On April 1st, 2013, I wrote a post called “Introducing Valparaiso” where I talked about my first impressions of Valpo and why I was so excited to be living there.
On May 2nd, 2014, my partner Jorge and I will officially leave this city, and the entire country of Chile, for a very, very long time.
Leaving Valparaiso is a mixed bag. On the one hand, it’s Valparaiso. There’s actually no better city in Chile for someone like me, and while I’ve lived here I’ve finished two novels, published two short non-fiction stories, maintained and/or started three blogs, and written a heck of a lot in my personal journal.
How’s that for an inspiring place to live? No wonder so many artists flock here!
Furthermore, I met my love Jorge here. Under the unblinking gaze of the cerros, our relationship sputtered to life and flourished.
Now, over a year after meeting each other in the dim lighting of a Mexican restaurant called Taco Tony’s, Jorge and I are leaving it all behind to begin anew.
We’re leaving Tony’s magical tacos behind, as well as the salty air, the humid winters, the perpetual roil of dogs barking in the distance, the grit of urine and trash in street corners, the breathtaking street art, the winding hills too vertical to be safe for cars, surely; the colorful dots of homes that sprawl on hillsides for eons, the Pacific Ocean, the fresh fish gutted and displayed at market, the green trolley’s, the lumbering buses to Vina del Mar, the constant asados, and perhaps most importantly….our home and our friends.
Jorge and I not only began our relationship here, we began our home here. We found this vagabond house empty and quiet in August and 2013, and since then we have filled it with laughter, music, gatherings, art and more. We’ve had countless asados here, as well as art nights, wine clubs, dinner parties, Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthdays, farewell parties, welcome parties, housewarming parties and more. We’ve outfitted it to be our recycled, built-from-scratch haven: with found pieces from the street, upcycled washing machines turned asado grill and light fixture, a complete urban garden bearing vegetables and heavenly basil.
Maybe you’re asking, Okay, so why the hell are you leaving?
That’s the other side of this extremely heavy and attractive coin. In moving on from Valpo, we are paving the way to new Valpos.
Not that we strive to recreate our exact experience, or only move to cities that resemble Valpo (if that were the case, our next and only stop would be San Francisco!). But rather, we plan to continue drifting together and settling for a time in new places. Cities where we feel a connection, can start a little home, make some friends and family, and then move on to see more of the world.
Luckily, both of us have work that can be easily taken with us. As a hair stylist, Jorge is in demand wherever we go. I can’t count how many people throw themselves at him once they find out he can cut or color their hair.
And me, well, the writing and non-profit gig pack up quite nicely into whatever backpack I’m using at the moment.
We are both extremely sad to leave Valparaiso, but extremely excited for the unknown adventures that await us!
During the month of May, we will be traveling through Argentina to see Jorge’s family. In June, we’ll hit Bolivia, and make our way up through Peru to catch a flight from Lima to the USA in mid-June. And once we take a month in the States, meeting my side of the family, then it’s back to Peru to continue to passive vagabonding…
And the first city on deck is Cusco.
Goodbye, Chile! We love you, Valparaiso!