After being busy getting back to teaching classes after the 18 holiday I got a bit lazy with updating the last part of my vacation.
Our 4 hour layover (I guess you can say that for buses too?) in Puerto Varas worked out nicely. We got lunch at the German restaurant again, caught up on emails and Facebook, and enjoyed some chocolate fondue.
The overnight ride back to Santiago was uneventful. We arrived Friday around 6 in the morning and were able to get a bus directly back to my apartment. After catching up on sleep, we lounged around and got some lunch nearby. At night we met up with some of my friends and got Mexican food in Plaza Ñuñoa. It was a nice mix of co workers, Chilean friends, and gringo friends, and I think everyone had a great time.
On Saturday we were off to the Andes. We went on a tour that took us to Farallones and Valle Nevado, which are ski resorts up in the mountains. We had time to stop and take pictures along the way up.
Then Sunday was a wine tour. We went to the Concha y Toro vineyard a bit southeast of Santiago. I had taken the tour before, but I knew that Dana would really enjoy it. At the end of the tour you also get an engraved wine glass, so after the tour I now had a set of two. We also got lunch there, and I had some delicious lasagna with chocolate mousse for dessert.
I know I´ve probably written about this before, but there´s something special about having a friend or family member visit. It can be easy to get homesick when you´re away from home and far from family and friends, but visitors can bring a touch of home with them, be it a food that you miss, something from home, or a gift from family. They also know you as a person before you settled down living abroad, and they can really appreciate and see how your live has changed during your time abroad. In the two years since Dana last visited me I was living in a 3 bedroom apartment with a few Chileans that didn´t always have hot water, and I had to watch my money so carefully that I was concerned about spending about 8 dollars to go to a fonda. Now I´m in my own apartment and was able to take time off to not teach any classes during her visit, and I´m financially stable enough to travel and not worry about money.
It´s visits and situations like that that help you realize how much progress you´ve made, both personally and professionally. On a broader note, I´m very grateful for the family and friends that I´ve had come visit me, and I´m looking forward to more visitors in the future.