Day 11: January 6th
We headed to Isla Negra in the morning to go on a tour of Pablo Neruda’s home. Pablo was an amazing Chilean poet who died in 1973. Before we toured his incredibly tasteful home, we had time to walk the beach and climb the insanely large rocks. Those who know me, know that I am a beach girl at heart. While it was a rather chilly day, the Pacific did not disappoint us one bit. The waves were just incredible and it felt so surreal to be in Chile, by the ocean, and serving the Lord with a great group of people. Can it really get any better than that?
After gazing at the ocean’s beauty for some time, it was our turn to enter Pablo’s home. We were each given a phone with pre-recorded narratives on each room of Pablo’s home. I found it to be really personable to be able to listen to the stories of each room on my own because it allowed each of us to interpret the meaning behind his home in our own way…and what a beautiful home it was! His theme was for the home to feel like you were on a ship. Every decoration was “sea-themed” and there was hardly any empty space. His view of the Pacific Ocean was absolutely stunning. He had the perfect view of the Pacific white caps, colorful blooming flowers, and the grandeur of the sky.
I also picked up this painted wine glass with one of his poems written on it…
Following the tour of Pablo’s home, we went to a seafood restaurant nearby. For those of us who ordered the fish, we all agreed that it was the best fish we ever had. Hands.Down. Not to mention, there was a pretty amazing wine collection in the next room.
Day 12: January 7th
We were up and at em early this morning to head to Santiago. This was the day when a few of us were really starting to feel the exhaustion from the time spent in Chile and the “who needs sleep…” attitude. However, we braved through and walked the city of Santiago for hours. We also had the opportunity to tour the YMCA in Santiago which was HUGE!
We were honored to be able to meet some very influential people who work with the YMCA and who put their hearts into making sure it is led with a passion for spreading God’s love, the promotion of community and strong Christian values, and a strong willingness to work hard. It was a great reminder of how blessed we were to be working with such a respected group of people in Chile. I loved how Santiago was full of such exquisite historical architecture; yet, it had a modern feel at times.
Once we got back, some of us girls decided to go out to a salsa club. We all love dancing so much and since we already had our practice at the New Years celebration, we were excited to show off our newly learned moves. There was a salsa instructor there and a large circle of dancing partners when we first arrived. Some of us jumped in with the dancers and we basically got spun around the circle, picking up new dances on the way. It was quite the experience and most of it was spent laughing at ourselves. ;) But we ended up having a great night full of fun and dancing!
Day 13: January 8
Our plans for the last full day in Chile involved overlooking the ocean, going horseback riding on the beach, climbing the dunes, going out to dinner with some of the YMCA staff, and going out for a night on the town which of course we incorporated our own “Chilean” dance party! ;) The ocean amazed me, yet again. It was the perfect area to take it easy and reflect.
|| Meet setaya! My horse was picking on the others the entire time. Oops!
Remembering the very first day in Chile and how much we had done between working with the YMCA, helping to rebuild a home for the sweetest family, sightseeing, serving the homeless, meeting Francisco’s family, taking in the Chilean street art on every walk, the camp leadership activities, and ultimately growing in our faith. We had accomplished so much!
Day 14: January 9th
Today marked our last day in Chile! A quick note on our adventure flying home: We were delayed an hour in Santiago because of some problems they were having with the runway we were already on. By the time arrived in Dallas, we had under an hour to go through customs and security and recheck our bags. Needless to say we were pushing for time. After anxiously sprinting through the airport with cheers from fellow flyers who saw us running to catch our flight to Fort Wayne, WE MADE IT! We huffed and puffed onto the plane with seconds to spare. The flight was short back home in which we found out our luggage never made its way to FW. By that point, we were all too exhausted to really let it bother us too much. My luggage arrived early that next afternoon. And all was well. :)
It was sad to not only leave Chile and the vibrant culture it possesses, but to leave the people we met there and our group members that had grown so close. When we flew out of Santiago, it was an emotional goodbye all around. I reflected on all of the blessings, small and big, and the ways I saw God work through me personally, through our group, and each person individually. There were so many moments when I found myself feeling SO thankful for this incredible opportunity, for God’s guidance, and family and friends donations all in combination to make this all possible. Everything just seemed to keep falling into place and even when there were moments when it seemed like I wouldn’t have the funds raised in time or when I was sicker than a dog up until the day of flying out of Fort Wayne, seriously considering not going because I couldn’t shake the virus, I knew somehow it was supposed to happen and with His power, it would. I knew it was not by chance or by luck that I had been drawn to this trip and that if I put all of my faith, trust, and hope in Him that He would make it happen. It is moments like this that happen constantly in our daily lives. Life is not a field of daisies at every given moment, and it never will be as most of us already know. We are meant to be challenged. We were challenged emotionally, spiritually, and physically on this trip alone and with that each of us can take a piece of what we learned and carry it with us here back home. I am eternally grateful for every experience the good Lord has provided and for the love He continues to show unconditionally. His love never fails.