I'm going through a mixture of feelings: excitement for returning home and seeing family and friends, sadness at leaving what is familiar to me in Santiago, and also anticipation as I count down the days and look forward to the change from my normal routine.
I've started preparing things for my return here. I've signed up for health insurance with Cruz Blanca, and it's pretty amazing coverage. Almost everything is covered 90% or more, and there are no copays. I just pay about 65 bucks a month, and it also includes a gym membership. And did I mention that after 18 months I am eligible for free laser eye surgery? I feel like this coverage is going to be so much better than anything I ever had back home.
On a different note, it's a strange thing to see Christmas decorations in the middle of summer. I found out that Paris (one of the main department stores here) is having a Christmas parade here, and it's actually the first time they are having a Christmas parade in Santiago. My students didn't know what it was, and after I explained it to them they had mixed feelings about how this American tradition was entering their society. I won't be in Santiago to see it, but here's an advertisement for it:
I have my last two weeks pretty much planned out. My time will be divided between finishing classes, traveling to Patagonia, and spending time with my friends before the holidays. On the weekend I had a get together with friends that I hadn't seen in a while, and it was refreshing to be spending time again with the people that I started this experience here in Santiago with. There were fun times all around.
I also had a going away dinner for Julie at Patio Bellavista, and it was a nice way to see her off. They had some free karaoke going on, and I entertained everyone with a round of It's My Life by Bon Jovi. And everyone got to see why I got rejected from Glee Club in college when they told me that they didn't reject anyone. I'll add some pictures once I have them from Julie's camera.
To help organize my thoughts, here are a few lists, in no particular order:
Things I will miss about Santiago: Things I won't miss about Santiago:
1. Public transportation 1. Public transportation during rush hour
2. My friends here 2. All of the smoking in public places
3. My coworkers and the laughs and smiles they 3. People violating your private space in public
bring to the office places in ways you would never imagine
4. Exposing my students to the wonders of Papa John's 4. The Chilean concept of punctuality
5. Summer in December 5. The lack of Mexican food
6. Having such few material possessions to worry about 6. Unreliable internet access
7. Cheap buses to and from other cities 7. Having an only half functioning washing machine
8. Fresh bread on a daily basis and no dryer
List of things to do before leaving: List of things to do upon returning
1. Take Christmas pictures 1. Eat American food
2. Do Christmas shopping 2. Gather more teaching resources I forgot at home
3. Pack 3. Visit family and friends
4. Finish up classes 4. Play DDR and Wii
5. Go to Valpo once more 5. Magic the Gathering Marathons
6. Get more of a tan 6. Watch the last episodes of The Amazing Race
14 days. Before I know it I'll be on the plane.