The Tide 

Chile, December 2016

I stood on a slippery rock overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The loud waves were now silence, having blocked anything and anyone around me at that moment. It was then that I wanted to jump into that freezing water. I wanted it to numb me: to numb my aching heart, my over-thinking brain, return the tears I shed this year and to allow me to start new. All I wanted was to swallow the salt water, hoping it would cleanse the bad thoughts I wished on people this year and give back those words I said out of anger and fear. I wanted to be reminded that instead of drowning in doubt and sadness, I could swim to the surface and have hope again. 
I could now hear the waves, roaring and clashing against the rocks. Afar I could see my sister and brother-in-law playing in the beach and my dad resting, catching some sun. I wanted to run towards them but the tide would not let me, the water and rippling current got closer and closer. Then it dawned on me: the tide can be low or high. If it’s low, we tend to go for it and take a chance and if it’s high, we hesitate and out of fear give up and miss out. 

Well if we acted out of fear, would we ever accomplish anything or be happy? Truly happy? I jumped off the slippery rock and made my way to the water. I walked inward, directly onto the waves. The waves welcomed me with their intimidating fury, yet gave me the strength I had been looking for months. The tide brought the waves that woke me up; they did not numb me, the freezing waves reminded me that I am to dive, jump, walk or run onto things I am scared of, because if I don’t try, how am I ever going to live? 

If you only had one chance, would you dive, go all in, or walk away towards the sand? 

The beach represents both serenity and fury, as humans we pick the calm days to go and sit on the sand and reflect on life. What we fail to see is that even in times of turmoil, the times that the clouds reign over the beach and the waves are dangerous, we can learn from those days. It is who we choose to do life with that allow us to take those chances, knowing that there is someone there to throw you a life jacket or ride a raft with you into uncharted waters when the tide is high or low. 

Passengers

subway

“Y debo decir que confio plenamente en la casualidad de haberte conocido. Que nunca intentare olvidarte, y que si lo hiciera, no lo conseguiria”- Julio Cortazar

 

For years we have been conditioned to stay with someone, been advised to do the best we can to make things work, keep trying. While that is necessarily not wrong, it does not apply to everyone. There are passengers that will come and go but only your fit will stay.

 

We encounter individuals that make our hearts skip beats, make us sweat from nerves or hiccup from anxiety, all because they made us feel something. Our gut tells us that this particular individual could become a frequent passenger in your train, your life, no longer a stranger. Our hearts expand and contract throughout our lives, sometimes from pain, other times due to love, we change and evolve and so do our hearts.

 

And so our first love comes along. Our first passenger , the one that 9 out of 10 times will not work out, not because you did not love each other but because it was your first love. It was too fragile and innocent to see you grow and mature and do it all at the same time alongside you. Looking back you think that things could have worked out but you were too young, maybe if he had met you ten years later.

 

Then it’s a frequent passenger that was pure infatuation, the one you invested time in, taught a few lessons and showed how to love, only then you realize that it’s time to leave and you know that he will treat the next girl with all the respect you were deserving of. He was a passenger that you should have only met in passing instead of staying for long.

 

There will always, irrefutably, be a frequent passenger who got on your train and never got off. He is the one that is in the background, says not a word, and yet knows your very core. His stay was brief, cut short all too sudden. He is the passenger who will always go from station to station and live vicariously through you, or should I say with you. The clock keeps ticking and reminds you that although your heart tells you he is the permanent passenger you are looking for, not even a Marquez story filled with Magical Realism could make him truly stay. He made your past, is part of your present but will not make it to your future. He will forever remain intertwined in your story, in your journey and life, in and out between passengers until you find the one.

 

Then you will encounter a frequent passenger who you will never forget. The one that helped you grow up but you unfortunately did not love or not as much as he wanted you to. He was very much deserving of the loveliest girl that walks this earth, but he was not your person, so you had to let go.  Along with his memories he took part of your heart, never being complete again.

 

Then the permanent passenger comes along, the once a stranger but he came back to stay. The one you can call your person. That feeling of peace comes over you, the feeling that you are done going from station to station looking. He has wandered from station to station too; always thinking of where you are at the moment, where have you been and where will you go. He met you in a subway years ago, on the fast track and let you go. Now that the years have passed he realized that he is now the passenger who has come to stay as long as you will allow him to, your fit.

 

-CSV

YOUTH

youth

There comes a day in our lives when we get up and undeniably know we have grown up. We begin to mourn our youth, the times we could be selfish and our worlds were rather small.

Our existence depended on whether other people liked us or if we were loved in return.

We thought only of ourselves: what we were going to wear the next day, whether we had worn our retainers or if we had called back our best friend to talk about the boy in our math class.

Now that we have grown up we begin to reminisce. We replay scenes in our heads; pictures come shooting through our minds and wonder why we rushed through our youth. We could have taken longer to get our feet wet and feel the sand, we could have laughed more often or harder, or we could have loved longer.

We desperately think of reasons or rather excuses as to why we wanted to grow up, now none of them add up.

We tell ourselves we grew up because we wanted to feel more, love more intensely, cry with more reason, and walk with a higher purpose or a heavier strut.

We grew up because maybe we had no choice, or maybe because youth knew it was time to move on. What happened in our youth is not meant to happen again. Youth was the time to romanticize our futures, have ideals and jot down our dreams.

Irrefutably, we grow up: adulthood chooses us. It comes knocking at the door and a gust of responsibilities flies in to bring us emotions, deeper loves, weeps, longer strides and a life ahead to let our purposes be known. Our world now has a bigger circumference and will join somebody else’s world. It is no longer a time to be selfish, it is no longer a time to mourn.

So look up and spend more time laughing.

You will always remember, specially right before you go to bed, you will think of that one time you felt so loved, you will think of that one time you ran at night without a care in the world, you will always remember that smirk you had on your face the first time you knew you were in love, you will always remember the time you sang at the top of your lungs with your friends in the car, you will always remember when you stayed up all night studying for exams and you will always remember that first time you broke someone else’s heart. Always remember, always look at the blurry pictures you took with a disposable camera, but do it with a smile. Smile because you lived.

Do not mourn.

CSV

“For years to come, the phrase alone could uncork hours of renewed laughter. And as everyone knows, the best kind of laughter is laughter born of a shared memory” – Mindy Kaling

Wandering Wanderer

  

Because our feet are made to wander, to walk over rocks and from time to time sink on puddles
These feet were made to wander, experience and discover
Wander through unknown streets and bodies of water

Refusing to sink and daring to run

Discovering new people, new alleys and trails that had not previously met our eyes
These feet were made to wander so we could rest at the end of the road

At the end that is nowhere near us, wandering till we can’t no more

CSV 
Austin, August 2015 
“Existen momentos en los que todavía es necesario correr riesgos, dar pasos insensatos”- Paulo Coelho 

Waves

IMG_0914I need the sea because it teaches me, I don’t know if I learn music or awareness,
if it’s a single wave or its vast existence, or only its harsh voice or its shining suggestion of fish and ships. The fact is that until I fall asleep, in some magnetic way I move in the university of the waves”

– Pablo Neruda

I love the smell of the salty water, reminds me of my childhood. The sound of the fearing, crashing waves against the rocks reminds me of traveling, finding myself in beaches I never thought I could go to. The ocean brings tranquility to my life, but only when I stay on the shore. I have a deep fear of the open sea, being stranded in the majestic body of unknown water, deeper than you could imagine.

I am a terrible swimmer, it is beyond absurd how bad I am at trying to float (it is harder than people make it up to be) and I have this panic of sinking and drowning, even if I am in an 8 feet deep pool. The sound of the waves relax me, give me time to think, help me breathe and transport me to happy times.

The sound of waves takes me to days when I was little and we would walk in Chiloe hand in hand with our parents, not a worry in the world.

The sound of the waves take me to Laguna Verde, a place where we went on a retreat with my sisters when they were teenagers and I was only 10 years old. I snuck in to their weekend retreat and was the retreat’s little mascot.

The sound of waves takes me to being in silence and one with the sea in Marbella, where Brianne and I ran away to for a weekend in Spain. It was there that I realized I could do what I set my mind to, never thinking I would find myself in Costa del Sol with one of my best friends. I thought anything was possible in life when my feet touched that sand.

The sound of waves takes me to being in Los Angeles with Fernando, where we ran away for a weekend last year and we did not tell anybody. We wanted to be at the beach, relaxing, and away from it all.

The sound of waves take me to the afternoon my Papucho, Paulina and I found ourselves in Isla Negra. A dream come true for me, a day with my favorite people in a magical place where Pablo Neruda lived some of his most important moments in his life.

Waves transport me to happy memories, times of joy, times of love.

IMG_0910Now what I must work on is going beyond the waves, into the deep sea. I must work the courage to look beyond the happy times and have the courage to explore deeper into this life, into the memories who shaped me as an individual.

May the crashing waves swallow me to the deep sea, where I will continue to grow as an individual, taking in the soaring sea or the calming waters of this life.

Isla Negra, 2015
Isla Negra, 2015

Gypsy at Heart

 
When I was about eight years old I would religiously dress up as a gypsy from Monday through Friday night to watch a famous soap opera at the time named “Romané”, a story about a gypsy family living in Chile. Yes, I know you are thinking I am nuts, but bear with me.
Every night I was intrigued that the people in the story spoke a different language and went from place to place around the world, carrying their belongings, trinkets, and baggage.

This past week I went to Denver and a friend I made there, Jamie, pointed out to me that the early risers and night crawlers of Denver were not homeless people but rather gypsies, people who look for their purpose in life from one corner of the earth to another, looking for someone to love or to go after their life’s meaning (while others simply spent all they had and found themselves stuck roaming the streets for help).

Fernando and I have been gypsies for the past month; we embarked on an adventure, moved to Austin and left everything else behind. Why? We wanted to find our place, a city where we could start fresh, form our own dialect and take direction of our own lives. I look back at how I wanted to be a gypsy when I was little and to be honest with you, I rather settle down roots. I can roam places of this wonderful world from time to time with him by my side and still have a place to call home. I will always be a gypsy at heart, being fascinated with traveling and seeing the world, till these feet can’t anymore.

-CSV

Q & A

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Papucho at National Library in Santiago 

It was seventy degrees in Santiago and my dad and I sat down in my sister Pauly’s living room when I began typing away.

Me: Why did they (my grandparents) name you Eduardo?

Dad: I don’t know, I guess it’s a pretty name haha {has a smirk on his face}

Me: How old were you when you first fell in love and what was her name?

Dad: Her name was Carolina Heinz, I was sixteen years old. I remember I took her violets I had cut from my mother’s garden, that did not go well, we were not allowed to date. It was more or less a platonic love.

Me: What was it that you wanted to be growing up?

Dad: I had always wanted to be a doctor- I always found medicine to be an interesting field.

Me: What was your reason for wanting to be a merchant seaman/ marine?

Dad: I wanted to leave, explore, travel. I never had issues with my parents so I was not running away from problems, I just wanted to leave.

Me: How long were you away for?

Dad: I traveled for three and a half years. I told my parents a week before I left that I was going to Belgium in a week. They were shocked and I know my mother was a little hurt but she never said anything.

Me: What was your favorite place you visited?

Dad: New Zealand. We were stationed at that port/ harbor for six months; the people were incredibly nice and reminded me of Southern Chile so I fell in love with it.

Me: Going back to your childhood, what is your most cherished childhood memory?

Dad: (smiling) No matter where we were, every Sunday we all had to be at the house and eat together as a family. It was a tradition we carried even after you kids were born and came into our lives; being there when my mom cooked for everybody, that is my most cherished memory as a child and even now.

Me: What was your best friend’s name growing up?

Dad: Well, I actually had two best friends, Jose Castillo “the monkey” and Pato (nickname for Patricio), he died in an accident in Puerto Montt when we were young.

Me: When you were young did you ever think you would have kids? Was that a prevalent thought you had?

Dad: Not really, I always knew I would have kids, to me it was amazing to have a son or a daughter, equally good.

Me: [laughing] Do you have kids in New Zealand or Belgium? (my sister Pauly and I look at each other and start laughing)

Dad: [laughing] (he looks away and blushes) [pause] No, no.

Me: What led you to Chiloe? (Island in Southern Chile where my sisters and I grew up)

Dad: It so happened that my cousin Rolo lived there so I went to visit, well that visit turned into a steady job and I stuck around.

Me: How did you end up at the famous “pension”? (Pension: a sort of hostel/ boarding house where professionals rent out a room in a huge house and communally live with other adults)

Dad: I knew someone who knew someone that told me that house was a good place to live and the landlord, Ms. Chabela was a super nice lady that took care of everyone.

Me: Is that where you met my mom?

Dad: Correction that is where she met me. I knew she hated me, she was jealous because I was the only one that had Television set in the house so I would hook it up in the living room and we would all play Atari.

Me: [laughing] So how did the two of you start dating?

Dad: Well she was actually dating someone at the time, I invited her to the disco anyways and she ended up showing up with other people. We slowly started talking.

One time I came back to the “pension” with your uncle Miguel, I was drunk, climbed up the ladder and fell off, people inside just saw me fly down the window, hahaha!, of course your grandma Ely was in town visiting your mom, needless to say I made a terrible impression.

Me: hahaha! wow!

Me: What did you think when my mom told you she had Paulina?

Dad: Nothing in specific, I’ve always thought of Paulina as my own daughter, I love her equally as you and Danya.

Me: You guys got married shortly after, why?

Dad: We wanted something simple. It was in Quitratue with her family and a week or so later we went to Quillota and spent time with your grandparents and uncles.

Me: Did my grandpa or grandma say anything for marrying my mom so soon and they did not really know her?

Dad: No, I’ve always been the solitary one in the family, always made my own decisions and been respected for them. I was thirty-three years old when I got married.

Me: What did you think when Danya was born? (secretly wishing he was annoyed when she cried)

Dad: I remember vividly that year your mom was sad because she had not bought me a birthday gift, but Danya was born two days before my birthday, it was the best gift.

Me: Of course (sarcastically)

Dad: I remember that night, it was a beautiful full moon, I was at the hospital and I remember holding Danya and thinking “here she is world!” (raising his hands up)

Me: Did she cry a lot?

Dad: Haha during the day she was quiet, at night she would go off crying like crazy, I think her internal clock was messed up hahaha

Me: Why did you name me Cinthya?

Dad: I always liked that name.

Me: Did you spell it? (story of my life: EVERYONE misspells my name)

Dad: Yes, and “Sarahi” too.

Me: Was it for a particular reason?

Dad: No, I liked how they both sounded phonetically. I had a great friend named Cinthya growing up, just a friend.

Me: What is your biggest regret in life so far?

Dad: (his eyes got watery) Mmm, I did not get to know you or Danya better when I lived with you guys in Dallas. I should have sat down more with you two even if it was to talk about silly things.

Me: Do you think of your parents a lot?

Dad: (looks down) I do, sometimes I am at the house and I don’t move certain things remembering them what they would do there or how they would use certain things. I miss my mother the most.

Me: Why didn’t you go to college?

Dad: It was a money thing. I started studying political science one semester but then my professors fled (during the 1973 coup) and I never went back to it. I always loved reading.

Me: What is your favorite song or a song you like a lot?

Dad: That song in the Tom Cruise movie Top Gun (Take My Breath Away  by Berlin)

{Fun fact: My dad LOVES Rihanna’s SOS song, even though he has no idea what she is singing about}

Dad: (randomly tells me) I actually just want to pack up my bags and visit all the places I traveled to when I was young. I want to see who is still there, visit old friends, enjoy life.

Me: Where would be the first place you would arrive at?

Dad: Belgium, to see if people still remember me.

Me: What did you do with that leather pouch full of international bills/coins/currency I would play with as a cashier from a supermarket?

Dad: It is nicely hidden away from you hahah!

Me: When did you get into Calligraphy?

Dad: I always liked it. In school I took a class on it as an elective and it stuck with me ever since.

Me: What is one advice your mom gave you that has prevailed in your life?

Dad: Be humble and generous.

Me: What about your dad?

Dad: Drink? Haha, Just kidding, my dad and I did not really talk much but he always said “take care and save money”

Me: What do you miss most about grandma?

Dad: The way she carried herself. She smiled a lot. Every time I would bring you girls around she would say happily “here are my girls” and you (cinthya) just wanted her food and soups hahaha

Me: Did she like us? Haha

Dad: She loved you guys, she would sit with you girls and teach you things and read.

That interview session with my dad is perhaps my most favorite afternoon ever. He made me laugh and cry and I got to know him. It was a recurring joke throughout my trip that the confessions would keep coming or that I would grill him with more questions, but I know deep down inside we were both happy we were there, candidly talking and creating memories. I inherited my book-buying tendencies from him, my note-taking and my small hoarding addiction to small trinkets and pieces of paper. Now I know where my vagabond heart comes from as well: Papucho.

CSV

Tired Feet

  

We all have busy lives, days when we feel that we are the only ones that suffer or work 13-hour shifts. What we fail to understand is that we are not alone and we are not the only ones. I constantly feel that I have a helmet on everyday that I must wear to survive the grind and when I make it home at the end of the day, my feet ache and pulse, tired. I have tired feet; feet that take me to places I don’t always want to find myself at. 

Fernando sees my tired feet everyday and he urged in me that if I have tired feet it should be because I just came back from an adventure or if I am doing something I love. These tired feet have been to many places across the globe, on different shores and have struggled to walk up trails; never have these tired feet been more excited than now. I am headed to my “fatherland” as I like to call it, because Chile is where my father resides. The countdown is short-lived now as it is four days away. 

My father and sister have been warned that they will be my tour guides so this time my tired feet will be sore and will ache but I will be happy. 

So these tired feet will have new stories to tell, new roads to conquer- until then! 

-CSV