Wednesday, September 19, 2007

the returning

Home, in Seattle, officially.
It's been about four weeks now and with the mountain of laundry just about done I can finally see my floor. I've also been doing a little bit of hiking, waitressing, roadtripping, margarita-drinking, and catching-up with friends and family.

It's been an amazing month but insanely busy. This week has been "Math Camp"--a math refresher course put on by University of Washington, math homework, babysitting, job meetings, stress over class scheduling, etc, etc. The pre-school crunch---that love/hate relationship. I've realized that cars definitely make things much more efficient, which means you can pack 5 times more into one day--something I eagerly awaited being without a car in Chile, but now...? being immobile is starting to look attractive ;)

It's hard to come up with 'closing thoughts' about Chile. In some ways I feel like leaving was anti-climactic because I think somehow I expect to go back at some point--if even just to visit. My last few weeks were full of activities with the girls, dancing at Maestra Vida, live drumfest, a day of skiing in the Andes, and even a hint of warmer weather (Yes, I left Winter there just to get ready for Winter coming here--where was the logic?!)

I'm eager to go back, but also enjoying (and more deeply appreciating) those things I love about this city--boats, water, trees, music, food, paved sidewalks...
I feel very lucky to have had my experience in Chile. Not only for the experience there, but for what it has given me to carry back here. Of course, even just four weeks out, I am looking back on my life there with rose-colored glasses. But there were parts of life there that merited those glasses, and the parts which I found more difficult just gave me more opportunities to appreciate the parts which were beautiful. I think that's something that I'm carrying home with me--a greater appreciation. For people in my life. For the opportunities I have in this country. For the roadblacks that cause me to look around at what's beside me rather than always what's up ahead.

Also, I read/am reading some great books which definitely defined my time down there...If anyone's interested:

The Gringo Trail, by Mark Mann

The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell

The Power of Myth, Joseph Campbell

The ReEnchantment of Everyday Life, Thomas Moore


Five thousand fires enfolded
me catching fire
in this far night

Ancient glacier unrolling
me rising tired
claims fading light

what is it spent that spends me to heaven

what is it given
that gives me this turn

and wonder

pour with and from me
and steady





52 minutes from Pisac to Cusco.
A man holding a single pink rose dozes beside me. His head bobs and turns with the sharply mounting curves. And - luckily - the quiet darkness keeps those of us awake from seeing just how sharp are those curves we are embracing.
Seven Germans behind me and one more on either side. A Qechua woman's thick, black braids tumble down her back like streams of water. A small, round hat perched impossibly atop her head.
We catch sight of more potential passengers in the headlight...
An aisle full of rocking bodies.

Our diesel smoke rolls along the steep valley walls and somewhere far beneath us, alpacas mingle with ancient Incas.
The Copa Americana sings to us through a lisping radio: "somos peruanos...orgulloso...nuestros jugadores...GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL!!!!!
And Peru clinches 3 to Uruguay's 0.

52 minutes from Pisac to Cusco.
A small black wristwatch on a deep, brown arm counts and collects each one.