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Que Lindo es Melinka

Melinka was a mystery to all of us before we arrived. Paula, Javier’s older sister, moved there several months ago for a job and we all decided to bring the family Christmas to her so we could experience life on this remote island. I asked Javier before we left for Chile what Melinka was like, because surely he’d know, being from Chile and all. But nobody knew – nobody in his family knew what the plumbing, electricity, and weather would be like for us when we arrived. The running joke in the family was “Que Lindo es Melinka,” which stems from a funny video called “Que Lindo es Toronto” about an Argentinian who moves to Toronto. If you speak Spanish take a look – it’s a funny tongue-in-cheek video about this Argentinian’s experience in Toronto as the winter goes on and he goes from loving Toronto to hating it. We imagined Melinka to be similar – beautiful at first with beautiful views, but as life goes on in such a remote, small place it becomes less “lindo.” Anyway, we’ll never know because we’ll only ever visit, and we really did think it was beautiful as visitors. Melinka era un misterio para todos nosotros antes de llegar. Paula, le hermana mayor de Javier, se mudo hace varios meses por trabajo y todos decidimos pasar la navidad en familia con ella y asi poder disfrutar de la experiencia de vida en esta isla remota. Le pregunte a Javier antes de salir rumbo a Chile, como era Melinka, porque para mi era obvio que el sabia porque es de Chile. Pero nadie sabia nada – como serian los servicios basicos, el tiempo o el paisaje. La broma que surgio dentro de la familia era decir “que lindo es Melinka!” siguiendo la linea del video llamado “Que lindo es Toronto” sobre un argentino que se muda a Toronto. Si entienden espanol veanlo – es gracioso, se trata de un argentino y su experiencia en Toronto donde todo es bonito hasta que el invierno llega y nunca se va, primero ama todo y al final lo odia y solo se quiere ir. Nos imaginamos Melinka algo similar – hermoso en un principio con lindos paisajes, pero con una vida tan remota en un lugar pequeno, todo se torna menos “lindo”. Pero bueno, nunca sabremos la verdad sobre el lugar porque solo iremos de visita, y en verdad pensamos que el lugar es precioso desde el punto de vista de una visita.
 Everything about Melinka is small. The population that actually lives on the island is probably less than 1,000, though I imagine with the coming and going of fisherman there’s just over 1,000 on the island at any given time. The houses are just big enough to fit what they need inside – we were amazed that we fit six people inside Paula’s small, two-bedroom cottage by the ocean. She had a beautiful view from her kitchen window and was basically a short walk away from everything in town. Todo en Melinka es pequeno. La poblacion que vive en la isla es menos de 1000, pero me imagino que con los pescadores que vienen y van hay un poco mas de 1000 personas en la isla en cualquier momento. Las casas son de un tamano suficiente para tener lo necesario dentro – estabamos imprecionados por el hecho de haber metido seis personas dentro de la casita de dos piezas frente al mar donde vive de Paula. La vista desde su ventana era preciosa y basicamente todo quedaba cerca.

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Paula works at Melinka’s one school, which is just down the street from her home. Almost everyone on the island makes money from fishing, either as fisherman or as boat builders. The beaches are beautiful, rocky beaches that look out onto the water with islands and mountains in the distance. When we arrived, apparently it hadn’t rained for over a month, and Melinka’s water supply depends directly on the rain to fill a lagoon on the island. The island had exactly three days of water left, and then lo and behold it rained all day on Christmas, like a Christmas gift to the island. We spent most of that day drinking tea and (in my case) coffee, playing Mexican Train and Uno and eating at Paula’s boyfriend’s house. Everyone on the island knows each other, so everyone waved and said hello to Paula when we walked around wit her and apparently word spread pretty quickly that her family was visiting (and of course everyone knew we were the foreigners – we stuck out like a sore thumb!). Paula trabaja en la escuela de Melinka, que queda solo a unos paso de su casa. Casi todos en la isla ganan su dinero de la pesca, ya sea pescando y trabajando en botes. Las playas son lindas, con piedrecillas, y con vista a islas, islotes, y montanas a la distancia. Cuando llegamos, aparentemente no habia llovido hace mas de un mes, y Melinka depende de la lluvia para llenar la laguna que suminista agua a su poblacion. En ese momento la isla tenia 3 dias mas se suministro de agua, pero justo antes de perder toda el agua, llovio la noche de navidad…fue un regalo de navidad. Pasamos la mayor parte del dia bebiendo te (en mi caso café), jugando tren mexicano y uno, y comiendo en la casa del pololo de Paula. Todos en la isla se conocen, asi que todos saludaban a Paula cuando paseabamos con ella y aparentemente todos sabian que su familia estaba de visita (y claro todos podian notar que eramos turistas….)

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The houses are beautiful and painted different colors, mostly made of wood with either tin or wood shingles for siding. The town square has a beautiful statue of a mermaid, and its said that if she faces the sea it’s good luck for fisherman (of course, being a statue, she always faces the sea…it’s part of Chiloe mythology). Most of our trip in Melinka was very relaxing – we spent a lot of time playing games, cooking food, eating the most delicious seafood I’ve ever tasted in my life (and tons of it!), drinking wine and being together with family. We took walks every day around the town, checking out different beaches and lookout points, taking photos and videos and seeing all of Paula’s school. It was a quiet, lovely vacation that offered a chance for us to get away from crazy Santiago and spend time with the whole family together! In the next post we’ll write about a little day trip we took to a village called Repollal, which is on the island a few miles away. Las casas eran muy bonitas y pintadas de vivos colores, la mayoria hecha de madera y con lata o teja de madera en el exterior. La plaza de Melinka tiene una hermosa estatua de la Pincoya, que se dice mira hacia el mar para dar suerte a los pescadores (es una de las leyendas de Chiloe). La mayoria de nuestro tiempo en Melinka fue muy relajante – pasamos la mayor parte del tiempo jugando juegos, cocinando, comiendo las mas ricas comidas con frutos del mar, bebiendo vino, y disfrutando de la compania de la familia. Haciamos caminatas todos los dias por la ciudad, visitando diferentes playas y miradores, sacando fotos y haciendo videos. Tambien pudimos visitar la escuela donde trabaja Paula y la recorrimos completa. Fueron unas vacaciones tranquilas y relajantes que nos dio la oportunidad de escaparnos de Santiago y estar juntos! En el proximo post escribire sobre un paseo que hicimos en la isla para visitar la localidad de Repollal, que queda a solo unas millas de Melinka.

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3 thoughts on “Que Lindo es Melinka Leave a comment

  1. loved this post. My best to you Javi and la famiia. My son Dani is getting very excited to arrive and begin his studies in Chile. I cant wait to hit the yarn shops! AnaMaria

  2. ME encantaron todas las fotos!!!! preciosas, vaya calidad!!!!
    es casi como estar allí 🙂 y al ver las fotos de Paula me doy cuenta que la echo mucho de menos.
    Me encanta su blog chicos!

    saludos desde Francia

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