Out of the doldrums and grey skies that is winter here in Chile comes a flurry of activity, springtime, and sunshine.

Part of the family out in the sunshine!

The 18th of September in Chile is set aside to celebrate the anniversary of the first meeting of the government in Chile. Many believe that it is Chile’s independence day, but that is not officially until February. The 19th is the day to celebrate the armed forces, much like Veterans Day is for the States. Together, the days are called the “Fiestas Patrias.”

For schools, most people get a week of vacation, kind of like spring break. Workers get the 18th and 19th off no matter what, though many get much more. This year, Felipe got out of work at noon on Tuesday and didn’t have to go back to work until today. Yeah, a six-day weekend. Pretty cool, right? The reason is because if they only gave the day or the two days off, employers know that on Friday no one will show up. Or, if they do show up, it will most likely be late and hungover. Better to just take a couple extra days off for everyone rather than making everyone show up and get nothing done.

So, what do people do with so many days off? Parties and barbecues, my friends. Nothing but parties and barbecues for a week. There are ramadas everywhere, which are similar to a county fair with various stands, games, and lots and lots of alcohol. There are also free concerts that occur, and huge parties thrown by clubs and bars. Fondas are also set up in various locations, which have a variety of Chilean food to serve. You don’t have to look far or hard for a good time.

Did I mention fresh, homemade empanadas are abundant during this holiday? Yum!

Felipe and I, this year, spent the 18th in Olmhue, a little farming town about 30 mins outside of Viña del Mar. We went over there on the 18th and stayed through Saturday. It was a blast being able to spend time with the family and play with my niece and nephew. We flew kites, played games, and cooked together the entire week. The weather was fabulous as well, in the 70s and warm. I have been craving sunshine, and I got my fill this weekend.

I also had my fill of meat. We had a barbecue of some nature literally every day from Tuesday through Saturday. I was raised on a cattle ranch, and let me tell you…too much. This week is going to be a detox with fruit and veggies. It was all so delicious, but come Saturday, I was craving some variation.

This week made me miss my family, though. I miss seeing them and being able to hang out with them. Not to mention that we were having so much fun this last week that I wished that they were a part of it! While I love Felipe’s family, they can’t replace mine. If only it wasn’t $1,500 per ticket…I could use a dose of togetherness.

In other news: I am officially a resident of Chile! On September 12, I went and sat for a few hours in the Extranjería and now have a visa stamp in my passport! The only thing I have left to do is get my ID Card, aka Carnet. The difficulty there is that the Registro Civil is on strike and not giving out any documents that are not considered an “emergency.” But, hopefully they will get that resolved soon. Really soon.

Celebrating in our Quincho on the 17th
Celebrating in our Quincho on the 17th

Things are looking up! I have applied for one internship, and I am working on getting a variety of resumes ready for sending to  employers. The job search is on! I am really feeling happy about it all. It seems as though things are finally falling into place after a lot of waiting.

Here is to hoping everyone else is having a wonderful day whether it be Fall or Spring wherever you are!