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!