So tuesday we saw The Leatherbees, and then Tia Dotty, both visits were really great. We talked mostly to Peter and his wife at the lunch, it was cool to catch up with them they´re both really great people. We may get to go hiking with them next sunday, after we get back from Buenos Aires. Then we went to Dotty´s, and I wasn´t sure how it would go-- she´s mainly as friend of mom´s that I remember as being a nice lady who always had lots of toys for me to play with when I went over. But it was so fun to see her-- she´s really spunky, and all 3 of us talked for nearly 4 hours, going from one topic to another, talking Chilean and Ameriocan politics (she´s an American who´s been living in Chile for ages). And she was just so happy to see me and meet Zach... it was such a fun visit. She made us promise that we´d go see her again before we leave Chile.
Wednesday Zach and I walked to Barrio Bresil and found this restaurant that was very "hip" and had this set lunch menu that included salad, an entree (which was fabulously yummy), a drink, and dessert or coffee, for $5. Seriously. Not everything is quite that cheap, but on more than one occasion we´ve found ourselves practically laughing at the prices. That night we went to my aunt Myriam´s house to visit with her and some other family members (I´ve started writing out a family tree with all this side of the family that we encounter, as I can´t keep them all straight). My 2nd cousins Josefina and Sophia were there, with whom Jenny and I used to play ALL the time, they´re now 25 and 21 years old and friggin gorgeous. It´s so funny to see these kids, who used to be just kids last time I saw them (like Ñiñi and the mellizos, who were like 3 and 5 when we left?), now be 19 and 21 yr old nearly-adults. I didn´t get pictures of everyone, but we´ll be seeing them again next monday, so I´ll have to pull out the camera then. Tia Myriam was so sweet, the poor thing was left practically an invalid in this awful car accident years ago. She was so happy to see us, and was asking about everyone and Mom and how we all were. You can tell she´s really missed us all.
Last night we went to see Tio Machi and his wife, and their daughter Coqui and her new husband were there. They were all a fun bunch, it was funny watching my dad and his brother bickering over Placido Domingo (Machi is a big fan, Daddy not so much). At Myriam´s we spoke some Spanish but also a lot in English, and Zach was able to understand and participate in the conversation more. This night, at his insistence, we spoke mostly in Spanish which meant he didn´t always know what was being said, but he said it was fun hearing us all speak in Spanish.
It´s so interesting talking and catching up with the family and friends, and realizing that everyone here knew us mostly as a united family-- with my mom and dad still together as a couple (I believe we moved to the states maybe a year after they separated). So they all have this completely different perspective on our family, know this whole different side and past that almost no one in the states knows or experienced. It´s strange to think about, and kind of neat and almost comforting at the same time.
We´re now in Viña del Mar, we took a bus in this morning and spent much of the day walking around along the beach. My Abuelita used to have an apartment here (I actually just found out that it used to be a house that belonged to her parents, my great-grandparents, that eventually got bought and in exchange when they built the apartments they gave one to each of the kids, and that´s how Abuelita got it). We came here a LOT as kids, as did my dad before us, and I have many fond memories of the beaches here, and the parks, and the apartment which faces right onto the ocean.
Tonight we´ll go see Elisa and her family (another cousin of mine) that live here. I´m not quiter sure who´ll be there, I think I remember her kids and they too must be all grown as they were close to my age I think. Tomorrow we´re going to drive to Zapallar, another beach town that´s about an hour away, where Abuelita used to rent a house for a month each summer, and all the family would stay there. Then sunday we may go see some of Valparaiso, and then catch the bus back to Santiago in the afternoon.