Chile’s Independence Week

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This post is long overdue. September 18th is Chile’s independence day, but the people celebrate during the entire week. It’s a time of closed shops, flying flags, festivals, parties, drinking, dancing, and asados (aka Chilean BBQ).  I ate so much good food at so many asados!

The one I remember most was at Rossy’s house in Valparaiso. I was there for around twelve hours with no internet so it was a little boring but that wasn’t a bad thing.  The day was lovely so I got some sunshine and relaxation and really amazing food.  Most of her family was there and it was really fun to watch them interact. Rossy is seriously adorable. She was the life of the party with her hospitality, laughter, and dancing to the music.

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This is the incredible view from Rossy’s house in Valpo. The little boy in the center is Rossy’s niece’s 5ish year old grandson.  At least… I think that’s how they’re related… haha!

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I love my converse shoes.

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Another awesome part of the independence festivities are Las Fondas. It’s a huge festival on the horse race track with amusement rides, tent vendors selling clothes, art, toys, and souvenirs, as well as delicious food like choripan, empanadas, anticuchos, and churros, drinks, and artisan chocolates. So much goodness. I bought so much food and a shirt made from alpaca fur with llama pictures woven into it.

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Tris and I met some nice guys who sold us empanadas and took a picture for us!

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These are some of the prettiest things that the vendors had to sell.

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So this was from last month. Sorry I haven’t kept my blog super updated. You can expect two more overdue blog posts in the near future.

Peace!

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The Jewel of the Pacific

 

 

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“The Jewel of the Pacific,” aka Valparaíso, is a beautiful city right next to Viña del Mar. It is historic, artistic, and fishy. (By fishy I mean there are fish markets. …)

On Sunday, a Valparaíso native gave us a tour of the city. He told us all about the city and showed us some really cool stuff. And now I’m going to impart this fascinating knowledge to you cause everyone needs to know how awesome Valpo is.

In the glory days, Valpo was a port city. The most important port city of the pacific, because it was the first that ships would stop in after sailing around Cape Horn.

But the completion of the Panama canal in 1914 made the importance and value of Valparaiso become non-existant overnight. The booming economy crashed, hard, and the city is still struggling to recover. Today, the people of Valpo live in the memory of their city’s Golden Age.

The port is still one of the most important industries in Valparaíso. Now, instead of a hundred ships, there are maybe twenty docked in the bay. Fishermen fish and there are huge, crazy marketplaces in which the fish and vegetables are all sold right next to each other and the cats climb and weave through the baskets of cabbages and apples.

It’s a city of contrasts. Some areas are really beautiful and clean and wealthy, but you walk down a staircase and across and alley and find people living in dirt poor conditions.  It’s also extremely different from her sister city, Viña del Mar. Valpo was once wealthy, but after the earthquake in 1906, the upperclass moved to Viña or Santiago, leaving the lower class to clean up the mess. In contrast, Viña is rich with palaces and highrises and vacation homes.  And there’s only a ten minute bus ride and a sign saying “Welcome to Valparaiso” to separate the cities.

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The architecture of Valparaiso is fascinating! I’m not usually one to be interested in how buildings are build but this is actually cool. Okay so in 1906 there was a huge devastating earthquake that leveled the city. The people of Valpo needed to rebuild using cheap materials that would withstand earthquakes. The used wood frames filled with mud and covered it all using the sheet metal off of ships. These materials are strong but flexible so they would stand in earthquakes.

That worked well, until the metal began to rust. So the people looked to the shipyards for anti-rust paint. If the shipyards painted a boat yellow that week, they had yellow anti-rust paint so the person’s house would be yellow. Then their neighbors would say to themselves, “what an excellent idea!” and they’d head down to the shipyards for some yellow paint. But the ship dude would be out of yellow paint. However, since there was a blue boat today there was blue anti-rust paint so the neighbor’s house got painted blue. Thus, Valparaíso is a city of vibrant and unique colours.

Also, there are between 43 and 45 different “hills” or neighborhoods and each one has a unique architectural style. This is because when people began immegrating to Valpo all those years ago, the different countries would tend to live together. So there are British, German, Italian, Chilean, etc styles of architecture.

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Valparaíso is the art capital of Chile. The walls of buildings and the streets are covered in beautiful art and murals.  My camera died before I could take a picture of my favorite mural, so half of my adventures are undocumented, sadly.

We met some street artists and a little old Chilean man with a guitar who sang us Valparaíso’s two most famous songs.  Here are youtube links to the songs:

Osvaldo ‘Gitano’ Rodriguez – Valparaíso

La Joya del Pacífico : Jorge Farias

Here are some pictures of the amazing artwork that can be seen somewhere or other in Valparaíso.

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The city is a labyrinth with more staircases and broken cobblestone alleyways than streets. The best way to explore is to get lost.

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Go to Valpo and get lost. I highly recommend it.

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First Impressions of Viña del Mar

Chile is beautiful. I flew in yesterday morning and my first view of the country was from the airplane window. I saw the mountains. They are so huge and majestic!  I wish I had a picture but I didn’t think of it at the time.

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We landed in Santiago and took a bus to Viña del Mar. Our host families picked us up and my host mom’s name is Patti and she’s really nice. She doesn’t speak any English so that is definitely challenging. Her house is small but cute and she has a tiny dog named Ron. She is an excellent cook too! And the view from her balcony is breathtaking.

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We explored the city and this is the beach. There are ships offshore that seem to be as big as the skyscraper buildings in the city!

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The street art is incredible! It’s so colourful and detailed that instead of degrading the city it only makes it better and more interesting. People also sculpt with the sand!

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The beach is lined with vendors who sell handmade jewelry, clothes, and various trinkets. This little puppy is just about the cutest little thing I’ve ever seen! The other picture is of my host mom, Pattie, and her friend, Maritza. They’re so fashionable! So is everyone else in this city.

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Here is a beautiful photo of the ocean.

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These are summer vacation homes that overlook the beach in the picture above this one. So cool! They have roof gardens and look like giant steps.

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There also are dogs everywhere! This one walked up to us.  It was so happy and friendly and I wanted to pet it so badly but the street dogs don’t have people so they are dirty and flee-ridden. “Es peligroso” and sad too. I want to keep one and clean it and call it George.

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This one has a little jacket on! Someone loves him 🙂 There are also horse-drawn carts everywhere.

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This rock has seals on it. And pelicans. what.

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I managed to get this excellent photo of a seal with the waves crashing against the rocks behind it.

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The flowers are vibrant and beautiful!

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Chile is incredible! I can’t believe I’m here. The language barrier is really challenging and I think I might be slightly crazy for deciding to do this but I know it’s going to be an amazing experience.

!Viva Chile!

Watercoloured Wildflowers

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Here is a photo of a picture that I drew several weeks ago and finished today. It started as a vase of wild flowers and became a pencil sketch. Then I coloured it with some weird crayon watercolour things and painted water over it with a paintbrush. Then it dried and today I traced over it again with a pencil to make it pop. Cool.

 

Ode to an Asian Fern

Disclaimer: Not my photo. I Googled "Asian Ferns"

Disclaimer: Not my photo.  I Googled “Asian Ferns”

Today I was bored, so I looked back through my old documents that I have saved to my laptop. I found a folder called, “My Poetry,” read through it, and realized it was actually decent.

Here is a poem I wrote in high school.  Like “Ode to the Cheese,” this poem is not actually an ode, so I have no idea why I called it that.

Anyways….

~

Ode to an Asian Fern

In the world there is a quiet town

There is a house there is a room

And in that room, by the window bound,

Stands a blue vase

Filled with a fern.

~

Green leaves reaching up

Hanging down all wispy

Like a weeping willow.

Are you sad, little willow fern?

Why weep with the sun in your eyes?

~

Is your home far away?

Japan and China calling calling

Your branches reaching longing

And your branches drooping falling

For you cannot answer.

~

Just outside the window

Wind caresses trees leaves

And you cannot feel

Rain falls gently to the earth

But you cannot drink

Sun shines warmly

And flowers smile, receiving

So close yet so far.

~

A glass wall blinds you from life

Yet you exist on in silence

Weeping, reaching to the sun

That you can see but never touch.

~

Cry little Asian fern

And I will cry too

For the fern in the house

For the quiet town

And the wide wide world

Who will never know the Son

Into the Light

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I drew this with watercolour pencils a year or two ago at like three o’clock in the a.m. Please give credit.

We have a choice; to stay in the darkness and fear of our mind prisons, or walk into the light and freedom of Christ.