harina & arena
I make a lot of mistakes, usually a bunch of little things that add up to an unreal amount. This weekend may have been my record. But in spite of it all, I can say it brought a lot of laughter: to my Chilean family and to you Chloe (why do you put up with me). This simple theme of learning to "laugh it off" is simple, maybe even seen as unsophisticated, but it's important. Important enough to carry me through many situations where I could become aggravated, upset, frustrated, the list goes on. And usually I experience those feelings. But, it's hard to be upset when you have a bunch of laughing and loving people surrounding you, lifting you up patiently. I seriously commend them for their patience.
I will never ever forget the difference between these two words: harina and arena. On Saturday night, my host mom called me downstairs to go and get her two bags of "harina" from my grandpa next door. No problem. I don't really know what harina is, but I have a feeling it has something to do with cooking empanadas. So, I go over to my adorable 95-year-old abuelito's house and ask for some "harina." Obviously, my pronunciation wasn't perfect because as soon as I know it I get taken into an outdoor garage next door that contains a huge bag of brown sand. I was confused, but he insisted that I get a bag of it to take back home. So, there I was, with my hands in the sand transferring it to a small grocery bag, wondering what these empanadas were going to taste like. And, then my sister comes out laughing her head off, saying "Grandpa! We need flour!" Harina is flour. Arena is sand. I could have felt really stupid. And, well, I definitely did. But, I have never seen my abuelo laugh that hard. We all just sat there for five minutes, laughing so so hard. And, then we went inside and told my mom, and it happened all over again. There was so much joy and absolutely no room to feel stupid. These are the moments when you laugh it off, because what else is there to do?
Or when you accidentally drink the water everyone was putting their hands in to make empanadas, and your whole family laughs even harder. Or when Chloe and I attempt to ski a run that says "experts only," and the only reason we make it down alive is because of a really nice Chilean named Juan. Or when I almost had to pay 60,000 pesos for a stolen helmet. I could go on....
All of these moments make my days full and lively and definitely interesting. But as annoying or scary in the moment, I'm beyond grateful for the times I choose to laugh it off. Because those are the ones I remember, what bring joy out of "bad" situations, and what makes you appreciate the people around you.
And, they also make sure you never forget the meaning of harina and arena.