Saturday, October 16, 2010

Dancing the niiiight away...

Dancing the niiiiight away... *cough*.... I mean Saturday mornings for the next six weeks.

As most of you know and are already sick of hearing it by now -- I am taking a FLAMENCO dance class for the next six weeks in Peoria, IL (about 50 minutes away). If you are unfamiliar with this particular genre, I would best define it as the elegant and more proper tap-dance of Spain. Okay, that definition does it zero justice! Check it out on YouTube... I am amazed at how each genre demands a different characteristic, a different challenge. With this particular dance, COORDINATION is the factor that flashes in my mind. For instance, today (merely week #2) we learned a 6-step intricate walk/spin combination, along with making the strong, circular movement of the arms and making the traditional Flamenco fingers (in-out-in-out) -- ALL AT ONCE. I made a FOOL out of myself today in class, but that's beside the point, now isn't it? It was grand entertainment... for my comrades.

Also, did I mention that I am taking a HIP-HOP class? Yes, this was last minute. I hadn't planned on it, but the word "regret" is not even close to becoming alive. Now this genre of dance demands a constant awareness of steps. Whereas in other genres you have a transition time or step into the next move, THERE IS NO SUCH THING as a moment to breathe within hip-hop. Boring is the last adjective to describe it. Whenever I was in Chile, I got to learn this for the first time ever (go figure, in South America). Every last Chilean came to ME for hip-hop moves... until they found out this this poor American had no such moves in her inventory. It was the funniest phenomena to see how they perceived that every American is an out-of-this-world professional with a little yo-yo-yo sass in the genre. Not such much... Even today, I still have a long way to go. Don't doubt the stick though!! :)

Needless to say, every Saturday my heart is happy, my feet are smiling and my knees are sore beyond reason. I know dancing has a time and a place -- but as Americans, we hardly dance, even in its right time and place!! I enjoy this art form. I am not perfect by any means. But, I am ready to learn! One of my absolute favorite sights is being in an Hispanic country and seeing a 70-year-old couple dancing the merengue with all their might, through all the night.

Bust out a move ever so often please. Just sayin'
Buenas Noches.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Jots of Randomness

It has been only two months since I have last blogged (an official word in our contemporary dictionaries, ahh, linguistics) ... and yet with all the ACTIVITY of life, it feels more like six. I have decided to merely give you the snapshot this time around, instead of the full-length video. Snapshots are like random revelations received while eating out and further writing such delights on napkins. Simple yet delightful napkins...

First week in APARTMENT: Oven thinks that 250 degrees means BROIL. Delicious chocolate chip cookies along with beautiful, new cookie sheet completely destroyed -- with a side of shattered nerves from both the canine and the tenant.

Second week in apartment: Got locked out of apartment at 7:30am while in pjs, glasses, moldy teeth and mind not fully engaged. 4 step creative process in getting back inside.

Tenth week in apartment: Smelled gas after furnace was lit for first time. Nobody believed me. Called gas company and girl was right. Landlord sends repairman to fix the issue. Ohhh, but gas leak the following day yet again. Tenant calls landlord not so happy. After three days of dealing with the lethal issue, canine and tenant are appreciating fresh oxygen like never before. Talk about some pooped guardian angels.

First week in GRAD SCHOOL: Found there is an immense difference between over-the-top intellects and outright nerds. I being the latter.

Second week in grad school: Amazed by all the preparation and reading involved. Over 500 pages were read in one week's time, more than was read in the entire summer of 2010.

Fourth week in grad school: BREAK DOWN week. It has to happen sooner or later.

Sixth week in grad school: Getting used to the 8am-11pm schedule. Getting used to absolutely no social life. Getting used to reading endless amount of droll theory. Never getting used to the intellects.

Napkin revelations next time will include...
FLAMENCO dancing classes starting October 9th.

Goodnight ladies and gentlemen.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Canine Criminal

Take a CLICK.
My life is NEVER BORING!!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

In Other Words...

This past Sunday, we sang a new worship song but based on an old, familiar verse.
Luke 10:27 : "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind."

Right in the middle of the song, I received this simple yet somehow profound interpretation of the song lyrics.

In other words,
"Love the Lord" -- GLORIFY HIM ...
heart = emotionally
mind = intellectually
strength = physically
all wrapped up into "soul" = spiritually

This might seem quite obvious, but each of these areas play out differently in our lives. Each of us struggle with maybe one more than the other. Some struggle with logic getting in the way of our faith (loving Him with all our mind), or maybe we are constantly looking to a significant other to fill empty holes of our life (loving Him with all our heart), or maybe we think we are all-sufficient with our muscles, height and external features (loving Him with all our strength). Either way, all three components should be encapsulated by loving Him with our soul. Doing every task, thinking every thought, seeing every situation-- with the intention of glorifying Him.

How hard is this verse to live out?

But thank goodness HE ALONE is perfect. :)

Monday, June 14, 2010

El Día de Juventud

Hispanic Youth Day

This summer I wanted to volunteer. I didn't think it would be that hard... The local churches didn't have many outreaches; the Salvation Army YELLED at me; the soup kitchen didn't need any more help; and lastly, I called a local Catholic church. The secretary gave me six different organizations in a matter of 15 minutes. My mouth dropped to the floor with all the (good) temptation. To make a long story short, after I found my Hispanic ministry connection with Sister Cecilia, they quickly got me on board with the different events.

This past Saturday, I volunteered at an event called, "Hispanic Youth Day." It was the Protestant version of a one-day VBS. It was glorious. AND BEST OF ALL.... I was trapped in by 90 HISPANIC CHILDREN. That's what some people (or just me) would call heaven on earth.

Having volunteered with various companies and organizations in the past 10 years, one of my biggest pet peeves is when they don't really need my help. I like for them to keep me BUSY with work. Use me up, by golly! Well, from 8:30am-5:30pm, they most definitely did. From small group discussions, to serving tables, to helping with art projects, to distributing prizes, and just speaking Spanish to my heart's content.

Here comes the teacher-ese talk: BEWARE. I find that second generation children -- meaning they are living in the USA but their parents are natives of another country -- are by far the most interesting case study within the linguistics world. Their accents, the intercultural experiences, and their perspectives on the two languages they speak. In the majority of cases, the children have this rebellious period where they don't see the point of L2 (which in this case would be Spanish, since English is the primary language of the surrounding environment). Interesting to observe and think about.

Anyway, by the end of the day, most of the cuties knew me as the crazy, Spanish-speaking Isabel. It tends to be a pattern in my life. At least, they didn't call me "jirafa" this time. :)

I don't know how to explain my passion to most people, especially with all the economic tension in the air surrounding immigration policies. If I personally am being insulted and pressured because of my passion for the Spanish language and culture, I can only imagine what the illegal AND legal Mexicans must hear and endure. I am in no way in favor of breaking our Constitution or the laws of the United States, but neither am I in favor of unempathetic and hateful comments hurled at the Hispanic society in an egocentric way. Take it or leave it. I am neither stating a political belief here nor will I elaborate upon its sub-categories; I merely want to make an observation. Politically, I actually see both sides of the spectrum. Nonetheless, I would encourage anyone reading this to make an effort to separate the illegal actions from the person himself -- which is required a lot in life, no?

Well, I don't where that tangent came from, but I decided to keep it in my blog. It gives a small picture of the things I've heard in this last year I suppose. Please leave comments if desired. :)

In the meantime, I am off to see if any soup kitchen in the whole state of Illinois or Missouri might need my services...

Sunday, June 13, 2010

EWK Semi-Ode

One may ask...
What is this EWK she speaks of?
Why should I invest into one?
You have every right to ask. And every right to be convinced.


Gurgle, sizzle, steam goes the EWK on the kitchen counter;
all the while the curious eyes watch as water boils in less than 3 minutes.
Oh, all the uses for dihydrogen monoxide during the frigid winter hours.
The stove top takes too long for boiling.
The microwave bubbles it all over, and double ouch while trying to take it out.
So whatever is left to do? Super EWK to the rescue, dear one.
When the luxury of central heating is not at a finger's touch,
you, my EWK, are ever-faithful, filling the water bags of millions.
Simply place it on the table during dinner and every member is catered to --
with the potential of tea, coffee, hot chocolate or other lovely creations.
You MUST refuse ice cube transformation, don't you know?
Please and thank you. I'll grab the blanket to accompany the luscious warmth.
Chile, Ireland, Scotland and other far-off lands have discovered this hidden jewel!
Yet how does such a silver, sassy EWK make winter survivable?
It just does. So give it a try. The EWK beckons you hither...

Friday, May 28, 2010


As most of you know, I am home for the summer. Yes, I know, make your shock noise... NOW. My laptop, of a faithful four years, has decided to pass on. Therefore, my "plane ticket" will be spent upon a laptop worthy of my graduate studies at Illinois State University. Since there will be no international gallivanting this summer, I plan on nurturing some homegrown adventure...

The ROADRUNNER, affectionately named in honor of its humble horn, became part of our family in 2008. Since then, we have shared many heartwarming times together. Its first summer she had her freshman initiation.

One day Kerrie Isabel, a terribly wise woman, bought a 3ftx3ft whiteboard at WalMart, which is located about 5 miles from our abode. Upon arriving at my scooter, I then proceeded to think about how I would creatively carry this home. Under the bum didn't work. On top of my lap was a distraction. No choice -- I must slip in underneath my backpack straps to hold it in sturdy, all the while cutting off my circulation as my arms are unconsciously lifted into an uncomfortable puppet position (although still able to drive properly). After completing my strangling masterpiece, which everyone admired with jealous eyes, it started to rain. If you have never driven against raindrops at 35mph, I say it's a must in life -- if merely to verify that misery loves company...
Having a scooter is much more fun than I ever imagined. It's as if once the rump makes that first connection with the black, leather seat, the connection will never be severed from henceforth and forevermore. Those old men with mustangs think they have hold of life at its best. Wake up! I must kindly make my dear colleague aware that his accelerator is at his foot's disposal, versus the power at the mere flinch of my hands. I win.
Ever so often, I catch myself talking out loud -- either to myself or to a discourteous driver. I might fervently tell him he has issues, never stooping to road rage (I find it distasteful). I have to remember, however, that no glass keeps my words contained. I must say though that non-verbals are powerful. For example, after a massive white van followed too close for comfort today, I whipped around after we'd both stopped, lowered my sunglasses, and just stared sternly for 2 seconds. The two seconds telepathically communicate everything.
Above all, the motorcyclist code is the most top secret language I have encountered yet, even more than Spanish. When you come across the Harley Davis macho-man, do you go with the low salutation or the farmer two-finger wave? Maybe you do the burly head nod? ...Or simply move on because his aurora is too magnificent for a modest 125cc. Well, I mustn't say much more. It is top secret, after all.
Some call me dorky.
Some call me a wild spirit.
Some call me the happy girl of southern Illinois.

Friday, May 21, 2010

End of Broken Dreams

What aspect of humanity grabs at your life?
Children? The elderly? The sick/disabled?
The mistreated/abused? The homeless/hungry?
If nothing does, you might want to check your pulse.
Well, here I am at 4:30am in the morning just as wide awake as possible. For some reason or another, this semester I've been suffering from migraines, probably at least two each month. Therefore to knock it out of the water, I take Excedrin, which is pumped to the last morsel with caffeine. --My thinking cap is attached the best during the nighttime hours or when my heart is almost leaping out of my chest from caffeine -- And as we have already established, it is presently the latter reason that deprives me of my sleep.
Yet, one theme keeps running through my head: "The Homeless." Whenever I was in Chile this past semester, I was exposed yet again to this aspect (my first encounter being in Mexico when I was eleven). My curiosity gets the best of me... Many days, I wanted to skip classes and "pull up a chair" with them, simply living life through their eyes. I'm sick of lollygagging and just passively glancing at such situations -- whether in Chile or in downtown St. Louis. I think to myself in these wee hours of the morn, "Should I sell my Chilean pictures in the form of a postcard to raise money? Should I take up knitting and make scarves, selling them or merely giving them away to a shelter?" Since I am home this summer, I would like to research this matter out a bit further (accompanied by prayer).

Let's be aware.
Let's be active.

Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God (Bob Pierce).

Sunday, May 2, 2010


Have I mentioned lately that I'm utterly enamored with the Spanish language and culture? I repeating myself?

Epigramas - TAKE 2

I love that the seagulls are so loud of a morning that I have to utilize earplugs.

You come diagonal towards me, and I damage you.

I love being medio flaite in my hip hop Billabong Aussie cap.

Beer nations usually produce more alcoholics than wine nations. Just a theory.

Turn off the boob tube and get your rear in gear. Nature.

From hippie to gangsta to sexy mama, Chile fosters such fashion in my life.

Had to look up “cabaña” on wordreference to know how to spell it in English. English is my first language…

I can see why mom had a crush on Elvis. Is it odd that a 21-year-old would make this statement in CHILE and about a DEAD man? Yes.

Can you be a vulture *jote* and not even know it?

Chihuahua, it is humanly possible to write a 6-page analysis on an 8 stanza poem by Gabriela Mistral.

Buttons should be awarded on top of La Campana.

Looking forward to petting & loving on animals without having to complete a thorough flea check and germ-x lather afterwards.

I had to shake three American’s hands today. No kissies?

I would pay a gamba to hear another random man recite Neruda on the micro.

And we complain about Christmas starting at the end of November… try October on for size.

Just spent 30 beautiful minutes of my day watching flamenco dancers, mouth wide open in awe TODO EL TIEMPO. Men Flamenco Dancers, may I just say... You rock my socks off.

Skirts stop traffic, open doors, and collect smiles in both Chile and America.

Hello, yes, I would like to order more men playing checkers in the plaza…

If I got a cheesy smile, blew up my face on a poster, and put my husband there with me, not to mention have 30 posters in a row lined up, I could run for President in Chile.

If Tata has to play cowboy on another non-handicapped accommodated curb, I might go yell at the first politician I behold.

As has been a tradition in my life for the past three years, I am listening to Michael Bublé to get me in the proper mood for any and all wedding ceremonies. :)

Pringles ain’t got nothing: “Donuts, once you pop you can’t stop”

Riding on the metro instead of the micro is like living in the USA: quite comfortable.

Notamos el jefe de Santa Isabel es medio mino. Lo atacamos. No tan santa. Ay, la mamá chilena.

Merton's Prayer

In today's church service, Pastor Watts shared this following prayer. It really spoke to me, where I am with graduation and life -- but continually trusting in God no matter where the unpredictable path may lead in our lives. ¡Bendiciones!

"My Lord God, I have NO idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that
I am following Your will does not mean
that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please You
does in fact please You.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything
apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this You will lead me
by the right road though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore will I trust You always though I may seem
to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for You are ever with me,
and You will never leave me to face my perils alone."

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Journal Samplings

I was required to write a journal each week out of my first eight-week session of student-teaching. The following are just bits and pieces of my thoughts:

"Anymore, I am realizing that a teacher (if dedicated) can put in anywhere from 40-80 hours each week. Not only are you teaching for the 8 hours each day, but then you might have 3 hours of grading and 3 hours of preparation for the following day, oh not to mention the parent-teacher conferences or the duties of Spanish club events, and any of the other “little” tasks the school district might mandate for all teachers within the system. Holy cow. I don’t understand how people can have a husband, kids, and this job and still be in their right mind. Anyway, in a nutshell, we don’t simply “get” summers off – we deserve them! We put in all the hours necessary during the school year to more than compensate for the minor break we receive during the summer. Okay, I will step off my soap box now..."

"So, this past Thursday I left my USB at the school, therefore I had to back my files up on another USB that night, just in case the internet wasn’t working at the school on Friday to access the six files I vitally needed. The next morning upon arrival, I found out that the internet was temporarily out of service, not working in the least. It did not come back until noon that day. I cannot begin to explain how many gratitude prayers were uttered after the announcement was made. Teachers always need to have a Plan B, C, D, E, and F."

"A weird concept dawned on me this week. As I was grading a three-paged packet I had assigned to my 90 Spanish 3 students, I was struck with one thought and one only: CREATE ASSIGNMENTS THAT YOU IN TURN WILL ENJOY GRADING LATER. There’s a good chance if it you are dreading grading it, the students probably are further dreading doing it. Try to make all things as enthralling and interesting as possible, even homework assignments."

"Additionally, I am used to calling kids after class to talk to them about their behavior and grades. At first this process was a bit uncomfortable; however, now it not only seems necessary but also natural. I prefer talking it out with the student about issues within the classroom, before an automatic detention or scolding them harshly in front of peers, one never knows the background that each student brings to the mix. All 120 of them."

Parents need to invest more into their children; they are jewels. I still say that we should have a strict interview process if someone wants to become a parent. Yes, I concur with myself.

High School

Teaching is not all academics. Nope Nope Nope. In a classroom, the teacher is teaching (or should be teaching) how to interact and survive with dignity and confidence. Teaching that courtesy and respect are not out of fashion! There are so many lessons I've learned this semester, reaching beyond academics. Life lessons. People skills. Management skills. A certain hardening and gentleness all at once. Teaching high school is no joke, my fellow American population.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Epigramas (One-liners)

This is a mere sampling of the different one-liners that entered my head on a daily, Chilean basis... Viva Chile.

Never let a kiwi vendor wish you farewell.

I miss sharp cheddar cheese like a famished mouse.

It brings a smile to my face to think how in the USA I am a relatively decent dancer, with rhythm and enthusiasm. But by Chilean (Latino) standards, I am NADA. My hips do lie cross-culturally. Take that Shakira.

Chileans are bringin’ back the mullet.

If we improved our standards of media production in the USA, how much would our International Relation Affairs department flourish?

If one more Chilean calls me princess on the street or if I hear another car horn that sounds like a whistle, I might strike at the male.

Just because we have equal rights with men does not mean we should become one.

The anti-inflammatory cream for my banged-up knees makes them black. That’s a good sign, right?

It doesn’t get much better than riding bicycles in the desert at nighttime under the starlit heavens.

Rock n’ Roll makes happy hips.

Atacamenian dust slays the olfactory.

Alpaca, Guanaco, Vicuña, Llama – love at first sight.

Small villages fascinate me – especially those that have churches older than the USA or with habitants less than 40.

Whereas my hair dries naturally in 3 hours during the summer, in the Atacamenian heat, it took about 40 minutes.

Everyone should experience being 60% deaf in their second language.
It is no longer not understanding as much as not hearing.

Hearing wax swish from one ear canal to the next is always an interesting phenomenon; it’s even more interesting when you are overwhelmingly grateful to hear the precise sound of squeaky grocery kart.

Did I really just make my teeth bleed by eating “quadritos” (wheaties)?

I am declaring surfing to an earth tremor an official sport.

I like it when the postman likes me and gives me cough drops as a reward.

I think I would like to meet my husband on a micro. Romantic, ¿maybe?

Saw a curly, red-haired Chilean. Her freckles made my day. Diversity *sigh*

The adrenaline rush of standing on a micro bus for 20 minutes surpasses any Six Flags ride available.

Never knew batteries were to be guarded with your life: plastic treasure box with high-top security lock.

Always a tossup – dry skin or fleas?

Santiago forms dark, smoggy boogers. Guaranteed.

Dressing hippie makes for an interesting day.

Is there an urge for anonymity in my life? Matthew 6:4

As I was organizing my room, I was talking to myself and mumbled, "MAN, WHY DO I HAVE SUCH COLD??" English is my first language...

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Todo o Nada

Someday we will finish my "Torres del Paine" trip. PROMISE. ;)

This past week I started student-teaching at a high school. Eventually, I believe I will have to teach all of the classes, including four Spanish 3 classes and two Spanish 4 classes. Although I leave exhausted everyday, I truly enjoy what I am doing. I truly am grateful to be able to speak Spanish whenever I want. Actually, most of the time I speak Spanish because I am illiterate in English anymore... for example, I told one class during some instructions that "bliss was ignorance," which produced quite a roar within the four walls. Oh well, maybe they'll feel freer to make mistakes while learning Spanish with me.

However, I've also recognized that teaching is a lot like our walks with Christ. For instance, we can just do enough to "get by" as a teacher, not preparing a lot or not being available for students. It's like each day in the classroom is out of routine, instead of mixing it up and making it more interactive. Some people choose to be teachers for the mere sake of the 3-month summer breaks; some people say they're Christians simply out of tradition or to have a mask. On the other hand, you have those teachers who are at school early, stay after, prepare whenever they have a chance, are constantly reexamining the day to make improvements, and really want what's best for the students. With ALL their heart.

I don't know about you, but I want to be that type of Christian...
not to mention, that type of teacher...
That tis all that is on my pea brain today.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


The Great Goose Hunt

Well, I thought we would have an interlude between my Torres del Paine trip in CHILE. This following clip is what I call some home-grown adventure:

Saw a flock of 150 geese. Saw my Jack Russell Terrier. Convinced my parents to let the two elements combine. I should do this more often...

Starting in my early childhood years until now, I've always had a problem with wanting to see birds fly, no matter what measure I had to utilize.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Punta Arenas

And the sequel proceeds...
We arrived in Punta Arenas in the early morning hours; as we stepped off the plane into the main terminal, we were warmly greeted by a freezing climate (did you get my word usage there? don't smile too much) Keep in mind that in the middle of December we are talking shorts, flip-flops, and happy-go-lucky weather in Valparaíso, CHILE. Different hemispheres, opposite seasonal rotations than in the USA. Nonetheless, we were about 6 hours from Antarctica -- so here we are, Dove and I, busting out the Eskimos in Punta Arenas when our friends are burning at the beach back in Valpo.
Next, we organized our things (4,328 packages total) and headed to find a taxi. We had a stellar tour guide disguised as a local taxi driver. He showed us where the museums, downtown, and famous statues all were. Since we had not the slightest clue which hostel to stay in, he simply dropped us off with all our junk in the downtown. From there, we walked around and priced 2-3 hostels. NO WAY! Expensive. So, we walk "towards" one of the hostels that a friend of mine recommended. As we walked "closer", I told Dove to look at her map again. It didn't feel right. Oh wait, we were walking in the WRONG direction. She just smiled with guilt and said, "I just am warming us up for our grand hike. You know, a little bonding time with our backpacks." It wasn't until later into the journey that I found out she was directionally challenged: however, I'm not busting open that can of worms yet.
Southern Chile is one of the safest and most common places to hitch hike. Golly, I had already successfully done it in Chiloé Island, might as well not let the thumb get rusty. Since we were on the opposite side of town than our hostel, I told Dove we would give it a go. There in the distance, we spotted a truck with an open, clean bed calling our backpacks' names. As his four wheels approached, the thumb made its way out into the open. Failure was accepted as he sped past us. We determined it probably wasn't the best place, you know, in front of a stop light and all. We decided to take a taxi instead, saving hitch hiking for later.We arrived at the hostel, relieved ourselves of the backpacks, and decided to walk around downtown before our tour left at 2pm. People walk everywhere in Chile. I was telling someone the other day that my daily average is anywhere from 30-50 street blocks, either because of pleasure or obligation. Either way, I got some great gastrocnemius muscles (look it up). Then, at 2pm, our hostel's van drove us to the PENGUIN ISLAND tour. Yes, the penguins were waiting for some cuddling.
It's a 1.5 hour boat ride to arrive, 1 hour with the little guys, and 1.5 hours to return. On the boat tour there, our whole next 9 days were foreshadowed: ISRAELIS. That region of Chile attracts a multitude from Israel, first time in my life to meet so many Israelis. They tried to teach us Hebrew to pass the time, but it was highly unsuccessful. Spanish is hard enough, thanks. On our way, we were able to see "Tierra del Fuego" from a distance (really not a big attraction point). Then, from a long ways off, we saw the penguin island. Dolphins were jumping in and out of the water leading us to the island, like some magical scene from the little mermaid. Where was Ariel? MIA.
All these little black dots added up to be the 60,000 breeding pairs on the island. For my fellow penguin lovers, these were all Magellanic Penguins. Want to know why they're called that? Yeppers, I knew it! Well, you see this guy named Ferdinand Magellan went through this strait (*cough* Magellan Strait) on his trip around the world. He saw these animals at the time, calling them "black geese", but obviously they were later named in honor of him, the "Magellanic Penguins." Black geese- Ferdinand, what were you thinking there bubba?
Penguins are one of my favorite animals, ranking up there with kangaroos and dogs. It was such a privilege seeing them in their own habitat. I loved watching them waddle everywhere; it reminds me of a mellow tap dance, like on Mary Poppins. (Why do all my comparisons end up in cartoon characters? Bah.) Another things that I adored were seeing the babies in their underground nests with their mothers. Word to the wise: don't mess with mama penguins. Lastly, the thing that really caught my attention was listening to them. I mean, I've never really listened to a flock of penguins, but I find the Magellenic Penguins' noise highly unique. I think it might have been mating season, but I honestly am not sure. This was the closest I could find: (just click)
We arrived back at the hostel, ate a small dinner, and passed out. You know the funny thing, though, is we are at the ends of the world ... we are talking about EIGHTEEN hours of daylight!! Only from 11pm until 5am was there complete darkness. I went to bed at 10:30pm that night under a brightly lit sky. Welcome, to the South Pole.
Listen, we still have to travel to Puerto Natales and our 6-day Torres del Paine hike. Are you in for the ride? Stay tuned. :)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Off to Neverland!

Since the start of September, my mouth had been watering for my Patagonia trip to explore the southern extremities of Chile. I had some hit-and-runs with Chile's northern desert region, its tropical central regions, and a mere sampling of its southern Chiloé Island area. In December, however, I would make my way down to the ends of the world...
And here came our 11-day adventure full on, DECEMBER 12th.
The first two days were spent in Santiago, the capital of Chile. Although I had been there before twice with my program, there were still a few spots that I had to see before I left -- two birds with one stone. Needless to say, we visited the Bellas Artes Museum, Plaza de Armas (with purses tightly embraced), the older parts with quiet cafes, and an artisan market of a billion aisles (no, really). After being in flip-flops all day, our feet were filthy, and I mean dirt black, by the end of it all. Oh, Santiago. To the bathtub! Nonetheless, it was a lovely time with my dear friend (Vero), not to mention I got to play around in her backyard CHOCOLATE FACTORY. Charlie was no where to be found, if you were curious. At the end of a long day's exploration, we even helped package some Christmas products, trying not to eat them all instead.
On December 14th at 2:40am that morning our plane left for Punta Arenas, Chile. This was Dove's (my traveling buddy) first time to fly, so we were both a bit nutty aka hyper. I told her the toilets were the best part of the plane- the loud, scary noises and all. Anyway, we climbed aboard and took our seats. I was ready to pass out immediately, the low of the morning hours had finally hit me. Dove was like a little child excited at every sound, color, smell, atom that came her way.
As usual, the average flight time to get that massive plane off the ground was 30 seconds. Dr. Anderson, my anthropology professor, got that tradition started in my life -- usually the better planes take off in 25-35 seconds. That's a phenomenon in itself, no? Supposedly, Dove stayed awake the 4-hour flight, while I passed out like a log to her side. She had the window seat and told me before our landing, "The clouds were amazing as the sunrise shone brilliantly through them. And then below all of that, you have our Pacific Ocean smiling." Honestly, flying reminds you that we really are not in charge of anything. We are just like little ants that God deems worthy to love with all of His might. What a thought.
Stay tuned to see what unfolds after landing in Punta Arenas, CHILE. :)