a giveaway walk in the park.

We're off to what will likely be my last trip to Torres del Paine before we move to California. The weather has been beautiful the last couple of days, so we're taking advantage of still owning a car (which we will hopefully be able to sell before we go!), and driving up for some light hiking day-trip style.

In the meantime if you haven't already, you can enter my giveaway here.

{to win these hippie handmade stunners}
Do you hike or is there anywhere to hike near where you live? What are your favorite places to explore?

sometimes i wish.

I was as small as a bee--bobbing about flowers even smaller than myself + listening to birdsong much bigger than me.
{photo by serkan yalin}
what do you wish?

signs of spring.

Yesterday the Navimag (backpacker-style "cruise" and cargo ship that sails 3 days through Patagonian fjords and connects Puerto Natales with Puerto Montt in the north) arrived with some travelers and lots of food cargo. Suddenly way-too-expensive blueberries, California red grapes, arugula and boxes of fruit + veggie delicacies crowded the aisles of our local market. It's only in the last year or so (and then, only during the impending summer months) some locals have even seen an blueberry. The clerk asked us what they were called: uvas?; no, they are arándanos.

This morning S halved grapes into our cereal bowls. We went for a walk along the coast, covered in litter (as it always is) and in the yellow beginnings of dandelions. In town, red and happy yellow tulips abound and show their black inner bellies. Occasional snapdragons sidle up to the fronts of houses, and leaves of lupine sprout from the brown ground. There are even daffodils, which I've never seen before here. Daffodils. These may be my favorite flower, and, yes, they are even more endearing to me for Wordsworth and having visited Tinturn Abbey way back in the olden golden days of a college semester abroad.

For everybody cruising into spring, I hope it's filled with flowering greens. If you're enjoying the fall foliage or already feeling an early frost, I send you images of daffodils--you know, for your mind's pretty eye.

{daffodils by harold.lloyd}
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils. 

If you haven't already, enter my giveaway here!

{grape photo : unknown : please let me know if it's yours}

fat, happy mailbox: thank you.

Just one little day, and so much joy. Today I received so much goodness in the mail. First, a package from Dani at I'm Just That Way + That's Just Me--part of an exchange from The Claw's Fall Swap. Thoughtful Dani put so much care in putting the package together. There are bits of autumn, goodness from her neck of the woods (delicious cherry preserves and death by chocolate fudge), as well as some sweetness for our upcoming adventures (hello there, pretty San Francisco map, baby booties + h stationery to keep in touch).

{thank you, sweet dani!}
And the booties are in good company with these yellow beauties (and cutiepie baby stickers) I received at the end of last week (just because) from Micaela at Dolce Vita.

{thank you beautiful micaela!!!}
Little did Micaela know that my auntie knitted baby a yellow blanket, with all the joy and happiness that yellow brings. Here's a picture she sent to me a while back, unsure whether to send it to us or hope and wait.

{incidentally, both hope + wait are esperar in Spanish}
While I was away, the mailman came and left a slip on the door. To my surprise, there were two more packages at the post office. I'm enjoying a bit of a lucky streak (a happy counter the fact that I've been dropping or spilling almost everything I touch for the last couple days).

Packages were from two giveaways. This vintage floral clutch from Yellow Birdd Vintage, from a giveaway hosted by Lynzy at From Skirts to Skillets.

{thank you lynzy + yellow birdd!}
And these (beautifully packaged) plum blossom earrings from Sunny + Delilah, from a giveaway hosted by Laura of Bright, Bold + Beautiful.

{thank you laura + sunny + delilah}
Deepest heartfelt thank you to all the lovely people in my life!

You have until Friday, 10/29, to enter my giveaway here.

a quiet conversation.

Our snaky U-turn of plans has kept my mind pretty active, so I've been a little absent. All the posts I plan to write slip a little deeper into the void. Who will shine their light on them there?

{just imagine : "imagination is more important than knowledge"}

Yesterday I delivered six kilos of jam to a friend in distress. A worried mother handed me the too-heavy bag, pleaing with her eyes. One jar broke in our bags on the trip. Tomorrow, a worried mother travels here from Santiago to help daughter get back on her feet. In the quiet of an upturned apartment, she looked for something to give me. We flipped through a photocopied book of ayurvedic remedies in English. She prepared me a small jar of coconut oil to ward off stretch marks. Finally settling on a pen (pluma) she created out of feather quills (plumas) during our difficult winter, where she hardly slept. Of course I should give you a pen; you're a writer, she says, of course! No one ever really knows the distress of another, until the worst is over or until it blankets us with its hot chill weight.

Over breakfast, S laughs at how I fill our cereal bowls. Brimming. I say the bowls are so small, and I like to see the milk rim the fruit. He points out that I pour everything that way: water, juice, beer, coffee, tea, the ice cube tray. No wonder I spill a little constantly. We've found another way to define humanity: those who pour full and those who leave a little space. Still, the tambourines play for everybody.

{peaceful understanding : "peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding"}
When one of my best friends here calls and S answers, the first thing she might say to me on the phone is how difficult he is to understand. When he tells me she's called, he too mentions how difficult she is to understand. One of my jobs teaching English classes (and--it seems--as a human being) is to help people feel understood. Now to remember to include myself in that little equation.

{photos by J. P. McAdie from her awesome set according to einstein; quoted thoughts are einstein's}

getting ready to move.

{untitled by picassoswoman}
We had our first taste of boredom yesterday. Even though I was pretty busy running about, every time I returned to our house, an uneasy wave of boring bore into me. This is coming from someone, who generally scolds people for saying they're bored. I mean, there are SO many things to do! I'm in the middle of about three "projects" now, not to mention the mail I mean to post, books to read, desserts to bake. But yesterday kissed us with a spell of... what was it exactly?... a combination of not wanting to do anything, restlessness, boredom. Are we that ready to leave?

As I write this, S is looking up what our internet speed will be in California. Currently we pay more than $80/month for a snaily 0.4 Mb, which cuts out intermittently (aka regularly). We just got back from our typically sad market of wilted greens and rotting fruits--for which we also pay too much. So S also searches how much groceries cost at Trader Joe's. It's a little crazy how much we love grocery shopping together. TJ's, among other markets, is me being a happy kid in a candy shop.

I thought I would be more nostalgic thinking of our last six weeks here. And I do feel so. When I talk to certain people, I know I will miss parts of being here. Some people. The mountains. My yoga teacher. The lazy relaxed lifestyle. (You can't live here if you want to get something done, fast--it'd drive you batty!) Living off the grid in our own little way + checking out of the bigger world... (I'm not political here, sometimes I barely know what's even happening in the world out there. And--here--I don't feel the slightest tinge of guilt about having checked out so thoroughly. I guess the things that concern me most these days have to do with third world recycling aka lack thereof and decrepit street dogs.)

{wondering what i was in for in 2007}
But I won't miss the horrid customer service, the hurricane winds + and inhospitable weather, the garbage the filth, the barking street dogs + poor diseased puppies (enough to make the hardest-hearted sniffle--so many of my foreign friends have taken in crazy numbers of strays), the propineros in the market who assault you with their plastic bags despite your protestations (and then you give them coins for this), the food and lack of food choices. I find myself saying way too many times a day: in California this... or in the States that... And yes, all this does make me shake my head at myself!

Don't get me wrong, there have been so many amazing moments and life changes that occurred here, living "at the end of the world." (Most notably we found each other. A beginning--not so much the end.)

{our happy beginning : torres del paine}
I'm sure our last days here will compel me to dive in and write about some of the heart's serpentine journey. For now, knowing that we are almost finished enduring everything we've chose to endure by living here... whew, it's incredibly freeing!

Do you have an ambiguous relationship with where you live?

friday present: a little news.

It's probably pretty obvious what I'm most thankful for this week...

you guys!

{flowers for you by dalobeee}
Thank you so much for your beautiful words and support. Truly. Your kindness is catchy, and it feels so good to be infected by it!

(visa) stamps of approval. 

{smile by aftab.}
Yep, after dancing among ink cartridges + paperclips, paper reams + photo copies, S got his U.S. visa. We're happy, we're excited.

so many pros.

{if it starts to sound ugly, write it in italian : photo by desi}
After a lot of talking and pussyfooting around decisions, we finally sat down to make that list I've been talking about making for months: Should we stay or should we go now (guitar riffing in background). Over lattes and hearty sandwiches, we listed the costs of having baby here vs. in the States, the bright sides of both places. It seemed an especially negative time for poor Chile, at least on our list. But for the seasons! It's just barely turning into spring here, with 18 hours of daylight just around the corner. We narrowly survived Patagonia's brutal winter. Back to short days and another winter so soon? Gulp. Of course Patagonian summer isn't exactly anyone's idea of summer. wind wind, hurricane wind, rain, hail, sun. wind um yeah.

Talks with family and friends made the list even more lopsided, leaning into blowing this pop stand called Patagonia and heading for more hospitable lands.

finding an awesome cafe to couch out. 

Today, we had to leave our rented abode in Santiago at noon, but our flight isn't until 1.30 a.m. We dropped our luggage at Estación Central's custodia, and lugged our computers around the metros in search of someplace to catch up... for hours. Abarzua with good chill music on good big speakers with the volume up, fast internet, laughing Buddha lamps, sofas, power sockets. Just what I needed. (You have no idea what a treat good music on better-than-passable speakers is here!)

heartening doses of decisiveness.

{moving again, it's all happening so fast : photo by chris darling}
After lots of soul searching, list making and giggling, we decided that we are indecisive. That we tend to prolong the inevitable. We will have to pick up and start over together pre- or post-baby (S only has six months to enter the States or his visa is null). Of course traveling 30 hours with an infant and trying to organize ourselves post-newborn is harder than trying to get at least a little settled pre-baby. That's why we just bought our flights to San Francisco. I still can't even believe it! We will be "home" for Christmas, and sheesh, it chokes me up just to write that. Off to go find me a tissue, again.

guess what?

Last night, car horns honked, firecrackers went off, people screamed in the streets. Not because of our visa, but because all 33 Chilean miners were finally rescued--after 69 days! We saw several of the emotional resurfacings on CNN, while waiting for our interview in an eerily quiet embassy.

In other news, the embassy did approve Serkan's visa! (...after charging us twice what they said they would, good ole money like water. friends, this is not a cheap process!) He left his passport and DHL will deliver it to us in the next 2-3 weeks.

{photo by david avigdor madmoun}
Today Comer, Rezar, Amar (Eat, Pray, Love) is finally out, so we're heading to have ourselves a little popcorn matinee now. I can't remember when I last went to a matinee, maybe a decade ago! When was your last matinee movie?

wishing well, twinkling.

Today's our big day! My dearest's U.S. immigration visa interview is at 1.30 p.m. If you haven't been reading very long, here's us in a nutshell. Somehow, separately, we ended up living at the end of the world aka Patagonia chilena. He's from Turkey, I'm from California, we were married in Istanbul last year. Since we returned "home" to Chile, we've been taking steps toward his immigration process via direct consular filing in Santiago. (It's not a big secret that I've been done living here for a while, and that I'd planned on moving back to the States after completing my job contract a couple years ago. But then I met the love of my life. So, hey, plans change.) Well, today is the day, dear friends! Please toss some copper into the wishing well for us!

{wishes by vladimer shioshvili }
There's so much I'd like to write about, but we've been a little on the run these days. So little time. If I had some hours to spare, I would dive into what it means to try to go baby shopping for the first time here. A few days ago it gave me a case of the hyperventilation jeebies. (How many times do we have to change a newborn's diapers per day? So, how many cloth diapers to start out with? What do we need need need to have on the way home? Trying to think about all this stuff not even being sure whether baby will be born in Chile or the States can be kinda like a Ferris wheel of worry, spinning just a lit-tle too fast.)  

But I've come a long way since a few days ago, done more research.Written long lists using the invisible ink behind my eyes. Last night we bought a couple of smiley happy friends to dangle from a crib that we'll likely borrow. A toothy blue monster hums a tinny twinkle twinkle little star while the pink bunny giggles. They put a huge, calm smile on my face. And remind me that stars are such pretty lights to wish on. 
{once upon a starry wish on etsy}
Wish us luck!

10.10.10 + 1.

10.10.10 is pretty much over all over the world. Yesterday it would have actually been 10.10 p.m. here, but we've just sprung forward, so suddenly it's 11.27 p.m. (o.k. so not really 10.10, but close, no? see, honesty can get in the way of telling a good story!). Chile will celebrate the three tens with another dia feriado on Monday. Actually, I don't know which saint we're supposed to celebrate, but everything's closed again. It's pretty incredible how many "holidays" there are here every week! 

{pale blue ten by caro's lines}
To celebrate the tens, I thought I would share ten random things in the order that they appear to my fingertips. 
  1. I'm a horrible shopper. It's not that I don't love clothes + jewelry + books + housewares + groceries + outdoor gear. But when it comes to shopping for anything, you may find me a little stressed, perhaps unable to breathe deeply. 
  2. We ate dinner at a quarter to midnight tonight.  
  3. As much as it may frustrate the efficiency control freak in me, I am fascinated at how people search for things online. 
  4. My favorite cereal as a kid was Life (and we've found some in Santiago; it's as simple and quick to sog as it always was!). Barbara's Shredded Spoonfuls replaced this childhood fave when I started shopping at good ole Trader Joe's. 
  5. I love looking into my husband's eyes. How our eyes meet spontaneously sometimes, and we dive in--just splish--nary a splash.  
{artichoke by mary beth griffo rigby}
  1. Artichokes comfort me (as does dark chocolate and coffee ice cream).
  2. I write haikus to our unborn baby, who likes to hang on the left side of my belly. 
  3. I have dreamed of blog friends I've never even met, or they have visited my dreams. 
  4. Four people attended our 10-minute wedding last year. My aunt has lovingly stored the wedding dress that both her mom and sister (my grandma and mom) wore for me. I hope to wear it for a reception or recommittment ceremony in the States someday. 
  5. I think it's amazing how many people we are to the people in our lives (wife, daughter, sister, niece, friend, teacher, student, grammar nazi, stranger on the subway, one day mother). I wonder what kind of mother I will be.
What's the first random thing you think about yourself?

circling + yawning.

For the last two days, we've been running around madly. In circles + squares, practicing geometry. A little like this...

{donuts on the highway by vicki + chuck rogers}
And I have to say, growing a little person is tiring! I get cramps at random intervals walking (round ligament pain, no big deal) and have to slow it down. I spend most of the day looking for a bathroom or covering my big yawn of a mouth. (And right now at 25 weeks, baby yawns like a fiend right along with me!) My energy stores have been superb, but this city vibe is sapping me dry. Just feeling a little spent, and ready for Saturday's long lie in.

{"self-portrait" by hobit&gollum}
But, people have been lovely (not a normal occurrence here)! Even if I'm wearing my yet-baggy maternity hoodie and feel like I must not look pregnant, kind women offer up their seats to me on the metro. I haven't accepted yet--because we're normally just a stop or two away--but today might be a different story.

Looks like instead of leaving the city to site see in the hippie valleys, we'll be staying in one place. In between long naps (and maybe breakfast in bed: hint hint, dear husband), I'll be catching up on your blogs and working on translation projects.

{photo by anna gay}
I hope your weekend is filled with love + sunshine (even if it's raining outside)!

edible accessory retreat.

On the flight over to here to Santiago from Punta Arenas, I flipped through the airline mag to find these precious eggplant slippers!

While I can't really imagine myself wearing eggplants on me feet, I love the idea of real ballet pretties in aubergine. These are real eggplants, though, by Italian artist Fulvio Bonavia.

Here are some of my other favorite items. I seem to be drawn in by the handbags...


{+ prosciutto : equal parts gross and cool}

What do you think about beautiful ephemeral food art?

because changing plans is how we roll.

Today we head to Punta Arenas for a flight that leaves tomorrow at 5.30 in the morning. If you've been following for a while, you might remember me saying that I would never do such flights again, because it requires arriving to the airport via the latest bus and staying there for hours, watching movies on the computer, trying to nap or just plain waiting for the our flight to depart. Where we live, by the way, is three hours away from the airport by bus.

But as I started writing this down, I thought that's just crazy! So we changed our plans completely. (The plan was to drive to Punta Arenas, visit our three hospital choices to see where we'd want to have baby, go for an ultrasound (24+ weeks!), and leave our car at a lot to sell while we are errand hopping in Santiago.

{circa 24 weeks, s loves to make it look as big as he can}
New plan: Take the bus to Punta Arenas just in time for our doctor/ultrasound appointment, stay in a hostel there, and wake up butt early in the morning to head to the airport (like normal [read: not so vagabond-y] people who have a flight at that ungodly hour). I might need one of these alarm clocks Jen is giving away after all! Just writing about our more sensible plan makes me feel refreshed. On our way back from Santiago, we arrive just before 5 am, and then we will have to wait a few hours for the first bus to Natales and our own sweet bed. But it's only one way of absurdness, and at the end of the rainbow awaits... our bed!

{via the diversion project}
So, this is it! Santiago means lots of random appointments, maternity clothes shopping, warmth + sunshine + c'est la vie what comes with it--cough cough smog, and most of all--Serkan's visa interview at the American embassy. We will find out on October 13 if we're allowed into the States together. Send us happy thoughts!

Meanwhile, we've been doing a little daydreaming aka house hunting (within our meager means). First we were "dreaming" about really crappy foreclosed homes. Then we branched out a little and starting falling for lofts like this or single family homes like this. We aren't anywhere near actually thinking about buying a home right now. But if all goes well at the embassy, our next flight will be landing in the states within the next six months.

Are you in your dream home now? How did you find your current nest?

just because you're lovely swap.

I recently participated in loving Gracie's Just Because You're Lovely Swap, incidentally my first swap ever. Each participant wrote up something about themselves, and their swap mate was to find some gifts that would suit their partner's personality, accordingly.

I was partnered with another mate in the southern hemisphere, Sharni at The Pieces, who loves to make lists + travel, with a special emphasis on exotic food items from afar. It was perfect timing, since we were traveling to Uruguay. I picked up some cuteness along the way, including an artsy magnet and hot sauce with Amazonian fruit. From Chile, I sent her some of those famed alfajores (that are actually from Argentina), a magnetic pad for fridge list making, and one of the prettiest scarves I've ever seen here. I really just want to keep sending these scarves to people, because I love them so much. Maybe one of these days I'll buy one for myself too. But as you can imagine, living here, I already have SO many scarves!

In a sad state of affairs, Australian customs opened the package I wrapped to remove the card inside (which was one of my most favorite cards that I've ever created), because it contained a feather (from a cat toy or something else silly like that). But Sharni says the customs folks were kind enough to photocopy the front back and guts of the card, so that was sweet. Here's the front (nearly lost) photo of said card. 

From Australia I received some event postcards, a metrocard, earrings and necklace, some glow in the dark stars that will come in handy some day for our boy's room, and a couple of chocolates--all encased in pretty packaging.

Thanks Sharni! And thanks to our beautiful host, Gracie!

friday present: awarded

Yesterday, the spunky and dear hearted Kelli at { bug miscellany } graced my little blog with this award. If you're not already familiar with the bug, go check her out!

This girl stole my heart with her sparkling humor, love of flannels, and her current sprinkle obsession. To receive the award, I'm supposed to mention some things that I love. So I figured it's perfect for my Friday thankfulness series.

Loving cinnamon rolls,

{from my first go around baking these bad boys}
I slightly modify this recipe from Smitten Kitchen, and like to make the glaze with a light citrus zest. As I write this and wait for the dough to rise, I'm wearing my happy purple apron.

the return of friends--

{photo by Silvia Gialinà}
My baking plan for this weekend revolved around cheesecake. Not only because I'm obsessed, but because my husband's been requesting it for a few weeks now. But when my dear friends arrived--oh so tan and smiley--from the States, the first thing I heard was that I just had to make cinnamon rolls. What can I say, I'm happy to oblige eat the profits.

+ speaking of aprons--

{gold glitter flower apron}
Somewhere along the line, I discovered that I really do love a good apron. I have my eye on this one right now, but there are so many sassy aprons out there. Dia de los Muertos, anyone? I might have to expand on this mini obsession later.

and because i love to be awed...

{alive but dead by peter callesen}
Y'all have spread so much art love this week, I just have to share. Ren of Lady of the Arts posted about one-paper art by Peter Callesen. His exhibit Out of Nothing is currently showing in Sweden. Then Poppies and Sunshine posted some amazing photos of dollar bills origami'd by Won Park. And then these incredible leaf carvings from Hey, Lady Grey. Upon seeing these pretty leaves, pun-happy hubby said, I don't be-leave it.

+ loving you!

{love in mosaic by marie-ll}
Because you sweeten my life, this award really is for you, dear readers. All of you. Please accept this Happy 101 Award and play along by thanking the person who passed it onto you, writing about some of your loves and then passing it on to your fellow bloggers.

I'm going to list a few blogs here, too, aside from the ones listed above in the love for art part--for your weekend hopping fun.

What do you love today?


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