It seems that I’m a bit of a late bloomer. I’ve now been in Chile for four months, and haven’t done much travelling out of Santiago. I haven’t visited the sites in the south, Easter Island, Argentina or Brazil that I know I “must see” – before you start, I have already had to handle the shocked reactions of the locals, so please do your best to hold back your gasps ;). I myself thought I would have travelled more by now, but it’s just been the way things have turned out with my travel companions and their plans changing. So my travel plans keep getting put off to later.
This being said, I have done a lot of exploring around Santiago. I feel like I know the whole city, every subway line, from one end to another. I just have one more site to visit next Saturday, (Bio Bio) after which I feel as though I will know Santiago inside and out.
Despite my lack of travel out of the city, in a strange twist of affairs last Saturday I found myself in Calera de Tango, which is in the country side outside Santiago, taking part in a true cultural experience with a large Chilean family.
I recently made the giant leap of changing my relationship status. This is something I had been wanting to put off for as long as possible, because last year I left a very long-term and serious relationship with a guy I really respect and admire. I personally think there should be a long downtime between relationships of that level, primarily for mental and emotional health and strength. Not to mention respect for the other party and their family. But here I am in what seems to be the starting of a relationship, a lot sooner than I had planned, and one across a different culture with a guy that is younger than me too. I had originally just been wanting a friendship and a bit of fun, but somehow I have found myself in something more.
When my pololo (Chilean word for boyfriend) invited me to a family event on the weekend I was in mixed minds. In one mind I was thinking, “yay a trip out of the city to spend time doing authentic Chilean things!”, and in the other “ahh, a whole day with my boyfriend’s family, I’m not ready to commit to a whole family, runnnnn Forest, run”. His family are lovely though, and as I later learnt, they really know how to party.
After a discussion with a persuasive man, I was on a bus on my way to Calera de Tango to experience a traditional Chilean family afternoon. I am so glad I took my camera. It was like something I have only seen in movies. Red wine, bread, chili, passionate uncles and aunties, barbeque, performances, dancing – almost like a scene from an Italian movie, but Chilean style.
I am feeling so charmed by Chilean culture. I love how social things are done here. Hopefully these photos will give you a little peak into the richness of family and culture in Chile. It truly is something spectacular.