Lindsey Chapman's Travel Blog

Lemonade Stands and Street Dances
September 24, 2011, 10:41 pm
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New Blog… Lemonade Stands and Street Dances.


Life and Death
November 23, 2010, 12:50 pm
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9:34 a.m. I’m sitting in a cafe in downtown Minneapolis, eating breakfast with my dear friends Rachael and Jarvi hours before I board my flight back to Santiago.  I get a call from my mom and I silence it, trying to give my undivided attention.

9:38 a.m. I receive a second call from my mom and realize she may actually have something important to say. I answer to hear my mom in tears as she says, “Grandpa died.” I immediately think about his sense of humor, his generosity and his strong character, and how much I will miss him. Rachael and Jarvi offer their condolences and hug me tight.

Me on the left with Grandpa LeRoy 

10:37 a.m. Delta officially changes my flight from Thursday to the following Tuesday.

The next few days friends and relatives pour into the little town of Glennwood, MN in honor of Grandpa LeRoy. It means so much. One of my grandpa’s good friends was in Omaha on his way to meet his family in Colorado and turns around to come to the funeral. It’s funny how death puts life back into perspective.

My cousin Julie flies in from New York and runs the funeral service. My sister and I sing and play piano, and read scriptures. My cousin Mike shares Grandpa’s obituary and a prayer. My dad and my uncle, and a few of my grandpa’s friends share fond memories. My mom reads aloud a few stories my grandpa had written. We all eat hamburgers at the A&W after the funeral because that was Grandpa’s favorite place. It is all very special and unifying as a family. I will always be grateful that I was able to share such an intimate time with my family as we mourn the loss of someone we love.

11:59 p.m. It is Monday night, and I am excited and feel ready to depart for Chile tomorrow. I will carry with me the wisdom, the confidence and the work ethic Grandpa LeRoy exemplified to me. I will remember the ways he put others ahead of himself, and the way he loved to make people laugh. I will look forward to the future with hope and determination to beat all odds, because that’s what he did.

The Unattainable Andes
July 30, 2010, 4:27 pm
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Getting back on the slopes for the first time in years in the Andes Mountains is not only scary for a beginner skier but can also be life threatening – especially when one has only experienced skiing down hills in the Midwest a handful of times.

Try to picture this: me cruising down what they call a bunny hill here in Chile, at a speed far exceeding what I could possibly have control over. Then barely making it down, avoiding a couple of wipe outs due to sheer luck.

The next logical choice is to try making it to the top of the mountain, right? Well, that’s what my brain decided. You have to take two chair lifts to get to the top, which takes a good forty minutes.  For a person who still uses the snowplow turn pretty consistently, this was probably not the wisest of choices, something I realized as I escalated higher and higher. Low and behold, just as I’m about to proudly dismount the chair lift in an attempt to blend in with the advanced skiers surrounding me, my ski slips and I fall flat on my rear. It was sort of a full body wobble, ending with me in a starfish pose, ski-less.

Photo of the Andes via Creative Commons from Flickr user Here Everywhere

As I gathered myself and my gear, I stood up. I realized that even though I had a really difficult descent ahead of me, it was definitely going to be worth it to witness the view of the Andes Mountains I was staring at that very moment. Despite my lack of control and skills in skiing,  I couldn’t quit halfway up the mountain out of fear of falling and miss out on such a beautiful masterpiece. It’s a theme I think applies to a lot of things in life. There are many situations that can seem too difficult to bear, or even seem unattainable.  But if you just try — sometimes many times — overcoming the hardships is what makes life worth living.

Philosophy aside, I sat perched on the top of the mountain for a good twenty minutes before descending, soaking up all the beauty nature was offering me. I had never seen anything like it before. The trek down, however, was a long slow battle. I was probably the least able-bodied skier to ever approach the top of the mountain and attempt to make it down on skis. After about thirty minutes of intense snowplowing — I familiarized myself with a few of the snow banks, ending up with a couple of sore thighs — I made it down without killing myself. Even though I probably looked like a fool doing it, that was definitely a mountain worth climbing, and a day worth living.