New Season, New Beginnings

Where do I even start? An entire season has passed and not a word from me. I like to write, but to write while there are so many other things to be done – working, making sure my toddler doesn’t knock over the vase on the table, making dinner, folding clothes, washing dishes, spending time with my husband, washing more dishes (because it is just the most never-ending cycle in the history of time when you don’t have a dishwasher) – writing is 100% of the time put on the side. Writing is pushed into the couch cushions and forgotten, and then when I’m looking for my phone that was hidden from me by a my own personal three-foot human tornado, I find that ‘will to write’ next to the phone and think, oh right, my blog still exists. There are a handful of people that would like to hear from me.

So here I am again.

July and August went by quickly. It was winter here, but winter 2015 in Santiago was balmy. It didn’t rain good and hard until mid-August, so we were stuck with that smog for much longer than we wanted.

Joaquin began saying more words this winter. He says hola, chau, vamos, bravo, mama, zapato (papapo) and some others. His only English word is banana (balala), and that word comes from Spanish, so it’s safe to say that Spanish is his dominant language. Now that he’s saying a bit more, we can see how much more he understands. He understands my commands in English, and the parts of his body in English, like nose, ears, eyes, belly button, teeth, mouth, tongue. But, he also knows where other body parts are in Spanish, like cabeza, manos, brazos y piernas (thanks to a horribly annoying educational Chilean TV show that I detest with all my soul).

He waves goodbye, blows kisses and his new thing is to say chau and wave goodbye to me on the sidewalk and start walking in the other direction like he’s off to his first day of college. He’s always been blindly independent…takes after me.

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September was a much more fun month. I only had to work the first week of the month and then I had two weeks vacation. Andrés and I were able to take a mom-and-dad only trip to Brazil, while my mom and Julia manned down the house and had Joaquin all to themselves for a week. Everything worked out pretty perfectly…except for the 8.4 earthquake the night before we were coming back home. We got a message from my mom when we were at dinner to the effect of “Yikes! Earthquake!” and I thought, well, they’ve never felt an earthquake before, so it was probably just a small tremor.  Except not, and it was actually the biggest earthquake recorded worldwide so far for 2015. So, yes, kind of a big deal. Andrés and I were not in Chile for the earthquake in 2010, and now we missed the one in 2015. We feel left out. So unfortunately, my poor mom and sister had no idea what to do (we don’t really need to have earthquake drills in the midwest) and wanted to run out into the street (which is really not what you’re supposed to do). Thankfully our neighbor Manuela calmed them down and told them to just stay put.  

Our trip to Brazil was lovely. We decided not to let the rainy weather bring us down and we were able to see a lot of really beautiful places. We stayed in Cabo Frio, a city 2 hours east of Rio de Janeiro, and visited Buzios and Arraial do Cabo on two separate days. We spent our last day in Rio and were able to go up the Sugarloaf Mountain and spend some time at Copacabana.  

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At one of the million beaches we visited that week.

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“…At the Copa-Copacabana”

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It was a time of rest that we needed, so we came back missing our bubs and excited to spend a few days all together with Julia, Mom and Joaquin.

We are normal, I promise.

Joaquin caption: Is it too late to get out of this family of weirdos??

Sadly on the 21st, reality struck and we went back to ‘routine’ mode. Joaquin wasn’t super excited to return to daycare, though I can’t say I blame him. Spending two weeks with all attention from Grandma and Aunt Juju understandably has that effect on a return to real life. I was equally un-excited to be back at work.

And in upcoming news, Andrés’ visa interview will take place on October 7 at the US Embassy in Santiago. As I’ve told some, it’s more or less a formality to ask him a few questions and be able to issue him his resident visa. We have 6 months to move to the USA, so it’s a real deal!  Freak out mode has not officially begun, but it will probably come round January when we have both left our jobs, have no income and no house and are leaving the place we’ve called home for 3+ years (and many more in Andrés’ case). Yeah, I could pretty easily freak out around then. But God provides. He always has, and He always will. He’s never left us out in the dark, and I know that He won’t now. I’m actually pretty calm about everything right now, probably because I think back on to when my life started in Chile and have seen how amazing God has been to my family. So, 2016 will not be any different.

2014 All Wrapped Up

I am back from my vacation of life and blog with Chile welcoming me back into the country in the form of sunny, 85 degree days. I have been back at work since Monday, and I’m already ready for another vacation. January and February are such slow months in the southern hemisphere. Everyone is either on summer vacation and not physically present, getting ready to go on summer vacation and not mentally present, or coming back from summer vacation and still feeling like they should be on summer vacation, and therefore not mentally present. Productivity is not the best right now.

Here are some highlights of how the last month of 2014 went for this girl.

-I’ll just start with the biggest news. Somehow, my baby turned 1. I can’t really, totally, fully understand how this happened yet, as I am receiving timehop notifications on my phone of “one year ago today” and there are pictures of me with a miniscule, beautiful newborn that I’m pretty sure were only taken 1 day ago…not 1 year ago.

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We just upgraded him out of this carseat because he outgrew it…waaaah!!! Me sad!

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We co-celebrated his birthday with one of our family Christmas celebrations, something I’m sure he’ll come to resent in a few years. But he’s 1 right now, all he cares about is the next thing he can put in his mouth – edible or not.

The kid went TO TOWN on the jumbo cupcake once he figured out it tasted like the best thing he’s ever put in his one year old mouth.

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Andrés and I found it at Mariano’s (among some other things…like italian cookies and a build your own 6 pack of beer). By the end of it, he was clutching the cake with his baby jaws of life.

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“Don’t you even THINK about taking this away from me. I’ve earned it, I’m one.”

When we saw the innards of the cupcake, we discovered it was about 98% buttercream frosting and 2% cake. As my aunt graciously put it, he was “breastfeeding the frosting”. The only version of sugar Joaquin was familiar with before his birthday was fructose from bananas and peaches, so this was a whole new world of super, artificially enhanced sugar. By the time we got back to Chile, I’m sure that the three of us well accumulated over 20 pounds as a family unit.

-Andrés and I both got to go to our first ice hockey game. Shut out 4-zip! I knew they played well because we both figured they knew we were going to be there all the way from Chile. We sat next to a couple consisting of a 60 year old man that looked like Hank from Breaking Bad and his 30-something Asian wife whose thighs were the approximate size of my wrists. I also found out that technology now permits you to spy on your babysitter during timeouts of a Blackhawks game. Thanks, Hank.

-We got to spend a lot of time with my family. This was the first time in maybe three or four or five years that every single member of my dad’s side was together, and every single member on my mom’s side was together. I hadn’t seen my cousin since 2010, which is kind of nuts considering our parent’s houses are only an hour away from each other. I even got to see four of my greatest friends (and facetime another far off in Colorado), an awesome thing to have happened for such a short trip.

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Andrés, Grandpa Dave and Great Grandpa Wes celebrated Christmas supporting the Cubs version of Chilean soccer…C.D. Universidad Católica. They always come kind of, sort of close to winning…but never seem to be able to pull it off. But misery loves company, right?

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-Amy got seriously teched-out this Christmas. I came back to Chile with so much technology, I wasn’t exactly sure if I was capable of handling it all. My dear husband gifted me a beautiful mini Ipad and a Chromecast. I opened the Chromecast and I’m all ‘thanks honey!’ and kind of put it to the side. Andrés is like, ‘do you know what it is?’ and I said, ‘sure, it’s a chromecast, for google chrome and stuff’…(that was a guess). I eventually was informed that it turns a regular old boring TV into a super awesome intelligent TV (or I guess a smart TV) that makes your tablet or phone or computer act like a TV remote. I guess I’ve been living under a rock. Then, my dad got my sister and I each a Bose bluetooth (almost spelled it blootooth…I’m 100 years old) speaker. I’m opening all of these awesome things and I have no idea what they do. Don’t worry, I eventually got it all figured it out and under control.

-Andrés’ big gift was a new, fancy Macbook Pro. We were tech-blessed in 2014. I personally don’t want Joaquin getting into all of his parents new toys because 1. he has he his own toys, 2. ours are expensive, and babies are attracted to breaking expensive things, and 3. I think my baby is just fine without all that added nonsense so young in his cute little life. But I know that comes with limits of our own. We try our best to limit all of this usage, especially around him. At any rate, Andrés is all excited about his new computer, and since I have a Macbook of my own, he’s asking me all these questions about what to do if this happens, how do you do this, etc etc, and I’m so tech-tarded I’m the worst person to ask.

-The New Years Party involved Joaquin being the first to hit the hay at 8pm, my mom falling asleep on the couch at 10:30, my dad wanting to celebrate New Years at 11pm because “it was New Years in New York and I’m tired” and Andrés and I ringing in the New Year with champagne and frozen hair in the hot tub at 12:30am.

Every time I have visited home this past year, I always return to conflicted feelings about wanting to leave Chile. Do I want to leave the beautiful Chilean weather and all of my new, married-into Chilean family I’ve grown so close to? Do I want to leave this little home we’ve created together and start over? Do I really want to go back to the USA and learn how to be a grown-up there when I’ve only ever been a grown-up here?

But then my thoughts pull me in the other direction. There is so much more physical space in the U.S. Our kiddo(s) would almost definitely have a yard with grass instead of 3 square inches of tiled terrace on a 7th floor apartment. I would be able to see my mom, my dad, my sissy, my grandparents so much more frequently (and less expensively) than I do now. I could run outside with my baby, instead of having to leave him at home with dad because drivers are absolutely nuts here.

It’s a constant mental battle for this young-ish gringa. But going back permanently has been on my heart for a while now, and the feeling is mutual with Andrés. We continue to trust that God will help us in whatever decision we make, and he has blessed us so very much in our lives together so far. We are excited to see what 2015 is going to present us with.