After about 25 hours of travel, I arrived in Santiago safe and sound.
The flight to Bogota was uneventful, but the 3 hour layover was a bit of an experience. The airport is modern, and luckily I was able to get a soda using dollars while I waited for my flight. One thing that bugged me was that people would bump into you or brush up against you when walking past you without bothering to say "perdon" or "permiso". I also noticed that when they called for us to board, there was no order whatsoever and everyone simply hoarded the boarding area.
After the overnight flight I got in at 5:45 in the morning. I didn't have any problems with customs (I thought they might have questioned why I was bringing my Wii with me) and got to my apartment by about 7. And no, I don't think I'm going to do a flight with 2 layovers again like that.
It's a great yet strange feeling being back. Things in my apartment are just as I remember them, yet small changes have taken me by surprise. The Jumbo store (kind of grocery store) I go to was under construction, and now the 2nd floor if it is a Paris (department store). At my work they have a new copier and have arranged the office a bit differently. And some of my friends have returned to the States and won't be back.
I went out with some friends (all Chilean) for drinks on Friday night, and it was a really satisfying feeling being able to communicate and spend time with them. It took the first half hour or so for my ear to get accustomed to listening to all Spanish again, but after that it was smooth sailing. When they all wanted to go out to a disco and I was too tired to go out, they all accompanied me to the bus stop and made sure I made it on the bus safely. I feel very lucky to have such great friends here.
Despite the friends that are not here now, I feel that this is the place I am meant to be at this point in my life. I'm looking forward to my dad arriving tomorrow and getting to see Santiago, and after that I have my trip to Montevideo, Buenos Aires, and Iguazu Falls before starting work again.