New friends!

I love meeting new people. Especially when I’m familiar with the cultural context. And I got to do just that this past week!

The new Veritas girls and the other ISA summer students are here! I’m definitely really excited. I spent some time with them and some other students on Sunday. We went to church, some historical sites, watched the sunset at the dunes of Concon and ended the day on a good note: Bravissimo.

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I’m so exited to get to know everyone more and see the wonderful things God has brought us together to do.

Viña and Valpo didn’t give them the best welcome: it’s been pouring the past few days. Nothing like walking through flooded streets. It’s supposed to clear up tomorrow. I’m so exited to hopefully see some sunshine!

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San Pedro de Atacama

Our Lovely Hostel Group!

Our Lovely Hostel Group!

Fuimos a San Pedro de Atacama! The driest desert in the world. And it snowed. And rained. And our hostel leaked. And the power went out. And I showered in cold water by candlelight.

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But it was absolutely GORGEOUS.

Just a glimpse of the beauty I saw.

Just a glimpse of the beauty I saw.

During this trip, I could not help but think of how the mountains and the scenery screamed of a heavenly creator.

The heavens proclaim the glory of God.
The skies display his craftsmanship.

Psalm 19:1

There was so much untouched beauty in this place. I literally felt so close to God in the moments when I just absorbed the splendor of His creation and praised Him for the work of His hands. We were able to see for miles and miles of just nature. No buildings. No signs of humans. Just pure natural beauty.

And it was amazing.

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I climbed mountains of salt. I soaked in hot springs. I watched snow fall over geysers. I hiked to a mirador (viewpoint) near Incan ruins. I saw flamingos in a lake with snow covered mountains in the background. I floated in a lagoon 5 times saltier than the ocean. I ate llama. I stood at the point where the Tropic of Capricorn intersects with an ancient Incan trail. I saw the moon and Saturn.

Floating in some salt water.

Floating in some salt water.

I experienced God’s marvelous creation.

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“Our culture has filled our heads but emptied our hearts, stuffed our wallets but starved our wonder. It has fed our thirst for facts but not for meaning or mystery. It produces “nice” people, not heroes.”

― Peter Kreeft, Jesus-Shock

Homesickness

It’s funny what makes you miss home. 

A guy playing guitar and harmonizing along. 

Your host-niece screaming downstairs. 

The first rainy day of the season.

Graduation at your old high school. 

A song that comes on the radio. 

Karaoke night. 

Looking at facebook or the photos I brought that hang on my wall, talking about the States. Those things don’t make me homesick. They don’t make me miss my home. Homesickness hits you when you least expect it. It comes from the face of someone that reminds you of so-and-so. It comes from the guy singing on the micro as the rain pours down. It comes from the time you spend with your new friends. It comes when you aren’t even thinking of home. 

I love being here. Absolutely love it. But sometimes I miss what I know. I miss familiarity. Being in Chile has taught me so much about who I am and who I have the opportunity to become. 

But sometimes, just sometimes, I’m homesick. 

Fantasilandia!

The best group :)

The best group 🙂

Chilean Amusement parks are a lot like American ones.

Minus the safety restrictions.

Basically, there is a ride, Tacada, that spins in a circle, slows down and jumps up and down. Without seat belts. You end up flopping all over the place and holding on to the bars behind you for dear life. Apparently some Chileans like to dance in the middle. Asi es la vida… I guess.

The craziest ride I have ever seen in my life.

The craziest ride I have ever seen in my life.

Wednesday, May 1st was the Día del Trabajador (Labor Day). Therefore, we did not have class. Chileans take it so much more seriously. Almost everything (minus public transportation and this amusement park) was closed. Even all of the supermarkets. Definitely a cultural shift.

Anyway, I went on my first ever real roller coaster! It went backwards and upside down. I think I blacked out, but I’m not quite sure. Definitely an adventure.

Before and After. I was a mess.

Before and After. I was a mess.

It was a great day filled with friends and fun and food. Going to Santiago was a great break from life here in Viña and Valpo. I saw the sun set over the Andes. Hope and I met some random people. I enjoyed the day I’d been given.

Sometimes you meet people on amusement park rides.

Sometimes you meet people on amusement park rides.

It was something completely different, and completely awesome.

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