what i brought back

I’ve been back in the motherland for one week now!  Last week Thursday I was greeted in the Grand Rapids airport by my mom, Lydia, and Bryn, who brought me balloons and peanut butter.  I had an amazing trip to Peru the first week of December with my three best friends from my study abroad program.  We went to Lima, Cusco, and even made it up to Machu Picchu.  My last week in Santiago was good, but bittersweet.  Lots of hard goodbyes, but I know I’ll at least be back to visit someday.

I brought a lot back to the U.S. with me…

Vicho with my luggage!

Here’s just a few of the things that I acquired abroad:

  1. 12 scarves…but most of them are presents!  I promise!
  2. 4 sweaters, 2 shirts, 1 pair of really cute shoes.
  3. 2 llamas.  Obviously not the real thing.  I don’t think I could get those through customs, although Bryn would be ecstatic to receive a llama for Christmas.
  4. Wooden spoons, a stash of reusable grocery bags, 2 mugs, a thermos, etc, etc.
  5. The Chilean greeting, besitos y abrazos (kisses and hugs), as a hello and goodbye.
  6. Chocolate bars and packaged cookies.
  7. A vastly improved (Chilean) Spanish vocabulary!
  8. Earrings, earrings, earrings.
  9. A love for “Aqui Mando Yo,” only the best Chilean soap opera (teleserie) ever!
  10. A bottle of wine, smuggled through customs.  Success!
  11. Upwards of 2000 fotos.  And a new way to spell “photos.”
  12. A family.

And one more thing: In my first blog post, I wrote that my goal for my time in Chile was to dream in Spanish.  And it happened!  Actually it was a while ago, I think sometime in September or October, but never really got around to writing about it.  I already miss speaking (and dreaming in) Spanish, but hope to keep in touch with family and friends for many years to come.

With my family, my last night in Chile

hasta luego

I made these lists a few weeks ago while I was terribly bored in class.  Classes have since ended, but these lists are still very relevant and a good conclusion for this last blog post from Chile.

What I will NOT miss:

  1. Nescafé (no es café)
  2. Public bathrooms, or lack thereof
  3. The university I attended here.  I’m looking forward to my spring semester at Hope!
  4. My handheld showerhead (which since been fixed)

What I will miss:

  1. MY FAMILY!
  2. El Oasis
  3. My wonderful friends/travel buddies/support system
  4. The park where I go running, with a view of the Andes and a topiary Pope
  5. Kiosks.  So handy.
  6. Public transportation
  7. My nana…
  8. …who keeps the fridge stocked with food
  9. My own bathroom
  10. My “prehistoric” cell phone (as Trini calls it)- but it has a flashlight!
  11. Summer fruits and fresh juices
  12. Lots of avacados, all the time
  13. Empanadas…mmmhhh
  14. Breakfast made by Dad
  15. Vicho’s hugs
  16. Bike rides with Trini
  17. Chilean teleseries/soap operas
  18. Family asados
  19. Besitos y abrazos (hugs and kisses, the typical greeting here)
  20. Catholic holidays, when you get the day off from school!  There were at least 5 this semester…
  21. Speaking Spanish!

I had an AMAZING trip to Peru last week, and can’t wait to share my pictures.  Actually, my entire experience this semester has been beyond incredible.  I’m excited to come home for Christmas (90 degree days don’t exactly put me in the holiday spirit), but preparing to leave Chile has been harder for me than leaving home was.  I’m thankful for the relationships I built here, even though they make saying goodbye so difficult.  My time here is up, but I know I will be back.  I have family to visit and more of South America to explore!  I arrive home on Thursday, December 15.  Hasta luego!