Coming up on two years in Patagonia. I read back through a few of old posts and it dawned on me that anyone reading them, then coming to Chile might think I was writing the blog from a mental institution in Arcadia, Florida. Certainly not the Chile that most people see and experience. Maybe unconsciously that's why I called the blog Futalandia, instead of "Fools in Chile", or "Pioneering in Patagonia". The fool part would fit, but still, here, this...us...it's no one else's experience but ours. Uniquely ours.
Writing on paper, by candlight again because the hydro tripped and Greg is in town this evening (I cannot climb down the hill with a cast on my foot - and more on that later) it occurs to me that there is still so much to do, learn and prepare for. Uncertainties and inevitable things.
The first cast...split to accomodate the swelling. That is Chilean Eucalyptus I cut and skeins of yarn in the background.
But how to strike a sensible balance between flapping in the wind, and spending all your waking moments fearing and preparing for every possible scenerio and disaster? Shelter. Heat. Water. Food, Medicine and First Aid. That would be Tier One preparadness.
So what is tier two, three, four? How far do you go? To what lengths? Is it possible we could both end up injured and some weeks or months later someone will find us crawling on the floor burning furniture to keep warm, eating raman noodles dry from the package, gaunt and dirty, laying on the couch cushions while the cat has gnawed off our toes????
Who will check the mail no one ever sends us? Or the electric bills we don't have, so no one will expect them to be paid and a meter reader will never come to shut off the electric and smell our rotting bodies?
Nono and Ismael! They are who will save us! As they did recently when one morning I was daintily slipping down the stairs and missed a good, firm step down, slid, left foot catching between the two stairs while the rest of my middle-age cellulose plunged forward and I broke all the bones on the top of my left foot. Once I was done screaming, I waited for Greg to quit screaming (he realized that his life would be substantially different for some time after this fall). Nono and Ismael had to help him, help me up the football-field lenght path that leads a hundred and fifty feet up to the road to the truck. Off to the hospital in Futa.
With a temporary cast and xrays and excellent pain meds, we drove back home. But something was wrong. How to get me back down. And the short story is that ...in the pouring rain...in the dark, with a @%$?@* flashlight that quit, Greg had to go down to the house and bring up the wheelbarrow, after which we had an argument about "face forward", or "face backward". Facing forward, I slumped painfully into the now pooling ice-rain in the wheel barrow, and holding a small pen-light on his key chain, we made the trip down to the house. Where the hydro had tripped again. And we had to grope around for candles, and dry matches. Then start the woodstove.
HOW MANY TIMES HAVE I TOLD GREG WE NEEDED HIGH-QUALITY HEAD LAMP FLASHLIGHTS! HOW MANY TIMES HAVE I SAID WE NEED OIL LAMPS AND A GENERATOR? RAIN GEAR THAT IS NOT MANUFACTURED BY Hefty Garbage Bags?
[Note: When having a cast put on, be sure that your blue jeans will be able to be pulled over the cast, or have a good pair of scissors to cut them off.)
HOW MANY TIMES HAVE I BEGGED GREG FOR A GOOD PAIR OF SCISSORS, EXPLAINING THAT THE FOLD-OUT ONES ON HIS FAUX SWISS ARMY KNIFE ARE NOT SUFFICIENT?
Ok. To be honest, I wasn't that pissed off. I had too much pain medication in me, but it those thoughts did run in a loop in my brain. God bless him, he did cook for me, though I found myself craving dry macaroni instead. And he put up with me asking for this and that, and something else. He ran up and down the stairs, and on top of everything...the water tube for the hydro separated and we have been without electric from the second day after I broke my foot.
Patagonia will do this. Test you.
Patagonia says, "So! You think you want to do this?"
"What?" we say, starry-eyed at the screaming rivers and snow capped Andes and salmon the size of third-graders!
"This," Patagonia says. "With all of this beauty, pristine and stunning nature comes hardships. Keep that in mind."
"Ha!" We say!!!! What could Patagonia through at us. We survived the volcano. The winter with rains, and rains, and then it rained. But then it froze, and snowed and the volcano blew again."
But I never imagined the humiliation of being transported in a wheelbarrow (because I had to, not because I was drunk), or having to pee in a bucket during the night because I couldn't walk to the bathroom. Hardest of all has been teaching Greg to cook. When he honestly says, with humility, "Where's the ham?" I almost want to double dose my pain meds and wake up when he figures out we don't keep it in the bathroom.
NOW I know I can live and survive anything here. Ismael brought me this awesome walker he made from bamboo. I no longer have to pee in a bucket, and actually stumped over to the counter and made bread and pasta yesterday and we sat in front of a warm fire, with the sun turning the Monjas brilliant rose. And this too....is Patagonia!