Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A little bit of everything

Yeah this was in Europe, not Chile, but lately I've been trying to think about times when I was cold and I was happy, to have a more positive association with cold. It's kind of working? A girl just gets kind of glum after having fall/start of winter in Knoxville, deathly cold winter in Europe, winter in China(although it felt like fall honestly) and now fall entering into winter here, and then knowing when I get back in August fall/winter will be coming. I mean, is that bad for my Vitamin D production? Perhaps my mood too? Hehe, anyways, I'm a dork. And I'm spoiled rotten I just realized as I read back over that paragraph! I haven't shared many Europe pics though, so perhaps I'll work some of those in over the next few months. This picture is from Dec. 09-me and my best friend Haley in Salzburg, Austria. Honestly, this was one of my favorite parts of the trip. We were staying in a hostel in Munich, Germany and got up early to make a day trip to Salzburg. We did the Sound of Music guided tour-with lots of happy Australians, Asians, and a highly entertaining tour guide who looked perfectly Austrian with his little hat. We stopped the bus (and paused the Sound of Music soundtrack!) here long enough to take some pictures of the snowy valley as we went towards the little suburb outside of Salzburg that houses the church where Maria and Captain Von Trapp were married in the movie. Needless to say, it was freezing! But we were both happy as clams.
I love this picture. It was the background on my laptop for quite a while, and I think the lovely inescapable ambiance of Paris really shines through as dusk settles in on the Seine River with Pont Neuf (the bridge) and the Île de la Cité (island that houses the Notre Dame Cathedral) in the background. I took this shot on our first day in Paris, lagging behind the group for a moment after we came up the stairs from walking under the Pont Neuf and along the Seine, taking a moment to soak up the city. We did a 3 hour walking tour that first late afternoon, strolling from the Latin Quarter and along the Seine, over to the grounds of the Louvre and finishing off at the top of the Champs Elysees, which was all decked out with lights and stalls selling crepes and chocolate and giant waffles doused in powdered sugar. I'm feeling happy just thinking about it.

And this is where I live now! Valparaiso is in the first plane, Vina in the second, and Renaca in the far distance. I feel like it's difficult sometimes to take pictures of cities that aren't woefully understated, you know, like how do I capture what I am looking at for you?? But I think this one's not too bad.
Now I need to share a little about my weekend. On Sunday I was in my room doing some reading, waiting patiently for almuerzo (lunch). About 3 o'clock rolled around and I went and ate some fruit since my host mom still was not home from El Lider-aka Chilean Walmart (literally, Walmart owns about 50% of it, and they have great value brand in few things). Finally, she and my sister get home at 3:30 or so with a car full of groceries. I rejoice, because we tend to run out of groceries in a house of 6 and you have to buy a lot of paper products and cereal to last the whole week. On Saturday, we were down to one roll of toilet paper to be used for paper towels and napkins and in the bathroom-so my mom had to break out the emergency roll from upstairs! hehe So hoooray we did at least have a delicious lunch by the time we ate it at 3:45. My host dad is an awesome cook, and he made a homemade eggplant lasagna, using eggplant in place of noodles. Mine was made especially for me, with soy meat rather than real, which was very nice :) Afterwards my host brother walks in with a bag of marshmallows, and then these little kabob sticks, and then I realized-we're gonna roast marshmallows in the fireplace!!! That isn't even the best part-Disney music was involved! My host sisters began to sing Hakuna Matata, and I got ready to join in as they continued, but promptly stopped when they continued in Spanish rather than English...Disney songs en espanol? That's what I call fun vocabulary building. So my sister broke out her laptop and the whole family sat around in the living room eating marshmallows and listening to Disney songs in Spanish on youtube. We laughed as I inquired the translation of various Disney titles for the Latin-American world. Peter Pan was Pedro Pan, so I'd say we can all appreciate the humor in that. :) Joy and contentment with my family on a chilly sunday evening in the living room-yes I felt it! And of course we were drinking tea too, because we always drink tea after almuerzo. Usually I have "aguacita" which is what they call hot water with herbs or herbal tea. We grow mint in the backyard, and the nice back to nature process of picking the mint and washing it and drinking it has made "aguacita de mente"my favorite for quite some time. My mom bought some herbal tea at the store though in all sorts of fun flavors, so I was excited to give that a try. I chose plantain on Sunday-amazing!!! It had this nice spicyness that felt really familiar and comforting, although I knew I'd never had it before. I drank it again tonight, holding it up close to let the aroma really surround me. All of a sudden I found myself back in the presence of Trish Mitchell-one of the most amazing ladies I have had the privilege to know, whom my family and I miss so much. I don't think she drank plantain tea, but the uniquely Trish combination of essential oils lingered in the house and always accompanied her presence, and I promise plantain tea is an incredibly close match to her signature scent. Who would have thought such a special gift and reminder would come in the form of plantain tea...I wish you all happy weeks wherever this little update finds you!


  1. Sweet..... You can bet I will be looking for plantain tea! I put on some herbal-based insect repellant the other day and felt a twinge of Trish next to me too!
    Loved your description of the Disney-themed indoor marshmallow roast. You deserve all this contentment - I am so glad you are feeling it!

  2. It sounds like you will have no trouble "staying warm", Erin!! Your host family seems like the perfect fit. Thanks for sharing!