I'm back from the ends of the earth to the land of the free and home of the brave, and boy have I changed a lot. To organize my ramblings and thoughts since my return, I have categorized them per topic, ish.
On the Top 3
When asked on my evaluation form from my study abroad program the top 3 things I've taken away from my experience, I answered:
1. Stay humble.
2. Keep an open mind.
3. If at first you don't succeed...
On Time Travel
I have time traveled. I traveled from the rainy winter of Santiago where the students are just beginning their 2nd semester, to the hellish summer of Phoenix where people are still in vacation mode, mildly starting to prepare for the back-to-school mindset of a new school year. I skipped the summer blues and pool parties and will be technically entering into my 3rd first semester in a row in just 22 days. I feel like I missed Christmas. It’s rather difficult to explain. It confuses my mind to think that the vastly different worlds of Santiago and Phoenix—both my own— exist simultaneously and both will continue to move along finely with or without me. I will no longer be able to witness the passage of time, the developments, the day-to-day of Santiago, yet it will flow on normally just as it had before we ever met.
On Relational Cities
The cities I have lived in or visited in my contemporary life seem to appear to me in these sort of personages that relate to me in human terms, in varying person-to-person type connections. Scottsdale and I have a sibling kind of relationship, where I love hanging out with him/her (Scottsdale has no particular gender to me), feel super comfortable, and yet sometimes get annoyed and can be harsh. Sometimes I just have to yell at Scottsdale to grow up and leave me alone, but it’s really only because I love him/her so much since he/she’s family. Los Angeles is my lover, because we have a love/hate relationship where I generally do not rest at a balance but am filled with a passion (mostly of love) on either end that changes frequently and abruptly. I fight with LA but we always make-up with a kiss. Of sorts.
And then there’s Santiago, who is a dear and closer friend of mine. We have our days of short tempers or frustrations, but I have a steady and deep adoration for what the city teaches me, surprises me with, and accommodates me, like an old friend. We are not very hot or cold and I’m not tied by blood to love, but we are just a good and drama-free match. That’s why I truly feel like I could live there for a longer time, because it is just so easy to be with Santiago. Best friends for life.
On Culture Shock
Things I want to keep up that I learned in Chile:
- Greeting people more personally when I enter into a room or see an acquaintance on the street. I loved that Chileans kiss everyone at the party when first arriving and take the time to
- Saying “chau.” Because it’s fun.
- Eating a bigger lunch and a smaller dinner, plus avoiding eating right before bed. Good habits, although I will take my American breakfast, thanks.
- Taking public transportation and walking when possible instead of driving so much. Oh if only LA or Phoenix were as good as the micros and metros there…
- Photo-copying pages of books, readings, etc. for school or personal use. Quite handy.
- Being very faithful to my good friends and family.
- Speaking Spanish with my random chilenismos and sayings.
- Wearing my poncho and fanny pack forever and ever amen.
I miss you, Chile. I miss you, new friends. I miss you, family. I am ever thankful!