From February, 2016
As I think probably any excited family would, within mere days of learning that we were going to be residents in America Del Sur, we began a list of the places that we hoped to visit during our time here.
Admittedly, over the course of almost 3 years, this list has pared down considerably. It hasn’t been the travel with children that frightens us. I can proudly say I think we’ve finally nailed that (as much as possible, anyway). We love exploring new places with them, looking at these marvels of the world through their eyes, and watching them morph into little world explorers in their own right!
That has been on of my favorite results of living abroad.
The “weeding out locations” I refer to has been more a result of a reality check that a great majority of these “go-to” places are unfortunately not entirely conducive to three children that like to actually try to jump off cliffs, whether their friends are doing it or not. (-:
And unfortunately, some of the most beautiful hotspots in South America are home to just that: cliffs. AKA: at best, deterrents to mom and dad relaxing or enjoying the trip at all!!
But it’s okay! Because in lieu of those, we have discovered some real treasures! SO MANY beautiful places that are cliff and danger free, most that we never would have been able to predict, and even better, right in our Chilean “backyard”! We haven’t had to go to the “Top Places” listed by Trip Advisor and/or the Blogging world…we have found hidden treasures and quiet magic a short drive away!
However, two locations continued to compel us, even draw us.
Machu Picchu and Cusco, Peru.
Year TWO in Chile has come and gone. Though occasionally there were days and even months that seemed to last indefinitely, generally speaking this past year has flown.
Like pages of a cartoon flipbook, work, kids, school, activities, day-to-day humdrum, and exploration fluttered past. Becoming established and comfortable has given way to the life of a typical, busy family of 5. Just in a different part of the world.
A life that has finally become a bit softer, a bit more breezy, like the cotton that is symbolic of the two year anniversary.
However, a recognition of having made it two years is not the most resounding part of the milestone. Though trust me, it’s right up there at number 2!
No, I believe milestones pop up to remind us of the miles we have already weathered. We are about to embark on mile three, but how will we proceed from here knowing what we know about the first two? What has caused pain? How will we address that? What has made us stronger? How will we use that?
How have we changed in these two years?
Last year, we were able to make our second, yearly trip home to celebrate Thanksgiving (and if we are being real, also football and deer hunting season).
Which meant that our Christmas was here in Chile. And though it was lovely, it was green.
Very, very, green.
Without a doubt, one of the biggest “shocks to the system” connected with a move abroad was the transition into a new language.
But only mostly for me!
Tom is fluent, and the children were/are magically (and thankfully) impervious to it. A combination of the fact that play can happen quite easily without the need for discussion, and they are really and truly sponges when it comes to picking up a language. For example, (and I have tested this theory), Maddie can hear something one time and know it, even if that one time means in passing from a television screen.
Not long back, I posted about the eruption of Volcano Villarrica in Pucon, Chile, just 70 miles north of us.
It was an experience worth memorializing because even in Chile, the country with the most active volcanoes in the world, eruptions don’t take place all that often.
Almost immediately upon our arrival in Chile, we learned that Easter Island, the most remote, inhabited island in the world, the island known for the mysterious, monolithic Moai statues, was actually a part of Chile.
Or, from the kids point of view: Easter Island is here? The island depicted in the movie Hop? And therefore, clearly the island where the Easter Bunny lives?
One Year. 365 days.
It can’t be possible. It’s February 20th. We’ve been in Chile ONE YEAR!
Honestly, I’m flabbergasted. I can hardly believe it.
Because if I am being honest, during this past year, there admittedly was a time where I would actually think to myself:
Only 714 days left; or
We are 2/24 of the way done; or
We have completed 13.5% of our time here.