Last Friday we visited a Mapuche tribe in a pueblito called Peña Blanca. The woman who gave the presentation showed us all around the area and taught us some traditional Mapuche traditions. Her parents were the founders of the organization that would keep her culture alive, and she wasn’t planning on letting it die down anytime soon. Mapuche means “people of the earth” in their native tongue, Mapundungun (Mah-poon-doon-goon…say that 5 times fast). She showed us the protector of the area, the herb garden and told us about all the ceremonies that they perform and for what purpose. It’s a beautiful culture, and we celebrated after with food and a traditional dance.
The following day, Olivia and I decided that we were much overdue for some beachtime, so we planned a trip to Cachagua but…that fell through. So instead, we stayed closer and visited a beach that we both had heard of called la Boca in Con Con, only about 20-30 minutes in micro. We arrived at about noon, greeted by lots of stands to rent out surf gear and take lessons. The waves were calm and rolling gracefully in the open sea with the wind as Olivia and I walked along the fine sand to find a spot to settle. Accompanied by a new-found dog friend, we found a place to sit and relax…but quickly and unfortunately realized that this was not a beach for sun soaking. The wind blew sand into our faces and so we said goodbye to our doggie pal, and went to Reñaca. Beautiful beach and perfect for soaking up rays.
I decided, while we were in Reñaca, to go for a dip in the ocean. Little did I know that Reñaca is one of the most dangerous beaches to swim in due to the undercurrents. So here I am, naive little me, going out in my two-piece swimsuit to swim out in the ocean. I go out and dive in without worry or care as my friends carefully watch me. I sit on top of the waves thinking I would simply be able to float along…how wrong I was. It started with me trying to fix my top piece, thinking “haha the ocean is going to take my top” but the current tired me quickly, and finally had control, smashing over me and then pulling me back in…I started getting scared and frantically tried to find the sand underneath my feet but to no avail. I waved at my friends but they didn’t catch that I needed help…so I continued to fluster in the water, panicking and losing my air…the thought definitely passed through my mind that I wasn’t going to make it. But then by the grace of God, I miraculously felt sand with the tip of my toe and used all the strength I had in me to finally clamber onto shore. And with my top in place, I walked casually back to my friends and laughed, relieved to be alive. I acted as though nothing happened, but it really scared me. Since then, I’ve been a little nervous around water. I still go in the water, but with extreme caution and never water past my hips. Moral of the story: be very very very careful with the ocean. I’m probably just saying that because I’ve only lived around lakes my whole life, which obviously are much calmer. But still. Careful…
Dia de la Accion de Gracias
We had the final shebang with all the international students that happened to fall on Thanksgiving day. Along with all the students were all the faculty, so that brought some of my professors, the directors of the program, and even my soccer coach! All the students brought a dish from their country to share; it was a GIANT potluck with food from Germany, France, Mexico, Spain, USA (Olivia and I brought peanut butter and jelly sanwiches; hahaha) and plenty of other countries.
There was a food contest as well that Mexico (Tinga de pollo) ended up winning for the savory plate, and Germany (Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte) for the sweet dish. They looked absolutely delicious, and I didn’t get to eat either of them because directly after, there was a war to get food at the potluck table. I waited until the mess died down a little and only got sweet stuff…and some of my PB&J’s. It was an eclectic and interesting mix of all different flavors from all different places, and all of it was delicious.
There was also a talent contest after dinner. There was a Peruvian girl who sang songs and played guitar from her country, a juggler from the US, and (the winner) the Mexican national anthem. It was a riot!
Through the entire night there was plenty of laughter, lots of pictures shown from the year and stories of many memories. We couldn’t all believe that it was almost over…still don’t want to think about it.
And then after the dinner, Olivia and I were walking with our little USA flag towards the metro when a little boy pulled his grandmother over to us to let us know that our flag was pretty and asked where it was from. [all in Spanish] “It’s from the United States, and that’s where we’re from too. That’s our country” “Oh! Wow! I’m from Chile!” We found out his name was Benjamin, and he was 6. He continued talking to us and asking us questions and even at one point told us; “You both are very pretty. I’m going to marry both of you.” It made our night; we now have a little Chilean husband. A sweet encounter.
Saturday we enjoyed more beach time and made delicious chocolate chip cookies while singing to Christmas music.
Then Sunday, we went to la Feria de las Pulgas in the Baron area in Valpo with our uncle Basilio. He took us through one row of 3 in the Feria which was basically a gigantic garage sale with everything ranging from antique wristwatches to power tools to clothes to toys to books to a t.v. set to…literally, pretty much anything you could imagine. I didn’t take any pictures because of the crowds and to make sure my camera wasn’t stolen. Then we lunched in uncle Basi’s apartment on bread and pebre, salad, spaghetti and some dessert that we called “Kiwi a la Basi”. He lives right next to the oldest building in Chile (I believe…) which is la Iglesia de la Matriz, founded in 1559. It was completely ruined in 1822 due to a massive earthquake, but was rebuilt little by little until finally in 1842 they finished. Obviously it’s looking pretty great today!
Overall I’d say this weekend was pretty great. Relaxing and beautiful days 🙂 Feeling pretty thankful to be ALIVE for one and in a country as beautiful as Chile is.
Lots to be thankful for in life; glad this holiday, although not celebrated here, was certainly not forgotten.