Posted by: tinksinchile | July 13, 2010

11 Days

I would like to say that this won’t be the last post I write in Chile, but it just might be.  I can feel the craziness looming as our last week approaches us, so I don’t know if I’ll find time to write again.  I will definitely post a few more times Stateside to update people on our new location, address, etc.  But then this blog will come to an end.   I’ve really enjoyed blogging my thoughts to share with all of you.  It´s made me feel closer to you knowing you read it.   Perhaps I will start another blog once we return and get things settled, or maybe we’ll just wait to start another one  once the little ones come about.  (Which isn’t anytime in the too near future.  Don’t get any ideas moms!)

The last month has been full of adventure!  We went to San Pedro de Atacama for a long weekend right after Zach´s birthday.  Like every trip we’ve taken here, it was amazing.  Super beautiful.  We felt like we were watching a movie the whole time, because things this stunning don’t really exist in real life right?  Just in movies like Lord of the Rings.  Here’s a small sample:



Then as I mentioned in the last post, for the Fourth we went skiing in the Andes.  Zach had skied several times before and managed to get his bearings quite well.  I, on the other hand, not so much.  It was my first time.  Granted, everyone told me this was a horrible place to try to learn to ski.  No bunny slopes, no trees.  So I took a very short lesson, and then proceeded to fall and slide down one of the slopes in all types of contorted positions that your joints shouldn’t experience regularly.  Might have shed a few tears, I’m not going to lie, promptly took my skis off and had a coffee while Zach finished skiing his brains out.  I am really thankful Zach did not break or pull something, because if you know Zach, his nickname is kamikaze.  He likes to think he still has the body of a 10-year-old, and he definitely still has the energy.

Our flight leaves on the evening of the 22nd.  We have a few things to wrap up here.  My last day at my job is Thursday and Zach’s is next Tuesday.  A few parties left.  Then trying to fit a year of our lives into four suit  cases and two carry-ons.  Delta flight 146 here we come!

Posted by: tinksinchile | June 23, 2010

An American Face

This is going to be short because I need to make lasagna for Zach’s little birthday celebration tonight.  Happy First Winter Birthday Ever Honey!

Today I had to go to the US Embassy to get a document notarized in order to start work back for Wake County in the fall.  The embassy is a really nice, big building (of course – I don’t know why in my mind I thought it would be this old house type building with a little notary office in it.  What was I thinking?? I digress…).  There was an American flag flying in the courtyard, which is a site I haven’t seen in awhile.  I walked in to this huge hall of tons of people trying to get their visa’s for the US or deal with lost passports and such.  Thankfully, my number was called quickly and I walked up to the counter and there was a distinctly American face standing on the other side of the window to do the notary for me.  He greeted me in English (with no accent), asked me where I was from, spoke to me in English the whole time.  Talked to me about the massiveness of the Atlanta airport.  All in English.  Of course I see Americans here in Chile all the time, but it’s just friends.  I never “do business” in English.  I’m constantly struggling with expressing my needs and making sure things get done in Spanish.  But my interaction with this American was so easy and comfortable.  It seems weird, but I felt so “home.”

After leaving the embassy, I rushed to an American sports bar and watched the second half of the US vs. ALG game to qualify for the next round in the World Cup.  I knew a few people there, but mostly it was just a bunch of random people from the US.  When Donovan scored, we cheered and hugged!!!  Beers fell and bottles broke!  After they won the game, the bar played all kinds of patriotic American songs.  It was a blast!

My experience at the bar and the US embassy gave me a little piece of the States today, and made me a little homesick for the first time sense coming back in March.  I’ve been very nostalgic the last few weeks as  I realize our time in Chile is really winding down.  It’s bittersweet.  We have loved Chile.  We leave for the US a month from today.  As I sit here looking out over Santiago from our apartment, I hold some great excitement in my heart because the American face behind the counter at the embassy and the American bar reminded me how much I miss my country and I’m looking forward to coming home.

Posted by: tinksinchile | May 31, 2010

Winter

I have to say that one of the strangest things about being here below the equator is the flip-flop of the seasons.  Here it is almost June and the days are getting shorter and colder.  The leaves on the trees are turning from orange-yellow to brown and beginning to fall from the branches.  In December, Zach and I took a long walk on a warm sunny beach in the north of Chile.  In January, I walked around in flip-flops, shorts and tank tops.  On July 4th, we have plans to go skiing to celebrate Independence Day in the US.

Today, Zach and I woke up to a fresh coat of snow on the Andes.  Super Beautiful.  We are in awe of them.  But it’s June, right?  Ski seasons starts in a few weeks.  I’m thinkin’ Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner.  But nope.  June?

It does seems a little normal to me that it should be going into fall/winter now.  We just had summer.  The season needs to change.  Sure the months seem a little off, but you get over the names after awhile.  However, several times this weekend we’ve chatted with family and the friends in the US who were barbecuing, swimming, wearing tank tops.  And then we remember, oh yeah… it’s summer in the US.  How crazy is that… season lag sets in.  It’s tough for things to seem a little off all the time weather wise.  You feel a little like, “This isn’t how it’s supposed to be.”  But it is.  To most people around you, this is all they know.  June is winter.

I’ve been cooped up alone in the apartment reading most of the day due to this nasty cold I’ve had, so i’ve had some time to ponder the seasons.  It’s amazing to me how much they regulate our lives and our feelings about the future and what is happening around us.  They give us a rhythm, just like they do for the plant and animal life around us.  So it’s weird when your rhythm has switched around you, especially as you watch the same normal rhythm happening for everyone back in the US.

Don’t get me wrong, although I feel a little melancholy from it today, I am so grateful for the opportunities we have had.  The beach on Christmas.  Skiing on July 4th.  Eating wonderful summer fruits in January.  It’s been awesome, and I know it’s an experience we will cherish.  I’m headed to curl up in the warmth of my bed and hope my cough doesn’t keep me up again half the night. Cough Cough.  It’s winter.

Posted by: tinksinchile | May 16, 2010

March and April Updates in the Middle of May! :)

How can it be May already??  Where did the last eight weeks go??

Life has just been happenin’ for us.  In March, we had our last two visitors, Megan, Zach’s sis, and Joanna, my dear friend from Raleigh.  Those two wonderful guests made the month fly by!  We went to the beach, hung around Santiago, went to Cajon del Maipo, and enjoyed each other’s company!

When Megan was here, we went to Viña del Mar, a cute little town by the beach.  This was just a few weeks after the major earthquake in the South of Chile, so we were still experiencing some aftershocks and new smaller earthquakes.  The first morning we were there, there was an earthquake just south of Santiago that we felt in Viña.  Megan and I both thought it was cool to feel the little shakes, nothing too scary.  However, about three minutes later the man from our hostel came running up the stairs and pounding on our door screaming, “Sube! (Climb!)  Sube!  Sube! Tsunami!  Tsunami!”  He said it with such urgency, it seemed as if water might be pouring in the hostel at any moment.  We all grabbed as many things as we could and ran for the hills!  Really.  People were running everywhere, little kids were crying, it was pretty much awful.  Once we felt like we got high enough we stopped and took some moments to calm down.  Over the period of about three hours, we learned that there never was a tsunami, but the Chilean government had just called it out of precaution.  Better safe than sorry.  Still not fun!  This happened to be on Zach and I’s fourth wedding anniversary, so at least it was one we’ll never forget.

When Joanna was here, things were much calmer thankfully.  We didn’t feel any quakes.  Actually the day she left, we had a pretty creepy one, but thankfully she missed it.  While she was here, we toured the famous Concha y Toro winery again.  This time we met some americans in the Air Force who were down in Chile for the South American air show that was just outside Santiago.  We had a really fun time with them and had some pretty interesting conversations.  The highlight of meeting them was at the end of our visit to the winery.  They invited us to have one more glass of wine with them.  We decided to, and they bought us each a $20 glass of wine!  It was DE-licious!  I’ll never  forget them or that glass of wine.  🙂

Jo and I tasting some Cab Sav grapes at the winery

Lately, we’re back to our schedules.  Teaching, trying to learn Spanish, and enjoying our Santiago life.  Winter is on it’s way.  We’ve had our first rainy day since October, and the mountains have a fresh coat of snow on them.  Zach and I are really excited about the ski season.  The World Cup is coming soon and Zach is THRILLED to be in South America for it.  It should be a cool time.

It has dawned on us that we only have about 10 weeks left in Chile.  While it will be hard to say goodbye, we are also looking forward to our return to the States and reuniting with our friends, family, and life there.  We’ll keep you posted as we know more about our exact plans.  We think we’ll be returning around the 22nd of July.

More updates soon!  Thanks so much for reading!  We miss and love you all.

Posted by: tinksinchile | April 18, 2010

Thank You!

To all of our friends and family who donated to the Redcross during our fund drive at my work and on behalf of Chile,

THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!!

Together with the my other coworkers, we helped raise a total of $5000 USD or $2,600,000 Chilean Pesos for earthquake relief.  Wooohooo!  You guys rock!

Posted by: tinksinchile | April 6, 2010

Summer Fun, Havin’ a blast! (Pt. 2 – Moniz Visit, Pucon)

Although this trip happened over a month ago, with all the earthquake mess, I haven’t had time to blog about it’s awesomeness!  Mike and Erin Moniz, our dear friends from college came to visit us!  (If you came to our wedding, Mike was a groomsmen and Erin played the cello.)

They are fellow outdoor lovers like Zach and I, so we decided to head to the Lake District to do some hiking around Volcano Villarrica.  Mike had a hurt thigh from soccer, so our plan was to hike into the park to a place where we could do day hikes but leave our packs at our campsite.

When we arrived into town, we found the ranger station, told them our plan, and he politely helped us pick a place that would be a good for day hikes.  Sweet!  So far so good…  Well, as we were paying our fees at the actual ranger station in the park, the ranger there told us that we couldn’t enter the part from the point we wanted to and recommended we hike around the volcano to that point.  He said it would be a two day hike max and was not very difficult.  A little more hiking than we had planned, but it didn’t sound too bad and a little exciting to hike around the volcano, so we agreed.

I’ll spare you all the details, but basically the ranger that told us the hike around the volcano was an easy two day hike had obviously never been on the trail.  It turned out to be one of the most difficult trails any of us had done, and it took us three full days.  The map was hard to read and water sources were uncertain.  To say the least, it was an intense time.  On the upside, a) we lived and b) the scenery was BREATH TAKING.  Zach and I had been to Torres del Paine by this point, and I thought nothing could compare, but this definitely compared.  Here are a few pictures to tell the rest of the story:

Erin and I at the beginning of the trail

Pretty close to the volcano. At night, it glowed red.

Forest we hiked in; monkey puzzle tree shown

Valley of Fire = a trail through lava flow

The morning of our second campsite; Mike doing dishes

Second campsite, volcano in the back ground.

feast after the third day of hiking; finally made it.

Posted by: tinksinchile | March 19, 2010

Donating to the Red Cross

So Amy and I are wanting to do our part with helping Chile recover so we, along with a few other Americans, are encouraging all of our friends and family to donate to the Red Cross online to  Chile´s fund.  If you are interested in giving here is how!

www.redcross.org

1.  Scroll down to where it says ¨Donate¨ or ¨Donate Now¨ and click.
2.  Check Chile Relief and Development
3.  Click Continue and then enter in your information. 

Thanks Guys!!!  If you do decide to donate, please let us know you did with the amount.  We are trying to keep track of how much we’ve raised.

Well Hello All!  So no excuses, I have not posted in a very long time.  In fact, I believe this is only my second or third post.  Thank God for  Amy who consistently keeps all of you informed!!

Well, so lets start back in the fall (Spring here in Chile) when I taught classes. I enjoyed teaching and actually ended up getting to teach adult conversational classes and not just College Students which I found very enjoyable and got a chance to teach practical english useful in the business world.  I felt much more confident in doing this as I have been working in business in the U.S.  I finished teaching in December and took some intensive Spanish classes for four weeks up until Christmas Eve. While I speak Spanish everyday, I felt like I needed a review of all the mechanics of the language to really make sure I was expressing myself correctly.  And taking those classes at Ecela Institute really helped me solidify my speech and writing more.

In January, my parents visited and that was an exciting time as we got to show them Santiago and then travel to Patagonia which has been a goal of mine since graduating college.  We went to Torres del Paine Park, one of the most well known natural wonders in the world, where towering peaks stand above the grassland.  Glaciers are moving towards the sea and Condors soar thousands of feet above the land scavenging for food.  If you have not seen Amy´s pictures from the trip on this blog, go back and look at them.

After my parents came, Mike and Erin Moniz, our good friends, came down to visit.  We went camping for several days in Villarica Park where the active Villarica Volcano resides.  For four days, we hiked around this mamonth peak enjoying some breathtaking views and walking through some of the most rugged, toughest terrain I have ever encountered:  old lava flows, steep decents and difficult uphill switchbacks.  We have not posted these pictures but they will follow (some are on facebook).

After Villarica Park, Amy got a chance to visit the U.S. to be with family and friends while I stayed behind preparing for school and working on trying to get an internship working at a local supermarket called Organisk.

And of course as many of you guys know on Febuary 27th, Chile had a massive earthquake that in Santiago was recorded around 8.3 on the rictor scale.  I had actually just gone to bed an hour or so beforehand as I had been talking with a good friend from Honduras who I met when I had done mission work there.  So I woke up quickly to my bed shaking and quickly realized that I was experiencing a fairly strong earthquake.  At first I was not too scared since it didn´t seem that bad, but as the seconds ticked by the earthquake got stronger and was not letting up.  I decided to throw on my clothes and head for the door as best I could.  However, it dawned on me that I was six floors up in our apartment complex and would never make it down in time if the building was going to colapse so I just sat down in our hallway and curled up to wait for the walls to stop shaking me around like a ping pong ball.  I can definitely say I have never been more scared in my life.

Finally the shaking subsided and I grabbed my things and ran down the stairs.  The night guard was ushering people outside and asking for us to wait on the streets in case of aftershocks.  I stayed on the curb until 6 or 7 in the morning.  After watching others go back upstairs and not being able to contact anyone since the cell phone service was down as well as the electricity, I decided to go back in the apartment and try and get some sleep before figuring out what to do next.  Around 10:30am, I woke up to my vonage line ringing and answered to hear my worried parents on the other line asking if I was alright.  I told them I was, and that it seemed the worst was over.  I assumed that power had recently come back on since my parents had been trying to reach me for over 30 minutes without success. I talked briefly with them and quickly called Amy who was quite worried and trying to hold back the tears as she had been trying to find out news on the internet. I told her that I was okay and so was the apartment and later that week received confirmation from an engineer that the building was structurally sound. Very good news indeed!

We continued and actually still continue to have aftershocks, but nothing like that night.  Chile has definitely been given a blow especially a few hundred miles South of Santiago in a town called Concepcion much closer to the epicenter.  And the worst aspects were the small towns all along the coast that around 6:30am the morning after had a number of tsunamis hit the coast completly wiping these settlements away.  After the event, the NY Times said it was the 5th worst earthquake ever recorded closer to the epicenter registering at an 8.8!!!  And sadly over 1500 people lost their lives to either the earthquake or the tsunamis.  While Santiago seems to have recovered on a large scales, it is a different story in the South where it will take many years for these towns to recover.

Amy was able to return the next week to Santiago, and while we continue to have aftershocks, things are back to normal by and large here where we live.  We plan on completing our teaching contracts. We have had a few smaller scares like losing power for a few hours last Sunday night and the week before while visiting the coast with my sister, Megan, running for the hills after the police called for a tsunami alert (the tsunami never came thankfully), but nothing quite as dire and scary as the original quake.

So I will try to better to inform all of you guys of the events here moving forward and post some of the pictures we have from our travels and experiences.  I hope all of you are well and look forward to seeing you all when we return!

Posted by: tinksinchile | March 6, 2010

Home

I have really enjoyed my visit to Canton to see some dear friends and family in GA.  What a blessing it has been to catch up with Zach’s grandmas and parents, share my dad’s birthday with him, go shopping and make pies with my mom, see my brother and sister and their respective significant others, and just be at home.  It has been so restful.

But it’s funny, because home tends to be in places you don’t expect it to be.  Our time in Chile has been wonderful in so many ways, but also difficult.  I wouldn’t have called it home, and even feel a little funny telling people it’s where I live.  It doesn’t seem quit real most of the time.  We are strangers to a lot of the customs and ways of life.  All the way from paychecks to grocery stores, and it has sometimes made us feel out of place.  Before my trip to the US, I was thinking, “I need an ‘American break’.”  Meaning, I need to feel at home somewhere for awhile, which when I landed in the familiar Atlanta airport, I did feel right at home.  But I also couldn’t have felt farther away from home the morning of February 27th when I woke up in the bedroom I’ve slept in sense I was 10.   Knowing Zach had just experienced one of the strongest earthquakes on record set an adrenaline loose in me that I can’t even describe.  Seeing the pictures of the city and country that has so graciously hosted us these past seven months broke my heart.  All I wanted to do was be in Chile to help out.   I was in tears before I even knew they were flowing.  I had no idea how much Chile had become home to me.  Facebook blew up with comments from friends and family both in Chile and in the States.  How had we been blessed  with so many connections and friends in Chile in these short seven months?  I spent the entire day trying to be in touch with Chile as much as possible.  It was strange to feel lonely and far away in the place I grew up.   I never expected these feelings to be apart of my trip.  Thankfully I have amazing family who took on some of the feelings I was having so I didn’t feel like I was carrying my sadness alone.

I learned that even though I needed an ‘American Break,’ part of my heart is still in Chile, and being in Chile is a rare opportunity handcrafted by God for us.  I’m happy to be back, eager to help, and looking forward to the months ahead.  I’m soaking up all the home in Chile I can.

If you are looking for a way to help out with the recovery in Chile, here is some useful information originally put together by my friend Joanna.  This country has truly become special to Zach and I, and anything you can do to help will make a huge difference to Chile and it’s recovery.

Cruz Roja Chilena/Chilean Red Cross

Many of my friends have publicised the activities of the Red Cross: here is a link to their website: http://www.cruzroja.cl/. They are receiving donations of clothing, blankets, nappies, cleaning supplies and non perishable food at Seminario 973, close to Metro Irrarazabal. They are also looking for financial aid.

• From within Chile, the bank account details are: Banco Estado, Cuenta Corriente 362883, Rut. 70512100-1
• From the United States, Citibank, Account Number 9941973331, ABA021000089
• From the United Kingdom, via the website of the British Red Cross Chile Earthquake Appeal: http://www.redcross.org.uk/donatesection.asp?id=103226

Un Techo Para Chile
Un Techo Para Chile (A roof for Chile) has worked for a number of years with Chile’s poorest communities, sending volunteers (mostly university students) around the country to construct adequate housing. Here’s a link to their website:http://www.untechoparachile.cl/, which has information on how to donate within Chile, and information on accounts in the US and in Spain.

Some websites with more information:
For people in the United States, CNN has information on how to text and donate:http://edition.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2007/impact/?hpt=T1
Google has set up a page which, in addition to providing information on donations, also has a Person Finder service:
http://www.google.com/relief/chileearthquake/

Fuerza Chile!

Forgive me, as it has been awhile sense the last blog post, so I’m hopin’ to post two here in the next few days to make up for all that has happened. It’s been an exciting summer!  Thank you everyone who has been checking on the blog sporadically even though I haven’t posted lately.  It’s so nice to know that we have friends and family back home keeping up with us.  🙂  We love you all so much.

So, Ann and Bill Tinkler, Zach’s parents, came at the end of January for a visit!  It was sooooo wonderful to have family come into town.  The morning Zach went to pick them up from the airport I could hardly contain myself!  Family!!!!!  We had a marvelous time during their visit which included Santiago, wineries, Maitencillo (beach town), Punta Arenas, and Torres del Paine.  WOW.  We packed in a lot of stuff and created so many memories that will be talked about for years to come.  Here are a few key things that stick out in my mind from the trip, as well as some pictures.

  • We went to this little winery in the middle of Maipo Valley south of Santiago called De Martino where we got a private English tour and tasting.  Our guide taught us so much about the Chilean wine industry and what makes wines special from Chile.  Carmenere is a type of grape that can only be grown well in Chile because there is a bug that is found in all other countries except Chile, that loves to eat this grape.  If you get a chance to try this red wine, it’s smooth, full bodied, and fantastic!

  • Although it was not Zach and I’s first time since being in Chile, seeing the Pacific Ocean is always neat.  I think Ann and Bill really enjoyed Maitencillo, which is a beach town about two hours north of Santiago.

  • Being in Punta Arenas and seeing the Strait of Magellan was pretty amazing.  It’s something you learn about in geography class as a little kid, but never even imagine you could actually go there.
  • On the way to Torres del Paine, we stopped at a sheep farm for lunch.  We had roasted lamb, and we all agreed it was the best we’d ever had.  So delicious!  We also got to watch the shepherd and the sheep dog work with the sheep.

Parque National Torres del Paine.  We spent several days at a hotel inside the national park, and let me just say, this National Park is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been.  Most of the trip, we just stood in awe of God’s creation and handiwork.  The mountain formation that is one of the key stones of the park was formed by glacial erosion that left formations the look like horns and others that form steep granite towers.  There is also a glacier that is part of the Southern Ice Field in Chile that’s in the park, as well as many lakes, waterfalls, and unique flora and fauna.  We took a hike up to see the towers, half on horseback and half on foot.  It was an incredible experience riding the horses up steep trails and through waist deep rivers.  What an adventure!!!  We also got to take a boat ride out and see part of the glacier that is in the park.  It was an incredible experience.

Thank you so much Mom and Dad Tinkler for such an amazing experience.  We made memories we will never forget!

I’m headed back to the States today for a visit with family in friends in Atlanta.  I plan on updating the blog from there!  And maybe, just maybe, Zach will update again soon.  🙂

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