Rocha Weekend

>> Tuesday, November 30, 2010

This weekend we took a group trip to the department of Rocha, where I have now been several times! Rocha is known for its beaches, so we spent our time between the beaches of La Paloma and isolated Cabo Polonio.  On the way up, we stopped at Punta Ballena to visit Vilaro’s Casapueblo, which was really neat. We also got to visit the Ombú forrest, which was like being in a Dr. Seuss land.
Oh, and I saw my first CARPINCHO! Finalmente!
It has been great having Bev, Meg, and Mandy along... it just makes sense!
Here are some trip shots:


Punta Ballena

Our boat being saved by the Gaucho guide

Me and and an Ombú ("hey guys, it's not actually a tree...")

The ride to Cabo Polonio

Casi Cabo Polonio
I also had a horse-back riding adventure (not documented), in which my death was highly expected. In summary, my horse was angry and the brakes weren't working. Fortunately, my clamp-hands held me on and eventually my horse was taken back and traded out for a blue rone! (My favorite!)

It was a restful weekend; the calm before the storm. Now papers, exams, and final projects are spinning around our brains and causing me to procrastinate. It is hard to believe the semester is already almost over! Glad I will be here some extra time!



>> Monday, November 22, 2010

God is so good.

He keeps teaching me important things, giving and taking, watching and showing. My independent mentality makes me feel like I should be able to do anything within the realms of ability myself. When things work, I am responsible, and when things fail, I am responsible. (This mentality is why I never liked team sports... a sore spot in my memory! Ha!)

Well, it seems like every time I start to settle back into that mentality, I am slapped upside the face with a change that holds me so accountable I could punch myself! Even though it isn't the nicest way to learn a lesson, it gets the job done. It's like pruning a plant.
And you know what? Discipline is a sign of love.

...God really loves me.


Short Stories

Today I am sick to my stomach with the things wrapped up in my mind and heart.

Today everything is full of the sadness it takes to write a Uruguayan short story.

Maybe I will write one, or maybe two, or maybe I already have.


Di que me quede y me quedo

>> Saturday, November 20, 2010

It is going by too fast.
I feel too attached to this place to leave so soon.

I know it sounds dumb, but there's this deep, deep connection I feel in the soil here, as if there is a heart beating beneath the surface and it is the same as my heart and it pounds in my brain in a painful and wonderful way. All the nostalgia and history, the pain of wandering and emotion that come with this place are all packed into this rhythm, and it is the rhythm of life here. The way things are slower, the way things are just harder, the way things are more simple. It's something that can't be explained without being a part of it. This strong, sensual, wrenching attachment I have to this place. This place where layers of meaning are behind everything you see. The great city of politics and controversy, the vast countryside of rolling hills that crash on the banks of the Río de la Plata and Pacific. The wild passion of the hardworking gauchos, the love squished in homemade alfajores, the broken families that cry out in the tangos of old. 

How am I to tear myself away from this? I have only been grafted in for a short time, and yet we have grown together as one. I do not want to return. I feel a different kind of freedom here.

Perfume de la alta noche,
pequeña flor constelada,
en el patio con aljibe
y en mi corazón, guardada.


Back again

>> Tuesday, November 16, 2010

We are home, and it feels like a dream.

We have already been to Lucas, eaten the best dulce de leche, and shared our stories.
Pictures and such will be up after about 3 papers are done.


Feels good to be clean, be home, belong.



>> Sunday, November 14, 2010


A lot of money and stress later, we have landed ourselves in Santiago, with the security of at least being in Montevideo by Tuesday afternoon. The good thing is that we already had to pay our entry fee for Chile last week, so we don't have to face that surprise again!

Fortunately, we made friend with a French girl in the airport, who was unable to pay her airport tax due to a lost credit card. We all bonded over our mutual powerlessness in the effort to get home. Anyway, our newfound friendship with Iris provided us a place to stay last night, which has been a fun an unexpected cultural experience of its own. She has offered to help us and take care of us until we can get back, which is such a blessing in this stressful situation!

God, here we are in Chile, and I am starting to see some intention behind this very expensive mess. Caitlin and I did say that we wanted this to be a prayerful trip (guess we should have been more specific about the type of prayer), and it certainly has been! You've got us on our toes- we can't wait to see what you have in store for us!


p.s. French keyboards are confusing to me.


All for a bike race?

>> Friday, November 12, 2010

The Good News:
The Salt Flats were fantastic. We were with a fun group, and the flats lived up to the pictures. We even hiked a volcano (not in the original plans) which caused me to question if life was worth living, but it turned out worthwhile! It was the most colorful volcano I have ever seen, quite a contrast to the vast whiteness of salt.
We made it back to La Paz early thing morning with plenty of time to catch our bus.

The Bad News:
Upon check-in with the bus company with which we had bought tickets, we were informed that all the roads to Arica, Chile are closed due to a bike race. Why does this matter, you ask?
Our flight back to Montevideo leaves at 8:20 tomorrow morning from Arica, Chile.
It would have been great if that little detail had been mentioned when we bought the tickets two days ago.
So now, essentially, we are stuck in Bolivia, having no choice but to miss our flights.
After all our effort (and success) at making this a relatively inexpensive trip, we will have to cough up over $300 to get back to Montevideo.
All because of a BIKE RACE!

I can see the humor of the situation, but right now I really feel like performing acts of destruction on the Trans Salvador bus company, and maybe a few bike race sponsors...
Caitlin and I will be distracting ourselves with candy until we´re back home in Montevideo.



Hello, Bolivia.

>> Tuesday, November 9, 2010

1. After an overnight bus that passed by lovely lake Titicaca this morning (real name), we arrived at the most disheveled, unprofessional, vague border crossing ever. We are now in La Paz!
2. We have hit the jackpot on food by following locals into hole-in-the-wall cafes... A three-course Bolivian meal for $1.75? Oh, yeahhh!
3. Though I had the opportunity to purchase a dried llama fetus today, I declined.
I´m sorry if this comes as a surprise or disappointment to anyone.




>> Monday, November 8, 2010

If I try to fit all of our experiences thus far into the typed word, I might explode.
Yes, we have that many stories to tell.

We´ve met a slew of wonderful people from all over the world, experienced Peru with locals, eaten amazing food, seen striking countrysides, and slept very little.

We spent eight hours yesterday in Machu Picchu (all the postcard pictures are true!), even taking a nap onsite, and today we returned to conquer Waynapicchu, which we did in 39 minutes. We are starting to feel pretty cool in our llama sweaters and greasy hair.

We leave in two hours for Bolivia, which should be cheap... among other things. Our extensive planning has paid off, and things have gone smoothly. We feel like we have taken maximum advantage of all the places we have been so far! And, God keeps taking care of us and enriching our trip in funny nice little ways!

Glory be!


So far, So good

>> Friday, November 5, 2010

After spending the night in the airport disability bathroom, we caught a taxi in time to be the second car to cross the border into Peru this morning, which was great because the line grew rapidly after the border opened!

We are halfway to Cusco, and the ride has been lovely. The dessert dunes and mountains have their own unique glory. Through wrinkly heat waves I could make out a few establishments on the horizon, but the solitude of this almost vacant land is impressive. How striking is this great dry mouth of colors! Blue-grey dunes slithering down red mountains... desolate, and yet it commands attention with it´s own cutting voice!

We have just had a delicious Peruvian meal, complete with "Inca Kola" to drink.
Unfortunately, you´ll have to wait on pictures until next week. (ha!)




>> Thursday, November 4, 2010

Leaving for Chile, Peru, and Bolivia in 20 minutes.
Be back the 13th!
Your prayers will be appreciated!


Noche del Fuego

>> Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A few weeks ago, our group had the opportunity to visit the studio of Cecilia Mattos, a local artist. She had a nice working space, full of large paper mache sculptures she had been preparing for the "Noche del Fuego," which I'll explain more in a moment. She also had several shadow-box type pieces on the walls that were 3D manifestations of famous works by Pedro Figari, a famous Uruguayan artist from the early 1900's.  (I recommend an image search of his work!)
Anyway, the "Noche del Fuego" is an event stemming from the "fallas" of Valencia, Spain in which compilations of art are built and then burned as homage to Saint Joseph. Therefore, we were standing in the midst of mortal art... something I should probably incorporate into my life... the space under my bed would probably appreciate it. Here is the studio and sculptures to be burned:

So, that Saturday we went out to see the tower come crashing down in flames.
I have to say that the composition was poor and the structure was overall disappointing. (These things may have added to the pleasure of watching it burn...)
The neat thing about it all was that I ended up standing next to the artist throughout the event, and it was great to watch her expressions and reactions to the process unfolding before us.
Visual summary:


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