My two and a half month stint as an unpaid intern at Principal in Santiago was 110% different than my current internship at GGP in Chicago, both inside and outside of the office.
The language is a big change. Because I know it here. This time around, when my boss asked me my age on my first day, I had full control of the language I was using to respond (no longer “diez y uno” years old. please note that is not a real Spanish word, although it most closely resembles the English word “11”). Additionally, now when I look blankly at a store clerk, it’s not because I didn’t understand them but rather I was not listening. Everything is back to normal.
The commute is one billion percent better. Instead of squeezing sardine style onto a subway full of strangers (that alliteration was actually unintended I swear), here I get to sit down on a cushioned seat and read books. How lame that I’m legitimately smiling as I write that. I love to read. I am the dictionary definition of a nerd. I also get to commute in the sunlight. Last year in Chile, it was winter, and I saw the sun for 1 hour a day over lunch. Pretty sure I sleep-walked to work. The only downfall of this year’s commute is the bridge I have to cross. The scariest bridge I’ve ever encountered. My fists stay clenched in fear, brow furrowed to create those envy inducing worry lines women in their 40s rave about. Did I mention bridges are a top 5 fear of mine, and that this one shakes when cars drive on it?
Laundry was easier last year. It was in our apartment. We hung everything to dry on an indoor clothesline. Now my laundry is done in a wet, smelly basement. & it costs money. The two apartments themselves may actually be comparable in size. Currently I’m in a giant studio, although I really only need space for my bed. The desk is unrealistic. Week days after work I generally just crawl into bed, line up my computer to catch any type of wifi streaming in, and lock into a great night of Breaking Bad or The Office. It’s great.
The biggest difference in these two experiences may be the fact that I live alone this year. How awesome to be able to look terrible all night and no one cares, or to leave the dishes for tomorrow and no one cares, or to take a long shower and no one cares. The sad part of this situation is that there is no one there to care. Not in a sad way. But my roommates last year were SO COOL. My big brothers, Felipe & Ignacio, were the coolest couple. They were both artists, had interesting friends, loved practicing English and helping me with my Spanish. They left me alone when I wanted to watch Desperate Housewives in my room, and were all in when I wanted to have wine night with them in the living room. They didn’t have a tv, so we’d watch hours of Madonna music videos and documentaries about sloths and “Colors of the Wind” from Pocahontas. It was the most interesting living situation I’ve ever had. The conversations I had with them I will never be able to replicate ever. About Chilean customs, about poverty & old money, about 90s American pop culture. I miss it.
The jobs themselves are pretty different too. I haven’t figured out this one quite yet. But I can tell you that it is paid and that pay day is tomorrow and that this office has its own gym and free coffee. So far, GGP//Chicago is winning this faceoff. Although I love Chile more than any other foreign country and that won’t change ever.