This past week marked two months of my being here, and less than a month remains before my mid-co-op trip home to the states for Christmas and the New Year! Time has flown by. I know it’s been said over and over, and is terribly cliche, but time flies when you’re having fun. I’m incredibly grateful to be here: my life is anything but boring.
I don’t have any big adventures or trips planned between now and Christmas, I hope I don’t disappoint you on that front! I’m still unsure of how this summer will play out, as the university is closed for the month of February. There is a list of students and faculty that I can be added to in order to gain access during the month, but I don’t know what will come of that. Regardless, I am taking the time now to get work done while my supervisor and professor are around to support me, and will do more traveling once I return after my Christmas break. Right now, I’m focused on making the most of my time in Santiago: working and spending time with my friends before they scatter to travel and return to their respective cities and countries. I’m so grateful that they “adopted” me when I came so late in the term, and I’m sad to see them all go.
Every day I’m here I wake up excited. I’m relaxed and happy, and my schedule is flexible, but consistent, which I enjoy. I try to keep my days full, while also making sure I have time to relax and just enjoy myself. I have my standard schedule of working about eight hours everyday, but sometimes I’ll take a long lunch to play softball, go for a walk, or meet up with friends from outside of my lab. If I know I’m not being productive, I’ll stop and go outside, pet one of the campus dogs, take a walk, or grab some tea – anything to help me refocus – then extend my day a little bit in the evening. I came across this quote the other day by Paulo Coelho…
“If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine, it is lethal.”
It resonated with me, especially as I live here and reach out of my comfort zone. Being abroad has forced me to tap all of my resources, learn to think on my feet, and do some serious creative problem solving. Every day is new, and I know that something will inevitably come up that will require me to figure out a solution. I was talking with RO and MM yesterday about this, and we agreed that it was about becoming familiar with unfamiliarity and comfortable with discomfort. You learn to detach yourself from your habits that used to define you, and become more accustomed to defining yourself by your experiences and morals. You master the art of the first impression: your time is short where you are, you have no time to waste playing games! And you learn to be kind, patient, and giving. Sometimes, you don’t have much to give, but you give what you can, and in turn you build some pretty fantastic relationships. Authenticity is what it’s all about.
I’m grateful to have met such wonderful people here! From my extranjero|foreign friends to my host family, and the guys in my lab and office as well as their girlfriends. From there, I’ve met even more people, all of whom have been patient with my Spanish, friendly, and are always looking out for me. Thank you to all of you! In the sometimes overwhelming scene of catcalls and creepy stares on the street, it is fantastic to have friendly faces and welcoming homes all over the city and on campus. I wish I could mention you all, but it would be a little overwhelming to have that many sets of initials.
The past few weeks have found me having dinner with friends a few times (big thanks to SR and MM for having me over!), cheering on Chile in a match versus Uruguay with a few of my friends from work, dancing at a salsa/bachata/cumba/etc. dance class on campus on Wednesdays, working out with JR (50 pushups later and I know my upper body needs work), and two 5Ks: Running UC on campus at PUC, and The Color Run this past Saturday morning.
Being a Estadio Monumental to watch the Chile v. Uruguay game was awesome! High energy, packed stadium, and a full hour and half of action. Unfortunately, Chile lost in the last few minutes, which was sad to see. The fans were incredible though: I’ve never been to a game with so many people captive and cheering for the entire duration of the match. Viva Chile!
The Color Run was disappointing unfortunately… 22,000 people were in attendance and there were only 5 kilometers to spread them out on. It was insane! No wave start, no timing, people rolling around in the street trying to coat themselves in more color… It was a show. Preface that as you may. We weren’t even able to run for most of the race because there were just too many people. The pictures look cool though! They’re much more enjoyable to look at the day after, when I had calmed down from being worked up over the race.
My host mom and sister are away this weekend, so my other friend who lives with me, JC, and I spent a lot of time together. Her family lives a few hours south of Santiago, but she’s living in the city while she goes to school. We cooked, hung out, and went for hike up Cerro San Cristobal with RO. We tried to hike it to see the sunset, but a few things got in our way so we only went part of the way up. We’ll try again another time. It was nice to be outside and spend time with the two of them.
I’ve decided to make a few changes both in Santiago while on co-op and at Drexel, so I’ll be posting a quick update to keep you in the loop. To everyone in the states: Happy Thanksgiving! And good luck to everyone in school on their upcoming finals!