Bay Essence Interviewed on I Love Chile News!

Bay Essence has been interviewed on I Love Chile News. This is our introduction the the I Love Chile News world, and we will contribute to a weekly column every Monday. Enjoy the interview and happy Monday!

You can read the interview below or visit I Love Chile News here.

I love Chile News Interview Bay Essence Blog Santiago Chile Expat Blog


Bay Essence is a blog that brings together the essence of the international world that expats find everywhere, including in Chile. I Love Chile caught up with Francisco and Crystal to find out more.

What is the story behind Bay Essence. How did it start out and what are your hopes for the project?

C: Francisco and I created Bay Essence in 2010. We originally began posting at random simply to express ourselves. One thing that we consider important is where we come from; Valparaiso and Oakland, California which is why the blog is called Bay Essence. After I moved to Chile, our content focused around a few themes: travel, culture, food, and short anecdotes.

There is so much out there, and we have a lot of ideas about the project. We really just hope that it grows and that more people hear about the blog as well as interact with us. We also want to hear what other people think. So far, Twitter has been useful with that. The blog has given us a lot of nice surprises, and we are willing to see more.

How do things work on the blog? Who is responsible for the different parts of the site?
F: From my side I’m in charge of the articles in Spanish, and Crystal writes in English. Aside from language, we try to give a local and an expat perspective on all things Chile. We try to appeal to Chileans and foreigners alike by discovering local events, food and cultural activities that the cities constantly offers, in addition to sharing our travel experience, as well as Crystal’s expat experience in Chile. At the same time we give useful and fun information to the expats in Chile.


In your bio it says: “The couple is a product of studying abroad and globalization.” – Do you have some advice for those studying abroad and particular pursuing a relationship that has started during this time.

C: First, it’s really hard to maintain a long distance relationship so know that it will require even more work than a regular relationship. Before anything, I would recommend honestly assessing your relationship. Let’s face it, it’s easy to fall in love while abroad, but as a study abroad student or temporary traveler the relationship can be part of your honeymoon experience with the country. Before ending my semester abroad, I had to ask myself a couple questions, like: If we had met under a different context (or back home) would I continue a relationship with this person? Do we really have that much in common? Do we have have a ‘’future’’ together? etc.

For us, the key was communication; not just speaking to each other often, but communicating with each other on what you expect from your relationship. It’s really important to be on the same page and know that there is something to look forward to. For us, that meant that we would eventually be together without the heartbreak of constantly saying, ‘’Ok, see you later!’’.

Since we are also a multicultural couple on top of that, you must be open, able to listen, understand and compromise. Fortunately we were really lucky and got to see each other quite often despite our distance. At one point we were seeing each other every other month!


The “Bay Area Thrash” sound is well known, what are your thoughts on the Valparaíso equivalent?

C: One word: Slayer. Tom Araya is from Viña! BUT definitely an SF Bay Area Band. From my experience at concerts and with friends, Chile definitely knows how to throw down. I was actually really surprised to see how developed the scene is here, not just with trash but the whole metal scene in general.

How has the project evolved so far?

F: It started as a place to express our opinions on anything we felt like discussing. It evolved to something more focused in the food, culture, and travel. Recently we started an events section and have been delving into social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. What we have kept constantly along all the life of Bay Essence is to keep it authentic to what we are and never losing our very own style and way of viewing things, that’s part of what Bay Essence means to us.

What have been some of the best and worst experiences of “living abroad” (for both of you)?

F: Best experience: live and see another culture with your own eyes and the chance to make friends from all over the world living the same experience abroad.

The worst experience? Maybe having some problems with people’s ignorance of my country or our culture, although we do that too here in Chile, but maybe on another level.

C: If I were to make a list of my best experiences, they would be countless! I met tons of new people, made friends from all over the world, traveled quite a bit, immersed myself in a different culture (of course this can also be a point of contention!), and learned a lot. All of this boils down to challenging experiences that really shape who you are, and that is the best part.

I can’t really pinpoint a particular ‘worst experience’’ as Chile has treated me well. Two things that bother me is being referred to by my nationality – ‘’la gringa’’ or ‘’la norteamericana’’, etc. I have a name. Secondly, this only happened to me once, but news flash! I do not represent all of the US nor am I an official complaint box for all matters pertaining to the US.

You have a section focusing on Chile’s picadas – what are some of your best recommendations?

Kuukai a really good sushi place in Valpo, and recently was recognized as part of la Guía 100. Porto Viejo in Valpo is THE place to go eat fresh seafood and celebrate special occasions with family, and if you are tired of the same ‘ol sandwich, you must try Donde Guido in Santiago Centro for a flavorful Peruvian twist.

What are your hopes for the current Santiago Wanderers season?

F: Ufff tough question, I had big expectations with the new players, but sadly we found ourselves suffering through the season. Right now? We have a more positive expectation having 2 wins in a row and strongly defeating Everton in the 5th region derby, let’s hope to have a good end of the season in the higher part of the ranking.

What are the inspirations behind the blog? Are there any bloggers or writers you really look up to?
F: I’ve read many books by Roberto Ampuero, and his vision of a Chilean coming back to Chile after long time after living abroad and how his characters love the city. It represents and inspires me to see someone else that has similar experiences.

C: I’m inspired by very simple things like a feeling, a moment, or beauty. We experience all sorts of things everyday but often times they go unnoticed. As a foreigner abroad, everything is new in a short time frame and these simple experiences stand out. I felt compelled to document them because I found the experiences themselves inspiring. I follow other expat blogs, and I’m part of online expat networks. I felt that other people, especially expats like myself, would be interested in what we write about.

Anyone to thank or anything else to add?

C: Well definitely thanks to I Love Chile for inviting us to collaborate, it has been a great experience and we look forward to the opportunities that opens to us. If anyone would like to contact us, drop us a line at or add us on Facebook or Twitter and of course we invite you to read our blog on

Francisco and Crystal will be making regular contributions on I Love Chile, so stay tuned each week on the website, or check out the Bay Essence website for more information.

Check out our previous interviews on:




The Pin the Map Project


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