The first two and a half weeks have flown by, sort of. My life in Santiago has been filled with long days, endless street encounters and settling into a new host family with a completely different dietary palette. All these changes would make anyone uncomfortable, sometimes in a good way and sometimes in a bad way. For me, it’s probably been a roller coaster of the two extremes. My first day arriving in Santiago I was exhausted beyond belief from lack of sleep during a nine-hour flight. I was incredibly happy to finally arrive, the anticipation from weeks of people saying goodbye to me was finally coming to an end.
After about an hour nap, I woke up to eat my first Chilean meal. It was an empanada with mushrooms and some sort of vegetable following. Promptly after, I went to bed and recovered some more.
During the first week of orientation, I had the chance to know the city more. We took tours, spent time shopping and by the second week, I already had a pair of botines chilenos with a thick platform heel I bought from a shoe shop near the IFSA-Butler office. Needless to say, Santiago was starting to grow on me, despite crowded metros and buses and a dictionary of Chilean slang that seemed to complicate itself as I learned more. However, during a period of too much free time or a conversation with a native Chilean where I understood nothing, I would again become discouraged and wonder if such a large step into the unknown was the right thing for me.
Abroad in general can and will be difficult, so I’m hoping the week and weekend ahead will reward itself to me.