And thanks to modern technology, I got the best of both worlds — Christmas at the beach and time with my family who was on another continent.
I’m pretty sure every little boy dreams of flying, as if he were a bird or superhuman: free, exploring the world’s wonders from its infinite sky. I’m also pretty sure that every man is just a little boy trapped in an adult body. So, for the boyfriend’s 30th birthday, I got him the gift of wings. Maitencillo, Chile, a quaint coastal town about 100 miles northwest of Santiago, is home to both a tawny sandy shoreline and some of the country’s best wind. In other words, there’s no better place to fly.
I happened to be waiting for a branch of the national bank to open when they arrived — piggy banks in hand — ready to donate their life savings. They chanted for the bank to open for 20 minutes before breaking into song when they could finally enter. As the line snaked around and up to the tellers, the toddlers sang the Teletón song in (nearly) perfect unison in 5-minute intervals for more than an hour.
Mark insisted that all of us sit at a single table, like a family. I explained that with big families, Thanksgiving means grabbing every chair you can find and spreading out between the “dining room table, the table on the patio and the kids table.” Some people would even be relegated to eating dinner on a TV tray propped up in front of the couch. Mark would have no such thing. And with that, the quest for a table for 20 was born.
I practically grew up in a tent, I went camping so much as a child and teenager. I remember weekend after weekend camping at Lake Mead, Lake Powell or Lake Mojave. I’ve camped in the Grand Canyon and in Zion. I’ve camped in Missouri, Idaho, California, Arizona, Utah and Nevada. I was excited to add Chile to my list of places I’ve slept under the stars.
If there is one thing Chileans do right, it’s celebrating their history. Fiestas Patrias, known as Dieciocho because it’s celebrated on Sept. 18, is everything that’s good about Chile.