Veraneando

So, February huh? I won’t apologize, as this distance between posts is now becoming more frequent. Just know that my little piece of internet is always on my mind, but coming up with witty phrases and thinking of interesting stories for all of you to read (and ideally enjoy) is harder than I may lead you to believe.

I last wrote on Joaquin turning 1, and now he’s almost 1+2 months, and quite a bit of life has happened since then.

Two days after that post, my mom arrived in Chile to help me with Joaquin while Andrés was in the Bolivian jungle loving on orphans and doing service projects for two weeks with El Oasis. What a great man I married. I hope to get my first guest writer (husband) to tell you about that trip, as I cannot captivate what it was truly like.

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Meanwhile in Chile, my mom got to spend lots of one-on-one time with her favorite grandson while I was bringing home the bacon. She can be credited for teaching him to walk, no biggie, right? She walked around our apartment building with him so many times he was walking better than me by the end of the week. Plus, now we get to say, Joaquin (hua-keen) is walking, which a just creates a whole new level of word fun, amirite?

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Grandma played with him non-stop and pretty much saved my life from seeing what it would have been like to be a single parent for more than two days. And on the downside (…but really the upside), I had some kind of stomach bug at work on the 20th and was given three days off by my doctor and didn’t have to go back until the 26th. Well now…didn’t that work out nicely?

During our grandma-mommy-grandson time, we were able to go to Pomaire and buy some of their famous pottery, eat lunch at a restaurant that had an small problem with over-usage of avocados and see some large, scary Mapuche faces.

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We also went to the large public pool on top of Cerro San Cristóbal. Andrés had always deterred me from going to both of these places, either too crowded, not interesting or too expensive (in the case of the pool), but since he was out of the country he didn’t get an opinion on whether or not we went.

Then, the party really got going on the 29th when my sister and dad arrived. Andrés made it back on the 30th at night, just in time for all of us to go to Pedro and Paula’s wedding. Pedro (one of Andrés’ many cousins on his mom’s side), stayed with my parents when Andrés and I got married way back when, and they’ve stayed in touch exchanging soccer jerseys and communicating in spanglish.

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Chilean to your left.

He had just started dating Paula when we got married, so my family was excited to have been invited to the wedding. Also, 85 degree January days didn’t deter them too much from coming down either.

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We may need to brush up on our photoshop skills to get Joaquin in this very elegant photo of everyone.

The wedding reception was stunning, Paula’s taste really showed through the decoration and arrangements. It wasn’t like anything I had ever seen for a wedding, but it was so classy and screamed “Chilean Secret Garden”.

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We gringos barely survived until 2am, and were the first to say our goodbyes. Andrés and I finally got to bed around 4am after driving back into the city and dropping my family off at their airbnb place, and by some divine miracle we were able to get ourselves out of bed and pick up Joaquin from his gracious babysitters by 10am.

Julia left on the 3rd and my mom and dad went back on the 6th. It was different for me to say goodbye to them this time around, because it’s the first time since Joaquin was born that we’re all not 100% sure when we will be together again. Every other time we have said goodbye, there has always been another trip planned, and this time we don’t know when that next time may be. Andrés and I are doing our best to save this year, and spending $2500 on plane tickets doesn’t really attribute to the whole idea of ‘saving’. Plus, my head is still reeling from 8 long haul flights with an infant last year with two of those being pushed to day flights. Nah…just can’t do it again…not just yet…how will I ever do it again…just don’t think about it right now…it’s temporary…except I might die…Yes, all part of my normal thought process regarding the subject.

For now, we’re getting things in order for Andrés’ visa, enjoying the last two weeks of summer before 50 bajillion people return to Santiago and take my awesome summer parking spot and make my commute twice as long, purchasing Joaquin’s “school supplies” (why does a one year old need glue sticks again?), and me focusing on the positives and taking better care of myself: physically, spiritually and emotionally. More on that later.

And in case you were wondering, veraneando = summering (coming from your classic verano meaning summer)

Beach Wedding – Surf Style

Last weekend, I hit the road solo to go to a coworkers wedding in Pichilemu (Pee-chee-lay-moo). When Fran told me her wedding was the last weekend of November, I knew it’d be problematic for Andrés to come along. El Oasis always has their end of the year banquet the last weekend of November, and this year was no different, unfortunately. We had to decide what to do with our offspring as we both had separate commitments, so we asked Andrés’ cousin and fianceé to watch him Friday evening. I dropped him off at 6pm on Friday and started my 210km journey at the absolute worst possible time of the week. Rush hour on a Friday. It took me 60 minutes to travel 8 kilometers. That’s not even 5 miles. But, it was either sit in traffic for a while on Friday evening or leave at 5am on Saturday, and traffic will always beat waking up early in Amy’s book.

The first part of the trip is on the highway heading southwest towards San Antonio (Chile…not Texas), then in Melipilla (Meli-pee-ya) I took the exit ramp to start the fun part…a 150 kilometer two-lane, curvy, hilly, poorly lit highway that leads into Pichilemu. And two lanes as in one lane going one way and one lane going another way. So, if you’re stuck behind a semi heading up a hill at 10mph, you have to find the most opportune moment to pass him in the lane of oncoming traffic, and when I say opportune I mean as in not getting hit by a car and dying. Oh, and did I mention that I was also transporting the wedding cake? I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I told her I would bring it when I discovered the highway was more like a rollercoaster than an actual highway.

Chileans do highways a bit different than the United States. The roads are in good condition, but they’re narrower with smaller warning signs and on the smaller highways, there is very little indication that the way you’re going is correct. There’s some tiny markers with the kilometer numbers, but I didn’t think to bring my magnifying glass on the trip with me, so they were basically useless. So, thank the Lord that the city is more or less a straight shot (on the same highway, that is…it’s definitely not straight) once I got off the main highway. However, when I was nearing the last 40 kilometers, there was fork in the road and I initially chose to turn left. I cannot thank my father more than in that exact moment for passing along his acute sense of direction to his eldest daughter, because if I had kept going, I would have ended up in Argentina instead of on the Pacific Ocean. It just didn’t feel right when I turned left…and I have no idea why I felt that but I am so glad that the directional angels were looking out for the little lost gringa on a middle-of-nowhere-highway in Chile at 9:30pm on a Friday night.

After many upsies, downsies, swervsies, turnsies and a nice batch of fog to really keep my knuckles nice and white, Casper and I made it. I got out of the car and I felt so wound up it took me a while to remind my legs how to walk.

What was I writing about? I just got so tense from telling that story that I zoned and forgot.

Right…wedding…

I had Friday night to sleep like the good old college days and felt like a new woman in the morning. Fran(ziska) and Seb(astian) got married right overlooking the ocean. She is German and he is Chilean, but they share their love of surfing and decided that Chile’s surf capital (and their home away from Santiago) was the best place to solidify their relationship.

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They were married in front of an employee of the civil court, and the only time available that day was noon. So the ceremony took place, then right afterwards there was a cocktail hour, lunch and dessert.

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That wrapped up around 4pm, then everyone was free to go back to their respective hotels or cabins, take a nap and get ready for round two starting at 8pm. It made sense, so many people traveled long distances to attend, so they may as well have turned it into an all-day event.

I was two inches from walking out the door to my beloved bed, and one of Fran’s friends asked if I wanted to take a surfing lesson with her during the break. Sure? That’s normal to do the day of someone’s wedding? I had just stuffed my gut full of ceviche, curry, passion fruit mousse and one (or four) glasses of wine, so sure, why not get into the ocean and try and stand on a surfboard for the first time ever in my life.

Putting on the wetsuit was a workout all by itself. I put one on and they made me take it off because it wasn’t going to be warm enough. Then, they handed me the super-insulated mens wetsuit (as I am about the average size of a Chilean man), and I put it on inside out. This isn’t a t-shirt, people. It’s a sticky, clingy, heavy, moist, giant and thick leotard. I was so sweaty and tired when I discovered it was inside out I almost had to ask them to cut me out of it.

We finally made it to the beach and the instructor was desperately trying to show me the correct position to move from stomach to standing, but I was a lost cause. I am generally okay at sports, but if it’s sports with coordination and timing, just forget it. There were too many things to remember in a certain order to get up on that surfboard and I had had too many glasses of wine to care. So, he gave up with me on the sand and basically just said, ‘forget it, you’ll be fine, we’ll just get out there and you’ll give it a few tries’. This is what great motivational speeches are made of.

I flopped around a few times but eventually stood up…maybe four times out of one million tries, and my longest stand was for two whole seconds. Needless to say, I don’t think I will be turning pro anytime soon.

No photos on that experience for you here, but there was some GoPro footage taken of my great standing triumph that I may try and get my hands on…to erase forever so no one can see the embarrassment that is my surfing career.

We wrapped things up and I miraculously got out of the human rubberband suit, ran back to my cabin and stood in the hot shower for 30 minutes.

Second wedding wind started at 8pm, and this was much more relaxed. I went in jeans for crying out loud. They also had an entire lamb roasting over a pit, and I immediately was reminded of My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Their evening wedding cake was adorable, and thanks to my superb driving skills, did not fall apart en el camino.

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It was a beautiful wedding, lots of pretty decoration and just the right amount of people for the size of the restaurant we were in. The spectacular view of the ocean didn’t hurt either.

Congrats Fran and Seb!