The GoGlobal Blog

Catching up

Catching up

It’s been over a month since I last blogged- oops look like I have been adopting the Chilean lifestyle maybe a little too much 🙂

My study abroad experience so far has been spectacular, a once in a lifetime learning experience that I got the chance to share with my “Pololo” or boyfriend from Loyola over the last past 2 weeks! He came and visited me, I got to show him around my new home- Santiago and then we also traveled up North to the driest desert in the whole world- The Atacama. I know what you’re probably thinking- ew who would want to go spend a week a desert? All pre-concieved expectations or thoughts that I had before going where instantly thrown out the window when we landed in the plane, seeing the beautiful snow capped Andes painting the horizon and the endless foothills dotting the skyline that slowly descended into the glorious peaking sand dunes, caves, and canyons that jutted out from the mars like landscape. It was like nothing I have ever seen before, it didn’t feel like we were even on earth anymore. We were in some kind of far, far away land where time moved slower, sand was constantly layering your skins, clothes and hair, and you had adventures constantly at your fingertips. We spent that week staying in a really nice  hostel where I got to know one of the owners really well and practice my spanish! We also met a nice Chilean couple that looked just like Mr. and Mrs. Claus… no joke. On the first day we were there we were hiking just a few km out to some Ruins to go climb and we ran into them in their car and they offered us a ride, of course we declined saying the hike was the best part there! Constantly over the next few days we would run into them, we would help take pictures, see Geysers together, and eventually watch Santa Claus jump into some hot springs in the middle of the desert and I leaned against Rick trying to battle the altitude sickness.

We rented off-roading bikes for 2 days and explored all over! We rode to more ruins, to Valle de La Coyo, Valle de La Luna (Valley of the Moon- named after it’s craters and space like appearance), Valle de la Muerte (Death Valley) and everywhere in-between. Off roading was really fun and an adrenaline rush too. We hiked almost everyday too, exploring salt flats, caves and dried up river beds that winded through many canyons. We ended our trip by watching an amazing sunset over the beautiful Atacama desert and then having to spend the night in the airport- freezing cold and sleep deprived, I somehow smooth talked my spanish skills into being able to catch the next flight home, a god send after spending over 12 hours huddled in a corner in the airport.

I still can’t really wrap my head around all that I’ve learned and done since I arrived in Santiago over 5 months ago. I know, it won’t really hit me all the friends I’ve made here, new language that is part of who I am, the culture that I have learned to either adapt in some ways and in other ways still feels foreign to me. I know for certain what I’ve gained from this experience is a new sense of independence and confidence.

The other night when I was at my friend Maria Jose’s house just hanging out and one of her sisters asked me why I chose to come to Chile (if I had one chilean peso for every time that question was asked..I’d be rich) I responded by saying, I knew if I could come and live in such a foreign, far away place then I could do anything else in the world.

I still believe that’s so true, I conquered this amazing journey- now just about 3 weeks away from heading home to Colorado to be with my Family, I know I am a different person than I was when I left them in January..

I know that I am constantly having to remind myself, I didn’t choose to come live here because I thought it would be comfortable, or even as nice as what I’m used to at home. I came here to challenge myself, to live without the comfort of all my normal amenities, routines, friends, family and even my own language. And that the feeling of being homesick or frustrated is totally normal and expected and I shouldn’t fear it!

Another thing that I’ve learned being here is that, I am not a solo traveler, I get lonely easy. That yes Chile is beautiful and there are so many opportunities but it doesn’t mean half as much to me if I can’t share it with a friend or loved one and cherish it together.

Oh another nice chilean adventure I have under my belt as of yesterday– I was on a bike ride just exploring my surrounding neighborhoods when I was bitten by a stray dog! I was riding my bike along a street close to my house when he just came running up all excited and grabbed my ankle/leg and just tore at it- ripping my pants and leaving me on the ground with a bloody leg. The dog didn’t mean any harm, just got overly excited I think- but it hurt and still does really badly! I can see where his teeth tore my skin, it’s pretty cool. But I ended up having to ride in a scary car with the police here, Carabineros to a hospital clinic where they just cleaned up my wound and prescribed me some antibiotics. I was so nervous to have to ride in the car with a bunch of the carabinero’s since they usually aren’t the friendliest people- but most turned out to be nice, one even wanted to add me on face book and another asked me to give him English lessons. But when they asked me what I was studying and I said Journalism- they all gave me pretty dirty looks and went on a rant how the journalism in Chile is very mediocre and dirty, usually not telling the truth.

It was an experience that I’m glad is over with, and I can just chalk it up to a funny story!

Today I’m going to a music festival in a huge park downtown with a few more Chilean friends!

I’ll try to not wait another month before updating this time 🙂

“This is what travel is about. We strain to renew our capacity for wonder, to shock ourselves into astonishment once again.”

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