Wednesday, November 10, 2010

9 months and random pictures

As I type this, a repairman is working in our kitchen repairing the gas lines.  As I was in there putting away my groceries, he did not hesitate to use power tools to sand down pipes without any protective goggles or gloves.  I stood about 2 feet away from him while he was doing this, and we made small talk since I was going to be in there for about 20 minutes prepaing my lunch for the next day.  He also heated up the pipes in the wall using a mini blow torch (no protective covering around the area), and he didn't bat an eyelash as the flames reached up and almost caught the blinds on fire.

9 months being here makes me feel like a true resident of Santiago.  I can have telephone conversations in Spanish.  I can manage to take care of daily business here easily.  I can give people directions if they are lost.  I can navigate the city and know of multiple routes to get myself from one place to another, depending on the time of day and traffic situation.  And it's a good feeling.

At the same time, this also means that I have 40 days until I return home for the holidays.  I will be happy to see family and friends again, to eat American food, and celebrate the holidays in an area familiar to me.  While I know that I will enjoy this time, I am beginning to think that being home for 5 weeks (December 21st to February 3rd) is going to be quite a long stretch.  I'm hoping to be able to substitute teach or find some odd jobs to do to keep myself occupied (and also to earn some money).

How do I feel all in all at this point?  I came into my experience here telling myself I was going to make it an awesome experience and that it would all work out in the end.  And luckily, that is how it worked out.  I am very grateful to have met my friends here, as they have helped me in small and large ways.  I've learned about my personality, working with people, and how I view the world.  It's also an empowring feeling becoming aware of this and growing, both personally and professionally.

I feel sad that there have been and will be friends of mine returning to the States, as we don't know when we will see each other again.  At the same time, with the technology of Facebook and Skype, it is relatively easy to keep in contact.  And I also know that it may take a year, 5 years, or 10 years, but I will get to see my true friends again at one point or another in the future.

I have some pictures that I've taken over my time here, but I haven't found an appropriate post for them, so here they are:

fruitcake, sold in masses at the grocery store

Pan de pascua, literally Easter bread.  As we know it, fruitcake.

The 3 steps to suvive an attack of zombies (located on the door of the store where I go to play Magic)

pantyhose on sale in a vending machine inside the Salvador metro

Perfect for when you get that pesky rip in your stockings and need a pair for on the go.

The old school elevators inside the Banco de Chile building in downtown Santiago
My roomate knocked on my door, telling me that the repairman was leaving and wanted to say goodbye.  It was a bit surprising to me, but I went out and shook his hand and thanked him for his work.  After he left, my roommate told me that the guy had an interesting name: Placer.  For those of you that don't speak Spanish, that means pleasure.

Yup, I'm in Chile.

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