I’ve been back in Chile for about a month now, and to my pleasant surprise, it has been mostly like nothing’s changed. I moved houses, which has been a little bit of an adjustment; I’ve traded the wild energy of having three teen and 20-something brothers in the house everyday for a more tranquil environment with a couple and my French friend/roommate Augustin, but other than that it has been like I haven’t skipped a beat. The two families still gather to dine, and my brothers very kindly ask me to hang out with them and their friends pretty regularly.
One of the best changes about this semester so far was that I got to spend time with the Linfield group that came through Chillán for a couple weeks, and now the students from Oregon State who are studying abroad here until the middle of March. It’s been one of the greatest things to have both of my lives collide like that, because I’m always telling my friends and family back home how much I’m in love with Chile and its people, but for my friends at Linfield and now my friends at OSU to experience it first hand for themselves, for them to meet my host families and eat at my favorite restaurants and dance at my favorite clubs, has been almost like a personal validation that this all isn’t just a dream.
One weekend I went to the “woods” outside the city called las Trancas. We found a waterfall and didn’t hesitate to jump into the icy water after a climbing down withered stairs and through plush bushes. Another weekend I went to the surfing capital of the world, Pichilemu, and swam in the salt water before eating some of the best, freshest sea bass I’ve ever had.
After about six months here in Chile, I have been to a few more places, have gotten close to a few more people, and have fully established this as my second home.