As a kid, I hated when my mom left for business trips across the country and around the world. To ease the transition and give me something extra special to look forward to, Mom brought home a doll from her host country, which I carefully placed on shelves in my bedroom. Before I did much traveling myself, these dolls acted as gateways to women’s lives far from my own.
In my late twenties, more than a decade after I grew up and this tradition had long faded, my mother returned from a trip to Chile, once more bringing a doll home for me!
My Chilean knit doll sits in my living room thousands of miles from where my parents purchased her from a shop on the island of Chiloé. Covering more than 3,000 square miles, the island has been inhabited for more than 7,000 years, isolated enough to develop its own unique history and traditions, including woolen handicrafts from hand-spun yarn.
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