Thursday, September 8, 2011

A small wave of unrelated anecdotes

1)    For my host mom’s birthday, I gave her a totally perplexing card that was made by Hallmark. I will translate, and I promise that nothing at all is getting lost in translation. Front: “Have you realized that your refrigerator is making weird noises? Fum! Sp sp sp sp! Rrrrak! Don’t worry, it’s just making ice.” Inside: “So when you worry that you’re getting older, don’t! You’re just making ice. Happy Birthday.” I put the card on her bedside table, and a few minutes after we had washed all the dishes from her birthday party and said goodnight, I heard her burst out laughing for like five minutes through the wall. She shouted, “Mi hija preferida! Esta tarjeta es increíble!” (My preferred daughter – that’s what she calls me when I clean my room/wash dishes/give her a birthday card that contains a fart joke – this card is incredible!). Win!

2)    I was sitting in the coffee shop yesterday when "Blood Bank" by Bon Iver started playing on the speakers. That song has been following me around for the past year, and there's so much significance attached to it I don't even know how to feel when I hear it. I listened to it last November when I was sleeping in my almost-empty apartment right before I moved out, and it always came on shuffle in my car this Spring when I was driving back and forth between Asheville and Winston-Salem to see Shawn, and then my sister played it in our hotel room in Rome this Summer with the window open and the sun and street noises coming in, and now it's here at a coffee shop in Chile, on the edge of Spring in the southern hemisphere, playing while I slog through modernist poetry in Spanish. This is the song, with a disclaimer: this video is a total abuse of time-lapse - if you watch it for very long you'll want to barf. Press play and immediately look away from your computer.

3) I’m starting to feel like Chile is carving out a little place in my heart. If that makes sense. I know shortcuts, I finally understand the micros (the esoteric bus system), the baristas at the coffee shop near my house know my name, and that crazy hot water tank contraption in my kitchen? I could make it work with my eyes closed now, but I wouldn't, because it involves matches, gas, and fire, and I like living. When I walk across the San Martin bridge on my way to the metro station and see the skyrise apartment buildings and palm trees reflected in the river, it’s something I can picture with such clarity when I close my eyes that I know I’ll have that image with me forever. I love being here. There is plenty I miss from home (North Carolina is, after all, the best place in the whole world), but at the same time I know I’m going to miss a lot about Chile when I'm back home in December.

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