I still remember arriving in Santiago, Chile with fear in every inch of my body. I barely understood the Chilean professors, I dreaded having to socialize in another language, and not having my family or friends there made me feel completely alone. That was the beginning. However, as time passed I became adjusted to life in Chile and instead of resisting change, I adapted. I greeted each day and person with a grin. My mind opened to the possibilities around me and what felt like another country eventually became my home.
One of the best choices I made in Chile was choosing Fentastic as my place of residency. With more than 30 students from various countries, it was easy to make friends and bond with just about everyone in the building. The loving hostess of the residency acted like a mother to me and did her best to aid me whenever I was confused.If it was not for her, I probably would not have learned how to cook. She even bought me a souvenir hat of Chile which she signed. We also hope to stay in contact through Skype.
Even more, I met some of the most amazing people at Fentastic. Communication was not always easy, but language was not a barrier. I had friends who played music, who loved to party, who talked about politics, who enjoyed staying in and watching movies, who would jam out to classics with me, who would teach me new things, who loved to dance, and who loved to stay up all night chatting. It was like living on the 9th floor of Millennium Hall all over again except with a large group of foreigners. We got along so well that they we began to feel like one big family. Each birthday and each farewell was a celebration filled with hugs and selfies. A few promised to stay in contact after leaving, but it still is sad feeling to know that I probably will not see many of those faces ever again. Chile is certainly beautiful, but the beauty that will remain with me after many years is that of the people I met more than the sights.
That is not to say that I did not value the amazing scenery Chile had to show. I think the allure of the country is its stunning appearance and the wide variety of setting it has to offer. You have dry deserts in the North, meadows in the center with Santiago as the spot for a modern urban-look, islands just below that, the South has glaciers,and all along the country are mountains and various beaches on the coast.Usually you would have to travel across the world for that kind of mix up, but Chile brings it all together like one big bundle package.
So I am sitting here currently back in Philadelphia, and all of me wants to return to Chile. My chest aches as I write this, but I know it is for the best. There was just so much that I learned in Chile. I had such a closed and boxed mind before arriving and my experience there made me believe in magic again. It made me believe in happiness, in good, in faith and in love. The world is our playground, but somewhere down the road we forget that.
As much as it saddens me that my journey reached its end, I am truly happy to have shared such wonderful memories than to never have had them at all.
Plus, I know this was just one chapter of my life and there is bound to be many more.