There are those weeks where you really find your place in a city. This was the case for us last week. It was the week of Fiestas Patrias. These are the celebrations to commemorate the start of the independence of Chile (September 18-19). For as long as I can remember, my mood has been pretty easily influenced by the moods of those around me. It can be a really good thing (like in a yoga class) or a really bad thing (during stressful situtations). This time it turned out to be a great thing. The energy was high, and there were smiles all around us. People were excited to celebrate their culture, and since I am a quarter Chilean, it was so special to learn the cueca, eat some traditional foods, and sip on the national drink. Parks were full of families, the air was filled with the smell of the asados (barbeque), and music flooded every square inch. Derek has been practically foaming at the mouth to hear some live music, so this was a welcomed experience for us both. Parque O’Higgins is the largest fonda in all of Santiago, so we knew we had to check it out. We ended up going back twice, so we could experience it during the day and night!
^This was the main stage where all of the larger bands and acts performed. It also turned out to be the location of a few cueca competitions and some special moments (like this girl and her grandfather below)!^
^The cueca was everywhere! This is the national dance of Chile. It is pretty simple in terms of the basics, but we saw some people adding their own creative flair to the steps. This sense of national pride and tradition was a high point for me, and it made me think of my grandma. She was born in Chile, and I wonder what fondas were like when she was living in Chile. I can’t wait to hear her stories!^