What a lovely week off from school it has been. After our crazy Open House week, September vacation arrived and it was much needed. The September vacations fall around September 18, the Chilean Independence day, which is a big deal here.
For our 10-day break, I headed to the South of Chile with some of the other first grade teachers to a place called Riñihue. Riñihue is located in the lake region of Chile, and is about a 10 hour bus ride South. For those who know Chile, it’s about an hour from Valdivia. For anybody looking to enjoy nature and relax, I highly recommend this place.
My good friend and co-worker Cata has a house in the South and was nice enough to invite me to tag along. After the 10-hour bus ride, which was not so fun, we arrived to Los Lagos a town about an hour from Riñihue, where a man met us with a car to drive to Cata’s house.
Cata’s house was amazing. First off, we had to go off-roading for about 20 minutes through the woods and down dirt roads to arrive to her house in a very secluded area right on the lake. I still have no idea how she knew where she was going. Her house was beautiful; it was like a chic cabin in the middle of nowhere. Cata has a huge family so we all got our own bedrooms.
The area was filled with hiking trails and observation decks overlooking the beautiful lake. She had her own beach, which we thoroughly enjoyed. Jose and I were even crazy enough to jump into to the freezing cold water. I think that was the coldest water I’ve ever swam in –maybe excluding The Penguin Plunge. I think my favorite part was the waterfalls –some of them were gigantic! They were so beautiful, and I’d never seen such large waterfalls in my life. Another favorite was Cata’s hot tub. She had a little deck right off of her house that led to an in-ground hot tub surrounded by trees. It was so relaxing and the coolest part was that the hot tub was all-natural –it was heated by fire. There was this box inside the hot tub where you put logs to burn and that would heat the water. Pretty cool!
^^ The view from the porch!
We spent our days in our pajamas and adorned the complementary bathrobes and slippers provided by the house. Each day we cooked delicious food together and spent significant time around the indoor fireplace. We went hiking, played card games and watched many movies. Since her house is so off the beaten path, we were disconnected from the outside world in terms of internet and cellphone coverage. It was nice to disconnect and be in the moment. It also was nice to be with Javi and Cata one last time as they're headed off to Barcelona and Australia. I'm not sure that I'll see them again, so it was nice to spend some final quality time together. Our days were filled with laughter, pisco and relaxation.
^^ The first copihue I've ever found! Copihues are the national flower of Chile.
^^ Clearly, Toby, the neighbor's dog, was another highlight of the trip for me. He came to visit us each day at his leisure. I quickly formed a bond with this big guy.
In Latin American cultures, the people have two last names. Since my friend bought the bus tickets, she told me "I didn't know your second last name Kim, so I just wrote Kim Stryker Biker". So my ticket literally said 'Kim Stryker Biker' on it.
I was taking a walk with Javi and she excitedly said “look! A Mockingjay!” She meant a hummingbird. But I enjoyed the Hunger Games reference!
One of the girls was telling me she had to pee so bad she might just pee on the car. She meant in the car… I’ve noticed native Spanish speakers have difficulty telling the difference between 'on' and 'in' because it's the same word for them in Spanish.
After the trip, I slept for like 2-days straight. Between the constant Spanish and the 10-hour bus-ride I was exhausted mentally and physically!
Perhaps the happiest person to see my when I got back was León. He's been glued to my side ever since I got home.
^^León looking handsome in his poncho, all really for dieciocho!
Now back into the work grind. Spring is arriving so the days are getting both longer and warmer. Cheers!