Ziplining in Peru

The last day in Cusco we went Zip-lining.  I flew over the mountains of Peru and met some Quechua people.  My dad’s parents were missionaries to the Quechua people and translated the Bible into their language so my dad grew up with them and was even named after their chief, Tariri. I’ve always wanted to meet those people, and I finally did! There were four guys running the zip-line, and they were talking together. At first, we assumed it was Spanish, but after a moment or two we realized we couldn’t understand it at all. Tristan asked what they were speaking and they said Quechua. I was so happy! Also, the landscape is breathtakingly beautiful.


There were four zip-lines. The last two were longer and awesomer!


We met these two adorable little kids. They were the children of a farmer who was ploughing the field behind us and knew the zip-line people somehow. So cute. The little girl had her shoes on the wrong feet so Tristan switched them out haha.



I flew like superman over the valley! It was the closest I’ve ever been to flying.


I realized that although the town was incredibly poor monetarily, these people were rich because of the breathtaking beauty that surrounded them. I would give anything to have grown up in a place as beautiful as that.


Here we are posing with the mountains in the background. Jihoon is being a goof as always 🙂 We all stylin’ with our hard hats and harnesses!


Disclaimer: These photographs were taken with Tristan’s camera by one of the Quechua guys. So they are not mine.

So that’s the end of our Zip-lining adventure. It was a fun time, and the beauty of the land was food for my soul.

Soon I will post about Machu Picchu and Adventures in Peru and the last few weeks in Chile.



La Isla Negra

I went to La Isla Negra with our Resident Director and some of the other exchange students. The house of the late Chilean author, Pablo Neruda, is now a museum and it is beautiful. We couldn’t take photos inside of the museum but I’ll try to describe the general layout briefly.

The house is one room wide and is comprised of around 16 rooms. So it is very narrow and long and each room is designed to look like a ship or a train from the inside.  It is filled with many intriguing and beautiful artifacts and collections and fascinating furnishing. Ship sterns shaped like women, wooden angels, half a model ship against a mirror, a round table, huge windows overlooking the ocean, a bar which has the names of his friends carved into the beams, Japanese theater masks, butterfly collections, bottled ships, a totem pole that supposedly didn’t like to be looked at so Neruda removed one of it’s eyes, a plastic life-sized horse with three tails, a desk made of drift wood which he and his wife retrieved from the ocean together, a stone mural wall fashioned by his best friend, a glass table set on top of a huge ship wheel, several weird instruments, a writing desk and a random porcelain sink which wasn’t connected to anything, a room dedicated to his childhood memories, beautiful paintings, other random interesting items, and a bed which overlooked the ocean and faced east to west so the rose at the head and set at the foot. The last moments he spend in that house before he was taken to a hospital were spent in that bed.  His life seemed so interesting and wonderful! I felt very inspired by that trip.

We also visited some nearby beaches. Here are several pictures that I took that day.

The house from the outside:

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A majestic dog and a selfie:

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The contrasting mystically misty and super sunny beaches.

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P.S. I haven’t updated my blog in like a month so there is so much to tell you all about! I’ll be posting about Patagonia, Pomaire, Machu Picchu, and general life very soon.

The things which cannot be photographed.

Yesterday at noon my host mom came into my room and spoke words in Spanish. All I understood was “lunch” and “going out.” So I deduced that we were going out for lunch! At what hour and where and with whom, I had no idea. So I waited. At three she came upstairs and said, “Ready? We’re leaving now!” And thus I embarked on a grand adventure.

I squeezed into a jeep with Rossy, Manuel, their grandson Bastian, and two random older ladies and we drove to… a cemetery. Yeah you heard me right; they took poor unsuspecting me to a viewing. It was incredibly awkward. I just kind of stood in the corner staring around the tiny room and up at the coffin and the morning relatives and friends and made myself as small as possible and hoped that no one noticed my extreme discomfort. I also was half smiling to myself because of the hilarity of the situation. I thought I was just going to lunch but somehow I ended up at a funeral.

Apparently, the deceased was in his late seventies and died of stomach cancer. He was the neighbor of either the two old ladies in the car, or of Rossy and Manuel. I wasn’t sure cause of the language barrier but I do know he was Someone’s neighbor. After Rossy prayed, we walked back outside past some doors through which mournful music was drifting.  Manuel said to me, “In there is the church where the funeral service is. But we are not going in there, we’re leaving now.” Thank the gods! hahaha I was so relieved to hear that.

Before leaving, however, we drove through the cemetery to where Manuel’s mother was buried. We paid our respects and stood silently for a moment. I took the time to look around the burial grounds at all of the people visiting the graves of their loved ones. 

It is a beautiful day. The sun shines in the brilliant blue sky illuminating the green grass and a peaceful pond. The landscape is carefully cared for and all of the graves have flowers placed on the tombstone. The beauty of the place stands in sharp contrast to the pain in the eyes of the people. Families stand by the grave of their son, or sister, or grandfather. A woman in her thirties kneels at the side of a grave as four men of different generations stand around silently. Two little girls with ice cream cones jump out of a car and skip across the road to catch up to their mother and older brother. Two cousins smile and greet each other with a kiss. An elderly lady holds her head in her hands with her grown up children standing over her. A father stands by a grave with a baby strapped into a stroller at his side. So much grief and so many bitter-sweet reunions. I was struck by deep thoughts about how death is universal and affects everyone who is left behind.

Rossy crossed herself and Manuel looked up and turned back to the car. Then we left for reals and went to lunch. So I did understand that part right! I just didn’t hear the part about the viewing. It was an experience. 

On that really sad note, I abruptly and unceremoniously move to a much happier topic; the beautiful drive between Viña and Horcón where we had lunch. There are some things which cannot be captured with a camera even when you are stationary so it’s even more impossible from the other side of a dirty window in a moving car. I just stared out of the window and soaked in the beauty of the country’s coast. 

I’ve been keeping a journal of words to document the things I see and hear and experience in my adventures. I wrote down some of the most memorable things from the drive and from the outing. Here is a page of my awful handwriting for your enjoyment. 


Here I shall interpret some of the chicken scrawl from the picture above:

We drove by the dunes of Concón. They are huge! Mountains of sand stretching as far as the eye can see. Absolutely beautiful. People ride horses along the coast and a hang glider glides over the waters. 

Trees lined the road and the leaves are green even in the winter time.  We pass pastures of sparse bushes and lush grass where hundreds of cows graze and a black horse stands alert staring out into the valley. 

There is a bay called La Ventana, which means “The Window.” Rossy told me that it’s called that because of the huge rock with a hole in it. I wish I could have got a picture of it because I can’t really describe it in words. It was beautiful. 

And the houses! They are so cute and colourful with all different styles of architecture. Every house is unique and lovely.  I got three of them from the car window, so they aren’t the best photos but they’re decent I suppose. 

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One house had armchairs on the porch. Like two legit arm chairs with two old men just chilling in them. 

A Chilean cowboy dude went riding by bareback with a rope halter and leading another horse behind. It was epic. 

Then we entered Horcón, in which we ate lunch. I wrote a separate blog post for that because I took lots of photographs and this one is getting really long. But anyways, fast-forward to the drive home, which was excellent as well. 

The sunset over the ocean was breathtaking. As the sun fell lower in the sky it grew huge and red and the misty clouds ate it from the top down instead of disappearing under the earth like you would expect from a sunset. It was incredible. 

On a rock cliff overlooking the ocean and the sunset was a bench. A boy sat on said bench with his girl laying down beside him with her head in his lap. He was reading a book and it was a beautifully romantic moment. 

The people are beautiful. Rollerskating teens and kids on tiny skateboards. Cute couples walking hand in hand and an old lady in a yellow skirt sitting on the steps of a house. An old weathered man trudging down the street with a newspaper in his hand. A young dad with his five year old on his shoulders. A girl wearing green standing by the road looking for something in the distance. I really want to photograph these people. I want to capture these moments but I can’t because as soon as I know it’s a moment worth capturing, the moment is gone. The car has passed by, the person walks away, changes expression, or makes eye contact. It’s frustrating but also shows how precious moments are because they only happen once and only occasionally and sometimes accidentally can they be recorded. 

I also don’t know how to ask if I can take their picture or use a picture I’ve taken because I don’t speak Chilean Spanish. Maybe it’s okay to just not tell them I took a picture? I don’t really know anything about photographing etiquette. Do you? 

Anyway, it is late and my thoughts are becoming unusually pensive and deep, which usually means it’s time for me to sleep. So I will post this blog post tonight and then finish the one about lunch in Horcón tomorrow after church.

Buenas noches mis amigos!  


Lakes are lovely.  During my family reunion we had a picnic lunch at Aitch, which is a boat launch and fishing dock at Raystown Lake. I took several beautiful pictures that can’t do the place justice. These are all unedited. Enjoy!









There will be more about the reunion at a later date.  All I’ll say for now is that it was really fun.


The Doctor’s Wisdom

“The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things don’t always soften the bad things, but vice-versa, the bad things don’t necessarily spoil the good things and make them unimportant.”

The Roar of Our Stars by Alice X. Zhang

The Roar of Our Stars by Alice X. Zhang

I love Doctor Who. I’m just a nerd like that. I actually own a pair of high-top All Star Converse shoes which are custom designed to look like David Tennant’s maroon Converse and say “Allonsey” on the back. They are my favorite shoes.                                      … Anyways…

One of my favorite quotes is from the episode called Vincent and The Doctor.

(for non-Doctor Who watchers, The Doctor is a Time Lord which basically means he can travel through space and time.)

~ Spoiler alert!! ~

Episode overview: Amy and the Doctor travel to meet Vincent van Gogh and defeat an evil monster. In the meantime, Amy finds out that Vincent will die by his own hand. She and the Doctor try to help Vincent battle his depression, and for a little while he seems okay. After defeating the monster, they bring Vincent back to a modern museum and allow him to see the incredible impact that his work will make on the world of art. He is speechless and thanks them both when they bring him back to his own time.  Amy and the Doctor have hope that his life will change for the better after their encounter. They return to the museum, only to discover that there is only one addition to his artwork and he took his own life in 1890. Amy is distraught and the Doctor comforts her with these words:

“The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things don’t always soften the bad things, but vice-versa, the bad things don’t necessarily spoil the good things and make them unimportant.”

This quote is beautiful for two reasons.

  1. It affects how you view your own life. You are able to feel deep pain and also deep joy and know that both experiences are equally valid and important. It allows you to be living in pain and despair but still be able to find beauty in the movement of the stars, in a memory, or in a stranger’s kind word.  It allows you to life fully and in the present and realize that all of your experiences – the good and the bad – have made you who you are today, and that is painfully beautiful.

  2. It also concerns to how you interact with others. Even if you know you can’t change someone’s life circumstances for the better, you can bring a little beauty into their life with a kind word or action.

That is what this quote means to me.

I like Doctor Who. Do you? What is your favorite quote?

(Disclaimer: the picture is not mine. It is by Alice X. Zhang.)