Santiago

Clarity

As I was coming home tonight from my classes in Lo Barnechea, which is a suburb of the city, I was able to see the city in its entirety – wow. To say it was beautiful is an understatement, to see Santiago without its ever present cloud of smog that seems to inhabit the city welcome or not is a rarity. Coming down the hill to see the lights that seemed to go on forever was a reminder that I did the right thing, I am in South America because I wanted something different. I am a 25 year old girl from the Midwest, at home that means you need to be in a stable job and dating the man you mean to marry or at least be damn certain you are searching for him. I think that is amazing and I am so happy for my friends that have found that and want that in their lives; I however am not that person. I desire something completely different and unfortunately being from Midwest USA makes me the odd man out. I have decided that I want adventure, the unknown, the uncomfortable at times, and to just live my life the way I want rather than the way society dictates. I have had my moments of doubt lately; that I should not be here and trying to figure out the best way to go home and when but I really had a moment of clarity on the bumpy route that the C14 takes back to Santiago tonight. I need to be here, I need to fulfill that nagging feeling that has been in my stomach since about my junior year of college. I am not the girl that gets married early, knows exactly what she wants to be when she grows up right when she gets out of college, has kids at the age of 20 something and honestly I am OK with that. Santiago, Chile has brought out the best of me or at least I am certain it will – I am way out of my comfort zone and I am realizing that is alright. I wanted to be tested, to be uncomfortable, and to come back knowing myself better than I ever have.

I am sure this revelation will not be as compelling to my readers as I have found it but I needed to do a bit of word vomit and just get it out there. I am not sure I have ever articulated the feelings I have about being worlds apart from my friends at home both figuratively and literally- simply I don’t have the same desires and aspirations in my life right now. I am sure some day I will but until then I am going to continue to find out what I am made of and travel as much as I can because I would much rather do it now than when I retire – I mean really, I can do way more questionable things without the voice of judgement in my 20’s than I can in my 60’s : )

Has anyone else had a moment of clarity in their life? If so, tell me about it – I’d love to hear your stories!

Alyssa

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Chile Thus Far…

Well I have been in the country for over a month now and I still have yet to post anything for all of my avid readers (I am sure there is at least one of you). I will try to catch you up on my life here in Santiago… unfortunately and fortunately it is my life and not some great tourist dream. I came here to meet people, get a job, and live like a Chilean. I am not saying of course that I have not experienced some amazing things that aren’t also incredibly tourist and I am not loving my trip! Santa Lucia, Musea de Memoria, taking a 12 hour bus trip Pucón to see the Volcano Villarrica, and to Viña del Mar to visit the ocean just to name a few : ) My life here is probably more like those from home than one may realize – I go to restaurants, wander around parks, go out at night, and take the metro or bus to work and everywhere else I go for that matter. Some key differences are that I only understand about 5% of what is going on around me which means that my automatic response has become no to just error on the side of caution. The food is for the most part incredibly boring and yes this is coming from a girl who is rather picky. (However I am becoming quite fond of avocado or palta on my hotdogs!) Fall means 85 degrees and sunny, oh wait 33 degrees Celsius which means little to nothing to me but I am working on my converting skills : ) Another fun fact, my money is very colorful and instead of pictures of dead presidents there are pictures of animals! Everything is in 100’s or 1000’s (smallest bill is 1000 pesos) which tends to make me feel like I have way more money than I really do.

I most definitely have days that I wonder what the hell I am doing here because honestly I don’t feel like my life has changed a whole lot but then I remember I am in Chile, South America, I can see the driest hot desert in the world and penguins all in one country, learn Chilean Spanish because frankly it is different than the rest of the world’s version of the language, and try things I never thought I would! Why wouldn’t anyone want to experience this, at least not just for a little while. I have started teaching and am learning just as much from my students as “hopefully” they are learning from me. I am sure I missed many things about this new home of mine but don’t worry – this is just Blog 1 🙂