The reason why I labeled this blog Louis, is simply because that is the name of mi gato aqui en Santiago!
As lame sauce as this may sound, he has grown to be one of my most loyal and cuddly companions while living here!
He sleeps with me every night, keeping my feet warm and he is always waiting for me anxiously when I come at night after a long day at the University, with lots and lots of purring and hugs ( yes he seriously does give me hugs with his paws!)
I normally am not fond of cats to be honest, more of a kitten person with the whole cute cuddly thing going on- but Louis has proved to me that not just dogs are loyal, cuddly and always willing to show you love at the end of the day. Alright you may be wondering, why is she writing about her cat? The only reason I have is that I love animals and wear my heart on my sleeve and it makes me sad that I’ll have to say Chao Chao to Louis forever, in just one short week! The same with all of the friends I have made here- finally starting to hit me a little bit, how I finally can converse with my chilean friends with ease and how comfortable we feel around each other.
I really can’t believe that I studied abroad- in Chile- for 6 months… and I’ll be going home soon. It’s one of the weirdest feelings I’ve ever felt. It feels like it is the right time for me to go home, but at the same time it feels as if It went by so, so rapidly.
I can’t quite put my finger on it, possibly because whenever something big is happening it always takes a long time for it to really hit me, because I feel like I always am living in the moment and not really aware of how quickly the future is coming- even more so since I’ve been here in Chile.
I’ve been having, the most amazing times of my life… not kidding. Not only have I seen some of the most beautiful places on earth, I’ve learned so much about this countries history, culture, people and for this- I have also been able to reflect on my own country and customs. I have come to realize a different way of life, and gained a totally different perspective than my North American point of view that I always have had.
I’ve made friends that I will never forget, and gained some much knowledge in such a short period of time. It’s quite insane just how much you well you learn of a language when you live in the country for long enough and are just forced to learn the language to survive!
Enough reflection for now though, I still have a week left to do all of that- and I’m sure I’ll probably want to be blogging like crazy while I’m sitting in the airplane, overwhelmed with the feeling of being in some kind of time machine- a connection device, that will transport me from this world- to a whole different world- the United States.
Entonces, as it pours rain here, and I’m bundled up in my winter coat, pants and double layer of socks, and I cup my hot cup of Nescafe.. I’m listening and giving a little bit of advice to my host sister- she is practicing for her Presentation tomorrow that she has been busily preparing for since the first day I arrived! She recently just graduated from university, with a major in Graphic Designer and is finishing up her first book- a book filled with really cool art and poems that she is going to be displaying and presenting tomorrow to her University alums and professors!
Yesterday when I woke up for breakfast before heading off to classes, there were two of her head professors of Poetry- who have been here once before. They are definitely one of the most interesting people that I’ve met, about 50-60 year old men, always wearing french berets and glasses on their noses, and talking incredibly loud about anything from the 200 year old wine they drank last night, national news, to poetry they have been working on.
In fact the last time they visited my house, we sat around the table talking, laughing ( most subjects were well over my head in spanish) and we turned on the TV to see him on a TV show being interviewed, and this was back in March when it was terribly hot outside and he ended up “showering” in the garden outside to escape the heat- quite a character indeed. Anyway, so the other day they were here again, and I had the pleasure of having breakfast with them, and they mentioned that they knew there were really bad forest fires outside of Denver right now- which definitely impressed me how well informed they are- most Chileans respond when I say I’m from Colorado by saying ” Oh is that near Miami? ” haha.
Today while I was in my journalism class, vigorously working on my final presentation with my other journalism friends, one of the classmates ran up and told us there were really bad protests going on below in the street! So of course my friend Fabio and I both exchange glances and grab our cameras and are down there within a few minutes.
It turned out to be really fun, and I got some great footage of police arresting a few crazy students who were yelling insults and throwing rocks at the police- and Fabio and I ended up being pretty wet from the water and tear gas they were spraying at us from the army tanks, but nothing bad passed and in the end we were just tired and felt we had another great day as journalists
I’ll be uploading a few close up pics of the police using their dispersion techniques at students protesting and spraying them with tear gas! Oh, how I’ll miss the active protesting of Chile, and as my mom told me tonight at dinner- the students here are very passionate about their education and won’t stop until it is free and equal.
This past weekend, was more of a relaxing- rainy weekend for me as well. On friday after my painting class I walked over to a chilean friend- Fabio’s apartment that is about 20 minute walk, his apartment reminded me a lot of Hong Kong actually- very small, cramped, and a bit dirty with lots of loud noises outside of people cooking, cars rushing bye and the sweet sickly smell of woman cleaning, cooking and smoking cigarettes all at once. We hung out, people watching from his awesome view in his room since he lives on the 24th floor of his building downtown, then we climbed up to the roof and took a few pictures as well, then we met up with more chileans and went a bar to just converse, drink beers and relax and enjoy the weekend after a long week of classes! On Saturday it poured rain for most of the day- Teresa and I went to starbucks and did homework and I painted all afternoon, my final project for my painting class. I have to say though- all the rain and cold and huge puddles the size of lakes that are in every intersection ( once I actually saw someone take a taxi to cross the street- that is how bad the rain is here at times), it is well worth it the days after, because all the rain clears the sky and smog and the beautiful Andes mountains are incredibly spectacular. They are so big, I can’t even describe always looming over the clouds in the distance, and after the rain clouds clear- the peaks are glittering brightly in the snow, covered in magnificent snow… it’s unlike anything I could ever imagine. Santiago truly is a unique city, trapped between the gigantic, mind boggling Andes Mountains on one side, the Pacific Coast on the other, Patagonia and the thousands of lakes in the South and rugged, dry, mountainous Atacama to the north.
Sunday was equally as relaxing, very brisk again and rainy consisting of catching up on sleep and homework and of course cuddling with Louis for most of the day
On Monday though, it was sunny finally! I spent the day enjoying the sun and the view of the Andes- playing tennis after my classes in some free public courts just 15 minutes from my house, it was a great day, and ended by going out for ice cream with friends and laughing about how much of a clutz and accident prone I am.
Now, I have a lot of homework to try and fit into this week before I fly back to the states- a few very long spanish essays, presentations and tons to read. I’m thinking this beautiful rain storm tonight will either- lull me to sleep or put me in the mood to study- vamos a ver!
“Live as if you are to die tomorrow, Learn as if you are to live forever. ” -Ghandi