My Uber driver laughed when I told him I was traveling to Santiago for four months.
"And that's all you packed?"
My duffel bag did seem larger when I left Portland last week. Minimal packing was mostly a way to combat the growing pre-departure anxieties of the last three months. The situation was not unfamilar: a full inbox that I was avoiding, forms to submit, important applications to be mailed—not to mention a blog post. Instead of confronting this, I took my sketchbook outside and admired the blackberries that wouldn't be ripe by the time I left. Blackberries from the store are pitiful. I was only able to reconcile this loss by reminding myself that there would be a new food in Santiago I would one day miss as well. So I returned to the pre-departure preparation.
Aside from a fear of overpacking, I was convinced I would not get my visa in time. My appointment with the Los Angeles Consulate was only three days before I left the country! I arrived two days early in Los Angeles to visit friends and during those 48 hours attempted to calm the anxiety with more drawing. Inspiration was running dry, so I mulled over food leftovers and my own feet.
The anxiety was—as it always is—an unnecessary dispense of energy. I left the Chilean consulate last Friday with my coveted new visa papers and a massive smile of relief.
My study abroad process has been abnormally long, as I had to defer my Spring 2019 application. Santiago has been approaching so slowly that it has become a place belonging strictly to the future. Maybe this is why at 5:00 a.m. today I woke up and realized I have confused my departure date. Now I am frantically writing a blog post at LAX an hour before I fly out. Ideally I would have a drawing of Oxy or another interesting subject to mark my departure. All I have is an avocado.
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<p>Aside from art, I'm long-distance running fanatic. I live a short drive from Eugene, a name that has become synonymous with Tracktown USA. My family doesn't understand why I feel a deep emotional attachment to the old Hayward field stands currently under reconstruction. I don't either, really.</p>