Hello everyone!!!! I hope that you are all well and have gotten to experience a portion of my Chilean adventures along with me through this blog. As of today, I officially have one month in Chile. I can’t believe how fast the time has gone. I remember when I first arrived how scared I was; how hard it was to live with a family I had never known, to feel so alone in a world where no one could understand me and I rarely understood anyone else. I remember when I would leave with my family and had no idea where we were going. I remember sitting in my room wondering if I would ever meet people and wondering why God had wanted me to come to Chile. It’s incredible how time both creates and clarifies a life and how my 3.5 months in Chile have changed, clarified, and created so many characteristics within my very being.
I have learned so much about this country. The people here are distinct. Although they are generally happy and willing to chat, they are also reserved and slow to share their stories. At first I found it hard to make friends as my language barrier and differences in ways of being made it difficult to connect. However, now I am so glad I made an effort to connect with the reserved yet truly loving people of Chile!! I have been so blessed with all who I have had the opportunity to meet here. They have blessed me with their friendships, time, and happy spirits. It has also been incredibly interesting to be in Chile during the time of their presidential elections (this Sunday). I have had the opportunity to learn so much about this country through viewing and talking to my friends, professors and family about how they want Chile to change. Chile is still functioning under the constitution of their ex-dictator Augusto Pinochet, the students are fighting for the right of a free education (kindergarten costs each family about $800 per month), only 40% of Chilean workers are working under a contract… this includes teachers and many professional workers!! All of these facts make this country in this time a very interesting place. I want to learn, love, and travel here more!! I am truly sad to be leaving here so soon. I can’t believe that my first month I was wishing my time away and now only wish I could stay a little longer to spend time with my friends, my Chilean family, and this mysteriously enchanting place.
I have been so blessed thank you for all your prayers and best wishes from back home. To wrap up how blessed I’ve been I’d like to recount the story of my birthday in Chile which took place yesterday! In August I remember trying to accept the fact that having my 21st birthday in Chile may not be everything I imagined as I thought I probably wouldn’t have the ability to tell anyone it was my birthday. However, al final this was not the case. In the morning I went to school and was greeted with hugs and kisses from everyone I saw at my university. In the afternoon a few friends and I went to the beach (as it has been in the high 70s and 80s all week) and later to a bar to have drinks. I was more than content with these simple plans and figured I had past the birthday well in Chile and therefore, had no regrets when my friends accompanied me to my house after only being out for a few hours. However, when I arrived to my house I walked in to find my mom and my 12 closest friends in Chile from Chile, Mexico, Germany, and the U.S. all in my living room! It was the best and most incredible surprise ever that was all organized by my host sister and mom! I hadn’t realized how much I had truly come to love Chile and the people I’ve met here until that moment. Through reflecting now I can now see how much these people have come to love me as well and shaped me as an adult and citizen of this world! After the most “genial” birthday surprise and a night of being “super contenta,” I can finally say that Chile has become a home in my heart. I can’t wait to see you all in a month, however, I will always love and miss my Chile. Good thing I still have a month!!!!