“There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.”
This past weekend, I returned to beautiful Viña del Mar, Chile to get a change of scenery, breathe the ocean air and, most importantly, reconnect with the dear family I stayed with during interim of my freshman year. Walking around the streets surrounding my old host stay was surreal. When I left Viña a few years back, I knew there was a good chance I would never see that place again. Getting the opportunity to return to a place I love so much and be with people that mean so much to me was such a wonderful blessing.
Spending time in Viña was interesting because everything was the same- just as perfect as I remembered it, yet it felt very different. Spending so much time in Santiago, I saw Viña in a different light this time around. I found myself constantly comparing the cities (which really isn’t fair because they are both awesome cities but so so different). I noticed things about Viña during this one weekend that I never even realized when I was there for almost a month the first time. So instead of rambling and drawing lengthy conclusions I’ll sum it up as this: Viña del Mar is still beautiful and amazing and hasn’t changed much, but I certainly have.
While I was in Viña, I got the awesome chance to learn some of the “Cueca” from my host mom there. La cueca is Chile’s national dance. In this traditional dance, the dancers have panuelos, or handkerchiefs that they spin around as they dance. With Chile’s independence day approaching (Sept 18), I am hoping to know the basics of the dance so I can participate in some of the festivities. However, as you can see from this video I still have quite a bit of work before I reach Cueca-superstar-status…
My friends and I also took a class to learn the cueca, so if you are wondering what it’s actually supposed to look like, here’s a video of our instructors dancing…
(sorry- the room was really dark so the quality of this video is pretty bad!)
Even though none of us are very good, learning the dance has been a really fun way to further immerse ourselves in Chile’s rich culture.
My trip to Viña has kicked off what will be a series of travels to different places! In just two days I am heading way down to the end of the earth to explore Patagonia! After that, I return for Chile’s infamous Independence Day celebrations, then I’m off to Chiloe, and then next month the Atacama desert! That being said, check back in next time for (what I hope will be) some exciting updates 🙂