Thursday, November 09, 2006

go to the coast

Chicago has many attractions, but it does not have an ocean. Lake Michigan tries, and sometimes it can deceive you, if only for a moment-- especially on the Michigan side at the dunes. However, when you are sitting in the sand, watching the 12 feet (and taller) waves crash into each other, the rocks, sucking the sand underneath them with such a force as to pull people off their feet, you realize that you while it may be called "great," that lake is really nothing like the ocean.

Working in Santiago has its perks, being the work we are doing, but outside of that I'm not sure that I would characterize it as one of my favorite cities. I guess it depends on what you choose to value. I loved Chicago as a city, but I didn't feel satisfied at my job. Now I love my job, and I don't mind the city. I think I'd rather feel satisfaction from my job than from the city, also because my friends here are also my co-workers. Similar in age, similar in our realistic idealism, but extremely diverse in life experience, skills, cultural influences, etc, our group of volunteers never lacks energy, ideas, surprises, and of course our share of drama. The city may seem a little smoggy and drab at times, but our work and our organization definitely keeps it interesting.

Traveling outside of Santiago has begun for the class of Septiembre, 2006. A group of people are in Patagonia right now, and another in Peru. A small group of us recently went to Valparaiso and Vina del Mar, and in a couple of weeks will go to Mendoza... it's just that old 3-month time: renewing the tourist visa. But even without that marvelous excuse to leave the country, leaving the city you realize how exhausting being here in Santiago can be. After the weekend in Valparaiso, only 2 hours away by bus, my thoughts (and my lungs) felt much clearer. While for me there is nothing like a sun-filled day at the beach, I still preferred Valparaiso as a city. Reminiscent of Cinque Terre in Italy, I could walk the streets for hours enjoying the endless curiosity the city provokes. But oh, the beach..... must return to the beach. Soon.

If you'd like to see all of the photos, visit the set here.

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