This weekend, after a grueling one and a half days at my new internship, I escaped to beautiful viña, my real home, to spend some time with friends. It was amazing. I love the beach. And the dogs. And seeing people I recognize, halfway across the world.
My amazing host for the weekend Barbarita showed me around Reñaca, a town like right next to Viña on the coast, but maybe with nicer beaches. And amazing seafood (see ceviche below).
So beautiful. Aside from the guy texting in my paradise picture.
Which leads me to this: one of the biggest struggles of living abroad is communication. Like obviously, because language barriers and whatever. But also just regular communication. And by regular I mean by phone. Lol how modern that I consider that regular. Think for a minute though about actually going a day without your cell phone. Or your home phone or your laptop or two cans on a string, whatever your preferred method of communication is. I know you think you could do it, and like wow kudos that’s great, you’re so alternative, but it’s not that hard for one day. You should be able to handle that, it’ll just be so very invconvenient. Think about meeting your friends for dinner. If you all were waiting in different places that could be a long wait without a phone. Now think about meeting your friends for dinner at a place you’ve never been before, in a part of town you’ve never been to. It’s basically a leap of faith to hope someone meets you at the same place you end up at. Like any time I meet anyone, I make sure to stand in a very open space so that if I don’t see them maybe they’ll see me. It has worked out well so far, happy to report.
Aside from the convenience of everyday communication with friends and loved ones, your wifi capable phone probably also has a map on it, and google, and google translate, and snapchat (that one’s not a necessity I just miss having it around all the time). Like in Chile, I’m already clueless, and if I get lost going to meet those hypothetical friends mentioned above (working on the friends thing, where my english speakers at?) i can’t map out directions, or translate a grammar correct sentence to ask a local, or google bus routes… It’s like I have this smart phone but for 14 hours out of the day, when I’m out and about, he gets amnesia and forgets how smart he is. He can play music though that’s cool. My phone in the US is basically a lifeline; directions in case I get lost, phone a friend in case I get into trouble, a dictionary in case I can’t find the right words… It’s hard without it.
And speaking of finding the right words, I think I’m forgetting how to speak English. It’s hard because I try to speak English to people here in a way they would understand from Spanish. If that makes sense. Like you don’t say shrimp empanadas (mm) you say empanadas de camarones so like it’s easier to understand if I say empanadas of shrimp I think. That’s a lame example but just trying to spread some light. This loss of English is NOT due to my adoption of the Spanish language. I can still understand maybe the general topic of the conversations at the lunch table, but not enough to know what’s actually going on, or how to contribute with my level of knowledge (aka: minimal). I’m trying so hard this time though. Or trying to try.
Semi-related – I have to change my name. As much as people misspell my name in the U.S., it’s so much worse when that name doesn’t exist at all in this language. I’ve gotten lots of different responses to my name, including Madle (is that a name in any language ..), Mari, and Mary. I need to at least change the spelling, because mine makes 0 sense in Spanish. In fact, if you were to actually pronounce my name after reading it, Spanish phonetically correct, it would sound like “moh-yee-ay” I think. The ll messes things up. I enjoyed Mary’s passion tea lemonade.