Back to Basics
Dear Mohamed, Anna, Martin and Amelia,
I hope you are all doing well where you are, writing your resolutions and goals for this new year, designing your new plans and strategies to get where you want to get, or simply enjoying the moment. I did the last one during the time I spent in Frutillar Bajo, my hometown. Let me share with you what it was like for me to be back at this place after decades.
Frutillar Bajo is a small town by lake Llanquihue in the south of Chile, I lived in this place until I was 20, I learned to swim here, I had my first paid job, I walked along the beach countless times in warm summer afternoons… I was loved, I was kissed. It is difficult to say exactly how much your hometown means to you and your life, how much of it lives in you and in your memory until you come back to have a heart to heart conversation with it. We had such a talk, a long one by the water on a cloudy, cool summer day.
As I walked along this beach I could realize a part of us never changes, no matter how long we’ve lived away, abroad or near. A part of us stays in the details: the houses that have always been white with dark brown window frames; the house that looks like a cottage that still has the same style of curtains; the traditional tea place whose owner never ages; the boutique hotel whose entrance looks as grand as ever; the restaurant that serves deer meat; the new (10 year-old) convenience store that provides the basics at premium prices. That timeless part of me felt at ease with the sound of the waves hitting the sand, the with the crunch of my steps on the wet, dark shore. In silence, focused on the water, on the sand and with my mind filled with bubbling memories I walked along the beach.
I believe my love for architecture started in this place, looking at the old German houses like the one in the picture. The use of wood to build the house and to make the ornaments is typical of the houses around the Lago Llanquihe. Look at the tall windows, the border inside the A roof made of thin stripes to create a circular frame. These houses have presence, a kind of personality that shouts without words, that declares beauty in its own terms and that taught me about symmetry and perfection. I love looking at houses like this one, for they build up my soul and strengthen my love for beauty.
I also enjoyed tea and pastries, I ate my fair share of kuchen and decided to go for tea and save the cup of coffee for later. I love kuchen made with fruits and cream on top, it’s sweet, it’s delicious, it’s filling, it’s never too much, not even after the diet I may need to go on after that! For kuchen is to be enjoyed as many times as possible. I had this fantastic portion at a small place next to the Lutheran Church. Keep it in mind if you also have a sweet tooth.
Yes, I saved the only cup of coffee I wanted to have for this special place called Cappuccini. Many years ago, in this place, I fell in love with coffee well served: in transparent cups that show that coffee, milk and foam can go together without mixing from the counter where the barista prepared it to my table, leaving the pleasure of mixing the three elements for me only. I used a long spoon and watched carefully how the dark brown coffee turned the whitest milk into a soft beige… I loved the flavor, intense and bitter, strong and revitalizing. This time I had an Americano with milk and that little piece of chocolate melted slowly after a few sips. Endless love affair that Amelia can understand well. Very well.
Finally, this is me, with my feet on the crystal clear, cold waters of the lake, with the wind on my hair and many memories going around my head as I was looking at my feet. The long walk showed me how much of me is still the same, now the picture shows the other side of reality.
Thank you to the four of you, for your love and friendship, for your support and faith. I wish you a beautiful, prosperous and joyful year!
Much love to you all,