My First Two Days in Chile I…

…found some pretty cool street dogs.

…changed my phone to military time.

…learned all the Chilean slang I probably shouldn’t know.

…made some really cool new friends.

…met a bar owner who was from San Diego, and had a puppy.

…moved into my room for the next two months.

…started my online class through Drake.

…ate Peruvian food, Taco Bell, and a completo.

…took next to zero pictures.

…got (kind of) settled in.

So all of that happened since I arrived in Chile yesterday morning at 7:30 AM. I barely made it through immigration because I didn’t really have a legitimate address, just a street name. I changed money into pesos at the airport, the one thing you’re NOT supposed to do. I almost got ripped off trying to find a taxi. I turned off airplane mode on my phone to see if I could find some kind of service (sorry mom that may have been expensive). And all of those things were in the first 30 minutes back in this beautiful country.

Chile is like the ultimate people watching experience. I love figuring people out. People watching in the U.S., you can basically figure out the basics of the people passing you, just guessing at their lives. Here though, Chileans are a brick wall. They keep to themselves, until you introduce yourself. They don’t say hello, unless you live in the same apartment building. They don’t say sorry or excuse me if they bump you on the street, but if you know them personally they’re actually pretty polite. This is what I’ve figured out, both from last year abroad and from my past 48 hours. I can’t decide whether I want to stop smiling at the people I make eye contact with while I’m walking down the street. I feel like that’s so Iowa of me, because they definitely don’t smile back here. But at the same time, it’s basically engrained in me. So do I really have a choice but to be almost too nice to everyone I meet? It’s okay though, because my natural niceness is offset by the fact that I can’t always have an actual conversation with most people. I’m getting better at understanding, but the speaking part trips me up. What if I say something wrong… I’m especially afraid of this happening tomorrow, at my first day interning for Principal. They’re going to think I’m a little dumb at first, claro, but I’m hoping my wit and charm shine through the language barrier enough that they start to like me. And I’m hoping I’ll be able to figure them out enough that they become the open, kind Chileans that I call my closest friends here.

Tomorrow I have to take a subway at 7:30 in the morning (which is earlier than I prefer to wake up, because it is FIVE THIRTY Iowa time). And the subway here is as terrible as you’re imagining. Wish me luck on 1) not getting pick-pocketed, 2) waking up to my alarm, and 3) getting off at the right stop. besitos,

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