I was surprised at how encouraging Dennis was for me to go. And then come to find out, that sly fox had a hunting trip tucked up his sleeve that he was waiting to spring on me at just the right moment. And I had just delivered that moment to him on a silver platter.
So two days later I was the proud owner of a round-trip ticket to Santiago, Chile and he was going wolf hunting.
It felt so good to be back. Chile looked so beautiful that I wanted to just drink up everything I saw and heard. One of the most enchanting things about Los Andes (my mom's home town) is how slowly things change. It looks almost identical to what I remember from when we lived there from 1989-1993. In today's world, it's nice when somethings just don't change much.
Some of the highlights from the trip were souvenir shopping in Santiago with my crazy little nephew, going through my first session in Spanish at the temple in Santiago, going sweater shopping in the quaint little town of La Ligua, spending the night in a wonderful bed and breakfast in the beach town of Papudo with a beautiful view of the beach, playing soccer again after a 12 year hiatus, hiking the cerro at night, enjoying the annual Chaya festival, and reconnecting with childhood friends. Hands down, the best part was eating my tía Marta's food though. Oh my... those clams...
One of the most rewarding things was being able to spend so much time with Calista, who has to compete for attention with 3 older siblings when she's at home and unfortunately gets very little individualized attention. She was the star of the show for two solid weeks with everyone who passed by her stopping to oooooh and aaaaah over her. She got to be quite the little ham, waving and giggling at everyone as she realized how the more she did it, the more squealing and tickling. A number of people commented on her piesesitos de empanaditas (empanada feet).
Also a big thank you to the countless acts of kindness that I received from airline employees and passengers as they offered to help in anyway they could. A big thank you especially to the very tall lady on the flight from Salt Lake to Atlanta, who for 3 1/2 hours kept both my bag and hers on the floor in front of her so Calista could lay down and take a nap on the floor, leaving her virtually no leg room but giving my baby a desperately needed nap. Once again, I was blown away by the goodness and kindness of people who I've never met and likely will never cross paths with again.
But the very best part of going on vacation is the excitement at seeing Dennis, the kids, and Nampa again (I know... I really need that last one sometimes). I've told Dennis that the best thing for suppressing the traveling bug in this wife of his, is for me to go on trips like this for how happy I am to come home. It reminds me why I like (and need) the slowness of pace, the predictability of everyday, and the sense of security that comes with stability.
|Chiquitín IV and Calista|
|Calista and cousin Jacob|
|Plaza de Los Andes|
|The best beer-battered fish EVER|
|Playing with the hybsicus flowers at the bed and breakfast in Papudo|
|Frias family stress therapy :)|
|Luchito, Luisa, Marta|
|A snapshot taken of my tías bedroom|
|Two weeks of nothing but attention!|
|Salto del Soldado|
|Can you believe she turned 62?!?|
|At the cemmetery|
|Los Andes just after sunset|
|On the top of the cerro|
|Friends since 3rd grade|