Select Page

There is this piece of Smith family lore, by which I usually mean to introduce something false, which I will later disprove or reframe, except in this case it’s true. It tells of a time when I, fresh from a brutally cold winter in Santiago, landed in my mother’s backyard on Long Island, whereupon I laid in the grass in a skirt, leggings, shoes, a long sleeved shirt and fleece vest under the broiling 80 degree humid summer sunshine, just to warm up. I had brought so much cold with me that it took me hours to adjust to the heat. And it’s funny to talk about, because it’s so counterintuitive, to lay in the sun at all these days, but especially bundled up.

This time, I have flown back to Chile from a couple of weeks that were chock full of friends and family and more family and more friends (but never enough friends, because the ones I saw were so fabulous, and I never have time to see everyone), and what for me are sub-zero temperatures (Celsius). It was so cold on the night of Thanksgiving, that after bundling us all into the car to the railroad back to the city, we piled first out of the car and then right back in to wait the remaining five minutes before the train came. It was that cold. And much of the poor San Francisco contingent didn’t even really have winter coats. It was 16 F and windy.

And on I walked, through city streets and on greenway paths near my mother’s house, convincing myself, “at least when you go inside, it’s warm.” And it is, but for the first time in a long time, I felt legitimately uncomfortably cold in the United States. To be fair, I haven’t been in the northeastern winter in years, and this has not been a mistake, missing holidays with family notwithstanding.

And this time as I am back, I find I don’t want so much sunshine and heat from the outside, in fact I was a sweaty mess at the gym yesterday, and I can only assume my thermostat hasn’t quite adjusted to the weather here. But it didn’t matter because what I really wanted was sunshine from the inside.

It was a banner day at the feria, a belated welcome back to me in the form of blueberries, cherries, peaches so juicy I may have to take a shower, and my beloved blackberries, which I still miss the yogurt for that used to go under them before I became insensitive to fermented foods (see: stomach snafu). But there is bounty, and it is affordable to me, and I am so happy to eat it and to rise to my full height and to be back to this crazy city where just yesterday I saw someone with a life-sized replica of an emperor penguin on the bus, because they were giving them away after an art installation to raise consciousness about climate change. Because Santiago. You kooky, warm-in-the-summer fruit-abundant city. It’s good to be home.

(Missed the penguin? You could follow me on Instagram.)

Feria spoils: (not all produce shown, I think you know what this stuff looks like. Also, I am just topping up, I went to the supermarket the other day due to a time crunch and no nighttime ferias in Santiago).

1 kilo cherries 1500 CLP=$2.22
1 kilo blueberries 2000 CLP$2.96
1 kilo peaches 1000 CLP=$1.48
1/2 kilo blackberries 900 CLP=$1.33
1 bunch beets 800 CLP=$1.19
1 bunch scallions 500 CLP= $.74
2 ears “american” corn 500 CLP= $.74
1 kilo potatoes 400 CLP=$.59 (because Chanukah!)
1 cucumber 300 CLP=$.44
1 large bunch radishes 500 CLP= $.74
1/2 kilo asparagus 1200 CLP=$1.78

Total 9.600 CLP=$14.23