¡Two and a half weeks in and on vacation!
It’s been a long time since I’ve posted, so maybe, if you’re reading this, you don’t know that I arrived safely in Santiago three weeks ago – only got lost thrice at the airport – or that I’m done with orientation, or that I’m starting classes next week. So there’s an update. I’ll write more regularly from now on, I think, because the hectic part (will I make friends, do I speak Spanish, why am I in this country) is mostly over.
Now I’m in San Pedro de Atacama, which is a tiny, touristy town in the north of Chile. I have this week off by accident: the online registration system for classes at la Católica broke, so the university postponed classes a week and my friends and I, having wanderlust and nothing better to do, decided to spend a weekend in the desert.
The vacation is nice – surprisingly refreshing, given I haven’t been doing anything difficult except adjust to a new country – but I also feel as if I left Santiago too soon. Saying goodbye to my host mom, Patricia, and sister, Pancha, I did feel as if I were leaving some sort of home.
Last week, I started eating dinner in Patricia’s room every night and watching telanovelas with her and Pancha as we ate. We laughed about the show’s dumb teenage romance; she asked me if I had a boyfriend; and when we weren’t talking, the silences felt comfortable.
Still, part of me worries that when I get back, I won’t feel like I’m coming home but as if I’m moving into a new place, again: making nervous conversation at the dinner table, not knowing where and when to take off my shoes. This weekend marks a beginning, or a re-beginning. Before now was adjustment; feeling scared or new or totally confused was acceptable. When I get back on Monday, I’ll start classes, speak almost entirely Spanish, have to make Chilean friends. The real part is starting! Get hype and send your blessing.