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People Say…

11 Jul

“Yes please! No calories!”  – A Turkish storekeeper who was attempting to lure us into his baklava shop.

“Careful! Our stop lights are decorative.” – A Turkish citizen saving us from certain death while attempting to cross the street in Istanbul.

“Don’t worry, I’m an artist, not a terrorist.” – A lovely young woman from Iran who was staying in a hostel dorm with us.  This made me really sad, and I kept trying to explain to her that not ALL Americans think that ALL people from Iran are terrorists.

“What? You are 34? You don’t have children?  What is wrong with you?  You don’t like children?” – Man on a bus beside me as we traveled to see the Elora caves in India.  Next time I  get asked if I have children I am going to say I have 4 children and have left them at home with their grandparents while we vacation.

“Where from? You welcome.”  – This is the Jordanian way of saying “Welcome to Jordan.”

“Next bus is in two hours.” – In this case, it meant ‘I’m going to try to see if I can get you to pay 10 times the bus fare to take a taxi with my friend.  When that won’t work, I’m going to see if I can get you to pay 4 times the regular bus fare on the bus that in fact leaves in 20 minutes.  If that won’t work I am going to pretend like I’m getting you a great deal by letting you pay the regular bus price and I’m going to try to make you believe that you are riding a private bus even though it’s clear that it’s the regular public bus.’

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Doh!

23 Jan

In my rush to get the most recent packing list up, I totally forgot to link to the actual list!  Right, well, I’ve changed that in the original post, and here it is again, just in case:  Med kit and toiletries

Welcome to 2012!

1 Jan

Happy New Year!

I’ve become one of those people who just can’t believe how fast the world is spinning.  2012!

We don’t do resolutions.  Well, actually we do, but we don’t do them at the New Year.  When I decide a change needs to happen, I resolve to make it happen right then, if I can.  I don’t see the point of the “I’ll start on Monday” mindset since it implies that your goal isn’t important enough to start immediately.

Our most recent major resolution started sometime in early 2011 when we decided to start living in a way that would make big dreams come true. It took some difficult changes, and there were some nerve-wracking moments along the way, but it was the best decision we made in 2011.

As we look into the coming year, we are amazed that if all goes as planned, we will spend the entire year living that dream.  We still have to pinch ourselves on occasion, to make sure this is real!

We’re not exactly sure where the winds will take us in 2012, but we are sure it will be the adventure of our lives.

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?

(Mary Oliver, ‘The Summer Day’)

Feliz Navidad?

23 Dec

In the USA, decorating for the holidays starts so early that you have to be living under a rock somewhere to not realize what time of year it is.  Cities have begun to put decorations on public streets earlier and earlier, while holiday music creeps into the background before the first snowfall in the northern states.

I am a true Colorado girl and it takes a certain mix of signals, including snow, egg nog and lots of blinking lights, to really get me in the Christmas spirit.  Here in Santiago?  Well, let’s just say I keep forgetting it’s even December.

First off, there’s blazing sunshine and sweltering heat every day.

Christmas spirit in the Santiago cemetery

Second, there are no trees.  Christmas trees I mean.  Even in NYC there were makeshift stands lined up along the Avenues starting as early as mid-November.  Practically anywhere with a small patch of floor space, be it an office building lobby, the supermarket, or the deli on the corner of 16th and 6th Ave, would have a tree up no later than the first week of December.  Interestingly enough, we saw quite a few miniature trees all decorated up during our trip to the main cemetery here in Santiago earlier this week.

Third, the traditional decorations are few and far between.  I’m used to seeing storefronts dripping with tinsel, lights and elaborate window displays. Storefronts that demand you spend your precious holiday dollars with them because they have exactly what you need and you can’t get it anywhere else.  Here? Well, every once in a while we see a paper Santa face (circa 1976) hung in a window.  In Valparaiso we were eating in a little restaurant and it took us the better part of an hour to notice the one solitary Christmas bulb hanging by a pathetic strand of garland at the top of the window.

I don’t mean to say there is NO holiday spirit to be seen in Santiago, I mean Chile is officially a Catholic country and Christmas is a national holiday here.  We have seen wrapping paper for sale in a few places, there was a display of decorations available for purchase at a local market, and we heard the Spanish version of ‘Walking in a Winter Wonderland’ at the supermarket a week ago.  It’s just that our senses haven’t been assaulted with holiday cheer like they would be at home.

We have, however, seen Santa in a few surprising places.

Santa decorations were spotted in Lima, Peru at the very beginning of November!

It's too hot for reindeer in Valparaiso, so Santa rides the boat like the rest of us.

The economic downturn has apparently extended it's reach to the North Pole as evidenced by the fact that Santa is moonlighting with Groupon to help pad his income.

How will we be spending our Christmas?  Since most everything will be closed, we’ll be cooking at home (helllloooo grilled pork tenderloin with homemade mango and apple chutney…and this, recipe is at the end of the post), sampling a traditional Chilean holiday drink called Cola de Mono (kind of like a White Russian, or a Mudslide), skyping with family, and watching the season finale of Dexter online.

Happy Holidays, wherever you may be!

We’re Off!

3 Nov

Despite a heavy snowstorm that turned the highway to sheet ice, we managed to get to the airport on time, and with most of our stuff.  I say most because somehow, a few items we meant to take on this journey have mysteriously disappeared in the last few weeks.  Nothing major, just a scarf I love, and these random little sporks we found in Maine.  It’s odd how things vanish, and we looked *everywhere* but alas, we had to leave without them.   We also left without a deck of cards, which is unfortunate since I own about 10 decks, all of which were bought on vacation.  We really could have used those on the 6 hour layover we had at JFK.

We’ve added a tab up top for “Things We Carry”, and as we have time we’ll get the full packing list up.  For now, we have pictures of everything in each of our bags all spread out, and then fully packed.  It amazes me it all fits.  In fact, what amazes me more is that we each have space in our bags.  This is partly due to the fact that we are wearing our hiking boots and fleeces, but still…amazing.

Four Days

29 Oct

We haven’t been able to post much in the last few weeks due to the total mania that has taken over our lives in preparation for our departure…which is in four days. FOUR. DAYS.  It’s hectic to say the least.

Two weeks ago we dropped our cats off with some amazingly fabulous friends in NYC who have taken on the task of cat-sitting for, you know, a year.  No biggie.  We were so very sad to leave them, but we’re also very grateful that they are in such a good home.

A week ago we packed our car to the brim with the last of our belongings and headed back to Colorado, which is where our stuff will live while we are away.

In the last 3 days we’ve somehow mostly conquered our giant to-do list.  I am truly amazed by this, mostly because every time we crossed something off we ended up adding at least one or two more items.  I was in a total panic for a few days, but somehow we’ve come through to the other side and only a few things remain, including getting a travel wedding band.

I have gone back and forth about whether to take my ring or not, but in the end I’ve decided I need to have a cheap travel one.  My tendency to lose things is incredible, and I would really be heartbroken to lose that ring.  I have child-size fingers, so I assume I’ll have to shop at Claire’s, which means I have to go to the mall….which means I might need to eat a hot pretzel.  And maybe an Orange Julius.

We have pretty much packed, so that’s good.  I say pretty much because my one pair of hiking pants, and my one dress are still in my mom’s basement, covered in pins, ready to be altered.  Nothing says procrastination like waiting until the last minute to make sure major items of your wardrobe actually fit!

Four days.  Must go take some deep cleansing breaths now…

Backlogs

29 Apr

Years ago The Parallel Life was born as a way for our friends and family to keep up with what we were doing during our first really big trip, as a couple, through China.  I had to dismantle it for a variety of strange reasons but I kept the writing tucked away on my laptop ‘just in case’.  With the rebirth of the blog we will be starting to re-post the old entries weekly as a  “Flashback Friday” series while we work on figuring out how we want to structure the newer content.  We have so many vivid memories of China, it’s hard to believe that trip was nearly four years ago!

Welcome!

2 Mar

Welcome to the future site of the adventures of the MerriLings! Please bear with us as we set everything up, and check back often as we hope to be up and running soon!

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