Ser Poeta

Los poetas odiamos el odio y hacemos guerra a la guerra — Pablo Neruda “Pablo Neruda es un Gran Chileno,” our history professor told us. Looking at his life and his world, I’m convinced. Pablo Neruda was a Chilean poet, writer, politician, and professor, but what Chileans love most about him, I think, is his …

La Cueca

Is there a national dance in the US? No, claro, los gringos aren’t very good at dancing. This was my excuse this weekend when I was asked that question. But the truth is, Chileans aren’t always good at dancing either. It doesn’t stop them from trying, though. Chile’s national dance, called the cueca, is an …

Wonderful Limits

How do you find words to describe the Infinite? When I try to explain the beauty and majesty I saw this weekend, especially in Spanish, simplemente no hay palabras. I find myself struggling against my limits. And then the Voice inside me tells me to relax. “Tranquila,” it says. “We will have all eternity to …

I’m a bad vegetarian

I’m a bad vegetarian.  I’m not Catholic, but I’m feeling a need to confess. This last month here in Chile has really tested my commitment to my self-imposed dietary guidelines, and truth be told, they haven’t stood up to the test.  I have three (kinda funny) examples of the challenges of being a vegetarian while traveling. …

Smells of the City

My friend Luisa has a very sensitive nose.  This is one of the first things I learned about her when we met three weeks ago.  She sampled my gnocchi and told me it had hints of sweet potato in it.  I had no idea. Luisa’s nose has come in handy various times, like when we …

Cuidar la Tierra

Last week, when my Chilean family went on a hike with other families from the church, they turned it into a learning experience for everyone about caring for the environment.  It was so sweet how my Chilean parents took it upon themselves to educate people on how to “cuidar la tierra.” One woman, Gloria, who organized the …

Sí, claro…

Chileans are incredible chatters, and they don’t slow down for anyone.  It can be pretty difficult to keep up, especially with all the Chilenismos and “po’s” thrown in.  Within hours of my arrival, I humbly accepted just vaguely understanding most things in the coming semester.  When I don’t know how to respond, or if I get lost …

Mary, not Martha

I’ve learned that I’m a pretty task-oriented person. If you would have asked me before I came here, though, I would have said that I appreciate the journey. However, even thinking in terms of a journey implies that there is a direction and a destination. That’s different than simply being present. In Chile, people are …

Surprise! Congratulations! We’ll miss you!

Last night I walked in on a bridal shower/going away party.  Honestly, I had no idea my host mom was hosting one.  I just had finished making the long trek up the hill to our house and, worn out from my first day of classes, I was looking forward to relaxing on the couch in …

Faithfulness and Ebenezers

Back home I have a rock that sits on my bedside table. Written on it is the word “faithfulness.”  My rock’s role is to remind me of God’s faithfulness. Though I didn’t really intend this, that rock has become my Ebenezer.  In the Bible, an Ebenezer is a physical representation of God’s goodness to remind …