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Life surely does take us on a journey of twists and turns. I'm back in a country I thought I would not return to, Chile. I am still very sad not to be in Zambia, especially now during the rainy season that I love so much, but at least I am somewhere else that I enjoy. When we lived here before we were in the high desert of the Atacama in Calama. Most thought it was horrible, but I loved it--except for the wind. The only climate change was whether the wind was blowing very hard or just blowing. Forget a hairdo! The Chileans consider Calama to be the back-of-beyond as Santiago is the heart of the country. Most ex-patriots living there and working in the metal industry put up with it for the money. Many wives only came for short visits and then hot-footed it back to whatever they considered to be civilization in their own country. Not me. I enjoyed the small town that I could walk to and the weekend market not far from our housing area. I made several very good Chilean friends and am happy to be reconnecting with them. San Pedro de Atacama was a tiny tourist village full of hippies and I loved going there for the weekend and eating in the rustic restaurants that made lots of vegetarian dishes. The geysers at Tatio and salt lakes, Valle de la Luna and the volcanoes all added to the wonder of this place. There was a small valley near San Pedro where the yoga group would go occasionally to meditate. The petroglyphs looked like seated yogis with spiritual rays coming from their heads. An amazing place; so peaceful.

Now Calama did have it's downside for me. The altitude, 8000 ft, the dry climate and the wind were very hard on my health. Sleeping became impossible. Eventually, I decided to go to an Ayurveda practitioner in the US and found that if I changed my diet from the traditional vegetarian/yoga diet of raw fruits and veggies to lots of hot teas and cooked foods, my health got a lot better.

During the last year in Calama Russell was working every week for a couple of days in Antofagasta and the company authorized an apartment for us. Now I was in heaven. Living in a place I enjoyed and then getting to spend 2-3 days a week on the coast. How could life get any better?

We left Calama after 2 years to return a couple of years later to live in Santiago for 6 months. If there's any city in the world I don't mind living in, it's Santiago. It is a beautiful city. We had a lovely apartment in a very nice part of town with a space that I could use to teach a few classes of yoga. I walked or rode the bus all over the city and had a great time there.

So to answer my previous question--it could only get better if we came back to Chile and I actually got to live in Antofagasta and here I am. The city has grown some with more housing and a new mall, but it still has the same provincial flavor I enjoy. We have a nice house in Jardines del Sur, an older neighborhood, with views of the ocean from most windows and we're a block from the beach. Granted most of the beaches are mostly rocks, but it's still beach.

I cannot explain well enough what it does to me to be able to look out and see the ocean. It calms my soul and brings me peace. There's something about the gentle movement of the water, the sound of the waves on the rocks, the smell that touches me viscerally. To wake up in the morning and look out seeing the ocean is a meditation in itself. The ocean for me is like God's energy--a drop of water in the ocean is separate but yet a part of the whole ocean. That's how we are in God's loving energy, separate beings, but yet an integral part of the whole. I feel that when I gaze on the ocean.


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