Natural Beauty

No not me, but thank u I’m blushing.

Chile has an overabundance of natural beauty. I think that’s one of the things that draws me so much to this country.

Take Santiago, for example. I leave my house at the exact right time in the morning to walk toward the sunrise on my way to work. By the time I get to my subway stop, the whole world is a little brighter and the giant buildings of the financial district are shimmering from the fresh light of a new day. I literally think those words every time I climb the steps up to street level. Like the type of beauty that inspires poetic thoughts, that’s that I’m working with here.

On top of that, if it’s a clear day, you can see mountains. Snow capped, towering, gigantic mountains. From my office I day dream about attempting to ski someday, and the injuries that will undoubtedly result. Half of me can’t wait and the other half is trying her hardest to convice the adventurous half that there’s an 80% chance of both halves getting seriously hurt. Someday <3

Walking down the street to lunch, I see that I’m surrounded. The buildings mirror back the mountains and everyone looks so small in comparison.

And that’s another beautiful thing about Santiago. The magnitude of it all. There are a little less than 1 million coffee shops, although half of those are admittedly Starbucks. There are a little more than one million pharmacies. The main street is safe, but once you turn the corner, you’re sure to find something that you didn’t know existed before. And how exciting and scary is that. You’ve lived in this city for who knows how long, and you’ve never seen this restaurant before. It makes you feel a little insignificant, but also a little more determined to explore as much as possible while you still have the time.

The sunsets here are another story. The purple, blue, and pink that takes over the sky at 7 pm every day is breathtaking. It also happens to occur exactly when I’m arriving home. I look back and see the world darkening, around cerro san cristobal as the statue of mother Mary enters her place in the spotlight for the evening.

It’s not just Santiago though. It’s everywhere here. Viña is full of fresh air, of beachy scenes and the sound of crashing waves. You can see all the way down the coast, peeking into Valpo while you rest contentedly by the sea. The trees are tropical, the people are nice, and the dogs are loyal. The sunsets in Stgo have nothing on Viña. Here you can watch the sun as he fights the long descent into the ocean, sitting on la playa and soaking up every last second of sunlight.

That is the central region of Chile. Up north there is more coast. More beautiful sunsets and even warmer beaches. The desert rests here as well. Mountains surrounding a wasteland of dust sand. The vastness of it all is beautiful in itself. In the mountains, there are new animals, canyons that have yet to be explored, and geysers that are centuries old. At night, lying on the street looking up, you get a picture of our galaxy that you’ll never be able to put into words. You can put it into smiles or tears, but not words.

And then you go south. And you see the uninhabited countryside, full of glaciers and mountains, volcanoes and valleys. There are small scattered towns that try to share some of their southern culture with tourists. The people take you on treks, they help you find camping spots, they introduce you to the nature that their ancestors have preserved so tactfully. Nature has never been my thing – I love a good view but I cannot imagine spending a night in a tent. It seems unsafe to me. But seeing this part of the world, I understand why some people become obsessed with nature. With thick woods, tiny streams, hidden waterfalls, and a hint of danger lying around every corner. It’s peaceful and scary and blissful and intimidating all at one time.

There are places I still want to go. I want to go to Chiloe, and see the villages, the colorful old churches from years ago. I want to go to Easter Island, to see the crazy cool things men were able to accomplish there. I want to go to real Patagonia, not Pucon but farther south. I want to brave the wilderness and see the Torres del Paine that I’ve only seen in pictures. I want to visit Temuco, and the native villages that exist there. I want to explore further into Valparaiso. To discover more murals and stores and cafes.

I’m still here though. And happy to take in every bit of beauty the country has to offer me each day. Don’t get me wrong- it’s not all beautiful. The smog would shock you. And rainy days keep me planted in bed. And the coldest week of winter is currently upon us. And some streets are littered with trash and cigarette butts. But I’d say the good outweighs the bad. (for further support see above descriptions)

xoxo

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