I’ve been in Chile for about three weeks, and I can easily say that this journey is already one of the hardest and more rewarding experiences of my life. Since I have slacked on my blogging duties, I have decided to write two consecutive posts. This post will detail my arrival and transition into Chilean life; whereas, my second post will describe my school and social life here in Chile.
I arrived in Chile on July 25, 2014. I knew that I would have to speak in Spanish
almost 24/7 during my semester; however, this language transition did not hit me until I had to get a taxi. The woman at the desk said “hola” and I froze for a good five seconds trying to figure out what to say. After the initial shock, I pulled myself together and managed to order a taxi, find the right taxi car outside the airport, and make it in one piece to my hostel. Now in regards to my hostel, Hostal Forestal, lets just say internet photos can be deceiving. However the staff was extremely nice and helpful!
Now if y’all didn’t already know, I am the only McCombs student who went on an exchange to Santiago, Chile. BUT I was connected to student from The University of Washington-Seattle, Kiersten, who was attending the same program as me. We “officially” met when she arrived in the hostel, and I am eternally grateful to be on this adventure with her. Since we are both blonde and light eyed (blue & green), we get a lot of attention when we walk out on the street or take the metro. Men will “cat call” at us, and they say things like “que linda”, “los ojos”, and other silly phrases. We have gotten pretty good at ignoring them.
Kiersten and I decided that we were going to find permanent housing when we arrived in Chile. This has definitely been the most stressful period of my time in Chile. We had both gotten advice from friends and locals on where to look for housing, but we unfortunately ran into many dead ends. It took a week full of hours of computer searching, multiple taxi trips because we got lost, and lots of determination before we actually found our house. We live in a nine bedroom house in the Providencia commune of Santiago. I live with 4 Chileans, 1 Belgium guy, 1 French girl, and Kiersten. It is definitely an experience, especially with the nine keys. Yes, I said nine keys….. [1 for bedroom, 1 for kitchen, 3 for back entrance, 3 for front entrance]
Before I end this post, I’d like to comment on the Chilean way of greeting. When say hello or goodbye, you always kiss the person on the cheek. Men will usually give each other a handshake, but if they are very close, they kiss as well. It is definitely a more personal form of greeting, and this took me a while to get use to.