martes, 21 de septiembre de 2010

Saintly virgen of the hill,
oh immaculate Mary!
From this sacred moutain,
Look at me with tenderness and love
and beg to our father God
Pardon our sins
Today I consecrate myself to you.
I offer you my heart,
So that your son Jesus
Increasing my week faith,
Give me relief and salvation,
I beg you to intercede,
For the good of my family,
For the whole Elqui Valley
and for my lovely homeland.
Protect us from sickness
Earthquakes and landslides
and I beg you for Vicuña,
that you hear there prayers,
from this blessed sanctuary
Help us to participate,
in the gifts of the spirit
to be able to make a pilgrimage
to the encounter with you,
the the whole and infinite heave,

Me odio this format!

It's really difficult to add captions so I'll explain as best as I can here. The hike was great! 6 hours! We headed up to the Sanctury for Vicuña's Virgen. The message as you can see is really beautiful, I'll try and translate it for you all after this. This picture is really special to me.
I was sitting there in that blank spot and I just sat there for a good while, silent and then I opened my eyes and we were all sitting there completely silent. It actually brought me to tears, something so sacred happening so naturally. Here I came up with a new mantra for me, "Out of the head, into the heart". I've been using it a lot because I've realized it's natural to dwell on things, but it's the manner in which we take in those thoughts. I'm looking at them more with the heart rather than complicating them with crazy thoughts.

Anyways.....we headed way up a mountain, even doing a little rock climbing! It felt so good to get some exercise. As you can see the view was incredible and we had a nice little picnic at the top. So much peanut butter! I forgot I missed it so much!
The hostel we were staying at was so perfect too. It was the darling little old lady named Juana, my heart melted the moment I saw her. She had her daughter and grandchildren there too, so as we were making dinner we got to share in the family feeling. It was good for all of us being so homesick. She also makes delicious jam made of membrillo, look it up, it's some bizarre fruit here in Chile, but it makes really good jam, reminded me of Christmas with the cinnamon and all. The picture of the old lady is actually of her mother, but I couldn't resist to take it because it's so grandiose and probably the most impressive portrait I've ever seen.

La Serena, the beach feels so nice!

And our campsite in Pisco Elqui right by the creek and we had our very own unicorn!
The horse pics are you you dad.

And the sky! So big and beautiful, a bus trip worth the ride to Vicuña.

This "campsite" was actually someone's backyard, so we stayed in a hostal the next night.

And the highlight of the trip, our hike! Finally some nature, cacti, a sanctuary for el Virgen, ironically surrounde by the town's signal towers.

Transcending nonreality

It seems it took a weekend of debauchery, not being myself to swing my back to a sense of reality. A weekend birthday in Pichilemu, a small surfing town about 3 hours away from Santiago. I've learned so much, maybe too much this weekend, but in a good way. This will keep me thinking for a while, but it's all very much for the better.
First off, for some reason I can't handle the alcohol too well here, so that's over. It's easy to get carried away especially when everyone else is doing the same, but that's not me blaming them.

Another thing, nothing I do can be blamed on someone else. I was also reminded that although I've imagined myself as an open and honest, genuine person I still have a lot to work on in the field. It starts with being totally honest with yourself and I think this weekend got me there or at least very close. I'll be working on a lot on making life less complicated and I see good things coming my way.
I'm also going to be letting a lot of things go. I've been dwelling on a lot of things lately and although they won't go away completely I'll be approaching them differently. I came to Chile to make progress. I'll always be making progress even with set backs, but I hope I can maintain an honest and genuine quality about myself because that's what I appreciate most in others.

Don't be too scared, but I'll have a nasty scar in a couple of weeks to remind me of all this, that's good right? Someone's making sure I never forget! Literally the most ridiculous weekend of my life, I've only imagined these things happening, like something out of The Hangover.

And again the weekend before in Valle de Elqui, much more calm, and learning a lot as well. And so my life gets a jumpstart again! ahhhhhhh.........

So with that, let's see some pics!

jueves, 16 de septiembre de 2010

Almost a month!

Even now I´m in a computer lab right now hurrying to write this as I´m meeting up with some Chilean friends, that´s good right! We´re going to a ¨fonda¨on campus which is a traditional party where you eat food and maybe get a little tipsy.
Yes it´s a celebratory weekend as it is my birthday but also Chile is celebrating its independence. I see this as a good excuse to relax and not focus to much on myself and just have a grand ol´time!

Sorry I´ve been neglecting the blog. But as I look back on these last weeks it´s probably best I refrained from writing here as most of it would´ve been depressing homesick-fuel, focusing on the past, etc. But now I´m back to sort of normal, feeling happy about where I am.
This past weekend I took a weekend trip with some friends from my group to Elqui Valley. It was good to get out of the city and my quickly forming routine of school and not much else. I finally got to see a more ¨real, authentic¨ part of Chile, which I guess just means the more rural side. Santiago is great, but it´s just like any other big city and you become isolated quite easily.
We spent the first night camping in Pisco Elqui, good to feel dirty again! relaxing in the sun, and a bit of dipping in the creek. The plan was to go to the Mamalluca observatory to see the stars but because of the climate that never happened. Luckily the first night there was clear enough so we had our own show with the naked eye. Beautiful sky! So clear that the stars illuminated the surrounding mountains, nothing short of ethereal.
The next day we wanted to continue camping, but with little preparation that didn´t go through very well, so instead we stayed in a hostal, essentially the home of the most adorable littly lady I´ve ever met. Juana, was so kind as she shared her home and her family. It was a good cure for some homesickness. AND the next day! We went for a 6 hour hike in the cerros (hills or mountains) so beautiful and I hope to get pictures up soon.

All I can say is this refueled my excitement about being here, I just need to get out more. So here I got on a hopefully more adventurous experience of this country. I went about this trip with as little expectations as possible and so doing that I enjoyed every bit, now I only need to maintain that mindset and apply it to life in general.

So there we are, I hope to speak to y´all much sooner and to grant you some fotos!