Saturday, March 29, 2008

last few days

i'm at starlight, again, probably for the last time and thinking about so many things. i got into santiago last night from buenos aires, and i can't tell you how good it felt to be back in a place where i knew everything. i really missed santiago while i was gone - not that buenos aires wasn't fun, but i wish i had spent more of my last days here.

i'm struggling to be present right now, trying to find the balance between enjoying the last moments i have here, and thinking about where i might work when i get back. i've been thinking about moving to portland, oregon for a long time, and last night, driving in from the airport, i was looking at the mountains and feeling like portland is right.

this has been so much more than a volunteer/travel experience for me. i've loved working with my babies - i'm planning on visiting them on monday morning before i fly out that night, and loved working with the tias. traveling around has been such a good experience as well. i've met people from all over the world, in so many different life situations, and yet we're all traveling together. but more than anything, this has been something that i needed. i've spent a lot of time in prayer - on the train, in the bus, walking around - and the other day in argentina, was thinking about how god knew that i needed to be here for a bit.

i keep hearing songs that will remind me of being here, and i wonder if i'll hear them at home and wish i were here. there are so many things i want to take with me when i go, and then suddenly i realize that i can't, and i shouldn't, because they aren't mine and they belong here.

so it's turning into fall here - the air is crisp in the mornings and i see kids in their school uniforms everywhere. it's a strange feeling to have had fall, a bit of winter, summer, a bit of fall and now i'll go back to late spring. i'm so used to such significant seasonal changes - used to the order, to how i feel every time we have a new season, and this is such a strange feeling.

i don't know how to say all of this gracefully - obviously - but my heart is full of thanks. so thankful for everything i've experienced, for every person i've met, and for the appreciation i found for everyone and everything at home that's been there all along...

Friday, March 21, 2008

alfajores, urban biking and a thunderstorm

so beth arrived on tuesday morning, and i was so glad to see her. i didn't get the exact scene i had pictured in my mind because she beat me out of customs, but there was definitely a little squealing and a big hug in the middle of the airport.

since she was coming off two weeks in nicaragua and then an overnight flight from miami, beth caught up on some sleep for a bit during the day on tuesday and then we went to a tango show that night. wednesday we did a little shopping and then went salsa dancing with our friend jo from the hostel, and then thursday we checked out the cemetery in recoleta. i had met some really cool people in pucón, chile from around london and we all figured out that we'd be in buenos aires at the same time, so beth and i had a ridiculously good steak dinner with them on thursday night. seriously, i had chorizo, tenderloin medallions and a couple bites of beth's steak. i don't think i could have eaten any more.

all has been great so far, but i think today was my favorite - we went "urban biking" through the south part of the city, stopping by the south shore of the river for mate and alfajores (which are traditional cookies with caramel) and then on to the neighborhood la boca, where the futbol stadium is and where the tango was born. we stopped for a couple of beers at the market, and suddenly the sky got very dark and all of the vendors kept looking at the sky, waiting until the last possible second to pack up their stuff. our guides were pretty chill, and also waited until the last possible second to get us back on our bikes. but it was great - we did some crazy cycling back to city center through the wind and a little rain, but just made it into the subway before it really started to pour...

buenos aires is starting to grow on me - it's a huge city, but it's got a lot of personality. i love the italian influence, the prices and the clothes and shoes. we're going to a boca juniors futbol game on sunday, in their stadium (which is supposed to be the best) and i can't wait. until then...

Monday, March 17, 2008


i made it to hostel number 3 (and hopefully the final) of my trip here in buenos aires... i think my least favorite thing about hostels would be the bathrooms. i'm looking forward to a long, hot shower at home, where i don't have to wear shower shoes, use a squeegee or worry about my clothes getting in dirty water - and where i can really scrub my dirty street feet.

the last few days have been pretty relaxing - beth is coming tomorrow morning, so i tried not to do the touristy stuff until she's here. wasn't too difficult, especially in palermo. last night, i went dancing with some hostel friends - i thought it would be more of a tango show at a restaurant, but we ended up in a community center in palermo soho. it was awesome. there must have been at least 100 people there taking tango lessons, and after the tango they had "rock" lessons. it was basically how to dance to oldies - fun, but strange to watch argentinians learning it... i had a brief tango lesson from my friend sergio, and it was alright, but i prefer to salsa. the tango is beautiful, but very different - slow, deliberate and almost sad.

so tomorrow, i'll be getting up at 5:45 or so and heading out to the airport to meet beth. we get to have one of those scenes, where i'm waiting just outside customs and we scream and give each other a big hug and act like we haven't seen each other in years. should be good.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

this is not santiago

blogging from buenos aires... i'm here for a couple of weeks before heading back to santiago. and i know i'm still in south america but really, i feel like i'm in spain. the city reminds me so much of barcelona - it's old, rickety, and incredibly charming. the only thing it's missing is gaudi...

i finished my work at the baby house this week, and it was tough to go. i drove a baby to the hospital for an appointment on tuesday morning, and when i came back, there was another new baby in the hogar - they're now up to 11, which is fun, but busy. one of our girls started jardin this week, too. it's basically preschool, but it starts at age 2 in chile - she is totally extroverted and loves it.

the best part of the week was that the head tia wanted to take a bunch of pictures of the kids, so my camera is full. plenty to remind me of my little friends.

i also completely packed up all of my stuff yesterday, which was strange. my roommate, charles, is awesome and letting me store my suitcases in his room while i'm in argentina. i'll probably stay there for a bit before i head home.

it's hard not to compare buenos aires to santiago, but the way i feel about santiago is so different. it's not just a city in south america anymore, i can't remember what i thought of it before i got there. obviously, to spend three months somewhere and get to know so many people changes things. it's a good thing i'm heading back for a few days before i go home. to leave it so suddenly would have been difficult...

Monday, March 10, 2008


so this is a special post, dedicated to my girl, logan. i thought she was a man before we met in the airport on the way down to chile, but clearly, i was wrong.

in fact, this girl was reading a book by one of my favorite authors (donald miller) on the plane, so i knew right away that we'd be buds. even though she moved waay out to the ve house, and we have crazy schedules, she and i manage to go out for lots of ice cream, travel to random chilean beaches and talk about the stuff that matters.

i'll miss you!

Sunday, March 9, 2008


it is crazy how three months sounded like a such a long time back in december - i have two days left with the babies, and then i head to argentina for a couple of weeks before heading home. i would be lying if i said it will be easy to leave.

i think three months is that magic time when you start to feel comfortable, like you're at home. i recognize people on the street, i know where i'm going (most of the time) and i have friends that i'm really going to miss. sometimes it feels like i've dreamed all of this up, like i haven't been in south america for the last three months. maybe it will feel more real when i get home.

i've been pretty busy over the last couple of weeks - the new class started last week, so we had a lot of meetings for their orientation. and i've been trying to see as many people as i can before i go - my friend eduardo and i met for dinner after he finished work the other night, thursday night was a despedida and salsa, friday and saturday nights were with the volunteers.

i leave wednesday for argentina - and even though it means i'm leaving chile for a bit, i'm super excited. my friend beth from michigan is coming to buenos aires for a week, and it will be so good to see her. i'm going to try to go to uruguay while i'm there, and possibly south of buenos aires - we'll see. then i head back to santiago for three days to see everybody before i come home.

the other day i was walking to the bus stop after work and saw a little girl with puppies across the street. of course, i ran over, gushing over the puppies. they were street dogs, but would probably be sold to families in the neighborhood. the little girl was awesome, and her brother (i think) was so excited about how smart the dogs were already...