Harrison Farm

for now, the only thing we're growing on this farm is kids - not the goat variety

Month: November 2012

Thanksgiving Abroad

Not being able to be with family for Thanksgiving, we were delighted when we learned that the non-denominational Santiago Community Church has an annual Thanksgiving feast. (I think they also have one for the Canadian Thanksgiving holiday as well.) The Santiago Community Church was formed in the 1970s when the English-speaking Anglican and Presbyterian churches merged because both were having difficulty supporting their ministers.

Today the church is a sort of hub for international English speakers - members/attendees include folks from Britain, US, Australia, New Zealand, Holland, even Portugal and Peru, as well as Chileans who grew up in English-speaking homes. It's an active church, complete with a lending (English) library.

This photo shows part of the church's courtyard. This photo doesn't do justice to this beautiful place. The walkway to the courtyard is lined with blooming flowers, and the tree covered (would it be a) pergola is just lovely. Appetizers were served here.

The dinner (with around 100 people) was nice and very well organized. Everyone pitched in to pay for the turkey, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie. Then each family brought a salad or side dish to share. There was plenty of food. The evening started with a prayer and song. The turkey, potatoes and gravy were delivered to each table. Then each table (which seated eight) took turns at the buffet line for the potluck portion.

The youth group provided a short history lesson on Thanksgiving celebrations around the world. We sang 4 or so hymns together, and we had a short share time around our respective tables. We each told something that we were thankful for (but we couldn't say family, friends, or food -- those were givens.) We sat with a couple from Texas. They've been in Chile about a little less than a year, working with a mining company. Small world: they homeschooled their kids.

Happy Thanksgiving!

With Pals at the Park

Our apartment complex is beside a large public park sporting big green lawns, fountains, basketball/soccer courts (yes, they play soccer anywhere here, including on concrete), and ping pong tables. Last weekend there was a family event in the park with games and fun for little children. I'm still not sure what the point was or who sponsored it, but the kids had a good time.

Two young friends (they're siblings) from our "condominio" went with us. Sweet kids. Good times.


Citycletas

Biking Providencia
We're currently residing in the Providencia comuna of Santiago. This comuna has a bicycle program with multiple stations set up throughout the comuna. For ~$4/month, you can check out a bicycle for one hour at a time. Before your one-hour rental expires, you have to check your bike in at one of the bike stations. Once you've checked in, you can check your bike back out for another hour.

It's a nice program. The bikes have one gear (Providencia is in a valley and is flat) and a large basket for carting your whatevers. Carman says the photo above makes the bikes look nicer than they really are. The bikes, as tends to be typical of public property, are often not in great shape: wobbly tires, bent frames, etc. But they've been great for him. He's been able to explore and get some exercise too. All the streets are lined with sidewalks, and some of the them also have bike lanes.

I like the name of the program. It's a cross of the English word "city" and the Spanish word for bicycle "bicicleta." Citycletas. Clever, no?

Alabama’s Sweet – Even in Chile

We hear music in the supermarket and on the radio, and there are some stations that play a LOT of American and/or British music. So, in the Chilean supermarket last week, I heard Taylor Swift, the Mamas and the Papas, Coldplay, Whitney Houston, and Lionel Richie. It's kind of surreal. You could almost forget that you're in South America.

When walking home from church on Sunday, we heard "Sweet Home Alabama" coming from someone's backyard. (And it wasn't a Gringo house. On our way to church we had seen a small group of Chilean men having a pow-wow of sorts in the backyard of this particular house.)

From talking with young people here, they have no idea what they're hearing in these songs. Even still, the English music blares and bedrooms walls are plastered with Justin Beiber posters.

English. It's the go-to language for so many things. We're so lucky to have it as our first.

You’re from Where?

We're very fortunate to have the apartment we're currently in. The first weeks were spent in vacation rentals, but we were hunting for something more long term and less expensive than a furnished vacation rental. While out on a run one morning, Marathon found an apartment complex with a large interior garden/courtyard. It's beautifully landscaped with a reflection pool, sidewalks, water fountains, and a small playground. Lucky for us, they had one 3-bedroom apt. available.

In the afternoon children gather to play in the courtyard. Today Rosebud (5 years) recounted the following:

A little girl asked me in English where I'm from. I told her 'Chattanooga', but she didn't understand me. So, I just told her 'Mexico'."

Santiago, Chile – first impressions

Note: Long story short, I don't have access to my pics right now, and I don't want to delay this post any longer. So I'm borrowing some Creative Commons photos from flickr.

Stray dogs, green trees (the orange, lemon, and clementine trees are currently hanging with ripe fruit), traffic, flowers, green tomatoes on vines in early spring, palm trees, barely visible (because of the smog) snow-capped mountains, pigeons, car brands we've never seen before, landscaping, sidewalks, doormen, people bundled up in sweaters and scarves - it seems most are more "chilly-boned" than me, security gate after gate after gate after gate...

Petty theft is rampant here. Incidents of violent crime here is equal to or less than what it is in the states, but petty theft is a different story as is evidenced by iron bars and gates around practically every property, both residential and commercial.

The city is full of houses, high-rises and parks. The parks! - lots of green grass, playgrounds sprinkled around, nicely landscaped in the midst of so much concrete, brick and cobblestone. Many of the parks also have exercise equipment - similar to these here. We arrived in early spring, and since it rarely freezes here, roses and geraniums were already in full bloom. Maybe they were blooming all winter -- I don't know.

Public transportation -- bus and metro routes. After a month, we have about figured out the public transportation system. There are different bus/metro lines that only make stops at particular locations. The first time I was at the bus stop waiting for a bus, it was perplexing why so many buses zoomed right by without stopping. Many times there is standing room only on the bus and/or metro. Men often give up their seats to women passengers; the young often to the same for the elderly. For the most part, it's a polite culture. The young refer to the old as "abuelitos" (grandparents) and vice-versa. Sudoku helped an older lady tie up her produce bag in the supermarket, and the lady, in thanking her, called her "ninita" (granddaughter).

Starting Back

Boy, it's hard to know where to begin when you've let your blog grow cold. Here's where we've been, in a nutshell. We stopped blogging because our little business was taking more and more of our time. We had to let go of some things, and this blog was one of them. Then one of us (not me) had the idea of finding someone to whom we could entrust the building and shipping of our drawer organizers. In the meantime, we remodeled the kitchen, took a road trip Colorado, sold the house, spent 6 weeks at my folks' beautiful place, then packed up and came to Santiago, Chile, which is where I am now as I write.

That's a tight nutshell, folks. More to come.

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