Chile| Torres del Paine


There is a beautiful national park in the south of Chile where you can find penguins, seals, cormorants, and a wide range of other wildlife. In the beautiful mountains and glaciers of Patagonia there are numerous opportunities to hike, take a boat tour, or fine dine in a seafood restaurant along the sea. The slow but strong impacts of climate change are prevalent as you pass the snow capped mountains and watch the wildlife hunt for food. They are having to adapt to new temperatures and climates, while adjusting to a transforming ecosystem.

I spent the first day taking a boat tour to Isla Magdalena where I spent an hour walking around an island covered in small Magellanic penguins and seagulls. Along the shore were also a flock of South American terns that reminded me of Alameda County’s local Least Tern. The penguins burrowed in little caves that they buried in the ground and I think some may have even had chicks. It was an amazing experience to see the penguins so up close, as I especially appreciated their waddle and interactions with us and each other.

After walking the island, we boarded the boat and took off towards another small island that forbids tourists to walk on it. There we watched elephant seals, seal lions, and other species lounging and climbing on the rocks. They allowed us to climb up to the roof of the boat to sit and watch from a distance. I felt so tiny sitting on this small boat in the middle of a vast ocean. The blue sky was endless and it reminded me that the only limits we have are those we put on ourselves. It is not easy to break comfort zones and put in the actions necessary to experience life for all it has to offer, but through time, patience, and discipline I found myself learning to love trying new things and exploring by myself. Spending so much time by myself has given me a new comfortability in being alone and staying focused on my personal priorities. While, this may seem outside of my trip to the south of Chile, it was through these experiences of traveling that gave me more independence and confidence in myself.

Having the opportunity to tour through the extraordinary lands of Torres del Paine the following morning was also a life changing experience. The mountains were covered in snow and the water of the lakes were a beautiful turquoise blue. We visited a cave that was once inhabited by the indigenous people of Patagonia, the Selk’nam and Aonikenk. After walking over a swinging bridge and through a small valley covered in sand we were met with beautiful glaciers. The sand and small rocks hit us hard as the wind blew strong. Once again I was met with feelings of being so powerful, but so small. I let the wind blow me around as I danced along the water and stared into the cloudless sky. It was during this tour that I saw an armadillo in person for my first time, he was super cute! There was also a beautiful eagle that landed right next to where we were resting. After months of spending time within the city and university, it was great to get away to nature and sit alone with the sounds of wildlife and land practically untouched.

I cannot wait to return to Chile and Argentina in the future to explore more of the beautiful lands and regions. There are so many hidden gems within the North and South of both countries, it is impossible to see everything within such little time, especially while staying on top of school.

Chile | Spaces for Memory


Memorials and memory spaces are popular ways that the lives of the disappeared go remembered. Often the memory sites have lists of names, photographs, or other artifacts that remind us of the lives that were lost during the brutal dictatorships of the seventies and eighties. Chile’s dictatorship under Pinochet began in 1973. Thousands of people were tortured and exiled and a small percentage of them were killed aka disappeared.

Memorials such as the one at Villa Grimaldi, where many of these photos were taken, are examples of how spaces once filled with torture, violence, and state terrorism can be transformed into spaces for healing, education, reflection, and community. Villa Grimaldi was a torture center during the dictatorship in Chile that began in 1973 and ended in 1990. Today, Villa Grimaldi has trees, fountains, a pool, and other parts of the memorial that are remainders of the dictatorship, but most of the site was destroyed. There is a rose garden that gives memory to the women who disappeared and a fountain to represent cleansing and recognition of those who were killed by death flights.

One thing that is common in nearly all of the memorials I visited is a section of the memorial or memory site to be designated to informing visitors on a brief history of the dictatorship and why there are names, testimonies, and photographs that represent something so much larger than I could understand. My classes often questioned who should create the memorials and who they should be made for. Some of the memorials/ memory sites we went to were Chile’s National Stadium,The Museum of Human Rights and Memory, and The General Cemetery.

The museum was very informative and shed light on connections between the violation of human rights in Chile to violation of human rights around the world. They had audios, videos, and other artifacts that brought me back in time and gave me a look into the horrors that took place during the dictatorship. Newspaper clips, coloring books, and life size images of people on the wall gave us something to hold on to, connect with, and feel. The difference between the museum and other sites for memory is that the museum was curated and has galleries that change throughout the year.

The cemetery on the other hand holds its memories and information like a box with a thousand keys. It cannot move nor can it be replaced. The cemetery provides us with a much more personal interaction with those who had been lost. It is not just seeing their names or watching interviews, it is being in the presence of their spirit and their area of rest.

While some may try their best to forget the past, the past lives through our present. It defines our today, but we get to write the definition. How do we heal from trauma and connect to our past while creating a sustainable foundation for our future? Memories provide us with context, hope, and a point of reference as we move forward.

We often discussed: how do we learn from memory? What do we do with the archives of our past? Does public symbology provide spaces for healing or reinstitute trauma?

Obstacles regarding memory and space are universal and can be seen throughout the world. We fight for representation of the Tongan people, the people of the land in which UCLA rests, and the people of South America fight for advocacy of the Mapuche people as well as other groups. Our memories of trauma and historical events vary depending on our community and time in life. We can utilize our memories as a community for social justice, art, and so much more.

Chile | Spaces for Reflection, Healing, and Education


Nov 23, 2018

Throughout Santiago you can find spaces for reflection, healing, and education. These spaces provide resources for occupational training, information on human rights and legal policies, as well as opportunities to organize and build solidarity. Organizations such as ​INFOCAP: Instituto de Formacion y Capacitacion Popular: La Universidad del Trabajador ​work vigorously to tackle the alleviation of poverty in Chile. INFOCAP in particular focuses on providing classes and training in a variety of occupations to people with the highest need in the low income communities of Santiago. There is also a beautiful space with peacocks, rabbits, chickens, and other animals where people can sit, relax, work, and take a breathe outside of the concrete jungle.

Chile is also known for its street art which can be found in Valparaiso, the South, and in the bustling capital streets of Santiago. One of many examples is the Cultural Arts Center, GAM. It is a free space that has a variety of different artifacts, art exhibits, and spaces to sit. Their book store was also quite nice.

I think it is important that there are free spaces available for people to engage with art, books, and education. Art makes space for expression, healing, and reflection. It can be a form of education that brings people together and challenges us to engage with trauma, politics, and other subjects that we may not always be as receptive to in everyday conversation.

Other things that are important to acknowledge when considering human rights and social organizing in Chile and many regions of South America, is the history of dictatorship and state terrorism. People lived in fear and repression for decades with little to no opportunity to express themselves or speak out against the military or anyone in power. Today, there continues to be a complicated relationship between the people, politics, and police. People are still sprayed with water and the streets can be filled with tear gas as people unite against the injustice that is taking place on a national and international level. The land, water, and other natural resources are being stolen from the people of Chile by Transnational Corporations, primarily ran by the United States. This particularly hurts the Mapuche people living in the North and the South. There is a global trend of violence and exclusion against indigenous people and other people of color. After learning a bit of the history of Argentina and Chile I hope to continue to expand my knowledge in this subject, Spanish, international relations, and a variety of histories and socioeconomic research.

Education, whether through art, school, or experiences, provides opportunities to grow and shed light on possibilities and realities that are beyond us. It gives us a gateway to explore and question. Education leads to better understanding and through better understanding we find compassion. Art and activism give people a feeling of purpose and hope. What is happening throughout the world is difficult to comprehend and we may not always find the best solutions. Yet, the consistent desire to be better as an individual, as a people, and as a world gives us an opportunity to acknowledge the problems at hand and work towards cultivating a world filled with peace, love, equity, and freedom.

Chile | Day Trips to Valparaiso and Reñaca


November 15, 2018

I spent a day trip going to Valparaiso and Reñaca, which are two towns North of Santiago. In Valparaiso, we walked through the streets looking at the street art strewn about every alley, wall, and window pane. The color and precision amazed me. I have so much admiration for those who do this kind of work, because it takes so much practice, confidence, and skill. An amazing thing about art is everyone interprets it differently and everyone notices different things. The art on these homes and stores is different than going to a museum or any other visual art, because it is everywhere in this little town and it is so easy to miss something that could have been small, but powerful. Everywhere around you is a canvas. Most of the art had a lot of symbolism that varied in genre. There was a lot of political symbology critiquing gender, labor, education, and class relations, as well as a lot of advocacy and recognition of the indigenous people who once ruled this land.

In Reñaca, I was met with a relaxing time at the beach and a spectacular sunset. It would be my first and last time at a beach in South America, because there wasn’t any in Buenos Aires and the closest one to Santiago is Viña del Mar, around two hours away. The sandy beach was warm and the waves were cool. We ate gelato and enjoyed once with the family of a friend who I went with. Once is a meal that is very popular in Chile. There is a small breakfast consisting of tea, bread, fruit, and occasionally eggs. The lunch is relatively large, around 2:00pm. Instead of dinner, may people have what is called once. Which often consists of bread, avocado spread, egg scrambles, ham, cheese, tea, coffee, and other little finger foods. I must admit that I did not have much variety in my diet during my time in Chile, but that the woman I lived with in Argentina was better at diversifying our meal plan.

It was a beautiful day trip spent exploring a variety of different sceneries. I enjoyed taking public transportation and walk along the busy avenues. The buses in Valpo were also very special, because they were colorful and played music. It was overall such a warm, light experience that had me rekindle my love for murals and street art in ways that I had forgotten. It gave me time to step out of the streets of Santiago and school and focus on what’s really important to me: art, activism, and nature.

Argentina | A Wonder of the World


Oct 16, 2018

I spent a weekend in Uruguay exploring the small town of Colonia. It was a much needed break from the bustling streets of Buenos Aires and reminded me of the simple things I appreciate in life. The best way to get to Uruguay is on a ferry, which takes less than two hours to get there, and is really affordable considering you are going to another country. Many people in my program only went for the day, but my friend and I chose to stay the night there and I am very glad we did. The second day was the funnest for me, because our Air BnB host showed us around the streets of Colonia and introduced us to some great new friends and connections that we would not have met if we did not have such great help from him.

Colonia is a small, boat town with a good vibe, overpriced food, and an opportunity to sit by the water and lose track of time. The street art in South America is beautiful and very popular overall, often it speaks politically or socially to issues regarding the country/ community. I had a great time & definitely recommend as a weekend getaway to anyone looking for some mid-evil, small town architecture and fun!

Oct 20, 2018

I also spent a life changing weekend in Iguazu Falls where I encountered one of the seven wonders of the world. It truly was indescribably wonderful. Las cataratas (waterfalls) cover a portion of the border between Brazil & Argentina and cover the lands of the national park on both sides. The experience was indescribable, so I am just going to post some photos here and leave it at that. If you ever have the opportunity to go, DO IT!

Argentina | From a Rough Start to a Hopeful Beginning



Pre-departure paranoia. Excited for what is to come, but anxious to know what that will really look like. It seems there is so much to do in preparation for such a long time gone.. Am I forgetting anything? I cannot wait for the adventure that lies ahead, but I know that I must be thoughtful in packing lightly and doing everything I can ahead of time to have the best transition.


As I approach closer to departure day a wide range of emotions flood over me. I am excited, nervous, anxious, curious, and somewhat in awe.


My good friend and mother saying goodbye at the airport in SFO!

I turned twenty today! I decided to make what was meant to be two posts into one, because the first one “Pre-departure paranoia” was too short. It has been a very long last seventy-six hours. After a heart felt goodbye to my grandparents, mother, and boyfriend, I left SFO airport on Thursday at noon and landed in Newark 8:30. With less than an hour layover and a previously delayed flight, I was rushing to make it to my next gate. Of course, the gate on my boardingpass was not the gate I was actually departing from (it had been changed suddenly). Once I realized that I was standing at the gate for b-b-Barcelona, rather than b-b-Buenos Aires, I knew I was in big trouble. Sure enough- I had missed my flight, the only flight that goes to Buenos Aires once a day. Fortunately, one of my closest friends at UCLA is from New York and I was able to meet him in New Jersey to stay the night and morning with him at his beautiful vacation home. His family treated me like I was one of them and words cannot express how grateful I am to have had them at such a great time of need.

Every Lyft driver I met on the East Coast was super nice and one even gave me a few gifs for the road!

My flight was long, but I was able to meet two new friends, a couple native to Buenos Aires who agreed to show me around the city sometime. Despite all of the hardships, I have been coming away with so much patience and wisdom as a result. It also has made me realize how little you need as long as you have yourself and good people in your circle.

I wish I could say that I was feeling great right now and that everything is going so smoothly, but that is not the case. I am still waiting for my luggage which was left in Newark, my WiFi will not turn on AT ALL, my computer won’t charge, and literally- all of the basic, privileged, materialistic factors that make life comfortable and at ease are seeming to give me the hardest of times. Is that my lesson for the week? Let go of the material, take care of the physical and spiritual.. I do not need any material to define my experience. Stay calm, patient, openminded, optimistic, and thankful. I look forward. to writing in a few days when everything is more settled. For now, here are pictures of friends, family, and blessings.

August 27, 2018

Update: My first week in Argentina is officially over. I finally received my luggage with everything in it and have been slowly but surely getting myself organized. It has been amazing so far. The city is flowing with life and is filled with memories of Argentina’s rich past.

The feminist movement is stronger than ever as people gather throughout the streets demanding the legalization of abortion, workers rights, and other basic needs! Today was my first day of class at the Universidad Torquato di Tella. I skip to this point to add some context to why I chose this program in particular and how relevant it has been already in regards to the work I do. We discussed the foundation of human rights and what the world would be like without rights. What are rights and how do they differ from liberties? I chose this program in particular to delve into human rights and the cultural memory aspect of development, economics, and social justice. One of the beautiful things that I have fallen in love with in Buenos Aires already is how strong the LGBTQ+ community is here. Despite it’s size, the community is strong and there are plenty of opportunities to get involved and find safe, queer spaces throughout the city.

There is a constant drive for change and demanding people’s rights. Although, many of the buildings consist of old, abandoned European architecture.. the people within Argentina refuse to be forgotten.

August 28, 2018

Two of my favorite adventures I have gone on with the program are to Estancia and San Telmo. San Telmo is where a ten block market filled with Argentinian tradition and tourist traps is located. San Telmo is considered to be the oldest barrio in Buenos Aires. In 1871, affluent thriving San Telmo was struck by Yellow Fever. Thousands of people died and those who were still alive believed that the disease was on everything that they touched, so the upperclass left to the North, leaving everything behind. People from all over moved into San Telmo over the next few decades, finding houses filled with jewelry, antiques, and chandeliers. Instead of keeping everything, they threw it out onto the streets to sell. Today, those same streets are filled with items and antiques of the like. As I was walking down the street, I was able to imagine and feel the people who once lived here, moving everything out onto the streets where some wealthy buyer would come and pick it up. You could feel the dynamics of social class and race between interactions both personal and interpersonal. Although, I had to leave early to pick up my luggage, the little time spent there was one for the books.

A few days later we took a trip to Estancia. At Estancia, I had the opportunity to ride bikes along the country side, practice archery for the first time, drink lots of mate, milk a cow, and ride a horse in the sunset. WOW, what a mouth full and what a full day! It was such an amazing experience and was probably the first day I spent not having to worry about anything, but having a good time. The food was amazing and all of the animals had so much room to roam. I have been making some great friends so far both from Argentina and the United States and am excited to continue sharing all the memories made! Hope you enjoy.