So I love stars. And my experiences here in Chile can almost always (by that I mean a few key instances) relate back to them. So I decided to get a tat (sorry dad that I’m telling you just now). Some of my favorite abroad memories that relate back to this star…
1 The Lone Star of Chile – I read a poem towards the beginning of my time here that related a certain woman to the star of Chile- alone, independent, determined. I love this meaning. The only problem is that I have not once felt alone during my time here. I have made some of the most amazing friends. The independence is something I’ve been striving after since day one. “Mollie do you want me to carry your bag?” “NO I’m independent thank you very much.” It’s failed me from time to time, like if someone offers to buy me something or walk me home, I’m suddenly very not independent. But I love the symbol of the Chilean flag in that way- a strong, unmoving, independent person as a part of an even stronger country.
2 The Little Prince – I read this book while I was here, because it’s a classic and a quick read. I loved it. One of my favorite themes of the story was that the little prince and his flower, although they lived on different planets for a time, never stopped thinking of each other, and never stopped loving each other. I’m going home to Des Moines without these amazing people, but it’s encouraging to think if I look at the stars, they’ll be looking at the same ones missing me just the same (or at least they better be). Cheesy yeah but I don’t care, it’s my tattoo and I love every meaning it holds for me.
3 Camille’s statement of “I wish our flag had a star on it.” (more of her wise words here: http://unrelatedsomethings.wordpress.com/)
4 Coldplay’s hit “A Sky Full of Stars,” which was posted on my wall before a group trip to what was supposed to be a starry trip to La Serena (north of Viña). It was cloudy both nights. But on the very last night, as we sat on the rooftop of our hostel with our Viña friends, talking about hockey teams I’ve never heard of, I looked up and saw the clouds finally split, opening up to one of the clearest night skies I had ever seen. Some memories are worth the wait.
5 Starry sky number 2: San Pedro de Atacama. Brought the aforementioned Camille to tears as a group gazed up at the sky from the desert road. This view blew La Serena out of the water. You could actually see the Milky Way (“It’s the MILKY WAY.”) Below is pictured the aftermath of the tears, and our attempt to cheer her up with our own fake sad faces. It really was an amazing sight though, and one of my absolute favorite memories of the trip.
6 Mapuche culture. I’m in love with indigenous cultures. Mostly those that reside in South Dakota, the people of which will always have my heart. But the culture here is just as amazing. The only indigenous people in Chile who survived the conquistadors and lived to tell about it, and the people who have helped to shape Chilean culture for centuries. Their history fascinates me. Which is why I decided not to get just a star, but the Mapuche symbol for star. Which in my mind is more Chilean than even the star on their national flag. If any symbol represents the strength of Chilean culture, it’s the Mapuche people and their resistance.
So without further ado, my tat:
Besitos y abrazos,