Friday, August 20, 2010

Traveling well is not really fair.
You are suppossed to go in with an open heart and invest in relationships with the poeple there.
The best times are when are you with those new friends, exploring, learning what it is to be a local, just hanging out,
But then there is the inevitable good-bye, and you have to leave your new friends.
You tried so hard to make these friends, and then you just have to leave them.
Potentially forever, never to see them again.
This is terribly painful!
How can you return from anywhere away from home where you've made dear friends and not want to return? 
And not be sad to have them only in an isolated place in your history, in only a little box of time?

Time and relationships are often at odds in my life; there never seems to be enough time to spend time together. 
But then do I just "settle down" and never leave a fixed location to solve this?
And forskae the longing I have to constantly be moving? 
Or just stop caring as much about other people?

A beautiful friend told me that if you leave behind your new friends in your place away from home and are saddened, it means you understand what it is to love well. 
Well loving well is painful.
And thus traveling well is too.
And it takes a lot out of you!
I've been packing, moving, unpacking starting over, adjusting, loving, struggling, and saying good-bye every 6 months since I graduated from high school. 
I am tired! 

Friday, August 13, 2010

El Sur

So, I never got a chance to upload and update you all about my travels to the south of Chile. To put in pocas palabras, it was cold and rainy (however the people were warm and sunny), the towns were small and quiet, and the scenery was abundantly green and forest-y. 

My travel mate Ali and I went to 6 towns in 6 days by bus, van, ferry and car, all with our trusty backpacks and polar fleece long underwear. The architecture and food were very Germanic (think cottage-style hotels and kuchin), so it was a nice change to the Spanish and boxy buildings of Santiago. The landscape was also a nice change, with beautiful snow-capped volcanoes as the backdrop to vast lakes and giant green trees, it was like an Indiana-Irish countryside with an Antarctic twist.

One thing that never fails is that in every single established town in Chile, there exists a Spansh Plaza de Armas, with a center plaza, church, a government building, and sometimes a central market. The varrying sizes and styles of these town centers was interesting to observe and compare, but my favorite was the capital of the island we visited; the central church is an unlikely shape and is made entirely of wood, inside and out. This island itself however, was rather creepy as we were seemingly the only tourists there and the local folkloric tales of evil trolls and witches were a little too real in the pitch black, mysterious noise-filled nights. 

The moral of the story is that the region is surely a different world in the summer time when vacationers and sun abound and outdoor activities and tours are not impossible to do. All I can say is, thank goodness for the cute cafes were found in every stop and the indoor stoves for heating!

Here are some photos of the trip, credit goes to Ali for the first 11!

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Chau Chile

I'm back from the ends of the earth to the land of the free and home of the brave, and boy have I changed a lot. To organize my ramblings and thoughts since my return, I have categorized them per topic, ish.  

On the Top 3 
When asked on my evaluation form from my study abroad program the top 3 things I've taken away from my experience, I answered:
1. Stay humble.
2. Keep an open mind.
3. If at first you don't succeed...

On Time Travel
I have time traveled. I traveled from the rainy winter of Santiago where the students are just beginning their 2nd semester, to the hellish summer of Phoenix where people are still in vacation mode, mildly starting to prepare for the back-to-school mindset of a new school year. I skipped the summer blues and pool parties and will be technically entering into my 3rd first semester in a row in just 22 days. I feel like I missed Christmas. It’s rather difficult to explain. It confuses my mind to think that the vastly different worlds of Santiago and Phoenix—both my own— exist simultaneously and both will continue to move along finely with or without me. I will no longer be able to witness the passage of time, the developments, the day-to-day of Santiago, yet it will flow on normally just as it had before we ever met.

On Relational Cities
The cities I have lived in or visited in my contemporary life seem to appear to me in these sort of personages that relate to me in human terms, in varying person-to-person type connections. Scottsdale and I have a sibling kind of relationship, where I love hanging out with him/her (Scottsdale has no particular gender to me), feel super comfortable, and yet sometimes get annoyed and can be harsh. Sometimes I just have to yell at Scottsdale to grow up and leave me alone, but it’s really only because I love him/her so much since he/she’s family. Los Angeles is my lover, because we have a love/hate relationship where I generally do not rest at a balance but am filled with a passion (mostly of love) on either end that changes frequently and abruptly. I fight with LA but we always make-up with a kiss. Of sorts.
And then there’s Santiago, who is a dear and closer friend of mine. We have our days of short tempers or frustrations, but I have a steady and deep adoration for what the city teaches me, surprises me with, and accommodates me, like an old friend. We are not very hot or cold and I’m not tied by blood to love, but we are just a good and drama-free match. That’s why I truly feel like I could live there for a longer time, because it is just so easy to be with Santiago. Best friends for life.

On Culture Shock
Things I want to keep up that I learned in Chile:
  • Greeting people more personally when I enter into a room or see an acquaintance on the street. I loved that Chileans kiss everyone at the party when first arriving and take the time to 
  • Saying “chau.” Because it’s fun.
  • Eating a bigger lunch and a smaller dinner, plus avoiding eating right before bed. Good habits, although I will take my American breakfast, thanks.
  • Taking public transportation and walking when possible instead of driving so much. Oh if only LA or Phoenix were as good as the micros and metros there…
  • Photo-copying pages of books, readings, etc. for school or personal use. Quite handy.
  • Being very faithful to my good friends and family.
  • Speaking Spanish with my random chilenismos and sayings.
  • Wearing my poncho and fanny pack forever and ever amen.
I miss you, Chile. I miss you, new friends. I miss you, family. I am ever thankful!