissertation/visiting scholar experience this semester.  Well, fortunately for me, she was available for a list minute meeting request as I need to travel to Santiago on this past Sunday.  Today, I had the good pleasure of meeting with her face-to-face over an enjoyable lunch.  I hope she shares my sentiment that I believe I have found a new lifelong friend and colleague in this journey of academic inquiry and research.  I very much appreciated our conversations over lunch, visiting a historic area in Santiago for lunch, and moreover additional assistance in identifying more participants to take my research survey which is a part of my quantitative portion of this mixed methods study.

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As we walked, Paola showed me this above restaurant that typically isn’t open on Mondays and I immediately had a Georgia flashback to our most popular late night/early morning eatery, Waffle House.  I have literally had dreams of WoHo’s delicious and inexpensive food while in Chile and will make it my business to get some while I’m back in the US for a spell.  Nevertheless, seeing this place made me immediately feel at home in Santiago with visions of Rosco’s Chicken and Biscuit dancing in my head. Ha ha!  I have also enjoyed capturing in pictures the amazing graffiti art that I am seeing all over Chile.  Much of it always amazes me and I often wished I knew what was on the mind of the artist making these images.

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I forgot to mention that my Spanish continues to improve and is much better than when I arrived her last year.  Professor Aceituno is also learning to speak English so I offered to be her conversation partner via Skype and we can help each other fine tune our language skills as well as share academic interest.  Her academic area is in the arena of Political Science and my interest in Spiral Dynamic Theory in relation to civic engagement appear to be excellent intersections for academic collaboration.  Our conversations went so well I actually didn’t realize that we spoke very little English.  Nevertheless, she had her smartphone translator and I my purse size mini dictionary close by if any emergency translation needs arose.  Fortunately, no such crisis emerged.

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Barrio Lastarria

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The people at my hotel had told me about the wonderful a famous Chilean places to dine that were in walking distance of the Park Plaza Hotel called the Barrio Lasterria.  However, last semester I was only there for a day trying to resolve my Chilean residency registration issue with my dear friend Camila.  We had very little time for social/entertainment adventures but were able to enjoy fellow ship and coffee this evening.  Camila and I are going to hang out more tomorrow and visit the museum near my hotel which unfortunately was not open today.  Nevertheless, Paola treated me to a heavenly meal for lunch in this beautiful area of Santiago.  That was the best fish I had eaten in ages and was so sad that I was too full to finish it all.  I told her tonight I was going to be wishing I had this food late in my hotel room.  That is in fact the case as I am typing this blog post at 3:13am and looking at this meal again is making me very hungry.  I have plans to revisit the fine-dining areas with Camila tomorrow for lunch and I hope that Professor Aceituno can also join us so that I can return the favor of treating her to lunch.  🙂

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The entrada (appetizer) was a chicken and shrimp dish in a type of light cream soup base.  There were also supposedly “hot peppers” in the bowl, but I laughed as I shared with Paola how these was not nearly as hot as I like my food.  Hot Sauce and jalapeños have become a regular part of my culinary delights.  I was surprised to learn that Chilean foods aren’t typically hot in flavor as you would find more common place with Mexican foods.  But this meal was divine (¡Muy rico!).

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Professor Aceituno is also an accomplished author and she brought a present for me in the form of her latest publication to lunch.  I only just this evening realized that I forgot to ask her to sign it for me.  That is a must do upon my return to Chile.  I told her that I was going to post her book, picture jacket, and foto on my blog so I can tell everyone that I am good friends with a famous international author and scholar.  She actually, is the journal editor of UTEM’s journal Revista de Estudios Políticos y Estratégicos (Journal of Political and Strategic Studies) in Chile.  She recently extended an invitation to me to submit an article for the September deadline and we discussed my introduction my doctoral research, Spiral Dynamic Theory, Memetics, and multiple intelligences theories for the manuscript submission.  I likely will not be able to cover all of these areas in relations to civic engagement, but certainly believe I can write and introductory document of these topics for their review.

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Here is the museum Paola helped me to locate after lunch and where Cami and I will visit tomorrow.  It was quite literally in walking distance of my hotel.  I’m very excited!!

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Above is a very beautiful statue of an angle that was directly across the street in a nearby park adjacent to the museum.  The guard allowed us limited access inside today (as they were closed) so I took this photo of the unique column structures made out of people on the upper level inside the atrium of the museum.


I was able to return to my favorite loft apartemento at the Park Plaza Hotel on Huerfenos in Santiago.  Man!!  I love that place.  Initially, I was placed in a standard room not realizing that they had given me an upgrade upon my first visit there.  I was not happy with the standard room as I usually do all of my hotel and travel bookings on Orbitz and I selected the more expensive option thinking I was getting the loft.  But, I was wrong and initially very sad.


However, hotel worker Marcello came to my rescue and explained to the hotel manager my disappointment.  As a result, they moved me into the loft the next day for the rest of my stay in Santiago for no additional charge.  How cool of a blessing was that?!!  I think I’ve now found my favorite hotel in Santiago. 🙂


Park Plaza Hotel knows what’s up, and that a black woman needs her body lotion. We’ve got to resist the “ashyness”. Ha ha!

The cherry on top for the evening is visiting with my first and longest friend in Santiago mi querida Camila.  She had a ton of laughs over coffee and sandwiches this evening and I had to get a picture of her with her minion t-shirt on.  She loves those little creatures!  Ha ha.


Introducing the first and only Chilean who does not like the Pharrell “Happy Song”, yet at the same time loves the “Despicable Me” minions! Brahahhahaha Mi cariño Cami. 🙂

¡Hasta mañana todo el mundo!