Tuesday, October 26, 2010

"I'm just pretty sure I'm going to LOVE Temuco" -Casey (before we left Santiago)

Temuco was so wonderful that narrowing down the 400 photos I had was hard... I did the best I could but this is a longer blog!  Mostly pictures though, and only a tenth of those I started with :).  Also, again, I stole half my pictures from Leah, photo credits. When we woke up in the morning after an eight hour bus ride, groggy, everything was in the mist
 We drove on dirt roads, following Roberto and Juan's truck into Chapod, our new community
 I arrived, was warmly greeted by my mom and younger brother, and headed to my new home
 It was a beautiful Sunday, so before church in the evening my sisters (Jemi and Damaris) played guitar and sang
Pato (14 years old) and I tossed the frisbee, sharing the field with our herd of ovejas (sheep)
 And Josalynne and I got to be sisters for a week!
 My mom made tortillas in the ashes of an outdoor fire... which brings me to the food, fresh baked bread and fresh eggs almost every day, it was heavenly
 We crossed this bridge to walk to church that night.  Someone told me in the winter season, with all the rain that is normal, the bridge is often flooded because the creek rises like 4 or 5 feet!
The next day we drove through the countryside to visit a school in a place called Lago Budi, 2hrs away.
 We made good use of the free time allotted to us
 And later huddled close to the fire in the ruka (traditional Mapuche home) because it was FREEZING
 Our classroom to learn about the Mapuche cosmovision and current politics was outside, according to Juan (our director and teacher on this day), as it would have been taught originally.  We were in a place that had rebuilt many Mapuche living conditions specifically for the tourist industry.  It was much colder outside.
 So we had a major cuddle fest on the ride home
 Modernity collided with ancient ways often abruptly in our daily living with the Mapuche...
 And although Chileans came from all walks of life, opinions, differences that seem irreconcilable, patriotism was present everywhere we went... something holds this country together in a way I haven't seen in the US or (in my little time in Buenos Aires) in Argentina
 The next day we went to our school in Chapod... where my brother Pato rocked the Mapuche instruments and dress in a play the 7th and 8th graders put on
 We sang "Lean on Me" as our contribution
 And then taught everyone the Cha Cha slide... between these two things, we felt we had best captured American culture, haha
 And our loving director Roberto quickly embraced the Mapuche spirit (as soon as those kids were out of the costumes he was into them!)
 While we were in Temuco the miners were all rescued.  Everyone watched the news with their families often... my sisters and I discussed how ridiculous the coverage is when miners in Chile are still working in absolutely horrible conditions and thousands have died.  Notwithstanding, it was emotional and wonderful when they were finally freed!
 "Our" cat, who was not loved like the dogs... lived outside the warm door of the house and occasionally created a racket on the tin roof... going to the bathroom in the middle of the night was a battle to keep the cat outside.  Once, at 4AM, I heard him on the roof, so booked it for the bathroom to avoid doorway discussion.  The cat in turn heard me get up and start moving through the house... it was a race accompanied by incredible 4AM banging and clanging of a terrified cat on a tin roof.  I won, and, while sitting on the toilet, watched as the cat struggled and finally fell out of some random hole in the ceiling somewhere, collapsed on the floor, and very dignifiedly resumed his throne between the house and the bathroom shed (pictured below)
We gave presentations about our experiences in Temuco in Juan's ruka around the warm fire, drinking maté
And then we were served the most INCREDIBLE meal I will have in my study abroad time... "Roberto chico" was our Temuco assistant and also is an incredible chef.  He gave me the ingredient lists but, "the recipes are a secret, to do them right, you have to figure them out yourself"
 The boys weren't good at "una foto comica!"
 That night a party occurred in our house with wonderful food, amazing company, and music all the time!  And the kids that played were phenomenal, I wished it could have gone on forever.  After, like always, I stayed up as long as possible drinking maté and chatting with my mom.
On our last day our friends shared music with us
And we shared music with them (especially the boys who incredibly whipped out musical talent... well maybe I should say initiative... on instruments they had never played)
Even Roberto jumped up to perform
 We played soccer, frisbee, and music all afternoon
 And then I went with Cheque (pictured above), his real sister and his "sisters," Jill and Leah (below displaying the fleas they acquired in Chapod), on a beautiful, long walk...
Above and then through the bamboo brush to the waterfall
Up to the water
 To the river, where we skipped rocks... then adventured up a steep hill in the undergrowth, jumped small streams, got mildly muddy and wet, and generally did my favorite thing in the world: random backcountry exploring
 I was in love with Chapod
And I have saved the best for last... the animals... I'm pretty sure piglets are the cutest animals that have ever existed
 The hens that gave us so many fresh eggs
 The geese and chicks whose home was my backyard
And throughout our time in "el campo" (the countryside), two giant volcanoes watched over us.
I plan to spend the majority, if not all, of my independent study project here.  I felt so welcomed and comfortable with my family, with the whole community, and with the place.  So... you'll probably get to see more pictures in a few weeks!  Les quiero mucho!


  1. LAUREN!!!! this is one of the coolest things I've ever seen, I think its so awesome that you get to experience this!!! Anyway, I was just thinking about the mountains and how much I miss them and everyone from camp, and "no importa donde estoy... eso es mi alma, siempre" makes me feel better. So, I love you and I hope youre well!!!

  2. Hey there friend - I just wanted to stop by and say that I am thinking of you as I'm making loads of peace cranes for the holidays. Reminds me of our half block together WFRing it up and playing loads of frisbee. Hope you are well. All the best from a snowy Germany, Justin