A World I Call Home

just a happy woman exploring our planet

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Today I’m grateful to speak English (and mediocre Spanish).

It wasn’t until I got to Arica and was laying in bed talking Boris before bed that I realized something. He asked me—in spanish of course—Have you thought about the fact that you won’t be speaking English for a while?

No, I hadn’t really thought about it.  I was just excited to see him and anxious to meet his family but hadn’t thought much about the fact that it would be spanish only.  It’s the best way to learn though, and one of the biggest reasons I came to Chile in the first place so I wasn’t necessarily worried about it.

And I should clarify, Boris always encourages me to speak English. He understands a lot and wants to learn more—in fact I was giving him some English lessons in Puerto Varas but now that we’ve been traveling and I’m not thinking and dreaming about English grammar 24/7 like I have been, Boris’ English lessons have fallen by the waste side.

The first two or three days were fine but a little strange, by day three I hadn’t spoken any English to anyone and went on whatsapp texting my family that I desperately needed a skype conversation—in English. That was on November 4th and until last night (November 15th) I hadn’t had another English conversation (and the conversation last night was about 3 minutes long with a guy from California staying in our hostel).  I can now cross off my bucket-list that I have gone over a week without speaking English—not exactly sure if that was ever on my bucket list but I will definitely be writing it in along with sandboarding and then crossing it out with proud satisfaction.

We’ve been around a lot of tourists but it just so happened that our tour group in the Salt flats was made up of two Argentines, two Chileans and me. While I heard other tour groups of North Americans or Europeans speaking to each other in broken or fluent English, I didn’t actually interact and talk with anyone more than a few words.

Now I’m of two minds.  The first is that I’m very happy and proud of myself to be speaking and thinking almost entirely in Spanish, and the second is that I’m really grateful to speak English.  Not just enough English but actual fluent academic (although it’s been a while so I’m not so sure lately) English.  

There are English schools all around the world filled with students who want to speak English or parents who want their children to speak English.  I asked every one of my students and almost all of them say that English gives them more opportunities. I used to respond, “you mean more job opportunities?” but I often got a repeated answer along the lines of, “yes, in work… but also in life!”.  Many of my students wanted to learn English to travel, they told me that anywhere you go you can usually find someone that speaks English.  Then there’s entertainment; all hollywood films and millions of songs are produced every year in English and are spread across oceans to be dubbed or subtitled in other languages.  I just realize as time goes on how privileged we often are to speak a language so many others around the world are working so hard to learn later in life, and like most privileges, it’s so easy to take it for granted.

With that said, I’m so happy to be bilingual.  I have learned so much from learning spanish, and believe me I am STILL learning everyday.  I’ve learned words yes, but in learning a language as well as teaching English, I have learned how to communicate with people outside of words.  I was able to teach hour and 15 minute English classes to 5 and 6 year olds who didn’t speak a word of English beforehand without them completely going crazy or becoming too frustrated. Sometimes they even had fun. There’s so much to communication outside of words and my relationship with Boris has taught me that more than anything. Ok, get your mind out of the gutter—I don’t mean THAT kind of communication (although there is that :) )—I mean that sometimes there’s just another factor.  It’s a glance or a nod or a smirk that says everything and nothing at all. And in those moments, you just know you’re on the same page as that person.

Then there are the actual words.  Like love in English which has about four spanish translations depending on context.  

There are ways of saying things—expressions—in other languages that can totally shift your perspective of a situation. For example “Don’t get upset” in English roughly translates to “no te enojes” in Spanish.  When I hear “no te enojes” (from Boris when I’m getting upset at something that’s probably not worth it), it translates in my head back to English as “don’t annoy yourself”.  Don’t annoy yourself. Don’t upset→yourself.  You are the one doing and receiving the action based on how it’s phrased in Spanish and this realization hits me time and time again when I hear those words because I remember that I’m the one upsetting myself not someone else, not some harsh negative outside force—me. I am creating and recieving the action of upsetting or annoying—me. And how stupid is that? What a waste of energy to be getting a rise out of yourself when you could be focusing on birds or trees or I don’t know, the huge economic gap between rich and poor.  

Point being, you learn a lot from learning a language—you learn a new way of thinking.  You take on a different perspective. Along with that, or maybe because of it, you take on a persona that is ever so slightly different that the person you are in your native language. I’m constantly decoding and piecing together similarities and differences in my head between Spanish and English. I’m listening at a different rate, using a limited vocabulary, there are a ton of factors that make the spanish me a little different than the English one.

And that’s kinda fun.

ok that’s my Public Service Announcement for today… go learn something. I suggest spanish.

Also I’m grateful for English books and podcasts because they are my outlet when I’m really feeling isolated by language.

Filed under english spanish bilingual language learnsomething learning

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Today I’m thankful for shorts… and tank tops and skirts and dresses… and FLIP-FLOPS!

I’m on vacation!

I’m on a trip! Many of you may be thinking, “wasn’t she gone on a trip this whole time?”  And I guess I have been—living in another country is definitely a trip (pun intended).  You’re constantly clashing, colliding and intertwining yourself into the cultural reality that is unique to the one you’ve grown up with.  But alas, work is work and living somewhere where you’re working a steady job 40-45 hours a week turns out to be more the same than different whether you’re doing it in your own country or on another continent.  I have gone on a few weekend trips in the last 9 months but all the while I have but saving bits of my very modest income for this trip—the trip that’s a real vacation.  Along the way I met a boy. A man actually. A great one, named Boris who has actually put some of his other priorities on hold in order to go on this venture with me.

We’re about two weeks in now and have hit some high highs and some mediocre lows.

My vacation, (or the first day of my unemployment as my mom likes to remind me) began on October 31st. After several days of organizing, packing, saying goodbyes, a 12 hour bus ride to santiago, a bus transfer to the airport, a 2 hour wait in the airport, and a four hour flight with two stop downs in between, I was welcomed by mi amor in his home town of Arica.  Flying in was strange, I knew it would be desert, and I’m from the desert in Southern California so I thought I knew what “desert” meant, but the sand dunes surrounding Arica for as far as I could see brought me to the reality of a whole other level of DESERT.  I felt like my plane was landing on Mars.  

Between two big hills of sand (on Mars) lies an oasis that flattens out to become long sandy beaches on the Pacific Ocean—and this is Arica.  It’s actually quite beautiful.  We went straight to the beach so that I could dip my toes into the ocean—my ocean. The Pacific is my home, or at least that’s how it feels when you grow up in California, move to the bottom of the world for nine months to freeze your toosh off for the winter and then travel 20 hours north to return to sunshine (even though it’s still thousands of miles away from home).  The smell of the ocean water, the sensation of grains of sand between my toes, and kisses from my loving comforting boyfriend, made me feel immediately at home.

And then I remembered I was about to meet his family.

Before and after Boris lived in Puerto Varas where I met him, he lived with his family.  This is something that is typical and acceptable for 20-somethings in Latin America (or at least in Chile and Argentina where I’ve found out first hand).  In fact, (if I may digress for a moment) in conversations with 20-somethings in Chile and Argentina they find it very strange that we move away from home at 18. “Why?” they ask confused, “So, your parents told you you have to leave the house after high school?”  The ones that are good at math ask, “isn’t that expensive?”  

Back to the point, going to Boris’ house meant meeting his family and I was definitely nervous.  For starters, I knew they don’t speak English—so what if I can’t understand them? Are his parents ok with him dating a gringa? Do I speak to them using “usted” form or is it acceptable to use the more casual “tu” which I’m way more comfortable with in my level of spanish.

It turns out that Boris’ family is lovely.  They were very relaxed, hospitable and made me feel at home. I didn’t feel pressured to prove myself and I was able to communicate well enough all though at times I was lost in the conversations between them—able to keep track of the topics and opinions of those involved but usually not quite quickly enough to participate and offer my own thoughts, opinions or jokes.

My days in Arica went smoothly and happily along.  On the first day Boris complimented my shorts, saying that I look good in them and that he’s never seen me in shorts.  In the 6 months or so that we knew each other in Puerto Varas he had NEVER seen me in shorts and anyone at home that knows me understands that shorts, tank tops and rainbow sandals are a part of my natural habitat.  I’m glad he likes my shorts and t-shirts because they’re here to stay as we travel up towards and across the equator.

A few highlights from the last week and a half since we left Arica…

-We went to San Pedro de Atacama where we:

  • went sandboarding on sand dunes in Valle del Muerte

  • visted Valle de la Luna

  • Swam in laguna cejar which is a highly salt concentrated circular laguna in the middle of the desert where you float like the red sea! It would literally be hard to drown in this water which is why a woman in our tour group that doesn’t know to swim, bravely entered anyway and just floated around with her head above water like everyone else

  • Ojos del salar which, possibly even more surprisingly are fresh water, deep, circular ponds in the middle of the desert (all surrounding water sources are salty)

-From San Pedro we crossed into Bolivia

  • at the boarder I was told that my Chilean ID card basically meant nothing and because I am a US citizen I needed to pay $130 for the visa just to enter Bolivia—ouch.

  • Once I got over that annoying fact the following three days though the deserts, volcanoes, lagunas and salt flats were GORGEOUS

  • we saw Laguna Blanca, Laguna Verde and Laguna roja. I was sure these were just names and the colors wouldn’t be so significant in “real life” but I was amazed to find that each laguna was exactly as it was named

  • Laguna blanca- vibrantly white with a slight tint of blue.

  • Laguna Verde- teal green when the wind blows over it, which it did when we arrived.

  • Laguna roja- deep orange red with white and pink flamingos feeding out of it.

  • On the last day of our jeep tour we arrived at Salar de Uyuni 2700 km2 of salt where there once was an even larger lake.

-From Uyuni we took a bus north to La Paz

  • where we visited mercado de las brujas (the whitches’ markets) which had some interesting treasures inside like llama fetuses hanging from the ceilings

- Then we got on another bus to Copacabana on the beach of Lake Titicaca

  • We stayed in a hotel for about 10 dollars and then took a boat taxi to Isla del Sol (Island of the Sun)

  • We camped one night on the sandy beach looking out over the lake towards Peru

  • This lake is so big that looking out at the fresh blue water it’s hard to remember it’s not the ocean (but being out of breath after a 5 minute walk soon reminds you that you’re actually around 10,000 ft above sea level)

  • We stayed in a hostel the next two nights (a night longer than expected because I picked up a little bit of a stomach bug somewhere along the way- nothing too serious but enough for me to not want to get on another boat and then a bus to Peru)


Now I am on that boat heading toward Copacabana where we will take a bus along the lake to Puno, Peru. In Puno we plan to see a couple of the floating islands on lake titicaca. Yes, you read that correctly, there are FLOATING islands that are home to families and small villages that live, sleep, and grow small gardens on their islands all made by hand of grass reeds. Sounds like one of those things you need to see to believe so, here I go!


Filed under chile bolivia vacation summer arica san pedro uyuni lake titicaca

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Today I’m grateful for sunshine

 I woke up yesterday to an orange glowing bedroom. The sunlight was shining strong against my curtains illuminating the whole room like I was inside a big night-light.  I had never seen my room like this.  I’ve been living here in this room since May and I hadn’t realized till yesterday that on a completely clear day, when the sun rises in shines right through my window.  This may seem like something I might have noticed within the first week or month living here but no.  It took me five months.  There hasn’t been a clear sky strong sunshine sunrise for FIVE MONTHS. As I mentioned in my last post I have been feeling like I’m shut off in a corner of the world that even the sun has forgotten. Winter ended yesterday.  I think it actually ends on September 21st but it also officially “starts” in June which anyone who lives here can tell you is crap, because the weather from April to August is basically all the same—dark and rainy.  To me it was obvious that winter ended yesterday.  I decided when I opened my curtains and let the warm sunlight pour onto my bed beneath the window.  It heated my body and warmed my soul within seconds.

 Denise and I then proceeded to lay on steps and benches of our small front yard for hours.  The sun was warmer than I’ve felt it in months.  It’s a feeling I had been missing more than anything else.  It really is amazing what a little sunshine can do to your mental stability. I took off layers as the warmth of the rays blanketed me. First my jacket, then my long sleeve shirt until I was wearing only my spaghetti strapped undershirt, barefoot in the grass with my leggings pulled up to my knees. Heaven.  Really, I knew I missed that feeling but even I, didn’t realize how much I needed to feel the hot sun against my skin and the grass between my toes.  I don’t know the last time I’ve been barefoot. My whole life I walked around barefoot, even when the sidewalk was too hot and would burn my feet on the way to mailbox. Somehow I’d always forget to put on a pair of flip flops before going outside. Ha! I would forget to put on a pair of flip flops when going outside… what a foreign concept right now.

  I read for a bit and talked to some friends online.  But for a while I did nothing. Simply feeling the rays burn the skin on my pale white chest. “This is the best day ever!” Denise and I kept saying to each other.  I couldn’t believe how warm it was, I kept checking the weather which claimed it was only 12 or 13 degrees outside but the harshness of the sun made me feel like I was on the beach in California on a warm summer day.  It occurred to me once that I might get burnt, but I couldn’t risk jinxing the sun by running inside to search for the sunscreen that must be tucked in the bottom corner of my suitcase by now and putting it on.  “I’ll take the risk,” I thought “this is worth a sunburn”.  After a full year with many more winter months  than summer, it’s a small price to pay for three hours of basking in the sun.

 I took the weather and heat for granted growing up.  I knew I was lucky to be born in California, but the more I travel and meet people and think back—I really am privileged to have grown up there.  The thing about growing up in California is that your entire reality is distorted.  We know hollywood makes movies and creates a lot of our cultural media and many celebrities are from there, but I didn’t really know that these were movies, songs, people and places that were being screened, played and watched around the world. It wasn’t until I went to Taiwan 5 years ago that I started to realize this.  I guess I just assumed that we watched movies and listened to songs from the U.S. because we live there and are from there.  It hadn’t occurred to me that practically the whole world was listening and watching the same things. Don’t get me wrong, Chile (like most places), has many artists, actors, movies, dancers and more that are famous here, But there are still U.S. movies in the theaters and Beyonce songs at the clubs. Regardless of how rich the culture is here, our U.S. culture is infused into the cultures of many people worldwide and it all comes from our backyard. Whereas their music and movies just aren’t infused into U.S. culture in the same way.  It’s something that makes me both embarrassed and proud I guess. It’s a strange realization to see that here I am in Chile, learning the language, and the history and the music and my friends here are happy to show me and patient enough to teach me. Yet, if one of them were to go to a small town in the U.S. I’m almost sure that they wouldn’t be welcomed in the same way or treated with the same respectful curiousity.  For starters, you can get around here without speaking spanish.  It would be difficult, but many people at least speak some basic english and are willing to try to communicate with you.  In the U.S. if someone walked up to you on the street speaking spanish or even broken english, would you take them with patience and help them using your limited high school spanish?  

 I can’t help but wonder.  And for this, I am lucky to have grown up in California.  It’s a lucky life and living somewhere else for a while is a good way to humble me.  Similar things can be said about the weather.  Growing up in Southern California has made me a huge wimp against all real forms of weather—like rain, snow, freezing temperatures.  These are all things that were pretty foreign to me and now, I’m still the Cali girl I’ve always been… but at least with a little bit more of an edge.  I know what to wear when its cold or raining outside. That’s a step. I’ve been missing the California sunshine but the sun is finally returning, crossing oceans mountains and valleys to shine on all of us here. The same sun that’s shining in California is shining brightly here as well… at least until the next rainy day.

  I’m so grateful for the sun, even when it burns it heals.

Filed under sunshine sun california girl california sunshine grateful aworldicallhome Away From Home learning loving chile

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Today I’m grateful for that tricky little thing called love.

I’ve been away awhile, some of you may have noticed and others of you may not have. Tons has happened, but the most notable and in all honesty the most probable explanation for why I haven’t written in a while is that I’ve been busy falling in love.

 

It’s been beautiful and adventurous and terrifying and exciting and romantic and simple and complicated… now more than ever.

 

I’ve felt uncertain about what to write and where to start and how much to share since this is after all a public blog about my life, but I’ve ultimately come to the conclusion that I often come to in moments like these which is that I’m probably thinking way to much and just need to start writing. It always clears my head and clarifies my feeling for me. So, below I’ve included an excerpt of word vomit I spewed onto a google doc about 20 minutes ago. It’s unedited and raw and may make little to no sense at all but to me it sums up my most recent thoughts and emotions.

Maybe one precursor is helful—this great man I’ve come to know and love is on a trip and I’ve managed to spin into panic mode about what is going on in my life and future. I feel like one phase of my life is ending and I have no idea what the next new phase will involve. And so… I began to write… a lot. But I’ve only included part of that here:

 

I love so many people on this earth.  So many people that I’d just love to see and hug and hold and laugh with and touch in person and yet I’m with none of them.  I’m completely removed from these people that mean so much to me.  I used to feel so connected but lately I really feel like I’m in the bottom corner of the world.  Like even the sun has forgotten us here. Like we’re in a cave removed from the rest, and the real world is just out there waiting for me, basking in the sun and letting barefoot lovers prance through it’s strains of grass and grains of sand. I feel forgotten maybe.  

I didn’t realize it till just now but it’s amazing to realize that the only one that can actually make things happen in your life is you. THE ONLY ONE. You can get help and opinions and people can push you and pull you to sway one way or another to decide the things they think you should do but there’s only one person that can actually bend the knuckles in my hands to write this… this… whatever this is, or to bend your knees so you can run out the door and come back 13 miles later. I did that.  I came here. I made those decisions and stuck by them and went to college and got a degree and sold a car and found a job and got hired and moved away, alone with confidence that the world would welcome me and bring me experiences that would challenge me and in doing so set me free.  The world does those things but only I can make myself be here now.  I’m in charge.  The ocean is stronger, and the wind and gravity and other factors of this universe. They’re all stronger than me. But still I move my feet.  I’m the only one that can use these feet to support myself and bring them where I want them to carry me. I did that. I do that.  

Love is one of those forces that is stronger than me.  It’s powerful and beautiful and I can’t let it scare me.  It will take it’s toll but that’s not a bad thing. It doesn’t have to be.  It might be. It might end poorly, but that doesn’t mean the opportunity should be stunted before it even gets a chance to bloom.  I hate being away from him, which I guess is just a bad way of saying that I LOVE being with him.  I love the way I feel when we’re together, I love the way he loves and adores and respects me and I love him. I’m so impressed by him. By his poise, his calm strength, confidence. His intelligence and his gentleness. His insight and compassion.  His generosity and respect. I just think so highly of him.  He really, truly is great. I’m so lucky. And I only have one more week to wait until I’m engulfing myself in his arms.

I can’t wait to smell him.

Filed under love loved ones miss him word vomit aworldicallhome

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Today I’m grateful for helmets.

I had a few firsts last weekend:

first stitches.

first ride in an ambulance.

first CT scan.

… first big bike crash.


Family, friends, have no fear! Let me clarify… I’M FINE.  I really am.  CT scan normal and only 6 stitches.  With that said, here is my story of Sunday.


The forecast looked good enough for a bike ride I’ve been wanting to take for a while to a nearby town called Frutillar.  It’s 30 Kilometers one way (60 ida y vuelta).  I went with my close friend Boris, who loves biking and has much more experience with mountain bikes than I do.  We made it up and down a couple big hills, going a little faster on each downhill.  Approaching the last downhill we got going pretty fast, ok really fast.  I glided around the first turn adrenaline pumping and saw the next one approaching ahead and to the right.  It was a sharp turn for the speed we were going so I decided to take it wide.  Before I knew I was entering the turn on a wet road and veering way too far to left, so far in fact that I was trapped, I knew if I turned any sharper my tires would lose grip and I’d slide across the asphalt.  The only other option was to go off the road into the small alley of grass and try to reconnect with the road a little farther down.  It’s amazing how many things you can think in 2 seconds or less. It went something like this…

I need to turn more-I need to turn more!-I can’t-I’ll fall.  Oh my god I’m going to fall!-Ok maybe I can go off to left-There’s grass-I can bike on grass on this bike.-There’s a pole. DON’T HIT THE POLE—go left or right but don’t hit the pole-Street or grass?-ok grass!-OK I might make it.—Oh shit this isn’t just grass-there’s a trench!-Oh my god there’s a trench! I’m gunna fall—I have to fall I have to fall-I’m gunna fall—welp, it is what it is.

And in this moment, my bike gives out to the meter deep trench stopping firmly.  I however am not a bike.  I kept going. I flew. I FLEW. and I tumbled and spun and saw only darkness. I stopped. I sat up in disbelief grateful to be alive.  I felt like I should have be seriously injured so I started checking. My head hurt, or felt compressed with pressure. I took off my helmet and held my head.  I’ve never felt so shaken and confused.  I knew what happened and I knew I was ok but I was still feeling it all. I was shaking, or at least I think I was.  I think I was trembling, my head was.  I started to cry for a second and then stopped. I’m fine, I told myself.  I looked at my hands and saw blood, confused I touched my face again.  I thought it must be my nose. The only time I’ve touched my head and seen blood was during a nose bleed so it must be my nose right? Wrong.  I checked again, this time touching where the throbbing was coming from.  When I looked at my hand again it was covered in blood. I looked down and blood was dripping down onto my hair and jacket. Shit. shit shit shit my head is bleeding. I need a doctor, I need a hospital. now. Now, this is pretty serious.  I was waiting, I was waiting for my friend to find me while I sat there.  I couldn’t tell you how long I waited, seconds or minutes but it suddenly occurred to me that I was in a trench and he probably couldn’t see me.  So I climbed up, I was trying to clean my hand but everywhere I wiped it was either mud or blood.  I held my head.  Pressure, I thought. Pressure. Boris finally approached and I waited for his reaction, I waited for his face to change and it did.  He turned white, worried and scared.  “muestrame” he said and I removed my hand feeling the pooled blood fall down my face. “esta bien, no es muy mal” he told me.  Part of me knew he was lying but I wanted to believe him so I let myself.  I sat and he gave me his shirt.  He flagged down cars that mysteriously appeared (they hadn’t been there in the the two hours prior while we climbed and descended down hills).  Boris spoke quickly and I only half followed.  I knew he was asking for help, we needed a hospital, we only had bikes.  We were only 5 kilometers from the town—our destination.  “No puedo ver bien, veo manchas” I said.  “es normal” Boris assured me, another well intentioned lie I allowed myself to believe.  The car only had space for me.  They helped me in and I realized I would be going alone.  Boris needed to take the bikes and we couldn’t keep everything together.  At risk of sounding over dramatic, my fate was in the hands of complete strangers.  I focused on keeping pressure on my head.  I focused on my vision, trying to help it along, trying to focus on things on the side of the road.  The spots grew and my vision was focused in the center but blurred in my peripherals.  I arrived at the hospital and Carlos, the nice man that drove me there walked me in.  I thanked him at the time but I wish I could thank him again, I’ll never see him again but I know he has good karma coming his way.  

I don’t think I’ve ever been so dirty.  Every part of my body was covered in either water, dirt, blood or some combination of the three.  The doctors and nurses were nice and I was surprised that I could speak enough Spanish to communicate with them.  I got 6 stitches, which wasn’t as painful as the stupid IV I needed.  Once again I warned the nurses about my freakishly small and nearly impossibly to reach veins, and once again the nurse and doctor assured me it wouldn’t be a problem.  Naturally, they were surprised when scanning my arms for veins and the nurse looked nervous as she whined and tried to stay focused.  I encouraged her along, wanting to believe she’d be successful, but still she poked and prodded around the inside of both of my forearms with a needle hoping to pierce a vein.  I squirmed and clenched, first trying to hold back tears, then letting them roll down my cheeks in an attempt to stay still.  After the nurse’s second attempt someone solicited help and another nurse or technician entered who was less friendly but more capable.  She took the rubber band from around my bicep and tied it much lower near my wrist and began scanning for veins. “no, no , no! tengo una phobia, no puedes hacerlo alla. en serio, no puedo”.  The bitchy-confident nurse insisted I calm down and tried explaining that they already tried higher up my arm and this was the only option left. I started blubbering—crying.  I can’t. I really can’t I said.  Boris told me to breathe and held my hand, I tried to calm myself but deep breaths weren’t possible. Something in my throat was blocking them, making loud honking noises.  It was an ugly unfamiliar sound that I’ve never heard myself make.  I calmed more, knowing that Boris was on my side and wouldn’t let them pierce my wrist. He knew how serious I was.  

Eventually we compromised.  They found a vein on the side of my wrist, in a spot bordering my comfort zone.  After some minimal probing, they pierced me, connected the IV, taped up my wrist and moved me into the ambulance.  I needed to take an ambulance to Puerto Montt, a bigger city nearby because the Doctor insisted with such a high velocity crash it is important to scan the brain for any bleeding or damage.  

To make the story I’ve already made long into a less long story I’ll summarize the next few hours… The scan came back normal and I was released to go home.  

I canceled my morning class but insisted I was ok to work the following afternoon.  After the decision was made I questioned if it was the right one.  I felt very disoriented and tired throughout the day.  At times feeling normal enough to be functional and at other times feeling like I could fall asleep at my desk.  

 

Today was better.  I have do have some pain.  I had originally thought my head was my only injury but I hadn’t accounted for my muscles.  Turns out, when you fall on your head at something like 40 mph your neck will feel it at some point.  When I woke up this morning… now two mornings after the accident, I felt like I had been beaten up in a bar fight.  I felt like someone threw me on the ground and socked me in the face and neck and shoulder.

The meds have helped a lot and all in all I’m doing totally fine.  Looking at me you’d never know I was in any accident, I have the helmet to thank for that.  The cut is high on my head right under my hairline.  A good spot for a story.  

My second day of work ran as smoothly as it could and I’ve been taking advantage of my downtime—just resting, sleeping, writing and of course watching Game of Thrones. I’m not, NOT working out, or doing yoga, or biking or running or playing football, or doing roller derby like I was a week ago. I was happy to be back in shape and once again my body has reminded me of my limits.  


I appreciate it. I’d rather find my limits than live too safely any day.

Filed under helmets bike crash ouch stitches wrist phobia chile chilean hospital

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Today I’m grateful for my Dad.
I’m really missing my Dad today, on Father’s Day.  Ironically I’ve had many Father’s Days away from my father but this one stings and I’m not sure why.  I realized today that I it’s been almost 5 months since I’ve heard his voice.  He has a lot going on in his life right now, a lot of changes and I want to be able to just call him and check in now and then.  
Ok, that’s enough of that… more importantly I wanted to write this message to simply say that I love my Dad and I don’t think there is anyone in the world as proud of me as he is.  A father’s pride can be felt on the other side of the world, and that’s one thing I know for sure now, from experience.  I’m so comforted by the subtle and usually unspoken support of my Dad.  
So, I love you Dad and I hope all is well.  I’d love to see and talk to you today, hopefully we can figure out a skype situation soon! 
Love you and Happy Father’s Day.

Today I’m grateful for my Dad.

I’m really missing my Dad today, on Father’s Day.  Ironically I’ve had many Father’s Days away from my father but this one stings and I’m not sure why.  I realized today that I it’s been almost 5 months since I’ve heard his voice.  He has a lot going on in his life right now, a lot of changes and I want to be able to just call him and check in now and then.  

Ok, that’s enough of that… more importantly I wanted to write this message to simply say that I love my Dad and I don’t think there is anyone in the world as proud of me as he is.  A father’s pride can be felt on the other side of the world, and that’s one thing I know for sure now, from experience.  I’m so comforted by the subtle and usually unspoken support of my Dad.  

So, I love you Dad and I hope all is well.  I’d love to see and talk to you today, hopefully we can figure out a skype situation soon! 

Love you and Happy Father’s Day.

Filed under father father's day love loved ones

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Today I’m grateful for whatever past decisions brought me on this path, to this moment.

It’s been a while since I’ve written and so many great little things have happened in the past few weeks.  It’s impossible to share all of the great moments I have in Chile, and in my life for that matter. In order to share some highlights I first have to explain something else—a feeling I’ve been having, especially in the past year, but also just since I started becoming a “grown-up”.  These moments arrive where I suddenly see my life from a different perspective and wonder in amazement how the course of my life has taken me to this moment rather than so many other possible realities.  In these moments I take pause and think, wow I’m so lucky, and so grateful for whatever opportunities I’ve had and decisions I’ve made that have led me to this moment.  These moments really began in Argentina, when I was studying abroad and I’d be walking down a beautiful street alone, maybe walking toward my house for example and I’d be overtaken with two things, one the fact that I was in Buenos Aires, thousands of miles from home, LIVING in a foreign country that I really knew nothing about just a couple years before.  And two, a sense of independence, and pride in my decisions that had led me to this moment.  It’s a refreshing feeling to realize that you are doing exactly what you want to be doing and no one made the choices that led you there but you… I made this happen.

Of course, I feel I should clarify, that I’ve been lucky to be born into a family that has been able to support me and live comfortably, and opportunities have been available to me that many people do not so easily encounter.  It’s nice to think that we earn every great thing we have in our lives, but there is a certain amount of predisposition, privilege and luck that dictates our lives some extent.  That being said, this is my reality because, weather it be consciously or subconsciously, this is what I’ve been wanting. And I’m grateful for all of the things, decisions and otherwise, that led me to now.  

So when I was walking through Valparaiso (my new favorite city in Chile) a couple weeks ago, and I walked into an art gallery that then happened to be a cafe as well and I sat on a patio overlooking an empty lot that had manifested into a garden by virtue, surrounded by colorful buildings, sipping a big cup of coffee and eating a huge and deliciously healthy salad—I felt the feeling.  The feeling of reassurance.  Although I wavered on so many decisions that ended up taking me on this path,  I’m grateful for everyone of them.  I must me doing something right in life to be here right now, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else in this moment.

 Or when I returned to Santiago the next weekend for a roller derby clinic, a sport I know practically nothing about, and was welcomed into the community of patinadoras, who allowed us to stay in their home and drink their coffee and sneak on busses with them, I felt so cool to have found my way to this marginal community.  Roller derby is already a sub culture in the US, it’s not something you hear about every day… but Roller derby in Chile, although just as bad ass, is even further removed from the mainstream culture of the majority.  As I stood on a skyscraper rooftop watching these badass women rock out to Beyonce and lady gaga songs, dance battling on the table in front of me with a city of Santiago glistening behind them, I thought; damn, I’m definitely on the right track.  Whatever I did do be here right now, I should do more of it.  I must be doing something right in life.

And last night, when I walked in the rain at midnight with my friends to a desolate area of the lake I discovered months ago, and we sat down after having resourcefully fashioning a tarp out of a blanket and plastic bags and hung in above some large stones for us to sit on, and two of these new friends of mine showed me how to make the coolest little bonfire I’ve ever seen and we sat passing bottles of wine, speaking spanish and singing songs while I played ukulele—an instrument I didn’t know how to play 10 months ago—I finally explained “the feeling” to the best of my ability, in spanish to a friend. The feeling about the moments, the feeling about this moment.   “Especialmente este año pasado, cuando estoy en un lugar y todo es perfecto, como ahora, solo puedo pensar; los decisiones que me trajo acá, eran buenos.  Estoy haciendo algo cierto en mi vida”.

And then, of course I felt even more grateful and proud that I could have that conversation, in spanish, with someone that totally understood what I meant. Someone with similar beliefs and perspectives as I have, someone who is passionate about the same issues in his country as I am in mine, a brother of the world, living a life in a different country and different language but under the same moon, swimming in the same ocean. Our lives are more similar than different.  Our problems, our mistakes, our politics, our thoughts… they’re much more alike than they are different.  The bigger differences, the people that have opposing beliefs, morals, political views… they’re just as likely, if not more, to live next door in your suburban neighborhood, than any person you stumble upon traveling. And even that person is more like you than you’d probably care to admit. We’re all more the same than we are different, this has been a comforting realization in Chile.

Filed under grateful thoughts lucky suerte chile