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Friday, November 18, 2011

Having a Ball

So, it has been a very long time since I have blogged. I figured, since I needed a break from my hw, I'd do one now just to let people know that I'm still alive, happy, and doing my thing (as always)

Birthday weekend:

It's hard to put into words just how perfect this weekend was. Had a ladies night on friday night before my birthday where we simply had dinner and enjoyed each others company then it only went up from there. Madie had spent the night, and at midnight (we managed to keep ourselves up....) my madre entered my bedroom with a tray of wine and my birthday presents. As we sipped wine we joked and all ended up laughing very hard. I could hardly keep my eyes open and every time Madie looked over at me she would giggle because I was quiet funny looking leaning against the bed frame, wine in hand, with a sleepy grin on my face.

In the morning Madie and I got up early and dressed ourselves up for wine tasting :D Madie did my hair and makeup and we left the house looking and feeling great. We met up with everyone at a metro station (of course we were fashionably late) and took the line out to the end. There, all of us in our wine tasting best, caught a bus to the Concho y Toro winery. I couldn't stop smiling, I was so excited. The winery was BEAUTIFUL. A friend of mine from small group, Jorge, works at the wine bar there and recommend the tour. It couldn't have been more perfect. After our first cup of wine at the wine bar we began our tour. We got to tour the gardens, the vineyards, and even the cool dark cellars. Along the way we got to sample 2 wines and I now have a whole new appreciation for the art of wine making. Probably my favorite part of the whole day, and guessing by how stoked everyone else was during this part I'd say theirs too, was when we had our own private wine and cheese tasting. The Swirling, the smelling, the sipping and all! Delicious! We even got to keep the cheese board and a wine glass as a part of our tour experience. After a few last glasses of wine at the wine bar and a very big thanks to Jorge we all headed back toward the city happy, sleepy, and at this point fairly buzzed. Madie and I got back to my place, slept, ate, then slept some more before changing into our going out duds and meeting the group for a night on the town. Wrapping up my 21st dancing the night away with some of my favorite people here couldn't have been more amazing.

San Pedro de Atacama:

At the end of Oct. and the beginning of this month USAC gives us an 11 day break to do some traveling! I was so excited for this because while I love my time around Santiago I was ready to see some other parts of the country. I left from my house at 4:30 am friday morning with no sleep under my belt (thanks to my friend Bryan taking me out for a great belated birthday dinner, the fact I needed to finish packing when I got home, how excited I was, and How I Met Your Mother). This day was a bit of a blur as I drifted in and out of consciousness heading north on a bus a plane and another bus.  When we arrived I couldn't believe how different and beautiful the North of Chile is. My words really don't give it justice at all so I took a lot of pictures and they do the talking for me. Hope you guys enjoy them because there are A LOT!

Buenos Aires:

Now this part of my last few weeks is a little harder to talk about. It didn't really turn out as planned and I ended up returning from this adventure exhausted, broke, and my friendship with Madie far from ok.
Guess I should just start from the beginning... Madie and I left Santiago (finally), after managing to get our buses in order, and excited to be on an adventure together. When we got to the border of Chile and Argentina things went pretty wrong pretty fast. Madie, who as been having trouble with the stupid bureaucratic system of getting her Chilean ID, was turned away and denied entrance into Argentina. Now this left me in a terrible lose lose situation and I'll honestly say the choice I made in that moment was probably one of the hardest of my life. My options were: 1. Go back to santiago with Madie, help her figure stuff out at the ID office place and head back toward BA the following morning (this wasn't really an option because I in no way could afford to pay for my bus tickets again and there for would flush the rest of the money I had spend on a concert ticket in BA and my plane ticket home from BA down the drain as well) 2. Go on without Madie, met up with some of the other girls in BA, and hopefully see Madie in BA in a few days time after she had a chance to sort things out in Santiago. These were best cases that weren't actually a reflection of reality because like I said if I returned to Santiago, BA then became impossible and Madie was never able to go to BA anyways. Details here are probably unnecessary, but long story short and I decided to go on from the border alone. I don't regret leaving but I see that the way I left could have been better.

Madie and I learned a lot about our friendship styles in that moment, me who would never ask a friend to give up so much for me because I'd handle it on my own just fine and her, just as justified, who would never ever split up from a friend. We've, after cooling down considerably, since talked it out and are pretty much trying to continue as we were. But a situation like that, that hurt us both so deeply, is not easily forgotten even while forgiveness as been given and I'm not sure if our friendship will ever really be the same. Who knows though, there is time yet, and I pray for healing for us and our friendship everyday. I miss the girl and know I will continue to long after I leave here.

The rest of BA was also a roller coaster ride. I managed to hurt deeply someone I care about most,  lose my Argentinean pesos, my phone, and barely hold on to my sanity in about a 5 day time. It was at this time that a lot of extremely nice guys stepped up and helped me through. I checked into a hostel close to where the other girls were staying (didn't see them much actually) and found myself surrounded my Israelis, 7 Israeli guys to be exact. I ended up befriending these guys, learning so much (including some Hebrew), becoming token chick, and loving almost ever moment that they let me hang out with them. When I wasn't tagging a long with them, I spent a lot of my afternoons there strolling by myself and taking pictures. It was some of my most calm moments of the trips and I got a whole lot of exercise!

One of the nights I went to the huge music festival and only slightly enjoyed myself. I'm really not one to not try my hardest to have a good time but in the end, after all the time and money spent, Madie not being with me, missing the band I wanted to see, losing my phone, and having to pay for a taxi back to the hostel because the BA transportation sucks, I was pretty much done with the entire situation. It just felt like a whole lot of work for not a lot of payback and I was TIRED. In the end I know I'm a changed person because of the experience and I learned not only a lot about myself but some of the people I care most about here. Between the Israeli guys and the dependable friend I have in Bryan I was never alone. What made this trip different was that I was not only outside of my comfort zone but things just kept going wrong as well and that made me so tired and frustrated. I wasn't able to catch my balance. I wouldn't say I'd do it again, but I wouldn't take it back either and I honestly can't wait to go back to BA if I ever get the chance (Just hopefully under very different circumstances).

The Rest:

The last couple of weeks have gone by FAST. My time here is wrapping up and school is getting a lot more hectic. I've had a few small but unpleasant moments of anxiety but I've pushed through and have learned that counting my blessings and putting things into perspective work wonders. Oh and being grateful works great too. Not to mention me stopping beating myself up about things I can't change. The one thing that has honestly been a sort of light at the end of the tunnel is the Marine Corp Birthday Ball tomorrow (Sat). Bryan invited me about 3 weeks ago but it wasn't a positive because the date of his departure to Burma (His next embassy posting) was uncertain. It still is but at least we know it's not until after the ball now. I am SO EXCITED! It's probably one of the biggest events I've ever had the privilege to go to and probably one of the fanciest. It won't be just Marines either and so I'll also have a chance to meet a lot of the other state department staff, etc. that work at the US embassy in Chile. Bryan says that taking pictures is encouraged.... Don't have to tell me twice! Keep a look out for them next week :) So get this, they cut the cake with a sword! And not only is it a "ball" but since it's at a winery there is a wine tour and tasting plus obviously (haha I didn't know this until he told me) a big ceremony with a speaker and all. Phew. I meet the bus from the embassy at 4:30 pm tomorrow and the adventure starts from there. I think my friend Megan (also from Humboldt but whom I actually didn't know before this trip) is going to come over and help me get ready :D I know I said this already but I'm REALLY EXCITED.

Well I think I should end on that note seeing as I should get back to hw..... Kinda a lot but I hope I gave  you guys a good taste of what I have been up too. Because I really have been having a ball (in more ways than one!)

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