Friday, June 25, 2010

El dia mas larga de mi vida (The longest day of my life)

Hello lovely people,

Thanks for all your support! I made it to Santiago!

Everything has been great so far although extremely overwhelming. It's hard to believe that it is now 1AM my time and it has been two days since I landed in Miami.

So yesterday, after checking out of my hotel at noon I spent the day in the Miami airport. Everything was going swimmingly until the fire alarm starting going off! Yet a reassuring recording came on the intercom and informed us that the Miami fire department was investigating the alarm and that we should standby for instructions. I was glad to hear it the first time; yet when the alarm continued to sound and the same recording came on about 40 more times (this is a conservative estimate), I had a different opinion. At this point, there was nothing that was going to stop me from getting on a plane to Santiago, I was ready to go Icarus style, minus the flying too close to the sun and falling to my death part.

But everything went off without a hitch and I arrived in Santiago this morning (or I guess yesterday morning now) at 7:30AM. I had a gorgeous view of the Andes as we descended through the thick layer of smog that circles the city and I breathed a sigh of relief when we finally touched down. After going through customs and collecting my baggage, I went through an automatic door only to be greeted by literally 100 screaming Chilean men, offering me a taxi, a transfer, basically anything for which they would receive payment. I waded through the crowd looking for my program director but she was nowhere in sight. In the mean time, I'm looking extremely lost and panicked and about 50 of the screaming Chilean men offer me the use of their cell phone. At first I declined because I didn't have any pesos to tip them but then I got desperate and called the program director, only to find out that my host mother was meeting me at the airport rather than her. Literally I turned around and there she was and all was well with the world.

The rest of the day is sort of a blur. It has felt soooooooo long but each time I look at my watch it seems 4 more hours have passed. The main points were that I got to my host family's house, ate breakfast and then my host mother took me on what I thought was a trial run of the metro but it turned out that we were having a meeting with the program director, durin which I split my attention between her speech and trying not to fall asleep. Afterwards, we came back and had lunch, then, while the rest of the family watched the Chile vs. Espana soccer game, I took a desperately needed nap and the next thing I knew it was 7pm and we were off to dinner with everyone on the program.

So far, I have spoken spanish decently well, I think, or my host mother has falsely encouraged me that I am and it's working. I can't even count the times I have just smiled and nodded because I have no idea what she said; this rivals the amount of times I have mis-conjugated a verb or simply have stopped mid sentence because I have no idea how to say a word in Spanish. (thus far these words include, sponsor, bar, and to flush...if any of you know these off the top of your head, please leave them in the comments). However, it's difficult to feel disheartened when everytime I see someone from the program, they kiss me on the cheek and give me a hug, even though I saw all of them atleast three times today. If I'm going to immerse myself in a different culture, I'm glad it's this one simply because of the constant affection.

In the craziness of the day, I have yet to take any photos but I'll try and upload some for the next post.

My shout-out of the day goes to Kate Williamson who made a delightful playlist for me at the end of the semester and which kept me feeling as relaxed as possible during the last forty eight hours. Muchas gracias amor!

Ciao bellas,



  1. Glad to see you are acclamating so well and still maintaining your sense of humor. Attached is a hug and a kiss from your Ma & Pa. Regarding the Spanish words, you are on your own.

  2. Ciao Mia Bella Nipote!
    Abby you are so funny! I think you have a future as a standup comedian or a writer of humorous adventure stories!

    Regarding language issues, Jack and I thought our Italian was outstanding until we had to deal with fast speaking Italians! We did alot of the that head nodding until I rememberd to ask them to "repeta lentamentewhat". When we were in Strasburg France with friends Jack ordered a dish for lunch and then had the same dish for dinner since it has an entirely different name at night. When the dish arrived we were all laughing hysterically and the waiter was very upset until we explained in our limited French with lots of English why (good thing his English was better then our French!).

    Hope you warm up soon! I have two wool sweaters I can send if you need them. They fit your criteria of being needed here only a few days of the year and then for periods of only 5-10 minutes. LOL big big hugs and kisses!! A. Barb and U. Jack

  3. Oh I think I can help you! Bar = cantina as in the bar where you go with your host mother to get a much-needed drink after a long delayed trip to Santiago. If you meant a bar of chocolate, passing the Bar Exams, or a conveniently located bar on which to rest your arm, then I am of no service to you.

    I must inform you that until I have my own Chilean adventure, I'm living vicariously through you. I'm glad that we are having such a pleasant experience so far despite the slight snafus!


    I am never going to leave you substantive comments like everyone else. Just. Know that I love you.

  5. Ab this is the second post that I'm reading and I'm dying laughing. I so much admire the fact that you continue to remain so upbeat even when things are delayed or go wrong or are just, pardon my French, annoying as fuck. I'm glad you landed safely and have begun your amazing Chilean adventure :)