By the time I decided to park it in the Atacama for a few months, my parents were already booked on a trip through Brazil, Argentina, and Chile. After they finished samba-ing in Rio, eating beef in Buenos Aires, and drinking wine and Mendoza, they flew from Santiago (where their tour ended) up to Antofagasta to come see me.
They rented a car and drove to Maria Elena last week with no idea of what they would experience. The drive through the desert from Antofa (to those in the know) to ME gave them their first taste of the starkness of the desert. You can drive for hours and look around for miles and see nothing but rocks and parched Earth. Mom says she now knows what the apocalypse is going to look like.
They finally made it to my town, but Google Maps hasn’t quite figured out how to get around here so neither could my parents. They called me from the theater in the town square saying they couldn’t find the school. I went right over (fortunately nothing in town is too far of a walk) to collect them and bring them to the high school because they arrived just in time for Lollapalenglish, the English chorus festival.
For the show, each class group was assigned an artist and had to memorize the lyrics and create choreography for four songs, one of which would be a solo. For two evenings, we were treated to their interpretations of Queen, Michael Jackson, Adele, Coldplay, Maroon 5, Bon Jovi and others. Mom (who was incredibly bummed that her favorite group, Matchbox 20, was not represented in the lineup) even got to be a judge with me one of the evenings! The kids were totally brilliant.
For more fun, my parents also came to class with me Thursday (which in this case was a final rehearsal for that evening’s performance) and to the elementary school to see some of the school anniversary events. Between all the special events, it was EXTRA chaotic at both schools last week so hopefully they are not going home thinking that school in Chile is absolute insanity when really it is usually just medium insanity. But I was really happy to share my schools with both of them, especially Mom since she was a teacher.
In addition to school events, I walked them around town so they would see where I live. We went out to a restaurant, popped into my host mom’s shop in the “mall,” and dad went to the town museum. He even got a guided tour in English, which I didn’t even know was an option!
Of course, my real folks also got to meet my host folks, which was kind of a surreal experience for me. Honestly, the whole thing was a little surreal – it was like seeing a giraffe walk through a shopping mall. But we had a good time – we cooked some BBQ chicken with Sweet Baby Ray’s sauce and even made some grilled cheese! And I think my parents feel better about what I am doing and where I am now that they have gotten a chance to see and experience it. Although I don’t think they approve of late-night meat eating, which they got a taste of during evening tea… where we ate hamburgers at 10:30 at night.
My parents will be here for another few days, and we have already squeezed in a trip to San Pedro de Atacama and will be heading to Iquique for the weekend (which is why I missed posting last week, but I will squeeze in an extra post this week and I’ll be sure to blog about our road trips!)