“The child who does not play is not a child. But the man who does not play has lost forever the much needed child who used to live inside him.” –Pablo Neruda
It was fitting. His house lay just above the Pacific Ocean. Overlooking the waves playfully playing hide-and-go-seek with the sand. The boat shaped house full of trinkets and gadgets holding memories, meaning and so much love. Love he had to give and love given to him by so many others-admirers, friends, & family. Taken from this world much to soon, yet leaving behind an amazing story.
Today we visited Pablo Neruda’s seaside residence in Isla Negra. For those of you who don’t know, he was a Nobel Prize winner and talented poet. The tour of his home allowed us to gain a small piece, a glimpse, into both his private and professional life. He was a modern day Little Mermaid. He was a collector of all kinds of gizmos and whats-its galore! His home here was built as if it were a ship, going on forever. Every room we entered had a different collection of bottles, ship figureheads, maps, ships in bottles, shells, art, navigation tools, crafts from many different cultures, musical instruments, and many other beautiful antiques. From my short time in his home, I know he was a beautiful man with a beautiful heart.
The quote above was one that was presented to us at the very beginning of the tour and resonated with me throughout. So much so that before exiting and before returning my headset, I had to listen to it over and over again so that I could write it down word for word. Each new room I entered, I returned to that quote. I realized the importance of it and what it meant to Neruda. His things, his collections, showed his inner child. Showed his love for wonder, imagination, and creativity.
As I walked down to the beach below his home, listening to the waves crash & reflecting on this amazing man, I couldn’t help but think of someone very close to me and wish he were there to experience this small piece of history alongside me. Someone who I believe will never let his inner child escape him and in return, will always keep me young at heart & for that, I am grateful. Just as Pablo Neruda had a young & playful soul, which was evident through his most prized possessions, I too am reminded each and every day by you, of the importance of not growing up too quickly, that laughter really is the best medicine and that it is okay to chase the waves. I love you.
With sand covered feet and Pacific Ocean covered pantalones, we boarded the bus and headed towards Valparaiso. There we were greeted with a feast! We started off with Pisco Sours & vino, mini cheese filled empanadas, a full size empanada, fish with rice and a salad, and ended the meal with cake and some sort of minty after dinner drink that was supposedly helpful in settling the tummy. Muy delicioso!
From there, we ventured around the beautiful art filled streets of the city. It was breathtaking, with so many colors and sights to see for miles. It reminded me of a little town in Saint Lucia, Soufriere, && brought me back to a blissful time. We then headed to the beach once more to watch the sun go down. Wow were the waves huge! Of course I was told by my better half just why that was. "The coastal ridge is smaller in the Pacific coast than the Atlantic coast, so bigger waves in Chile!" Always handy with useless information.
The ocean is a one heck of a wonder. What else is out there?
“Someday, somewhere - anywhere, unfailingly, you'll find yourself, and that, and only that, can be the happiest or bitterest hour of your life.”
― Pablo Neruda
My name is Natalie and I am a graduate student at Buffalo State College in the special education program. I have been given this amazing opportunity to really grow not only as a student, but as a teacher and a person. Through this experience my hope is that I get to know myself better as an individual; develop a deeper understanding of the Chilean geography, culture and language; and gain a different perspective on the possibilities within the classroom. I hope that you follow me on this journey and learn right alongside me.