Remember when I promised I’d go back to visit that contemporary art café and take myself on a street art tour? Well, I did both, and I have pictures to prove it (below). Unfortunately, I no longer have the luxury of telling myself “I’ll come back later.” I have only three days left until I leave Santiago to travel around the south of Chile, and then go back to the good ol’ EE.UU. My priorities are now my friends and Chilean family, bureacratic tramites, and the last couple places on my really-really-want-to-do list (as opposed to the much larger want-to-do list, which is a lost cause).
At the campus of La Católica yesterday, I lay on the grass for a couple hours and just thought about my semester. It was good to have some time to reflect quietly on what I’ve learned, how I’ve changed, and what I will take away from this experience. I’ve grown a lot since I walked down Avenida Providencia and could only focus on one pixel at a time (“Getting Real in Santiago”).
When I came to Chile, I came with certain expectations, and was more or less correct (“One Foot in Chile”). My Spanish certainly improved, and was more rewarding than I could have imagined (“Ten, Please!”). I ran into some challenges, thought they weren’t what I thought they’d be (“Seeks Help when Needed”). I definitely saw Santiago and Chile without being a tourist (“Give a Mouse a Cookie (Or a Bucket List),” “Cream Cheese Sushi and other Wonderful Things,” “Stories from Pucón and Las Fiestas Patrias”).
In only one prediction I was perfectly spot-on from the very beginning – I learned lessons and had experiences that I did not even know I was missing. For example, I didn’t know how much I missed the genuine person-to-person interaction which is lacking in our consumer society (“On Honesty”), nor did I expect that the one-semester time limit would allow me to create even more meaningful relationships with others (“Thoughts on Friendship and October in Chile”). I had no idea I would develop a deeper social consciounce and a genuine interest in politics, history, and the news (“Special Post: Elections”). Most surprisingly, I was expecting a rough adjustment to life in Chile, but as it turns out I am a multicultural kid myself, and adjusting was not so hard (“What I Didn’t Know I Didn’t Know”). The positive experiences outweighed the embarrassing or frustrating ones by light-years, and I never had a crisis, the so-called “culture shock.”
I’m still struggling to process my experiences and distill them to a couple sentences that I can present to minimally-interested acquantances back home. Meanwhile, I’m off to check off el Museo de la Solidaridad from my really-really-want-to-do list, and meet up friends from La Católica and IES for our last days together in Chile.
More Blogs From This Author
<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">Maya is a senior majoring in Neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University. In addition to classes and laboratory research, she enjoys running, martial arts, and improvisational baking (with variable results). Having achieved comprehension of the Baltimore accent, she hopes to master Spanish as well, and is looking forward to many adventures in Chile!</span></p>