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memories & magic

musings from my journal, September 26, 2018.


It is a Tuesday afternoon and I am lying on a stage. Outside, the weather is cold and cloudy, my least favorite kind of weather, but inside a theater the weather doesn't matter and the hour is perpetually 7pm and I am lying with my back on the stage, looking up at the ceiling, relishing the familiarity. Many things in Chile have been familiar. A chai latte from Starbucks when no other coffee shop is open. A smile worn by my Mapuche host mother. The faces of my friends and FaceTimes with my family. The shake in my voice and steel in my veins when I talk about sexual violence at my university. The worn out faces of college students in this country.


Outside the day is still cloudy, but I know tomorrow morning will come (morning always comes). Right now, lying on this stage feels like a memory, like that hook behind my chest pulling me back towards where I've been and forward towards where I'm going. Recently, I learned that those are the same thing. The part of your brain that remembers memories is the same part of your brain that imagines the future.


I've been thinking about magic. In the south of Chile, I met an interpreter who could translate long wandering chunks of Spanish into perfect English, while breastfeeding her child at the same time. I met a priest in a plain room with bullet holes in the wall, who asked me how far I was willing to go to defend human rights. I cooked a meal with a family that treated me like their own. I stared up at the most incredible stars I have ever seen and I fell in love with a place. I've been thinking about leaving, and how I have so many memories and still no idea about what might be coming next. I've been thinking about what it would be like to come back.