At the midpoint

We fly back home to the U.S. in less than two months and coming to that realization in the last week has made me feel more internally conflicted than I ever thought was possible. Last spring when I sat in my study abroad orientation class and listened to my tutors tell me to cherish every second of the semester because if flies by in an instant, I didn’t understand the gravity of their sentiment. I can’t believe my experience here is over half way over.

On one hand, the thought of going back to the familiarity of home right in time for Christmas fills me with glee. I do miss my family and my friends and my house and Linfield and my dog a lot, after all.

The one thing about this new Chile study abroad program is that, since it’s Linfield’s first one, none of us really knew what to expect. Mel and I were told to pick up our visas in San Francisco and to wait for someone named Florencia to pick us up at the Santiago international airport upon our arrival. Other than that, we had no plans and no expectations.

Since then we’ve obviously figured a lot of stuff out, like our class schedules and how to maneuver around the city, but I can’t help but feel one step behind most of the time. This is probably mostly due to the language barrier, but nonetheless, I am excited to be back in a place where I, like, have a general idea of what’s going on most of the time. 

But leaving this beautiful place and the loving people in it is something I’m absolutely dreading. Everyone I’ve met here- my host parents, my physical education major friends, my tutors, my Basque and French extranjeros, my host brothers and their friends, my advisor Florencia and her family- have made this place home. A year ago I never thought I’d have a home in central Chile.

So how can I leave my home in seven and a half short weeks, just as my Spanish is starting to improve more rapidly and just as I’m becoming closer with my Chilean friends and family? I know I can’t avoid the inevitable, and I know I can’t up and leave everything I have and everything I’ve worked for in the U.S. But part of me doesn’t ever want to leave, so the fact that I have to scares me.

I am not even close to seeing all that this country and this continent have to offer, but I suppose the traveling I have done and the home that Chile’s created for me are invaluable, and something that will be a part of me for the rest of my life.

In my last two months I’ve decided to stress less and live more, because this journey is already half way behind me.

Nos vemos pronto,

Camille  

P.S. We have also still been traveling a bit. 🙂

 

Valparíso, Chile
Valparíso, Chile
Me on the classic piano steps in Valparíso, Chile
Me on the classic piano steps in Valparíso, Chile
Mel, happy in Valparaíso, Chile
Mel, happy in Valparaíso, Chile
Florencia, her daughter Catalina, and my host mom Claudia inside of the beautiful Vińamar
Florencia, her daughter Catalina, and my host mom Claudia inside of the beautiful Vińamar
Florencia, Mel and I at the Viñamar
One of the many fancy meals we ate that weekend
One of the many fancy meals we ate that weekend